While the importance of conservation and habitat restoration on large land parcels is well understood, the potential for landscape ecological improvement may be greater in individual property owners’ back yards, especially in urban and suburban scale. The thermal footprint of different land cover types, sampled with a hi-res UAV-mounted infrared camera throughout the month of August, were compared to determine impacts on urban heat island effect. While it has become common knowledge that heat islands are mitigated by “green”design and exacerbated by impervious area and dark surfaces, we have discovered not all green space is equal. Native plantings have a much greater impact than lawns on both habitat value and heat islands. Considering specific target species, we determine habitat value of urban and suburban landscapes based on the number of property owners who convert a percentage of their lawn to cover managed in accordance with best management practices for habitat.
Landscape Ecology Urban Heat Island Impacts of Backyard Habitats