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Forests 2016, 7(6), 121; doi:10.3390/f7060121

Spatio-Temporal Changes in Structure for a Mediterranean Urban Forest: Santiago, Chile 2002 to 2014

1
Biology Program—Functional and Ecosystem Ecology Unit, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Universidad del Rosario, Kr 26 No 63B-48, Bogotá D.C. 111221492, Colombia
2
School of Forest Resources and Conservation, IFAS-University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
3
Departamento de Ecosistemas y Medio Ambiente, Facultad de Agronomia e Ingenieria Forestal, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Av. Vicuna Mackenna 4860, Macul, Santiago 7820436, Chile
4
Laboratorio de Geomática y Ecología del Paisaje, Facultad de Ciencias Forestales y de la Conservación de la Naturaleza, Universidad de Chile, Santiago 7820436, Chile
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Timothy A. Martin
Received: 15 March 2016 / Revised: 1 June 2016 / Accepted: 2 June 2016 / Published: 11 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban and Periurban Forest Diversity and Ecosystem Services)
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Abstract

There is little information on how urban forest ecosystems in South America and Mediterranean climates change across both space and time. This study statistically and spatially analyzed the spatio-temporal dynamics of Santiago, Chile’s urban forest using tree and plot-level data from permanent plots from 2002 to 2014. We found mortality, ingrowth, and tree cover remained stable over the analysis period and similar patterns were observed for basal area (BA) and biomass. However, tree cover increased, and was greater in the highest socioeconomic stratum neighborhoods while it dropped in the medium and low strata. Growth rates for the five most common tree species averaged from 0.12 to 0.36 cm·year−1. Spatially, tree biomass and BA were greater in the affluent, northeastern sections of the city and in southwest peri-urban areas. Conversely, less affluent central, northwest, and southern areas showed temporal losses in BA and biomass. Overall, we found that Santiago’s urban forest follows similar patterns as in other parts of the world; affluent areas tend to have more and better managed urban forests than poorer areas, and changes are primarily influenced by social and ecological drivers. Nonetheless, care is warranted when comparing urban forest structural metrics measured with similar sampling-monitoring approaches across ecologically disparate regions and biomes. View Full-Text
Keywords: basal area; urban forest biomass; spatial analysis; urban tree growth; urban forest mortality basal area; urban forest biomass; spatial analysis; urban tree growth; urban forest mortality
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Escobedo, F.J.; Palmas-Perez, S.; Dobbs, C.; Gezan, S.; Hernandez, J. Spatio-Temporal Changes in Structure for a Mediterranean Urban Forest: Santiago, Chile 2002 to 2014. Forests 2016, 7, 121.

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