Urban Landscape Ecology is designed to introduce undergraduate students to the effects of urbanization on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
While ecosystems in urbanized environments are often degraded, unexamined, and generally underappreciated, they provide important services such as supporting wildlife, serving as a source of drinking water, and linking more pristine habitats.
Because an increasing proportion of people in the world live in cities, there is a definite need to investigate the impacts of urbanization on the ecosystem and investigate how community-based organizations are playing a role in monitoring, maintaining and improving the condition of shared natural resources.
Locally, urbanized habitats support pollinators, provide sources of food and water for birds and other wildlife, and interact with rainwater before it enters streams and rivers.
Urbanized environments also facilitate the introduction of exotic—and sometimes invasive—species into natural areas and waterways; influence water temperature, nutrient and metal concentrations; and facilitate rapid changes in stream flow.
Urbanized landscapes also play an important role in the human relationship with nature, which is significant in influencing citizen involvement in environment-related decision making.
This course explores the impacts of urbanization on the environment by engaging students in group discussion, directed readings, service-learning activities, and guest presentations by experts and community leaders.