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Tuesday, April 10 • 11:15am - 11:30am
SYMPOSIA-10: Biodiversity in Chicago’s Vacant Lots

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AUTHORS: Elsa C. Anderson*, Emily S. Minor – University of Illinois at Chicago

ABSTRACT: Vacant lots make up a large percentage of land area in Rust Belt cities, and researchers have taken a keen interest in the ability of this space to provide ecosystem services and habitat for wildlife. In Chicago, there well over 10,000 vacant lots, concentrated predominantly in communities of color on the south and west sides. Over two field seasons, we assessed a sample of these lots to catalogue the plant and pollinator diversity and better understand the ecological patterns that arise in these undermanaged spaces. We assessed plant communities using a transect method in the summer of 2015 and followed up the next year by pan-trapping pollinators. Overall, we found 97 species of herbaceous plants and 18 species of trees >10 cm dbh. Twelve of these woody species were also recorded as seedlings. Trees in vacant lots are typically found in later stages of decay than street trees or trees in city parks. Vegetation in vacant lots is highly variable, but there is a uniquely positive relationship between species richness and Pileou’s evenness at the lot level. Vegetation patterns are furthermore driven by human activities such as mowing and maintaining turf, and these patterns likely influence the pollinators that can utilize a given site. In our pan-trapping study, we identified 41 morhpospecies of bees, most of which are abundant generalists. The high diversity found in Chicago’s vacant lots suggest their importance as sources of urban habitat and support the notion that land management could be tailored to better suit the needs of urban species.

Tuesday April 10, 2018 11:15am - 11:30am CDT
Hancock Parlor