Socio-Ecological Disturbance Regimes and GI Performance
Because green stormwater infrastructure are coupled human-natural systems, their disturbance regimes are expected to strongly reflect both human and environmental drivers of disturbance including maintenance regime, irrigation, seasonal road salting, drought, storm frequency, and nutrient loading, among others. In bioretention systems, these complex disturbance regimes are expected to impact plant communities, influencing the survivorship and ecological succession patterns of plants with different life strategies (leaf and root economics, biomass allocation, etc). This is in turn expected to impact ecosystem services provisioning, as different plant life strategies are associated with different functional traits that variously impact infiltration, pollutant removal, aesthetics, and other desired services. My research in this area aims to better characterize disturbance regimes in bioretention systems, and the linkages between 1) disturbance, 2) plant survivorship, succession, and functional traits, and 3) bioretention system performance, particularly hydrologic performance and the provisioning of cultural services like aesthetics.
Variable flow volumes and erosivity can lead to different disturbance regimes and plant communities up-slope (left) and down-slope (right) in the same bioswale