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Old 06-29-2017, 08:45 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Lower Pioneer Valley
Default Urban nature: What kinds of plants and wildlife flourish in cities?

As an ecologist specializing in urban systems, I spend a lot of time investigating biodiversity in parks, residential areas and abandoned zones in and around the city of Baltimore. My main interests are seeing how urban dwellers invest in biodiversity, which species persist in cities and what kinds of biodiversity can thrive in green spaces.

In spite of the substantial environmental changes that humans have caused in cities, research shows that they still contain many forms of life. And we can develop and maintain habitat to support them.
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Old 07-07-2017, 09:17 AM   #2
Unicellular Fungi
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: TX
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Cats and coyotes are now the top predators in many urban areas, perhaps replacing species that dominated before these areas were settled. Humans have introduced exotic species such as tree of heaven, and pests such as the emerald ash borer. And our living patterns have promoted eruptive growth of some species, such as white-tailed deer.

Landscapes that people create in and around their homes support many ornamental herbaceous and woody plant species.

This benefits species that thrive at edges, like white-tailed deer and nuisance vines, but harms others that require larger interior habitats, such as certain birds. As human activities create a more fragmented environment, it becomes increasingly important to create linkages between natural areas, such as preserved forests, to maintain populations and their biodiversity.

We have found that buildings’ footprints have very different soils from the areas around them that once were backyards. Footprint soils are compact and comprise mainly building rubble
In short, WEIRD civilization replaces native species and friable soil with invasive pioneer species and compacted soil. It's been a multiple-whammy, lose-lose all around...

A clearer visual example of this is the replacement of the left with the right here...
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Old 10-14-2017, 04:18 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Chicago Illinois USA

Chicago has quite a good wildlife record that is only getting better. The parks, river and lakefront and the work to improve the forest preserves has been showing positive results. Insects and pollinators in particular are very successful.
I am very excited about reports coming in of river otter being seen by locals.


But a river otter was officially discovered in an isolated pond in a Cook County forest preserve last year. Forest Preserves of Cook County senior wildlife biologist Chris Anchor says "it's absolutely possible that there is an otter in the Chicago River."
"At this point, I would not be surprised if there were valid reports of otters in any watershed in Cook County," Anchor said. "Male otters will disperse up to 90 miles overland to find non-connected waterways.”
Anchor told the Tribune in 2015 that otters caught in Louisiana were released in the central Midwest area in the 1990s, but none were let go within 150 miles of Cook County.
Boehm said otters eat slow-moving fish like carp — the Chicago River is full of those — frogs, crayfish, insects, turtles and other prey. The make their own burrows along riverbanks and use ones already created by beavers, muskrats and other animals.
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Old 11-22-2017, 02:26 AM   #4
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Chicago Illinois USA

Here is a link to some great reading and good ideas for bringing wild back into urban.

"Half Earth Quest" Edward O. Wilson

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Old 12-22-2017, 10:33 PM   #5
Unicellular Fungi
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Brooklyn, NY

I live in Brooklyn, NY and have been lucky enough to garden in places like The High Line, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the native flora garden at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. It was always wonderful to see the remarkable range of birds and insects that would come through to visit the native plants.

We have lots of raptors here, which help keep our rodent population somewhat in check. There are bats in some areas. We have beautiful birds that live here year round and migrate through.

I try and plant native plants in my clients gardens as a way to connect as many fragmented spaces as possible. Most of my clients don’t know about the benefits of native plants (or the fact that I’m even using native plants), they just like the pretty things I plant for them.

Take a peek at the work section of my website to see two NYC rooftops that are filled with native plants.
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Old 12-28-2017, 09:59 AM   #6
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Southeast Ohio

Toledo has been expanding its Metropark system (much of which, admittedly, is just outside the city limits proper); the newest park, a thousand acres of restored wetland adjacent to Lake Erie, will open to the public this spring. None of the parks are pristine wilderness, but they seem to host a fair amount of wildlife. https://metroparkstoledo.com/

The much smaller place where I live has hawks nesting downtown, bald eagles just a mile or two upstream, and bobcats on the edge of town. Better than nothing.
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