Elucidating the drivers, contextual sensitivity and resilience of urban ecological systems

Hale, James David (2015). Elucidating the drivers, contextual sensitivity and resilience of urban ecological systems. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

PDF - Accepted Version

Download (5MB)


As the global population urbanises, the benefits derived from contact with nature increasingly depend upon the presence of diverse urban ecological communities. These may be threatened by changes in land-cover and the intensification of land-use. A key question is how to design and manage cities to retain desirable species, habitats and processes. Addressing this question is challenging, due to the dominant role of humans in shaping spatially and temporally complex urban landscapes.

Earlier research identified ecological patterns along urban–rural gradients, often using simplified measures of built form and disturbance. The central theme within this thesis is that we require a more mechanistic understanding of the processes that created today‘s ecological patterns, which recognises the interactions between social and ecological sub-systems.

Using bats (Chiroptera) as a case study group, I identified a broadly negative association between bat activity and built density. Urban tree networks appeared beneficial for one species, and further work revealed that their role in facilitating movement depended upon the size of gaps in tree lines and their illumination level. Resilience analyses were used to map diverse dependencies between the functioning of urban bat habitats and human social factors; illustrating the value of a more mechanistic systems-based approach.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Funders: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QL Zoology
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/6238


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year