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International Journal of Ecology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 704084, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/704084
Research Article

Trees and the City: Diversity and Composition along a Neotropical Gradient of Urbanization

1Laboratorio de Ecología de Restauración, Centro de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas, Campus Morelia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, Campus Morelia, Antigua Carretera a Pátzcuaro 8701, 58190 Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico
2Laboratorio Genética de la Conservación, Centro de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, Campus Morelia, Antigua Carretera a Pátzcuaro 8701, 58190 Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico
3Red de Ambiente y Sustentabilidad, Instituto de Ecología, A.C. Antigua carretera a Coatepec 351, El Haya, 91070 Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico

Received 30 December 2010; Revised 24 May 2011; Accepted 29 June 2011

Academic Editor: L. Smith

Copyright © 2011 Rubén Ortega-Álvarez et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

In this study we assessed tree species richness, density, and composition patterns along a gradient of urbanization of a megacity. Our results show that total, native, and exotic tree densities were highest in green areas where larger spaces are considered for greening purposes. Conversely, total, native, and exotic tree species richness were highest in land uses with intermediate levels of urban development (residential, residential-commercial areas). Not finding highest tree species richness in less developed urban areas suggests that cultural factors may shape the array of species that are planted within cities. Supporting this, tree composition analyses showed that green areas are comprised of different tree species when compared to the rest of the studied urban land uses. Thus, our results suggest that, to increase the ecological quality of cities, residents and managers should be encouraged to select a greater variety of trees to promote heterogeneous green areas.