Posts

Where Does the Baltimore School of Urban Ecology Apply?

The short answer is “Not just in Baltimore.”  Let’s explore this more deeply.  A school of thought is a broad way of thinking, strategy for research, and approach to problem solving that applies across a topic area.  A school of thought may be named for a particular place where it originated while applying to any […]

How Does a Long-Term Study Adjust Its Framework while Preserving Data Integrity?

Long-term ecological research is faced with seemingly contradictory constraints: It must maintain a consistent stream of rigorously comparable data over time while at the same time responding to conceptual and theoretical changes in the disciplines underlying those data.  How can such opposing  constraints be reconciled?  BES has faced this challenge in developing its most recent […]

Seeking Nuance in the Human Ecosystem: Built Versus Constructed

Parts of Any Human Ecosystem There are four components of human ecosystems: biological, physical, social, and built.  They are all necessary categories for human ecosystems, by definition.  The one-word label for each is a convenient shorthand that cannot instantly convey all the richness embodied in each one.  The Parts have Parts Take “social,” for example.  […]

Where did Urban Ecology Come From? Zev Naveh and the Total Human Ecosystem

Encountering Zev Naveh – A force of nature One answer to the question of where urban ecology came from has to point to Zev Naveh.  When I first heard Zev Naveh (1919-2011) a professor at Israel’s Technion, talking about the “total human ecosystem,” I didn’t get it.   Zev, whom I later hosted on a […]

Shifting Urban Realities and Nature Beyond Parks

Traditionally, cities have been thought of as distinct from nature.  In fact, they have often been considered to be the antithesis of nature.  Ecological science in the past seemed to agree with these assumptions, and ignored cities in favor of wilderness or at least sparsely inhabited places.  During this traditional phase, nature was though of […]

The Human Ecosystem: What’s Missing?

The human ecosystem concept is one of the most common tools used in the Baltimore Ecosystem Study LTER.  Adopted from a team of social ecologists and sociologists who were involved in community forestry in the Himalayas, the application of such approaches to underserved areas in American cities, and the conservation and management of US National […]

Coupled? Hybrid? Or Just Systems?

Having recently returned from the first Congress of the Society of Urban Ecology, I can report that there was a lot of talk in the plenary sessions about the nature of cities-suburban-exurban areas as systems.  In particular, it was emphasized that they were “hybrid” systems, incorporating social and biophysical components and the interactions that involve […]

Swamps and the City

Laura A. Ogden, of Florida International University is an anthropologist and Co-Principal Investigator of the Florida Coastal Everglades LTER.  She is also a regular collaborator with the BES community and has been involved with us and others in cross site projects concerning environmental justice, and the social ecology of lawns.  She has additional projects addressing […]