Assessing Urban Agriculture: Ecosystem Services and Ecological Consequences
Wednesday, August 12, 2015: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
328, Baltimore Convention Center
Sam E. Wortman, University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign
Adam Kay, University of St. Thomas; and
Gaston Small, University of St. Thomas
Kristen Bastug, University of St. Thomas
Many cities have seen a rapid expansion of urban agriculture in recent years, between commercial farms, community and home gardens, and backyard animal husbandry. Previous research on urban agriculture has largely focused on social benefits, but there is a growing need to quantify environmental costs and benefits, particularly as many cities are revising policies related to urban agriculture. Speakers in this session will share findings of research focused on quantifying ecosystem services (e.g., provisioning of food, carbon sequestration, aesthetic and educational value) and environmental consequences (e.g., nutrient pollution, water demand, exposure to soil contaminants) related to urban agriculture. The goal for this session is to gather ecologists and environmental scientists interested in urban agriculture, define the state of the art, and identify research questions that need to be addressed to advance the sustainable growth of urban agriculture across the US. Ecological study of urban agriculture has been limited, but this session will highlight exciting opportunities for ecologists to contribute to this emerging field. Baltimore has been at the forefront of urban ecology, and this session will specifically explore the role of agriculture within the context of urban ecosystems.