National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC)
1 Park Place, Suite 300
Annapolis, MD 21401
Dynamic Urban Heterogeneity and the Co-production of Human Ecosystems.
Seminar presented by Dr. Steward Pickett , Cary institute of Ecosystem Studies.
About the speaker: Steward T. A. Pickett is an ecologist and Distinguished Senior Scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, in Millbrook, New York. His PhD is from the University of Illinois in 1977. He specializes in urban and landscape ecology, and was founding director of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study Long. His employs a social-ecological research approach to the structure and dynamics of urban areas and complex landscapes. He has worked in diverse systems, ranging from primary forests and post-agricultural oldfields in the eastern United States, riparian woodlands in South Africa, and the changing peri-urban zone in China. He has produced books on natural disturbance, ecological heterogeneity, humans as components of ecosystems, conservation, bridging ecology and urban design, the philosophy of ecology, and linking ecology and ethics.
This talk has two goals. First it will given an overview of the history of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES), first launched as an integrative social-ecological research project in 1997. Combining financial support from the National Science Foundation with in-kind support from the USDA Forest Service, BES built on a decade of urban ecological research experience in the New York City metropolitan region. The Baltimore foundation of BES was a decade of community forestry and environmental restoration in some of Baltimore's under-resourced neighborhoods conducted by the Urban Resources Initiative These threads came together to move ecological research from focusing on biologically-oriented investigation of habitats within cities that were analogous to places that ecologists had studied for decades. The new focus, shared by the Central Arizona Phoenix LTER was called ecology of the city, to indicate that all areas of the city-suburban-exurban (CSE) mosaic were to be investigated, and that social and ecological perspectives were to be combined in guiding research and application.
The second goal is to present a novel framing of the dynamics of spatial heterogeneity in extensive CSE mosaics. This framework, called dynamic heterogeneity is an outgrowth of patch dynamics in ecology, and owes a great deal also to social spatial analysis. The dynamic heterogeneity emphasizes social and natural co-production of the urban mosaic, and the entanglement of social and biophysical events and actions in changing urban form and processes through time. The ongoing infestation of the emerald ash borer in North American CSE illustrates the new framework and exemplifies future trajectories of an ecology for the city as a transdisciplinary pursuit.
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The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, funded through an award to the University of Maryland from the National Science Foundation, is a research center dedicated to accelerating data-driven scientific discovery at the interface of human and ecological systems. Visit us online at www.sesync.org and follow us on Twitter @SESYNC.