by WC Zipperer, TW Foresman, SP Walker, CT Daniel
Urban Ecosystems 15(3):533-5442012
Most studies of land use change focus on the transformation of rural to urban landscapes but disregard changes within urban landscapes. In this study, the ecological effects of increased urbanization were studied within the urban watershed of Gwynns Falls, Maryland (which includes a portion of Baltimore). Forest patches were mapped for 1994 and 1999 using a combination of GIS, aerial imagery, and field checks. A pattern of fragmentation and deforestation was found, as is typical of urbanizing areas. Forest patches increased in number, decreased in size, and became more simplified, although the largest patches remained largely intact. These changes imply reduced habitat for birds and other wildlife, fewer opportunities for species dispersal, and reduced ecosystem services for humans.