Skip to main content

Natural Transformation of Post-industrial Lands: Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ (USA)

  • Chapter
  • 171 Accesses

Part of the Cities and Nature book series (CITIES)

Abstract

Abandoned post-industrial or wasteland landscapes present an interesting paradox. Do the ecological benefits of these naturally assembled systems present an “attractive nuisance” due to the potential for contaminate transfer or do they provide valuable ecosystem services and functions? This case study presents data from a former railyard that since its abandonment in the 1960s has developed into a mix of urban forest shrubland and meadow. The heterogeneous structure and the legacy metal contaminants have been characterized. The diversity of the naturally assembled plant community is also well documented, as are its successional trajectories. The ecological risk associated with contaminant transfer has been examined at the primary, secondary, and tertiary trophic levels. In general, the findings indicate that while the plant communities are a novel mix of old and new world species and do not follow traditional trajectories, they are providing significant ecosystem functions. In addition, and most significantly, the risk associated with contaminant transfer throughout the food web appears to be minimal. After 30 years of investigations, researchers have concluded that this wasteland provides valuable ecosystem services.

Keywords

  • Post-industrial landscape
  • Soil metals
  • Diversity
  • Productivity
  • Ecological risk

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-74882-1_2
  • Chapter length: 20 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   119.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-74882-1
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book
USD   159.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6

References

  • Adriano DC (1986) Trace elements in the terrestrial environment. Springer, New York

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Aronson MFJ, La Sorte FA, Nilon CH, Katti M, Goddard MA, Lepczyk, CA, Warren PA, Williams NSG, Cilliers S, Clarkson B (2014) A global analysis of the impacts of urbanization on bird and plant diversity reveals key anthropogenic drivers. Proc R Soc B

    Google Scholar 

  • Brown A (1878) Plants introduced with ballast on manmade land. Bull Torrey Bot Club 6(45):255–258

    Google Scholar 

  • Canterbury GE, Martin TE, Petit DR, Petit LJ, Bradford DF (2000) Bird communities and habitat as ecological indicators of forest condition in regional monitoring. Conserv Biol 14:544–558

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Clements FE (1916) Plant succession. Publication 242. Carnegie Institution Washington DC

    Google Scholar 

  • Dahle GA, Gallagher FJ, Gershenson D, Schäfer KVR, Grabosky JC (2014) Allometric and mass relationships of Betula populifolia in a naturally assembled urban woodlot. Urban Ecosyst 17:1147–1160

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Diaz S, Cabido M (2001) Vive la difference: plant functional diversity matters to ecosystem processes. Trends Ecol Evol 16:646–655

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Dudka S, Ponce-Hernandez R, Tate G, Hutchinson TC (1996) Forms of Cu, Ni and Zn in soils of Sudbury, Ontario and the metal concentrations in plants. Water Air Soil Pollut 90:531–542

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Dukes JS (2000) Biodiversity and invasibility in grassland microcosms. Oecologia 126:563–568

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Gallagher FJ (2008) The role of soil metal contamination in the vegetative assemblage development of an urban brownfield. Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, School of Graduate Studies, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 3330871

    Google Scholar 

  • Gallagher FJ, Pechmann I, Bogden J, Grabosky J, Weis P (2008) Soil metal concentrations and plant productivity in an urban brownfield. Environ Pollut 153:351–361

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Gallagher FJ, Pechmann I, Holzapfel C, Grabosky J (2011) Altered vegetative assemblage trajectories within an urban brownfield. Environ Poll 159:1159–1166

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Ghrefat HA (2011) Application of geoaccumulation index and enrichment factor for assessing metal contamination in the sediments of Kafrain Dam. Jordan Environ Monit Assess 178:95–109

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Giller KE, Witter E, McGrath SP (1998) Toxicity of heavy metals to microoganisms and microbial processes in agricultural soils: a review. Soil Biol Biochem 30:1389–1414

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Gleason HA (1939) The individualistic concept of plant association. Am Midl Nat, 21(1) 92–110

    Google Scholar 

  • Goyer RA (2000) Toxicological effects of methylmercury. National Academy Press, Washington DC

    Google Scholar 

  • Gann GD, McDonald T, Walder B, Aronson J, Nelson CR, Jonson J, Hallett JG, Eisenberg C, Guariguata MR, Liu J, Hua F, Echeverria C, Gonzales, EK, Shaw N, Decleer K, Dixon KW (2019) International principles and standards for the practice of ecological restoration. Second edition. Restor Ecol S1–S46

    Google Scholar 

  • Hakanson L (1980) An ecological risk index for aquatic pollution control. A sedimentological approach. Water Res 14:975–1001

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Hartman JM, Smith Z, Czarny T, Quispe J (2017) Jersey city environmental resource inventory. Appendix A-15

    Google Scholar 

  • Hillary JD, Wilkins DA (1987) Zinc tolerance in Betula spp., effect of external concentration of zinc on growth and uptake. New Phytol 106:517–524

    Google Scholar 

  • Hobbs JD, Norton DA (2004) Ecological filters, thresholds and gradients in resistance to ecological reassembly. In: Templeton VMRJ, Hobbs T, Nuttle T, Halle S (eds) Assembly rules and restoration ecology. Island Press, Washington, pp 72–95

    Google Scholar 

  • Hobbs RJ, Higgs E, Harris JA (2009) Novel ecosystems: implications for conservation and restoration. Trends Ecol Evol 24(11):599–605

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Hofer C, Gallagher FJ, Holzapfel C (2010) Metal accumulation and growth performance of nestlings of passerine bird species at an urban brownfield site. Environ Pollut 158:1207–1213

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Hooper DU, Chapin III FS, Ewel JJ, Hector A, Inchausti P, Lavorel S, Lawton JH, Lodge DM, Loreau M, Naeem S, Schmid B. Setälä H, Symstad AJ Vandermeer J, Wardle DA (2005) Effect of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning: aconcensus of current knowledge. Ecolo Monogr 75(1):35–33

    Google Scholar 

  • Juang KW, Lee DY, Ellsworth TR (2001) Using rank-order geostatistics for spatial interpolation of highly skewed data in heavy-metal contaminated site. J Environ Qual 30:894–903

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Krumins JA, Goodey NM, Gallagher FJ (2015) Plant-soil interactions in metal contaminated soils. Soil Biol Biochem 80:224–231

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Litwhiler ME (2015) Attraction and risk in urban bird habitats. New Jersey Institute of Technology Dissertations. 131. https://digitalcommons.njit.edu/dissertations/131

  • Lockwood JL, Pimm SL (1999) When does restoration succeed? In: Weiher E and Keddy PA (eds) Ecological assembly rules: perspective, advances and retreats. Cambridge University Press

    Google Scholar 

  • MacFarlane GR, Burchett MD (2000) Cellular distribution of copper, lead and zinc in the grey mangrove Avicennia marina (Forsk) Vierh. Aquat Bot 68:45–59

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Marsh GP (1882) The earth as modified by human action. A new ed. of Man and nature. New York Scribner's Sons

    Google Scholar 

  • McDonald T, Gann GD, Jonson J, Dixon KW (2016) International standards for the practice of ecological restoration—including principles and key concepts. Society for Ecological Restoration, Washington. https://seraustralasia.com/wheel/image/SER_International_Standards.pdf. Accessed 5 Oct 2020

  • Meyers N (1996) The biodiversity crisis and the future of evolution. Environmentalist 16:37–47

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Muller G (1969) Index of geoaccumulation in sediments of the Rhine River. GeoJournal 2:108–118

    Google Scholar 

  • Petchey OL, Gaston KL (2007) Dendrograms and measuring functional diversity. Oikos 116:1422–1426

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Pouyat RV, Pataki KT, Belt PM, Groffman JH, Band LE (2007) Effects of urban land‐use change on biogeochemical cycles. In: Canadell JG, Patak DE, Pitelka LF (eds) Terrestrial ecosystems in a changing world. Springer, Berlin, pp 45–58

    Google Scholar 

  • Powell GVN, Powell AHX (1986) Reproduction by Great white herons Ardea herodias in Florida bay as an indicator of habitat quality. Biol Conserv 36:101–113

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Qian Y, Feng FH, Gallagher FJ, Zhu Q, Wu M, Liu CJ, Jones K, Tappero R (2017) Risk assessment and interpretation of heavy metal contaminated soils on an abandoned urban brownfield site. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24:23549–23558

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Robinson JG (2006) Conservation biology and real-world conservation. Conserv Biol 20:658–669

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Ross SM (1994) Toxic metals in soil and plant systems. Wiley, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Salisbury A, Reinfelder JR, Gallagher FJ, Grabosky JC (2017) Long-term stability of trace element concentrations in a spontaneously vegetated urban brownfield with anthropogenic soils. Soil Sci 182–2:69–81

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Salisbury A, Gallagher FJ, Caplan J, Grabosky JC (2018) Maintenance of photosynthetic capacity despite high load of trace metals in contaminated anthropogenic soils. Sci Total Environ 625:1615–1627

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Salisbury A, Gallagher FJ, Holzapfel C (2020) Plant diversity continues to increase after 40 years at an urban brownfield. Urban Ecosyst. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-020-01018-x

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Sax DF, Gaines SD (2003) Species diversity: from global decreases to local increases. Trends Ecol Evol 18:561–566

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Schäfer KVR, Clark KL, Skowronski N, Hamerlynck EP (2010) Impact of insect defoliation on forest carbon balance as assessed with a canopy assimilation model. Glob Chang Bio 16(2):546–560

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Texas Instruments (TI) (1976) LSP ecological study. Prepared for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

    Google Scholar 

  • Tyler G, Pahlsson AMB, Bengtsson G, Baath E, Tranvik L (1989) Heavy-metal ecology of terrestrial plants, microorganisms and invertebrates: a review. Water Air Soil Pollut 47:189–215

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • United States Army Corps of Engineers (2004) Hudson-Raritan Estuary Environmental Restoration Study, LSP, Integrated Environmental Resource Inventory and Draft Feasibility Study. Appendix A, p 24

    Google Scholar 

  • USDA. NRCS soils survey. https://soilseries.sc.egov.usda.gov/OSD_Docs/L/LADYLIBERTY.html

  • Van der Maarel E, Sykes MT (1993) Small-scale plant species turnover in a limestone grassland: the carousel model and some comments on the niche concept. J Veg Sci 4:179–188

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

Over the past several decades, there have been many researchers who have added to our understanding of the undeveloped portion of Liberty State Park. Most are cited here. They have all helped to shape a new understanding of urban ecology.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Frank J. Gallagher .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2021 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Gallagher, F.J. (2021). Natural Transformation of Post-industrial Lands: Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ (USA). In: Di Pietro, F., Robert, A. (eds) Urban Wastelands. Cities and Nature. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-74882-1_2

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-74882-1_2

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-74881-4

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-74882-1

  • eBook Packages: HistoryHistory (R0)