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Monday, April 9 • 1:30pm - 1:45pm
URBAN/EXURBAN LANDSCAPE ECOLOGY: Urban Ecological Infrastructure as a Bridge Between Urban Ecology and Landscape Ecology

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AUTHORS: Daniel L. Childers, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University

ABSTRACT: Homo sapiens is becoming an increasingly urban species, pointing to the profound importance of understanding urban ecosystems. Urban ecology and landscape ecology are coupled through a mutual concern for spatial dynamics and social-ecological interactions, as well as by informing decision making. Many of these dynamics and interactions are manifest in Urban Ecological Infrastructure (UEI), defined as the terrestrial, aquatic, and wetland ecological features that are found throughout all cities. UEI includes everything from urban streams to street trees, from parks to residential yards, and most UEI is designed or managed to some degree. UEI provides a wide assortment of ecosystem services to urban dwellers, and it is often designed and managed to provide those services. The Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Tern Ecological Research Program has been studying a wide assortment of UEI features for 20 years. Examples include a major stormwater management system that doubles as an urban park in Scottsdale AZ, a constructed treatment wetland that is part of the largest wastewater treatment plant in Phoenix, and “accidental” wetlands in the riverbed of the otherwise dry Salt River. In the first two examples, the UEI feature was designed to provide specific ecosystem services, such as stormwater management or surface water filtration, but we have found that other services emerged from these ecosystems. The “accidental” wetlands were neither designed nor are they managed; regardless, we have found a number of ecosystem services that these UEI features are also providing. As we move forward towards more sustainable cities, and the use of strategic UEI increases, its design and management need to be informed by the best principles of urban ecology and landscape science.

Monday April 9, 2018 1:30pm - 1:45pm CDT
Water Tower Parlor