NYC Nature 101: Urban Ecology

February 24, 2011 at 6:43 PM Leave a comment

Looking forward to the release of PlaNYC 2.0 and what will hopefully be the Five-Borough Year of Biodiversity, what is nature in NYC? Urban ecology. The study of urban ecology is a recent development. For decades, ecologists defined nature as the pristine green spaces far from people. True ecological observation could only occur away from human intervention, in the “wilderness.” It was universally held that cities were unnatural consortia of weeds, pigeons and rats.

This perspective has changed within the last 25 years. Ecologists have begun to do their field studies closer to home. In the process, they have discovered that nature survives, and even thrives, in the city limits, with a surprising variety of native plants and animals. As formerly open spaces are devoured by development, understanding and protecting urban ecosystems is crucial to our environmental future.

Additionally, studies done in “pristine” nature show that the concept of “wilderness” has been rendered an anachronism. All areas of the globe now bear the mark of humanity’s existence, even places as remote as the South Pole (ozone hole), or as untrammeled as Alaska (elevated levels of mercury in wildlife).

Read the full article at The Huffington Post

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2011 Is Five-Borough Year of Biodiversity Nature in New York City

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