© Daniel Blouin © Daniel Blouin

Urbanization, Spontaneous Flora and Urban Vacant Lots

Urbanization, Spontaneous Flora and Urban Vacant Lots

01/05/2015 - 31/12/2017

Impacts of urbanization on spontaneous flora and urban vacant lots – IRBV – Université de Montréal

Urban areas are composed of a mosaic of new types of habitat (squares at the base of trees, alleyways, fencerows, etc.) where flora can establish itself spontaneously. Vacant lots and meadows are also part of the urban landscape and are rapidly colonized by vegetation and wildlife.

The objectives of this study are to characterize the vegetation of some of these typically urban habitats, to assess the impact of urbanization on plant community composition, and to evaluate the role of exotic species within these habitats. Sampled habitats include wall margins, fencerows, hedgerows and urban meadows. Surveys were conducted throughout the Montreal and Quebec City regions with nearly 200 habitat parcels surveyed within the boundaries of the City of Montreal.

Preliminary results indicate that spontaneous urban flora is strongly dominated by exotic species and that plant communities are similar to one another regardless of urbanization degree. Also, while native and exotic species in Quebec City are very similar in terms of functional traits, those present in the City of Montreal are very different. For example, exotic species in Montreal were found to be generally short-lived with a greater capacity to disseminate over long distances than the recorded native species.

© Staffan Widstrand / WWF © Staffan Widstrand / WWF

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