Urban ecology getting its due

Courtney Humphries, reporting for Nature:

In the past, artificial and natural elements have been studied separately, but urban ecologists seek to understand the interplay between them — such as how heat and high carbon dioxide levels boost plant growth, how trees cool cities and how green spaces improve animal habitat.

Using ecological methods to tease apart those relationships can improve urban areas for people as well as natural systems, says Phillips. “The scientific study of cities should yield practical benefits in terms of making our cities more sustainable,” he says.

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