The Emergence, Rise, and Future of Urban Ecology in the United States
Wednesday, August 12, 2015: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
340, Baltimore Convention Center
Myla F.J Aronson
Christopher A Lepczyk
Charles H. Nilon
Richard V. Pouyat
Wayne C. Zipperer
Since the early 1900s, ecology has greatly expanded from ideas in plant communities through the emergence and acceptance of ecosystem and landscape ecology. Amongst the many fields of ecology that has arisen during the past century in the United States is urban ecology. From its early roots in thinking about cities as ecosystems and the environmental movement, the creation of Long-Term Ecological Research sites, to recent ideas of sustainability and resilience in urban systems, urban ecology has contributed much to our understanding of nature and how humans are part of it. Given the growing ecological and social importance of urban areas, coupled with the 100th anniversary of the Ecological Society of America, this organized oral session, hosted by the Urban Ecosystem Ecology Section of ESA, will highlight the study of urban ecology by examining its history in the United States, contribution to the field of ecology, and future contributions to both ecology as a discipline and the sustainability of our cities. This session will focus on the significant contributions that urban ecology has offered to ecological understanding in general, the evolution of interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the ecology of cities as an ecological system, and the importance of fostering relationships between scientists, municipalities, and citizens.
The session begins with an examination of the historical roots of urban ecology in the United States and traces it through the rise of the urban Long-Term Ecological Research sites. Following this historical overview, talks then focus on contemporary urban ecology and distinct approaches to understanding ecological systems within and of the city: population and community ecology, soil ecology, ecosystem ecology, landscape ecology, and socio-ecological linkages. These talks will also highlight the importance of urban ecology in contributing to a greater understanding of ecological systems and theories. Finally, the last presentations explore emerging issues and their importance to address future problems facing our cities in the United States and globally. The symposium wraps up with a talk on how our knowledge of urban systems can be used to inform the ongoing development and management of sustainable cities.