Faculty Advisor

Beth Lawrence


Factors related to urbanization have altered the pre-settlement landscape of Chicago from native prairie and woodland, to one dominated by non-native plant species. This study examined how the plant community influences urban wildlife by investigating how vegetation structure (as measured by three indices) relates to the wildlife richness of 24 forested sites in the Chicago region. We found negative relationships between both Floristic Quality Index (FQI) and native plant diversity with wildlife richness. We propose that the generalist mammal species that were detected using the camera trap method do not require high quality forested habitat and seem to prefer lower quality forests that have fewer native plants, most likely dominated by dense invasive shrubs such as buckthorn. Habitat structure and landscape level parameters are likely stronger predictors of wildlife species richness in this highly urbanized landscape.

Included in

Life Sciences Commons