Using the science of urban ecology to inform management and planning
Our understanding of urban ecology stems from multiple perspectives as this session has introduced. Studies of community and populations, ecosystems, and socio-ecological processes have not only enhanced our understanding of ecological processes but can also helped to identify effective conservation strategies in a human dominated world. The goal of this concluding talk is to discuss how findings from urban ecology research have been used and can be used for conservation, restoration, management, and planning in cities. In synthesizing the session and the state of current knowledge we consider what has been successful, what has been unsuccessful, and what areas and questions need attention in the future for urban ecology. To address these successes, failures, and needs we highlight examples such as the use of green infrastructure, bioswales, green roofs, and green spaces. We also illustrate ongoing approaches to inform management and planning through the development of UrBioNet.
Urban ecology research has successfully informed management and planning in many specific instances, such as approaches to reduce nutrient runoff and design green spaces. Urban ecology has also helped inform the development of conservation subdivisions and other green infrastructure. However, urban areas are relatively less biodiverse in terms of native species compositions than they were historically. Though urban ecology has aided in management and planning, much remains to be addressed in the future. For instance, understanding how urban form may relate to ecological processes, how management decisions affect environmental justice issues, and how climate change will alter urban ecosystems. Addressing such topics will help to both increase our understanding of urban ecosystems and how best to manage them.