Ecological homogenization of urban USA

Peter M. Groffman, Jeannine Cavender-Bares, Neil D. Bettez, J. Morgan Grove, Sharon Hall, James B. Heffernan, Sarah E. Hobbie, Kelli Larson, Jennifer L. Morse, Christopher Neill, Kristen Nelson, Jarlath O'Neil-Dunne, Laura Ogden, Diane E. Pataki, Colin Polsky, Rinku Roy Chowdhury, Meredith K. Steele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

330 Scopus citations


A visually apparent but scientifically untested outcome of land-use change is homogenization across urban areas, where neighborhoods in different parts of the country have similar patterns of roads, residential lots, commercial areas, and aquatic features. We hypothesize that this homogenization extends to ecological structure and also to ecosystem functions such as carbon dynamics and microclimate, with continental-scale implications. Further, we suggest that understanding urban homogenization will provide the basis for understanding the impacts of urban land-use change from local to continental scales. Here, we show how multi-scale, multidisciplinary datasets from six metropolitan areas that cover the major climatic regions of the US (Phoenix, AZ; Miami, FL; Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Minneapolis-St Paul, MN; and Los Angeles, CA) can be used to determine how household and neighborhood characteristics correlate with land-management practices, land-cover composition, and landscape structure and ecosystem functions at local, regional, and continental scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-81
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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