Implications of climate change for managing urban green infrastructure in Indiana


Urban areas around the world are increasingly investing in networks of urban forests, gardens, and other forms of green infrastructure for its many benefits, including enhanced livability, sustainability, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Proactive planning for climate change requires anticipating potential climate change impacts to green infrastructure and adjusting management strategies accordingly. We apply climate change projections for Indiana to assess the possible impacts of climate change on common forms of urban green infrastructure, and identify management implications. Projected changes in Indiana’s temperature and precipitation could pose numerous management challenges for managing urban green infrastructure, including water stress; pests, weeds, disease and invasive species; flooding; frost risk; and timing of maintenance. Meeting these challenges will involve managing for key characteristics of resilient systems (e.g. biodiversity, redundancy) as well as more specific strategies addressing particular climate changes (e.g. shifting species compositions, building soil water holding capacity). Climate change also presents opportunities to promote urban green infrastructure. Unlike human built infrastructure, green infrastructure is conducive to grassroots stewardship and governance, relieving climate change-related strains on municipal budgets. Many online resources for adapting urban green infrastructure to climate change are already available, and emerging research will enhance understanding of best management practices.


Indiana, climate change, urban, green infrastructure, ecosystem services, resilience

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This article is currently under review. For additional information or questions, please contact Melissa Widhalm at mwidhalm@purdue.edu.

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