Zosia Ladds

Zosia Ladds

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Zosia Ladds

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Start Year

2020 (Cohort 7)

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PhD Project
PhD Title

The importance of urban burial grounds for biodiversity

Research Theme

Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation

Primary Supervisor
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Secondary Supervisor
Secondary Institution



Recent centuries have seen dramatic change in land use, including extensive urbanisation. Burial grounds, including graveyards, churchyards and cemeteries, are common throughout urban areas and can represent important locations of ecological stability in an otherwise dynamic landscape. London alone has 138 cemeteries, some of which are centuries old and contain sections that have been undisturbed for decades. Due to their cultural protection, burial grounds are unlikely to be developed and so may provide important refugia for species which are struggling to compete in an extensively human-modified landscape. Little is known of the urban ecology of cemeteries, however. They are a form of urban green infrastructure and provide cultural ecosystem services, but their ecological functions are relatively unexplored. This project begins to address the lack of ecological knowledge of cemeteries by investigating habitat provision in London’s cemeteries. This will determine plant and mammal diversity of cemeteries, habitat use by urban mammals, and ultimately how biodiversity may be encouraged through wildlife-sensitive management. It would therefore utilise the principles of reconciliation ecology to ensure that cemeteries, as a form of green space that is also used by humans for recreation and wellbeing, are also usable by a wider range of urban species.

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