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green streets
thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
Curated by Lauren Moss
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Discovering Urban Biodiversity

Discovering Urban Biodiversity | green streets | Scoop.it
The world is losing its biological diversity – or biodiversity – at an alarming rate. The primary force driving this is habitat degradation. When the places where animals, plants, fungi, and the myriad other organisms live are converted to other uses, conditions change and the prior residents often move on or die. The two major causes of this habitat degradation, or the extreme of wholesale habitat loss, are agriculture and urbanization. And it is certainly true that converting forests or wetlands to corn fields or apartment buildings changes the land cover, vegetation, soils, hydrology, and other environmental factors in drastic ways. We all expect that many of the kinds of organisms found in those “natural” environments will be missing from the “manmade” environments. And it stands to reason that, as more of the world is converted to “manmade” habitats, the space left for wild organisms diminishes and many are lost from the earth. [I’m using quotation marks around the words “natural” and “manmade” since these are rather gross oversimplifications of the range of human impacts – but that’s a topic for another day.]

While this narrative is true in the broad sense, it is too simple. It’s not just a case of cities replacing other kinds of ecosystems – there are some important nuances to this process. Many elements of nature – the rocks, soils, sunlight and water, but also many organisms – persist even as a city grows up around them. The kinds of species and their abundances will change after urbanization, but some wild life will remain from the previous community. Urban environments also encourage other kinds of organisms by providing habitats that were not present before and are sometimes even recolonized by species that were originally lost...

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An ecology of gardens and yards

An ecology of gardens and yards | green streets | Scoop.it

Tucked amidst acres of asphalt jungle are cities’ unsung environmental heroes. Yards, lawns, gardens—call them whatever you please—these bits of unpaved earth play a real role in supporting thriving urban ecosystems.

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Seeing cities as the environmental solution, not the problem

Seeing cities as the environmental solution, not the problem | green streets | Scoop.it
The best way to save wilderness is through strong, compact, beautiful communities that are more, not less, urban and do not encroach on places of significant natural value.
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Accommodating biodiversity in urban environments

Accommodating biodiversity in urban environments | green streets | Scoop.it

One of the many issues affecting the world's biodiversity today, habitat destruction, is often cited as the main contributing factor. Cities and urban populations are expanding at a rapid rate, with ecologically sensitive areas increasingly at risk of becoming lost within their fabric and fragmented to a level where they cease to function. A recent paper in the journal Tree (Trends in Ecology & Evolution) also points out that urban areas are now expanding in nonlinear ways; a marked contrast to previous developments, which were slowly added to the periphery of urban centres. This is likely to mean that new developments, which are often considerable in size and in some cases towns in their own right, will severely reduce habitat availability and disrupt what remains of the urban landscape...

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Road Ecology: An Often Overlooked Field Of Conservation Research

Road Ecology: An Often Overlooked Field Of Conservation Research | green streets | Scoop.it
Earlier this year, the open access journal Ecology and Society had a special feature called The Effects of Roads and Traffic on Wildlife Populations and Landscape Function.

Because roads keep humans connected, they are an integral part not only of our daily lives, but also of our social structure. One important goal--shared by biologists in a number of fields--is education of the public, including those individuals that make policy decisions. Hopefully, greater awareness will lead to smarter, safer use of roadways, and choices that bode well for the future of wildlife that live in heavily-trafficked areas.

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