Contributions of Urban Agriculture to the Urban Ecosystem
Tuesday, August 11, 2015: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
340, Baltimore Convention Center
Brenda B. Lin, CSIRO
Stacy M. Philpott, University of California, Santa Cruz; and
Shalene Jha, University of Texas at Austin
Stacy M. Philpott, University of California, Santa Cruz
Urban agricultural (UA) systems appear in many forms - from community farms and rooftop gardens to edible landscaping and urban orchards. They can be productive features of cities and provide important environmental services. As highly managed plant communities, UA can also exhibit high levels of biodiversity, often exceeding that of other green space areas within the city. Additionally, it is likely that variation in vegetation cover, diversity, and structure influence not only the biodiversity in UA, but also the quantity and quality of ecosystem services supported by such systems. The biodiversity and ecosystem services (B&ES) of UA can have potentially large societal and environmental benefits for cities, such as enhanced food security, air quality, and water regulation.
Although UA is an important part of the urban ecosystem, it is often neglected in discussions of urban green space and land management. This session aims to synthesize B&ES knowledge on urban agriculture to showcase some of the exciting advances ecologists have made in biodiversity conservation, ecosystem function, and ecosystem services within UA systems. The speakers will address many important aspects of current B&ES research on UA systems, highlighting the depth and breadth of biodiversity seen within such systems (including vegetation, arthropod, and mammal ecology) as well as the various ecosystem services provided by such systems. Recognition that urban agriculture provides services to the city beyond urban food provision is essential to discuss and synthesize in order to improve management of urban green spaces.