Urban forests of Moscow: typological diversity, succession status, and fragmentation assessment
Urban forests provide ecosystem services such as temperature regulation, air purification, carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation. It is important to perform baseline assessment and regular monitoring of biodiversity, vegetation dynamics and spatial structure of urban forests. Most cities suffer from the lack of a unified monitoring system. The heterogeneity of Moscow territory land use determines different functions and state of urban forests. To what extent are the forests of modern Moscow support natural resource and ecological potential, and what are the risks in maintaining the social and ecological needs of the population in the urban region?
Assessment of typological diversity, succession status and spatial structure of Moscow forests in the context of three sectors of different land use.
This study integrates typological (cenotic), succession and fragmentation approaches on the basis of remote sensing data. Field relevés were used for cenotic classification into forest formations and association groups. Random forest algorithm was used for cartographic modeling. Forest patches assigned with formations and groups of associations were subject of diversity, dynamics and spatial structure of forests analysis.
Current study presents the assessment of the composition and spatial structure of the Moscow forests in the context of three sectors of different anthropogenic pressure and land use. 11 forest formations and 33 association groups were identified. Overall accuracy of cartographic modeling was 59% for association groups, and 67% for formations. Unsatisfactory ability of forests to support social and ecological needs of residents was revealed especially in the central part of the city. The combination of low fragmentation metrics with a high proportion of long-term derivative forest types is critical for the sustainable existence of forest cover within city center. With distance from the center a fairly high typological diversity of forests is noted.
The combination of low fragmentation metrics with a high proportion of long-term derivative forest types is critical for the sustainable existence of the forest cover. Overall, the methodology and results of the work create a basis for regular monitoring of the Moscow forests, as well as in other urban areas.