Ecology Comes to the City

Traditionally, ecological studies have taken place mainly in the wild, away from the confines of the concrete jungle. Over the past few years, however, the field of “urban ecology” has been on the rise. Urban ecology seeks to explore how local plants and animals fare in urban environments-a topic that is becoming more and more relevant as cities continue to expand.

Recent studies conducted in cities across the  globe have shown  surprising results. Researchers  in Brisbane, Australia have found that while all  types of urban growth reduced bird populations,  sprawl accelerated the decline compared to areas  with higher residential density. Closer to home, a  study comparing the growth of red oak trees in New York City to those in the nearby Catskill mountains revealed that city trees had eight times as much biomass as those in the country, grew leaves with greater area, and contained higher concentrations of leaf nitrogen.

We look forward to hearing more about this exciting new field!

More National Parks in Cities?

As the population of this country (and, as of last year, the world) shifts towards a more urban lifestyle, more previously-rural concepts and resources are being examined through the urban lens. When we think about nationally-backed public spaces, where are people congregating, living, working, and recreating? The answer is, increasingly, in cities.

Today City Parks Blog posted this article calling for more urban National Parks, and refering to a recent piece in the Huffington Post of the same sentiment. “According to TPL’s Center for City Park Excellence, of the 77 largest cities in the country, 13 have one or more park service unit.” Read the City Parks article to find out which ones.