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Ecosystem Components of Urbanization in the Context of a Changing Climate
January 19, 2023 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Prof. Darrel Jenerette
UC Riverside (University of California, Riverside)
Urbanization is a major driver of global ecological changes. At the same time, ecological dynamics have a substantial impact on urban residents, which includes more than half of the worldwide population. To explore the reciprocal interactions between urbanization and ecological processes I use the Los Angeles, USA megacity region as a case study. Los Angeles is home to 18 million residents, is in a Mediterranean type climate with a dramatic coastal to desert climate gradient, and is experiencing climate changes associated with warming and droughts. Urbanization within Los Angeles has led to highly diverse tree community that is distributed in response to current and historical demographic patterns. The physiological traits of these trees exhibit unexpectedly large plasticity and relationships that differ from trees in their native habitats. The effect of the trees and other vegetation on local residents is most prominent through cooling, which increases during hotter periods. However, the requirements of water to sustain tree communities are extensive and represent a key climate adaptation trade-off. The effects of urbanization further propagate out from the city through influences at the wildland urban interface. Similarly, dynamics within the wildland-urban interface directly affect urban residents. These findings from Los Angeles help inform a comprehensive framework for evaluating how urban-ecological systems are components of global changes and provide opportunities for creating more sustainable futures.
Sede Building (Room Aketxe), Scientific Park of the University of the Basque Country, January 19 (2023), 12:00-1:00 pm (CET)
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