Conceptualizing social-ecological drivers of change in urban forest patches

Lea R. Johnson, Michelle L. Johnson, Myla F.J. Aronson, Lindsay K. Campbell, Megan E. Carr, Mysha Clarke, Vincent D’Amico, Lindsay Darling, Tedward Erker, Robert T. Fahey, Kristen L. King, Katherine Lautar, Dexter H. Locke, Anita T. Morzillo, Stephanie Pincetl, Luke Rhodes, John Paul Schmit, Lydia Scott, Nancy F. Sonti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


We introduce a conceptual model of the urban forest patch as a complex social-ecological system, incorporating cross-scale interactions. We developed this model through an interdisciplinary process engaging social and ecological scientists and urban land management decision makers, with a focus on temperate forest social-ecological systems. In this paper, we place the production and management of urban forest patches in historical perspective, present a conceptual model of urban forest patches within a broader regional context, and identify a series of research questions to highlight future directions for research on urban forest patches. This conceptual model identifies how spatial and temporal social-ecological drivers interact with patch-level conditions at multiple scales. Our integrative approach can provide insights into the role of social-ecological drivers in shaping forest health, biodiversity, and benefits forest patches provide to people in urban and urbanizing regions, with direct implications for decision-making to improve management outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)633-648
Number of pages16
JournalUrban Ecosystems
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology
  • Urban Studies


  • Conceptual model
  • Drivers of change
  • Interdisciplinary research
  • Social-ecological system
  • Urban landscape
  • Urban woodland


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