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Open AccessArticle

Managing Tree Diversity: A Comparison of Suburban Development in Two Canadian Cities

School for Resource and Environmental Studies, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Originally presented as a conference paper at the 2nd International Conference on Urban Tree Diversity.
Academic Editors: Francisco Escobedo, Stephen John Livesley and Justin Morgenroth
Forests 2016, 7(6), 119;
Received: 2 April 2016 / Revised: 25 May 2016 / Accepted: 30 May 2016 / Published: 31 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban and Periurban Forest Diversity and Ecosystem Services)
PDF [9710 KB, uploaded 31 May 2016]


Is (sub)urban forest diversity shaped by previous land use? This study was designed to quantitatively assess the impacts of subdivision development on urban tree-species composition in two Canadian cities: Halifax, Nova Scotia, and London, Ontario. The main goal was to determine whether cities with contrasting pre-urbanized or pre-settlement landscapes—woodlands in Halifax and agricultural fields in London—also revealed differences in urban tree diversity losses and/or gains due to urbanization. In each city, four residential neighbourhoods representing two age categories, older and newer (40–50 years, <15 years), were examined and trees on three land types were sampled: public (street), private (residential), and remnant (woodland). All public street trees within the chosen neighbourhoods were inventoried and approximately 10% of the residential property lots were sampled randomly. Plots were examined in remnant forests in or near each city, representing the original forest habitats prior to agricultural and/or urban landscape transformations. Diameter at breast height, species richness and evenness, and proportions of native and non-native trees were measured. In both cities, streetscapes in newer neighbourhoods exhibit greater species richness and evenness, and are characterized by substantially more native trees. Despite this trend, developers and home owners continue to intensively plant non-native species on newer and smaller property lots. Older neighbourhoods in Halifax containing remnant forest stands hold the greatest number of native trees on private property, alluding to the importance of residual forest buffers and patches in promoting naturalness in the private urban forest. These results suggest that identifying and quantifying flows of species between green spaces during and after development is valuable in order to effectively promote native species establishment and enhance overall urban forest diversity. View Full-Text
Keywords: tree diversity; subdivision development; suburb; native; non-native; biodiversity tree diversity; subdivision development; suburb; native; non-native; biodiversity

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Nitoslawski, S.A.; Duinker, P.N. Managing Tree Diversity: A Comparison of Suburban Development in Two Canadian Cities. Forests 2016, 7, 119.

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