Research Overview

The Gardiner Lab studies the ecology of urban greenspaces. Much of our work focuses on the ecological and conservation value of vacant land. This work takes place in Cleveland, Ohio – a city managing more than 27,000 vacant lots created as a result of protracted economic decline, home foreclosure, and population loss. Researchers in the lab examine how the landscape composition and legacy as  well as local plant community and management of vacant lots influences their conservation value for arthropods, with studies focused from the tree canopy to soil communities.

Much of our research takes place in a network of 62 vacant lots assigned to 1 of 8 plant community treatments. Several of these treatments include Ohio native plants. See our Cleveland Pocket Prairie Project website and our Current Studies for details.

Below are photos of our Pocket Prairies in their 3rd year of establishment!