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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle

Emerging Urban Forests: Opportunities for Promoting the Wild Side of the Urban Green Infrastructure

1
Technische Universität Berlin, Department of Ecology, D-12165 Berlin, Germany
2
Berlin-Brandenburg Institute of Advanced Biodiversity Research (BBIB), D-14195 Berlin, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6318; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226318
Received: 5 October 2019 / Revised: 6 November 2019 / Accepted: 7 November 2019 / Published: 11 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Urban Development)
Many cities aim to increase urban forest cover to benefit residents through the provision of ecosystem services and to promote biodiversity. As a complement to traditional forest plantings, we address opportunities associated with “emerging urban forests” (i.e., spontaneously developing forests in cities) for urban biodiversity conservation. We quantified the area of successional forests and analyzed the species richness of native and alien plants and of invertebrates (carabid beetles, spiders) in emerging forests dominated by alien or native trees, including Robinia pseudoacacia, Acer platanoides, and Betula pendula. Emerging urban forests were revealed as shared habitats of native and alien species. Native species richness was not profoundly affected by the alien (co-)dominance of the canopy. Instead, native and alien plant species richnesses were positively related. Numbers of endangered plants and invertebrates did not differ between native- and alien-dominated forest patches. Patterns of tree regeneration indicate different successional trajectories for novel forest types. We conclude that these forests (i) provide habitats for native and alien species, including some endangered species, (ii) allow city dwellers to experience wild urban nature, and (iii) support arguments for adapting forests to dynamic urban environments. Integrating emerging urban forests into the urban green infrastructure is a promising pathway to sustainable cities and can complement traditional restoration or greening approaches. View Full-Text
Keywords: biodiversity conservation; cemeteries; endangered species; invasive tree species; plant invasions; passive restoration; rewilding; secondary succession; urban woodland; urban wilderness biodiversity conservation; cemeteries; endangered species; invasive tree species; plant invasions; passive restoration; rewilding; secondary succession; urban woodland; urban wilderness
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kowarik, I.; Hiller, A.; Planchuelo, G.; Seitz, B.; von der Lippe, M.; Buchholz, S. Emerging Urban Forests: Opportunities for Promoting the Wild Side of the Urban Green Infrastructure. Sustainability 2019, 11, 6318. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226318

AMA Style

Kowarik I, Hiller A, Planchuelo G, Seitz B, von der Lippe M, Buchholz S. Emerging Urban Forests: Opportunities for Promoting the Wild Side of the Urban Green Infrastructure. Sustainability. 2019; 11(22):6318. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226318

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kowarik, Ingo; Hiller, Anne; Planchuelo, Greg; Seitz, Birgit; von der Lippe, Moritz; Buchholz, Sascha. 2019. "Emerging Urban Forests: Opportunities for Promoting the Wild Side of the Urban Green Infrastructure" Sustainability 11, no. 22: 6318. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226318

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