UEI SI2006 CitiesIntro

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Published on April 7, 2008

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URBAN ECOLOGY INSTITUE 2006 ED551 Foundations of Urban Ecology Day 1: Cities as Ecological Systems:  Welcome to the 2006 Summer Institute! Please Pick-up handouts and refreshments… URBAN ECOLOGY INSTITUE 2006 ED551 Foundations of Urban Ecology Day 1: Cities as Ecological Systems Urban open spaces, such as Boston’s Public Gardens, provide critical ecological refuge for wildlife, harbor aesthetic value and serve as venues for citizen science and community action. Slide2:  Our Vision of Cities?… Summer 1969… The Cuyoga River in Ohio burns out of control as a result of organic pollutants. Oily Pollution coats the hand of dipped into the Cuyoga River Slide3:  Cities should be part of the solution! Slide4:  The mission of The Urban Ecology Institute is to promote the stewardship of healthy urban ecosystems - by improving science and civic education for middle and high school youth, and by working with urban neighborhoods to restore natural resources. The Urban Ecology Institute Part of the Centers & Institutes Group at Boston College Programs: Field Studies Program Community Forest Partnership Natural Cities Program Some questions to help us develop our personal objectives for this institute…:  Some questions to help us develop our personal objectives for this institute… Why study cities as ecosystems? How do cities differ from other ecosystems? How does the human influence on urban landscapes inform our understanding of cities and how they should be studied? What adaptations do animal and pant species make in order to exploit the urban ecosystem? What is ecology of a city and why does this question require a new approach to field science? How can my students/colleagues be nourished by what we learn as a group this week? Why Cities as a Focus for Ecology ?:  Why Cities as a Focus for Ecology ? The majority of the world’s population now live in cities (>50% worldwide; >65% United States) Current pattern of exurban sprawl is the most ecologically damaging model for development The quality and character of urban landscapes shape how people view nature By focusing research efforts on urban ecology, cities can become more livable - pressure can be taken off of suburban and rural lands Nature of cities and their challenges can be understood from an ecological perspective. Slide7:  Hong Kong skyline at night One of the world’s largest & most densely populated cities (app. ten million). The urban footprint has completely surrounded the estuary with no remaining open space. Slide8:  Despite its enormous population density, Hong Kong is ultimately limited by land mass. The largest metropolitan areas exceed 15 million people with the fastest growing urban areas in developing nations (nine) … with the least resources to deal with urban sprawl. Top 15 urban centers… nine in emerging nations! Here we see the Baltimore (north) and Washington D.C. urban boundaries as they appeared in 1850.:  Here we see the Baltimore (north) and Washington D.C. urban boundaries as they appeared in 1850. Urban footprints have grown immensely around the world. In this image the urban footprints are depicted from 1992. The rapid urbanization was made possible by the advent of rapid transportation and the ability to concentrate resources into densely inhabited areas:  In this image the urban footprints are depicted from 1992. The rapid urbanization was made possible by the advent of rapid transportation and the ability to concentrate resources into densely inhabited areas Slide11:  The growth of cities has been most pronounced when the data are measured as changes in land use practices (sprawl)… From: Platt, R. (2000) Ecological Cities Symposium at Boston College Greenhouse Gas Emissions Have Rising The industrial revolution of the mid nineteenth century initiated the surge in combusted gases… these impacts are anthropogenic in origin and are linked to urbanization:  Greenhouse Gas Emissions Have Rising The industrial revolution of the mid nineteenth century initiated the surge in combusted gases… these impacts are anthropogenic in origin and are linked to urbanization Industrial Revolution Petroleum Era Begins Human activities cause climate change by increasing carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere:  The Greenhouse effect. Rising levels of atmospheric CO2 may have an impact on Earth’s heat budget. When light energy hits the Earth, much of it is reflected off the surface. CO2 causes the Earth to retain some of the energy that would ordinarily escape the atmosphere. This phenomenon is called the greenhouse effect. The Earth needs this heat, but too much could be disastrous. Human activities cause climate change by increasing carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere Slide14:  Acid Rain Damage Reaches the Blue Ridge Mountains The impact of cities can reach beyond the boundaries of the metropolitan area. Sulfur-based pollution from smoke stacks can cause acid rain events over 1000 miles away from the source. In this case, pollutants from the “Rust Belt” reach all the way to North Carolina. Spruce and fir are damaged by acid rain Slide15:  Land use trends in the contiguous United States: from McKinney (2002) What is an Ecosystem?:  What is an Ecosystem? All organisms in a system make up the community That community comprises a habitat These two together are considered the ecosystem Scale is variable depending upon question Ecology is the study of these interactions In cities, humans are keystone species and ecosystem engineers Coral Atoll, from Pakin, Micronesia In urban settings, humans dominate the landscape, but each individual struggles in an environment where resources are patchily distributed:  In urban settings, humans dominate the landscape, but each individual struggles in an environment where resources are patchily distributed Slide18:  Urban Ecology is a blending of scientific approaches and cultures The shape and dynamics of cities are the result of physical, biological and social forces. The study of cities requires both biological ecology and social ecology as dominant themes and the adaptation of the following philosophy: 1. Humans, like all other species are NOT exempt from physical, chemical or biological forces - and are shaped by the forces of evolution 2. Humans exhibit social behavior and culture 3. Social and cultural traits are fundamental responses of humans to their environmental condition Grove, M. et al. (2003) in, Understanding Urban Ecosystems, Berlin:Springer Slide19:  Socioeconomic drivers Flow of information Cultural values and perceptions Institutions and organizations. The City Patterns and processes of ecosystems Primary production Population Organic matter Nutrients Disturbance Patterns of human activities Demographic patterns Economic systems Power hierarchies Land use and management Designed environment Biogeophysical drivers Flow of energy Cycling of matter Flow of information Grimm et al.,2000, in press Ecosystem Biology & the Flow of Energy:  Ecosystem Biology & the Flow of Energy Sun is the ultimate source of energy in living systems and is responsible for the climate Only 0.1% of solar energy converted into living biochemistry through photosynthesis (gross primary productivity) 1% of light that falls on plants goes directly into the production of plant tissue (net primary productivity) Total weight of all living organisms is Biomass Slide21:  Flow of Energy Through Trophic Levels Energy moves from one trophic (feeding) level to another through an ecosystem: primary producer to primary consumer to secondary consumer to decomposer Energy transfer is inefficient from one trophic level to another; approximately 10% Inefficiency of transfer produces “Biological Magnification” An inter-tidal marine community Boston’s Ecological Pyramid Humans are 1st and 2nd Order consumers (we will calculate them as first order - vegetarians), and assume that they will live on Snickers Bars (250 Calories):  Boston’s Ecological Pyramid Humans are 1st and 2nd Order consumers (we will calculate them as first order - vegetarians), and assume that they will live on Snickers Bars (250 Calories) Current Population: 550,000 Kilocalories per day: 2500 5.02 hundred billion (5x1011) Kcals/year 2.1 billion Snickers Bars! 550,00 (2500) (365)/12,141 (10,000) = n Area: app. 30,000 acres (12,141 hectares) 4133 kcals/square meter/year NO city can provide such resources within its boundaries! Slide23:  Pioneering author, scientist and environmental activist, Rachel Carson and her watershed book Silent Spring which day-lighted the adverse impacts of agricultural pesticide use in the United States (first published in 1962) Ecosystem City Synthesis…:  Ecosystem City Synthesis… Ecological Process Biodiversity Issues Population Biology Public Health Evolution Scale Let’s Consider a Watershed…:  Let’s Consider a Watershed… An area of landscape that drains to a common, downstream point, such as a stream mouth, a lake, an estuary or coastal water body. Natural landscape units for investigation The focus of citizen concern and action Massachusetts Watersheds:  Massachusetts Watersheds Modeling of Land Use: Boston Ecosystem Structure Percent substance coverage in the city of Boston:  Modeling of Land Use: Boston Ecosystem Structure Percent substance coverage in the city of Boston Substance Percent SE Cement 8 1.2 Tar 27 2.6 Bare Soil 5 0.88 Rock 3 1.19 Mulch 5 0.88 Herbs 5 0.72 Grass 19 1.66 Wild Grass 5 1.67 Shrub 5 0.52 Water 0.2 0.13 Other 0.5 Total: ~ 85* *Some substance coverage is ambiguous from satellite images and are thus cataloges as unknown. USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station (1996 – unpublished data) Slide28:  Edge effects caused by roads… Route 2 from Belmont to Cambridge is a significant ecological barrier Slide29:  Ovenbirds limited by habitat fragmentation Researchers in Canada observed lower rates of pairing between male and female birds in altered habitats. Contiguous forest: 96% Agricultural lands: 86% Data from Missouri found road effects on pairing: >300 meters from road: 76% <300 meters from road: 22% Bayne & Hobson (2001), Auk 118(2):380-388. Van Horn, et al. (1995), Auk:759-768. Slide30:  Changes in Land-use have created opportunities for coyote populations to expand their range: A) prior to 1850; B) currently From Gompper (2002) Bioscience 52:185-190. UEI Collaboration with partner high schools (Revere HS and Barnstable HS) and BC Environmental Studies Program have established urban coyote study using radio-telemetry. Slide31:  Bioacoustics of Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) song contests reveal hierarchies between competing males Subordinate males alter the frequency of their territorial calls in response to playback songs of dominant males from nearby territories. Subordinate males sing at a higher frequencies. Daniel Mennill & colleagues, Auburn University and Queens College in Kingston, Ontario Slide32:  From: Hope, Diane (2003). Socioeconomics drive urban plant diversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, July 22, 2003. Plant biodiversity in cities can be influenced by human wealth Variation in biodiversity has long been attributed to resource availability. In human dominated landscapes, family income and housing age provide the best explanation for variation in plant biodiversity. These findings by Nancy Grimm and her colleagues at the Phoenix LTER has been dubbed the luxury effect. Boston’s Urban Forest:  Boston’s Urban Forest BRA Planning Districts Percent SE East Boston 3.3 .6 Charlestown 5.0 1.5 South Boston 0.5 0.3 Central 3.2 1.2 Back Bay – Beacon Hill 15 2.8 South End 7 1.8 Fenway – Kenmore 15.0 2.8 Allston – Brighton 13 1.3 Jamaica Plain 35.2 2.1 Roxbury 24.7 1.6 North Dorchester 6.0 1.2 South Dorchester 14 1.3 Mattapan – Franklin 26 2 Roslindale 30 1.8 West Roxbury 40 1.6 Hyde Park 39 3.2 Total City: 24 USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station (1996 – unpublished data) Slide34:  Exotic-native species interactions

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