HCS Spring 2016 Seminar Series
“Managing vacant land to support biodiversity and ecosystem services.”
Abstract: Worldwide the majority of the world’s people now live in cities. Traditionally conservation has focused primarily on rural and natural landscapes, yet, with the Earth’s surface so significantly shaped by human activity it is critical to understand how to preserve and promote species in these human-dominated ecosystems. Although we see a rise in urban living across the globe, due to protected economic downturn and the recent foreclosure crisis, many United States cities have lost substantial population in recent decades. This has left municipalities with the task of demolishing abandoned residential structures, creating parcels of vacant land. One such city is Cleveland, Ohio which has over 20,000 vacant lots covering 1,450 hectares of land area. These newly formed green spaces have the potential to serve multiple environmental functions including species conservation, storm water retention and local food production. This seminar will examine the conservation value of vacant land for arthropod biodiversity and how conversion of this habitat to address environmental concerns influences these species and the services they support.