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URBAN ECOSYSTEMS & BIODIVERSITY IN EUROPE & NORTH AMERICA By Richard C. Smardon, Ph.D. Faculty of Environmental Studies SUNY College of Environmental Science.

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Presentation on theme: "URBAN ECOSYSTEMS & BIODIVERSITY IN EUROPE & NORTH AMERICA By Richard C. Smardon, Ph.D. Faculty of Environmental Studies SUNY College of Environmental Science."— Presentation transcript:

1 URBAN ECOSYSTEMS & BIODIVERSITY IN EUROPE & NORTH AMERICA By Richard C. Smardon, Ph.D. Faculty of Environmental Studies SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry, Syracuse, New York

2 General schedule for the day - Oct. 21, :15-08:45Intro, organization, last class summary 08:45-10:20Lecture on conservation diversity & urban ecosystems 08:45-09:00Definitions and principles 09:00-09:15International urban biodiversity 09:15-09:30European biodiversity programs 09:30-09:45North American biodiversity “ 09:45-10:00Principles of urban ecosystem conservation & biodiversity 10:00-10:15Effective public participation 10:15-10:25 Summary

3 Schedule for the day - Oct. 21, :45-13:50Distribution of tasks, articles + papers for students - Students work in groups: Part 1: Development of restoration goals and functions for local stream 12:30-13:30Lunch 13:30-15:15Students work in groups on Part II: Development of water quality treatment & habitat restoration alternatives for same waterway 15:15-16:15Presentation of results

4 Urban Ecosystems Overview Definitions & Principles 1970’searly work on urban vegetation & wildlife »US Forest Service & NE US universities 1980’sshift to systems perspective »J. Forester and H. Odum systems analysis 1990’s large scale biodiversity assessment »In Europe w/agenda 21 & US with LTER Radical idea > combing people within ecosystems –Human activity concentrated in an urban cluster –Humans as species dominating earth’s ecosystems –Model of ecology must include human impact –Understanding such processes= utility to problem solving

5 Set or Urban Ecosystem protocols Biophysical drivers –Flow of energy –Cycling of matter –Flow of information Socio-economic drivers –Information flow –Cultural values/institutions –Economic systems –Power hierarchies –Land use & management –Demographic patterns –Designed & built environ. Patterns/processes –Primary production –Populations –Organic matter –Nutrients –disturbance

6 International Biodiversity Programs Sustainable cities under Agenda 21 –Status of LA21 Implementation : Europe 5292 local/36 countries N. America 101 local authorities/2countries –Best practices data base in UN Habitat program- 40 cities –Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) cities –Urban Environmental Forum- UN Settlements Program –WHO’s healthy cities program cities Assessing urban biodiversity Urban biosphere Reserves Green space protection and function

7 Assessing Urban Biodiversity International Convention on Biological Diversity –http://www.unep.org/themes/biodiversity/ As implemented thru Chapter 28 of Local Agenda 21 –Articulates the process by which local plans are developed –Does not specify what local plans should include –Process oriented > development of local plans thru local needs & concerns thru participatory processes –Recognizes the potential for diversity in action plans developed locally

8 Urban Biosphere Reserves? Urban working group to examine feasibility –By looking at existing examples: Green belts around Rio de Janeiro Cerrado Biosphere Reserve around Brasilia Cordilla Volconica Central Biosphere Reserve near San Jose, CR Alto Manzanaris Biosphere Reserve near Madrid –By looking at scenarios City as biosphere reserve Greenbelt biosphere reserve around the city Mixture of 1 and 2 above

9 Potential Urban Biosphere Reserves New York City Metropolitan area Being studied by the NY Urban Biosphere Group at Columbia

10 Potential Urban Biosphere Reserves Cape Town in South Africa Also being studied by the Urban Biosphere Group at Columbia

11 Urban Greenspace Assessment Programs below stress protecting, maintaining or restoring urban greenspace for the functions they provide, e.g., air quality, watershed protection, habitat, plus food and fiber: FAO’s Urban and Periurban policy agenda –Http://www.fao.org/urbanag RUAF- Resource Center on Urban Agriculture & Forestry –Http://www.ruaf.org/ruaf_inf_fr.html FAO’s Trees for the Urban Millennium –Http:www.fao.org/docrep/x3989/x3989eo9.htm

12 Urban Greenspace Assessment Street lined with almond, coconut and mango trees in Port Moresby, Pupua New Guinea which means local food security Fuel wood supply market in Cape Verde

13 European Urban Ecosystems & Biodiversity Aalborg Charter: Charter of European Cites & Towns Towards Sustainability at –Recognition of existing planning & financial frameworks –Systematic identification w/public consultation of problems/causes –Prioritization of tasks to address problems –Vision for sustainable community thru participatory processes –Consideration/assessment of alternative strategic options –Long-term local action plan with measurable targets –Implementation including; timetable & allocation responsibilities –Systems & procedures for monitoring & reporting implementation

14 Other European Programs European Academy: Urban Environment European Commission; European Environmental Agency; sceinces.be/belgium/links/themes/urban International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives ICLEI at URGE-Development of Urban Greenspaces to Improve the Quality of Life & Urban Regions at project.org.reports.htm Regional Environmental Center for Central & Eastern Europe at UNEP-European Regional Portal at

15 Sample Biodiversity Assessments Brussels Capitol Region first biodiversity assessment report Types of green spaces in percentages of total open and green spaces in the Brussels capital region

16 Wildlife and the city publication from the Netherlands

17 URGE -Development of Urban Green Spaces to Improve Quality of Life in Cities & Urban Regions Case study sites and reference cities in Europe European Union funded projects involving greenspace criteria and indicators

18 Sample URGE Projects in Europe URGE Project in Genoa Italy Case Study are within Genoa City Public green and urban parks map 1997

19 URGE - Urban Green Spaces to Improve the Quality of Life in Cities and Urban Regions - Criteria Whole city scale indicators –Fragmentation of urban green Size, shape isolation, connectivity –Level of nature protection Preparation for protected green areas –Biodiversity-species & habitat Diversity of breeding birds & vascular plants Biotype diversity Site scale indicators –Fragmentation Same measures –Naturalness Degree of disturbance Exotica/rare species –Biodiversity-species Diversity of birds, vascular plants, carbid beetles, butterflies Biotype diversity

20 North American Urban Ecosystems & Biodiversity; Sustainable Development Activity President’s Council on Sustainable Development –Task of developing & recommending a national sustainable strategy Clinton-Gore Livable Communities Initiative Smart Growth Network since partnership of government. Business and civic organizations that support smart growth Sustainable Communities Network since NP organizations Joint Center for Sustainable Communities since 1996 Sponsored by USEPA, DOE, DOT, HUD, USDA & NOAA Dozens of NGO’s states, cities are supporting LA21 related activities in US and Canada North America has at least 101 local authorities with LA21 plans

21 Example: North American Biodiversity Plan Chicago Wilderness: Biodiversity Recovery Plan –1: Executive Summary –2: Values of Biodiversity –3: Biodiversity Challenge –4: Assessment Processes –5: Terrestrial Communities –6: Aquatic Communities –7: Endangered/Threatened –8: Preserving land/water –9: Management, Research & Monitoring –10: Education/ Communication –11: Role of Key Players

22 Urban Ecosystems/Biodiversity Research National Science Foundation Urban LTER’s : Baltimore & Phoenix Sustainable Forest Research Group at UBC –Research themes on urban ecology within Vancouver forested parks Center for Urban Ecology (CUE) in Wash., D.C. with NPS Center for Urban and Regional Ecology; regional biodiversity –Includes U.Georgia. Georgia State, Emory & Morehouse Ecological Cities Project at U Mass., Amherst Urban Ecological Institute at Boston College Urban Ecology Laboratory at U. of Washington, Seattle –NSF Biocomplexity, urban to rural gradient, and spatial analysis US Forest Service projects: Baltimore LTER, Houston and UFORE US Environmental Protection Agency at Baltimore LTER Metropolitan DC Urban Biodiversity Mode

23 Urban LTER: Baltimore Institute of Ecosystems Studies Spatial structure of socio- economic, ecological & physical change over time Fluxes of energy, matter, capitol & population/over time How can people improve their understanding of urban ecosystems? Book: Understanding Urban Ecosystems: A New Frontier of Science

24 Central Arizona-Phoenix LTER Arizona State University Generate & test general ecological theory Enhance understandability of ecology of cities Identify feedback between ecological and socioeconomic factors, and Involve k-12 students in the enterprise of scientific discovery

25 US Forest Service UFORE Project Collect from random plots: ground cover, shrubs, trees: species & physical dimensions For correlation w/climate data, pollution, carbon sequestration & diversity indices Data collected for Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Calgary, NYC, Philadelphia, Santiago & Syracuse Future data sites=Baton Rouge, Melbourne, Morgantown & San Juan, PR

26 Cities Analyzed Atlanta, GA Baltimore, MD (1999, 2001) Brooklyn, NY Boston, MA Calgary, AB Freehold, NJ Hefei, China Jersey City, NJ Moorestown, NJ New York, NY Ningbo, China Philadelphia, PA Santiago, Chile Syracuse, NY (1999, 2001) Toronto, ON Woodbridge, NJ

27 New Cities Baton Rouge, LA Fuenlabrada, Spain Greenville-Spartanburg, SC Houston, TX Melbourne, Australia (2004) Morgantown, WV Porto Allegro, Brazil San Juan, PR Wilmington, DE (2004)

28 Structure (e.g., spp. composition) Air pollution removal and value (hourly to yearly) VOC emissions (hourly to yearly) Annual carbon storage and sequestration and value Seasonal effects on building energy use and associated energy costs Pollen allergenicity index Tree transpiration / water use (hourly to yearly) Pest potentials Currently quantifies :

29 North American Greenspace Programs Sustainability and Food Security programs –Cities Feeding People Program IDRC, Canada –New Jersey Urban Ecology Program Urban Greenspace programs –Evergreen Foundation in Canada –Greenlinks Project; Restoring habitat in British Columbia –Audubon Society of Portland Oregon –Open Land Project: Urban Greening in Chicago Wildlife habitat Programs –Environmental Literacy Council: Urban Wildlife –Texas Wildscapes

30 North American Greenways Connecting open space & habitat Multi-nodal transportation Aesthetics and recreation Air and water quality maintenance Urban climate amelioration Supported by some government programs and private land trusts

31 One Hundred American Greenways Central European Greenways Study Tour 2002 Central European Greenways regional greenways program managed by Environmental Partnership for Central Europe Participants of Study Tour - five CE national greenway co-ordinators Supported by German Marshall Fund of the USA

32 Greenways in Central Europe

33 One Hundred American Greenways Central European Greenways Study Tour 2002 Goals of Greenways Study Tour –bringing American experience to Europe –learning from existing models of development and financing of greenways public, private, nonprofit sector collaboration creation of coalitions along greenway striking a balance between heritage preservation and prudent economic exploitation using professional services and methods –building partnership among existing greenway organizations in USA and Central Europe

34 One Hundred American Greenways Map of Greenways Study Tour, April-May 2003

35 Visited trails and Greenways Urban Greenways, Portland, Willamette Greenway, OR

36 Visited trails and Greenways Urban Greenways, Manhattan, NYC

37 Visited trails and Greenways Towpath, Erie Canal, OH

38 Visited trails and Greenways Rails-trails, OD Trail, Washington-Arlington

39 Visited trails and Greenways Greenbelt, Capital Greenbelt Area, Harrisburg, PA

40 One Hundred American Greenways Central European Greenways Study Tour 2002 Destroyed pedestrian bridge in Podyji National Park, which is currently being repaired with the contribution of the Czech Greenways Flood Fund, initiated with help of US donors

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42 North American Waterway Restoration Urban river restoration initiative Federal Interagency Stream Restoration Working group Citizen initiated activity across US –Blackstone River.MA & RI –Bronx River, NYC –California Streams Program –Ninemile Run in Pittsburg, PA –Lower Passaic River in NJ –Rouge River Gateway in Detroit –San Antonio River, Texas –South Platte River in Denver

43 Visited trails and Greenways Natural Trails, Portland metropolitan area, OR

44 Visited trails and Greenways Center for Wooden Boats, Blueways in Seattle, WA

45 Visited trails and Greenways Urban Greenways, South Plate River, Denver, CO

46 One Hundred American Greenways Central European Greenways Study Tour 2002 Paul Labovitz, director of Rivers And Trails Program NPS, helping to start the idea of revitalization of 13th Century Water Mill Canal in Znojmo region, Czech Rep.

47 Public Participation & Biodiversity For Europe: Agenda 21 plus the Aalborg Charter provides participatory processes In North America: Local restoration projects are providing the fuel for activity Most biodiversity assessments are being done in Europe and Australia But NGO’s and land trusts are doing much of the work in North America

48 Summary In Europe driving forces are Local Agenda 21 plus Aalborg Charter plus Convention on Biodiversity. Some interest in Greenway Development and ecosystems restoration. In North America there is not so much action on Local Agenda 21 but more interest in CCP program. In North America - there is much interest/activity in Greenspace development and ecosystem restoration. General need for urban ecosystems research and twinning programs between North America and Europe.


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