Ingo Kowarik

Ingo Kowarik
Technische Universität Berlin | TUB · Institute of Ecology

Prof. Dr.

About

295
Publications
238,011
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12,412
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Introduction
I am an ecologist, interested in understanding biodiversity patterns and underlying mechanisms, with a particular focus on cities and biological invasions. A further focus is on the people-nature intersection and on approaches on how to integrate biodiversity in urban environments.
Additional affiliations
August 1999 - present
Technische Universität Berlin
Position
  • Head of Department
July 1992 - July 1999

Publications

Publications (295)
Article
The concept of urban wilderness feels like a paradox since natural and urban environments have long been viewed as antithetical. Today, however, wilderness is high on the urban agenda as a response to different challenges: biodiversity and human experiences of nature are being lost in increasingly dense cities, while at the same time a plethora of...
Article
While urban growth contributes to the biodiversity crisis, biodiverse greenspaces within cities could support both human wellbeing and biodiversity conservation. Yet, urban greenspaces are under pressure due to the rapid densification of cities worldwide. Urban conservation policies thus need broad support, ideally from people with different socioc...
Article
1. In a rapidly urbanising world, the ability of plant species to survive and build self-sustaining populations in urban environments is increasingly important for biodiversity conservation. Yet the contribution of cities to biodiversity conservation remains unclear because ecologists have studied biodiversity patterns, largely without considering...
Article
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1. With accelerating urbanization, the urban contribution to biodiversity conservation becomes increasingly important. Previous research shows that cities can host many endangered plant species. However, fundamental questions for urban nature conservation remain open: to what extent and where can endangered plant species persist in the long term an...
Article
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Cemeteries are globally culturally protected greenspaces in cities that meet different societal needs and often harbor high biodiversity. To harness the potential of cemeteries as urban green infrastructure, stakeholders need to understand why people visit cemeteries and their preferences. We conducted an online survey in Berlin, Germany (n = 627)...
Article
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Plant communities in urban gardens consist of cultivated species, including ornamentals and food crops, and wild growing species. Yet it remains unclear what significance urban gardens have for the plant diversity in cities and how the diversity of cultivated and wild plants depends on the level of urbanization. We sampled plants growing within 18...
Chapter
Since its first opening in 1999, Natur Park Südgelände has become an immensely attractive place in Berlin for many visitors. It embodies a new type of park: a hybrid of urban wilderness and design. This text will illustrate how a new form of nature has emerged on a completely artificial, anthropogenic site and how a park has been developed from it.
Chapter
Why is it that in Berlin more wasteland than in probably any other city has managed to become new kinds of urban park? A unique historical constellation of urban and scientific history offers a significant explanation. Berlin’s special political situation in the post-war period gave rise to many wastelands, which often lasted for decades. At the sa...
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Pollen allergies have been on the rise in cities, where anthropogenic disturbances, warmer climate and introduced species are shaping novel urban ecosystems. Yet, the allergenic potential of these urban ecosystems, in particular spontaneous vegetation outside parks and gardens, remains poorly known. We quantified the allergenic properties of 56 dry...
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A key challenge in urban biodiversity conservation is to understand the drivers that govern the population establishment of different groups of species in different urban ecosystems. Here, we ask whether and to what extent vascular plant species establishment (i.e., the ability to establish self-sustaining populations within a certain time span) is...
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In an era of urbanization, forests are a key component of the urban green infrastructure, providing multiple benefits to urban residents. While emerging forests on urban wasteland could increase the urban forest area, it is unclear how residents view such novel forest types. In a comparative self-administered online survey, we assessed attitudes an...
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Urbanisation is known to change biodiversity patterns and plant-animal interactions such as pollination-a key ecological process. Floral traits like colour, size or UV-patterns are essential attractors for many pollinators. It is largely unknown, though, how the distribution of such floral traits within plant communities changes along an urbanisati...
Article
Biodiversity in urban ecosystems has the potential to increase ecosystem functions and support a suite of services valued by society, including services provided by soils. Specifically, the sequestration of carbon in soils has often been advocated as a solution to mitigate the steady increase of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere as a key driver o...
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Aim Exploring the biotic homogenization and diversity resistance hypotheses by assessing the effect of non-native black locust canopy on understorey species turnover. Location Berlin, the Venetian metropolitan area, and Rome. Methods We modelled the zeta (ζ) expression of diversity to compare the understorey species turnover between the non-nativ...
Article
Dog walking is a highly popular leisure activity in cities around the globe. It is also a controversial issue for urban conservation and green space management due to presumed ecological impacts of dogs. Yet regulations allowing or prohibiting the presence of dogs in areas of conservation concern are rarely based on demonstrated effects of dogs on...
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While cities are invasion hotspots, the view of urban residents on non-native species is critically understudied and important knowledge gap since strategies on biological invasions could gain power by integrating human values, attitudes and perceptions. How citizens perceive the non-native tree Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven) is unknown despi...
Chapter
This chapter outlines the history of the introduction and further spread of alien species in cities. It explores global trends in the spread of alien plants and looks at urban-specific factors influencing such introductions. The chapter examines how alien plants spread from cities into adjacent rural areas and discusses urban grasslands as an examp...
Chapter
Die Berliner Mauer hat eine Schneise inmitten der Stadt geschlagen und auch den Westteil Berlins von seinem Umland getrennt. In diesem Beitrag wird aufgezeigt, wie die Rückeroberung des Mauerstreifens durch die Natur abläuft,, welche biologische Vielfalt dort besteht und welche Chancen für die Entwicklung des grünen Berlins daraus erwachsen.
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Wilderness is a cultural construct that is deeply rooted in many societies. For landscape architects and their predecessors, wilderness has long been important as a contrast to artificial garden elements, as an inspiration for naturalistic plant designs, or today as a timely contribution to reconciling cities and their inhabitants with the natural...
Preprint
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Northern Bald Ibis (NBI) have disappeared from Europe already in Middle Age. Since 2003 a migratory population is reintroduced in Central Europe. We conducted demographic analyses of survival and reproduction of 384 NBI over a period of 12 years (2008-2019). These data also formed the basis for a population viability analysis (PVA) simulating the p...
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Road corridors are important conduits for plant invasions, and an understanding of the underlying mechanisms is necessary for efficient management of invasive alien species in road networks. Previous studies identified road type with different traffic volumes as a key driver of seed dispersal and abundance of alien plants along roads. However, how...
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Herbert Sukopp gilt als Begründer der „Berliner Schule der Stadtökologie“. Anlässlich seines 90. Geburtstags im Jahr 2020 wird hier die Bedeutung Sukopps für die Entwicklung der Stadtökologie als grundlegende und angewandte Wissenschaftsdisziplin aus einer internationalen Perspektive gewürdigt.
Article
The increase in artificial light at night (ALAN) is widely considered as a major driver for the worldwide decline of nocturnal pollinators such as moths. However, the relationship between light and trees as ‘islands of shade’ within urban areas has not yet been fully understood. Here, we studied (1) the effects of three landscape variables, i.e. so...
Article
Technology is transforming societies worldwide. A major innovation is the emergence of robotics and autonomous systems (RAS), which have the potential to revolutionize cities for both people and nature. Nonetheless, the opportunities and challenges associated with RAS for urban ecosystems have yet to be considered systematically. Here, we report th...
Article
Urban forests have manifold social, economic, cultural and ecological benefits and are major components of the urban green infrastructure. Among them, spontaneous urban woodlands develop unintentionally on abandoned lands in both growing and shrinking cities and deserve additional attention. We aimed to describe the planning and social processes li...
Chapter
Please go to: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9780429290992/chapters/10.1201/9780429290992-5
Article
With insect population declines, cities are important habitats for wild pollinators. Urban beekeeping is an increasingly popular activity, yet honeybees present important risks to wild insect pollinators in cities. We argue for new, scientifically evidenced urban pollinator strategies to simultaneously enhance the benefits of urban beekeeping while...
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Grasslands are widespread elements of urban greenspace providing recreational, psychological and aesthetic benefits to city residents. Two urban grassland types of contrasting management dominate urban greenspaces: frequently mown, species-poor short-cut lawns and less intensively managed, near-natural tall-grass meadows. The higher conservation va...
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Urbanization is a major driver of environmental change and is closely linked to the future of biodiversity. Cities can host a high richness of plants and animals, and this urban biodiversity supports multiple regulating, provisioning and cultural ecosystem services. Developing biodiversity-friendly cities is thus inextricably linked to sustainable...
Chapter
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Essay on biodiversity on cemeteries
Article
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Urban ecology is a well-established integrative discipline with many historical roots. One of the eminent pioneers of urban ecology is the German ecologist Herbert Sukopp, who works in Berlin since the late 1950s and is often referred to as the founder of the "Berlin School of Urban Ecology". On the occasion of his 90th anniversary in 2020, this pa...
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Increasing urbanization worldwide calls for more sustainable urban development. Simultaneously, the global biodiversity crisis accentuates the need of fostering biodiversity within cities. Policies supporting urban nature conservation need to understand people’s acceptance of biodiversity-friendly greenspace management. We surveyed more than 2,000...
Article
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Anthropogenic changes in climate, land use and disturbance regimes, as well as introductions of non‐native species can lead to the transformation of many ecosystems. The resulting novel ecosystems are usually characterized by species assemblages that have not occurred previously in a given area. Quantifying the ecological novelty of communities (i....
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Full-text available
Contact with nature makes people feel better, live healthier and act more environmentally-friendly. We hypothesized that dog walking, an omnipresent people-nature interaction in cities, translates to a more positive view of urban nature and, subsequently, to more support for conservation initiatives. Insights into such positive side-effects of dog...
Article
As global population becomes increasingly urban, opportunities for people to experience nature have decreased. Counteracting this trend is a key challenge for future urban development as interactions of urban people with biodiversity support human health and wellbeing, and may also result in positive attitudes towards biodiversity conservation. Col...
Article
While cities are known as important habitats for wild bees, a conceptual understanding of how assemblages of wild bee species are shaped by urban environments is limited. We applied a functional approach to test how taxonomic and functional diversity within wild bee communities of urban grasslands, and traits of bee species, related to local habita...
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Urban biodiversity conservation requires an understanding of how urbanization modulates biodiversity patterns and the associated ecosystem services. While important advances have been made in the conceptual development of urban biodiversity research over the last decades, challenges remain in understanding the interactions between different groups...
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Understanding the contribution of cities to nature conservation is gaining increasing importance with a globally accelerating urbanization and requires insights into the mechanisms that underlie urban distribution patterns. While a considerable number of endangered plant species have been reported for cities, the spatial dependence of populations o...
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The phosphorus nutrition status of European forests has decreased significantly in recent decades. For a deeper understanding of complementarity and competition in terms of P acquisition in temperate forests, we have analyzed α-diversity, organic layer and mineral soil P, P nutrition status, and different concepts of P use efficiency (PUE) in Fagus...
Article
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Urbanization is driving the transformation of natural and rural ecosystems worldwide by affecting both the abiotic environment and the biota. This raises the question whether urban ecosystems are able to provide services in a comparable way to their non-urban counterparts. In urban grasslands, the effects of urbanization-driven ecological novelty a...
Article
Full-text available
Anthropogenic changes in climate, land use, and disturbance regimes, as well as introductions of non-native species can lead to the transformation of many ecosystems. The resulting novel ecosystems are usually characterized by species assemblages that have not occurred previously in a given area. Quantifying the ecological novelty of communities (i...
Article
Full-text available
Many cities aim to increase urban forest cover to benefit residents through the provision of ecosystem services and to promote biodiversity. As a complement to traditional forest plantings, we address opportunities associated with “emerging urban forests” (i.e., spontaneously developing forests in cities) for urban biodiversity conservation. We qua...
Preprint
Full-text available
Anthropogenic changes in climate, land use and disturbance regimes, as well as introductions of non-native species can lead to the transformation of many ecosystems. The resulting novel ecosystems are usually characterized by species assemblages that have not occurred previously in a given area. Quantifying the ecological novelty of communities (i....
Article
Full-text available
Global change has complex eco-evolutionary consequences for organisms and ecosystems, but related concepts (e.g., novel ecosystems) do not cover their full range. Here we propose an umbrella concept of “ecological novelty” comprising (1) a site-specific and (2) an organismcentered, eco-evolutionary perspective. Under this umbrella, complementary op...
Article
Cycling is an environment-friendly and healthy urban transport mode. Making cycling convenient, attractive and safe is thus an essential contribution to livable cities. While previous studies largely focused on the built cycling infrastructure, relationships between greening in streetscapes and cycling behavior are unclear. We conducted an online s...
Article
As urbanization accelerates globally, a better understanding of how cities contribute to biodiversity conservation is increasingly pressing. Previous studies reveal that cities can harbor a considerable biological richness, including endangered plant species. Yet, a key question on the urban contribution to plant conservation remains critically ope...
Article
Full-text available
Pollination is a key ecological process, and invasive alien plant species have been shown to significantly affect plant-pollinator interactions. Yet, the role of the environmental context in modulating such processes is understudied. As urbanisation is a major component of global change, being associated with a range of stressors (e.g. heat, pollut...
Article
Urban greenways benefit urban dwellers by providing multiple ecosystem services and by supporting biodiversity conservation in cities. Increasing competition for open space in growing cities, however, often hinders the establishment of greenways in those places where social demands for related services are highest. In the wake of the fall of the Be...
Article
Ecological effects of alien species can be dramatic, but management and prevention of negative impacts are often hindered by crypticity of the species or their ecological functions. Ecological functions can change dramatically over time, or manifest after long periods of an innocuous presence. Such cryptic processes may lead to an underestimation o...
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Assessing the impacts of alien plant species is a major task in invasion science and vitally important for supporting invasion-related policies. Since 1993, a range of assessment approaches have been developed to support decisions on the introduction or management of alien species. Here we review the extent to which assessments (27 approaches) appr...
Article
1.Because common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L., henceforth Ambrosia) has negative effects on human health, it is a common focus for management, which would benefit from a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms by which the species spreads. Road systems are known to be invasion corridors, but the conduit function of vehicles for the...
Article
Full-text available
In an era of rapid urban growth, conserving biodiverse urban green spaces is challenging, especially in developing countries. Culturally protected areas including sacred sites are known to contribute to biodiversity conservation in semi-urban and rural areas, but their role in dense urban settings is critically understudied. We, therefore, assessed...
Article
Questions In many arid and semi‐arid regions of the world, livestock husbandry is the main land use and grazing is one of the main challenges for biodiversity conservation. This also applies to the Caatinga, a unique seasonally dry tropical forest in north‐eastern Brazil. It is considered one of the most threatened ecosystems of Brazil. To protect...
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Überall wachsen die Städte, immer mehr Menschen zieht es in die Metropolen. Dadurch werden Städte immer dichter. Es bleibt weniger Raum für Grünflächen und Natur in der Stadt. Auch außerhalb von Städten steigt der Druck auf vielfältige Lebensräume und deren Flora und Fauna, insbesondere durch die intensive Landwirtschaft. Damit stellt sich die Frag...
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Grazing is the main land use in semi-arid regions of the world, and sustainable management practices are urgently needed to prevent their degradation. However, how different grazing intensities affect forest density and ecosystem functions is often not sufficiently understood to allow for management adaptations that safeguard the ecosystems and the...
Article
Urban green infrastructure (UGI) is a promising concept when developing multifunctional green space systems to address major challenges of urbanisation such as increasing social cohesion, promoting the transition to a green economy, adaptation to climate change and conservation of biodiversity. In response to the European Commission’s Communication...
Chapter
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Greenspaces are under pressure, especially in cities that become more and more dense. Moreover, urban people increasingly loose contact to nature, and benefit less from the ecosystem services that urban landscapes deliver to residents. Yet, an open question is if biodiverse greenspaces provide an added value to urban people mpared to simply green s...
Article
Full-text available
This is a non-peer reviewed article in Scientia that reports on recent research on urban biodiversity in our lab in Berlin.
Article
Human activities such as the transport of species to new regions and modifications of the environment are increasingly reshaping the distribution of biota. Accordingly, developing robust, repeatable, and consistent definitions of alien species that serve scientific and policy purposes has become of prime importance. We provide a set of classificati...
Chapter
Full-text available
Available here: https://www.bfn.de/fileadmin/BfN/service/Dokumente/skripten/Skript_498.pdf
Article
The role of urban parks in delivering cultural ecosystem services related to outdoor recreation is widely acknowledged. Yet, the question remains as to whether the recreational opportunities of parks meet the demands of increasingly multicultural societies and whether recreational patterns vary at spatial scales. In a pan-European survey, we assess...
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Full-text available
Gathering wild plants in cities (urban foraging) is likely an important, but understudied human-nature interaction globally. As large European cities are critically understudied in this regard, we performed in-depth ethnography-based interviews in Berlin, Germany, to shed light on the cultural background of foragers, their motivations and which pla...
Article
Cultural ecosystem services related to urban green spaces contribute significantly to liveable cities. While previous studies highlight the intersection of cultural ecosystem services with societal values, spiritual or religious values associated with urban nature have received less attention. In India, as in other parts of the world, sacred sites...
Book
Full-text available
The concept of ‘urban green infrastructure’ captures an appreciation of urban green as essential infrastructure that is as important to a good quality of urban life as technical or social infrastructures. The approach emphasises the multitude of services and functions performed by urban green, all of which impact on the quality of life and on susta...
Article
Biocultural diversity is an evolving perspective for studying the interrelatedness between people and their natural environment, not only in ecoregional hotspots and cultural landscapes, but also in urban green spaces. Developed in the 1990s in order to denote the diversity of life in all its manifestations―biological, cultural and linguistic―co-ev...
Article
Policies to move us towards livable, sustainable cities need involvement and support from urban societies. For children in particular, as future players in urban development, experiences in nature provide a basis for further interactions with nature and increase awareness of environmental issues. However, children are spending less and less time in...
Article
While wildlands are increasingly being transformed into managed ecosystems in rural areas around the world, cities are now also being recognized for their “wilderness” areas. Cities and wilderness have a complex relationship based on constantly changing human-nature interactions and social values. Therefore, understanding the complex nature of the...