Understanding the Human Environment
Routledge – 2013 – 232 pages
With over half of the global human population living in urban regions, urban ecosystems may now represent the contemporary and future human environment. Consisting of green space and the built environment, they harbour a wide range of species, yet are not well understood.
This book aims to review what is currently known about urban ecosystems in a short and approachable text that will serve as a key resource for teaching and learning related to the urban environment. It covers both physical and biotic components of urban ecosystems, key ecological processes, and the management of ecological resources, including biodiversity conservation. All chapters incorporate case studies, boxes and questions for stimulating discussions in the learning environment.
"Cities are now where most people live and yet, paradoxically, the study of urban ecosystems has taken off only in the last few decades. Urban ecology demands a change from the old idea that people live in cities and nature exists elsewhere, and has to tackle the coupled human and environmental systems that make up urban areas. This book provides an up-to-date and highly readable account of what we know about urban ecosystems and how that can be applied in planning and management. Urban areas are probably among the most dynamic and rapidly changing ecosystems on the planet that present huge challenges in terms of understanding and directing their development in ways that are beneficial for both humans and other species. They also present huge opportunities for effective design and restoration. The authors focus on these challenges and opportunities, drawing from a rich array of examples from around the world. This is a timely and important book relevant to anyone concerned with the primary human habitat." – Professor Richard J. Hobbs, Australian Laureate Fellow, The University of Western Australia
"Urban ecology is a young field that integrates theory and knowledge from a range of disciplines including the biological, physical, and social sciences. Francis and Chadwick offer the most conceptually coherent overview of the key aspects of urban ecosystems and their ecology to date. Unlike the other texts on the topic, this is not the perspectives of a collection of individuals but a compelling work from two experts in the field who provide an integrated foundation for further exploration. This book will be a valuable classroom reference and will appeal to students, scientists from other disciplines wishing an approachable entry into this field, and planners." – Dr Glenn Guntenspergen, Senior Research Associate at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and Editor in Chief for the journal Urban Ecosystems
"Although the modern field of urban ecology is relatively new, it is growing rapidly, and this well organized, clearly written, and globally relevant text is a very welcome introduction to the discipline. It covers the fundamental principles, but also provides many practical examples of urban processes, environments, adaptations, and ecosystem types. It even presents important connections with urban restoration and urban design." – Dr Steward Pickett, Distinguished Senior Scientist, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, New York, USA
"The authors of this book have done an excellent job in bringing together in clear and purposeful text and well-chosen graphics the varied strands of urban ecology as a discipline. Like all good text books it is also an excellent introduction to the topic for the general reader, and I hope it will encourage the wider teaching of urban ecology." - John Hopkins, Bulletin of the British Ecological Society
1. An Introduction to Urban Ecology and Urban Ecosystems
2. Urban Form, Structure and Dynamics
3. The Urban Ecosystem: An Overview
4. Ecosystems within Urban Regions – Green Space
5. Ecosystems within Urban Regions – The Built Environment
6. Urban Species
7. Nature Conservation in Urban Regions
8. Incorporating Ecology in Urban Planning and Design
9. The Future of Urban Ecosystems
Robert Francis is Senior Lecturer in Ecology at King's College London, UK.
Michael Chadwick is a Lecturer in Freshwater & Estuarine Ecology at King's College London, UK.