S.T.A. Pickett

S.T.A. Pickett
Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | CIES · NA

PhD University of Illinois 197

About

290
Publications
165,230
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36,289
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January 2000 - December 2012
January 1989 - present
January 1987 - present
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Publications

Publications (290)
Article
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In response to interdependent challenges, city planners are increasingly adopting “green infrastructure” (GI). Reviewing 122 plans from 20 US cities, we identify what types of city plans address and define GI, including the concepts associated with GI, as well as the types, functions, and benefits of GI. The most common plans that feature GI, some...
Article
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There are urgent calls for developing a comprehensive and globally-relevant urban science that emphasizes convergence among disciplines and practice. Advancing theory and conceptual frameworks is critical to developing a new urban systems science. We synthesize five frameworks that address features identified in calls for global urban science. The...
Article
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Research in urban ecology depends on frameworks that meaningfully integrate our understanding of biophysical and social change. Although the coupled nature of urban ecosystems is widely accepted, the core mechanisms we use to integrate the social and biophysical aspects of urban ecosystems – their social-ecological feedbacks – are poorly understood...
Chapter
The concept of sustainability has three dimensions—metaphor, meaning, and model. As a metaphor, sustainability conjures up images of healthy environments, socially cohesive communities, and persistent economies. Sustainability, however, must move beyond metaphor and towards a clear meaning. Sustainability is defined using three theoretical realms f...
Article
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Objectives: (1) To evaluate how ecosystem services may be utilized to either reinforce or fracture the planning and development practices that emerged from segregation and economic exclusion; (2) To survey the current state of ecosystem service assessments and synthesize a growing number of recommendations from the literature for renovating ecosyst...
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A landscape succession paradigm has shaped much of our understanding about the processes of forest emergence and transformation in the United States. Drawing heavily from theory and method in environmental history, this paradigm has focused attention on the role of landscape-scale shifts in land use and land cover in the production of forests. The...
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Legacies of social and environmental injustices can leave an imprint on the present and constrain transitions for more sustainable futures. In this article, we ask this question: What is the relationship of environmental inequality and histories of segregation? The answer for Baltimore is complex, where past practices of de jure and de facto segreg...
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The ability to estimate and model future vegetation dynamics is a central focus of contemporary ecology and is essential for understanding future ecological trajectories. It is therefore critical to understand when the influence of initial post-disturbance regeneration versus stochastic processes dominates long-term post-disturbance ecological proc...
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ContextThe nature of urban ecology theory is controversial. Issues include whether urban theory is distinct, whether it has principles, and whether those principles differ from those for non-urban systems. Recently, Richard Forman enumerated urban ecology principles, while we have previously articulated different urban ecology principles. This rais...
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Urban areas are understood to be extraordinarily spatially heterogeneous. Spatial heterogeneity, and its causes, consequences, and changes, are central to ecological science. The social sciences and urban design and planning professions also include spatial heterogeneity as a key concern. However, urban ecology, as a pursuit that integrates across...
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ContextSpatial heterogeneity has myriad influences on ecosystem processes, ecosystem services, and thus the sustainability of urban areas. It acts as a medium for urban design, planning, and management to determine how processes affecting sustainability can operate and interact. Therefore, how spatial heterogeneity is conceptualized and measured in...
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Research on urban ecosystems rapidly expanded in the 1990s and is now a central topic in ecosystem science. In this paper, we argue that there are two critical challenges for ecosystem science that are rooted in urban ecosystems: (1) predicting or explaining the assembly and function of novel communities and ecosystems under altered environmental c...
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The ecological concept of disturbance has scarcely been applied in urban systems except in the erroneous but commonplace assumption that urbanization itself is a disturbance and cities are therefore perennially disturbed systems. We evaluate the usefulness of the concept in urban ecology by exploring how a recent conceptual framework for disturbanc...
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Governance is key to sustainable urban transitions. Governance is a system of social, power, and decision-making processes that acts as a key driver of resource allocation and use, yet ecologists— even urban ecologists–seldom consider governance concepts in their work. Transitions to more sustainable futures are becoming increasingly important to t...
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The contrast between ecology in cities and ecology of cities has emphasized the increasing scope of urban ecosystem research. Ecology in focuses on terrestrial and aquatic patches within cities, suburbs, and exurbs as analogs of non-urban habitats. Urban fabric outside analog patches is considered to be inhospitable matrix. Ecology of the city diff...
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Rapid urbanization with intense land use and land cover (LULC) change and explosive population growth has a great impact on water quality. The relationship between LULC characteristics and water quality provides important information for non-point sources (NPS) pollution management. In this study, we first quantified the spatial-temporal patterns o...
Article
Urban ecology is a field encompassing multiple disciplines and practical applications and has grown rapidly. However, the field is heterogeneous as a global inquiry with multiple theoretical and conceptual frameworks, variable research approaches, and a lack of coordination among multiple schools of thought and research foci. Here, we present an in...
Chapter
This chapter uses a building metaphor and the image of a Greek temple façade to describe an empirical strategy for a transition to an ecology of cities using a patch dynamics approach. In the first section the chapter describes some of the critical building blocks: pixels, plots, and parcels. These building blocks are crucial to the second section,...
Chapter
This concluding chapter describes the city as a site of difference and differentiation, placing it in the context of the dimensions of space, place, and ecosystem. It then posits an outlook of the future within the boundaries of the metacity, by defining the concept thereof and linking it with patch dynamics. The metacity, with its various landscap...
Chapter
This chapter discusses the historical connections between biophysical ecology and sociological approaches to urban ecology. This historical narrative lays the foundation for linking the study of spatial heterogeneity in the social and economic sciences with the contemporary understanding of spatial heterogeneity in biophysical ecology that is discu...
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This chapter lays out the concept and framework for a “patch dynamics” approach and briefly reviews its contributions to describing and quantifying patterns and changes in spatial heterogeneity of bioecological systems. Patch dynamics emerged in ecology as an approach to understanding spatial heterogeneity. Though ecology is its original disciplina...
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This chapter examines the interdisciplinary issues and strategies relevant to a patch dynamics approach as it is applied to urban ecological systems. Many of the issues are common to a wide range of interdisciplinary research topics and fields. Some are specific to patch dynamics, and a few are specific to patch dynamics applied to urban ecological...
Chapter
This chapter presents two examples to illustrate the utility of a patch dynamics approach for decision making: London's cholera epidemic of 1854 and Baltimore's urban tree canopy goal and sustainability plan. These exemplify two important inflexion points: the Sanitary City that emerged in the late 1800s and the Sustainable City idea that emerged i...
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This introductory chapter examines Baltimore as a key site for the development of a new approach to urban ecology: an ecology of cities. This approach is based on four propositions. First, the ecology of cities addresses the complete mosaic of land uses and management in metropolitan systems. Second, the urban mosaic is complex: spatially, organiza...
Book
The first “urban century” in history has arrived: a majority of the world's population now resides in cities and their surrounding suburbs. Urban expansion marches on, and the planning and design of future cities requires attention to such diverse issues as human migration, public health, economic restructuring, water supply, climate and sea–level...
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Context Urban greenspace provides myriad ecosystem services. To fully understand the ecological services provided by urban greenspace, it is crucial to first accurately quantify the composition and configuration, and change of urban greenspace. Objectives (1) Quantify the dynamics of greenspace in highly urbanized areas. (2) Compare and evaluate...
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Urbanization continues to be a transformative process globally, affecting ecosystem integrity and the health and well being of people around the world. Although cities tend to be centers for both the production and consumption of goods and services that degrade natural environments, there is also evidence that urban ecosystems can play a positive r...
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Cities around the world are facing an ever-increasing variety of challenges that seem to make more sustainable urban futures elusive. Many of these challenges are being driven by, and exacerbated by, increases in urban populations and climate change. Novel solutions are needed today if our cities are to have any hope of more sustainable and resilie...
Article
There is an abundance of conceptual frameworks relevant to sustainability in urban systems. However, to advance urban ecological science and its application to sustainable urban transformations, key existing frameworks must be synthesized. This paper is a conceptual synthesis cast in essay form in order to encompass a broad range of relevant ideas....
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The Ecological Society of America (ESA) has responded to the growing commitment among ecologists to make their science relevant to society through a series of concerted efforts, including the Sustainable Biosphere Initiative (1991), scientific assessment of ecosystem management (1996), ESA’s vision for the future (2003), Rapid Response Teams that r...
Book
Much of what is considered conventional wisdom about succession is not as clear cut as it is generally believed. Yet, the importance of succession in ecology is undisputed since it offers a real insight into the dynamics and structure of all plant communities. Part monograph and part conceptual treatise, An Integrative Approach to Successional Dyna...
Chapter
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Earth Stewardship implies a paradigm shift in linking facts and values, multiple forms of ecological knowledge and practices, and broadening the mission of the ecological sciences. However, two core limitations need to be addressed: (i) geographical gaps in the coverage of long-term ecological and socio-ecological research (LTER, LTSER, and other l...
Article
Succession has been a focus of extensive ecological study for well over a century. Despite this sustained interest, succession remains a central theme in ecological research and is positioned to continue that prominence in this era of expanding human impacts. Community ecology is currently experiencing a profound conceptual expansion, providing man...
Conference Paper
SEEDS was launched to diversify ESA’s membership, and set out to engage minority undergraduate students through campus-based programs with faculty. Some students discovered and came to value the joys of ecology, and gained confidence in doing ecology. Few persisted in ecology, while many pursued careers other than ‘typical’ academic ones. SEEDS res...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods: Understanding urban sustainability and improving the ability of policy-makers to achieve sustainable management are pressing needs of the 21st century. As urban ecologists become involved in the “knowledge to action” mantra of sustainability, they are moving from the holistic study of the ecology of cities to an urban e...
Article
Urban ecology and its theories are increasingly poised to contribute to urban sustainability, through both basic understanding and action. We present a conceptual framework that expands the Industrial → Sanitary → Sustainable City transition to include non-sanitary cities, “new cities”, and various permutations of transition options for cities enco...
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Current systems to classify land are insufficient, as is the delineation of Earth’s surface into discrete categories of land covers and uses, because they ignore the multiple functions that land provides and the movement of people, materials, information, and energy they facilitate. To address sustainability challenges related to urban lifestyles,...
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Describing and quantifying the spatial heterogeneity of land cover in urban systems is crucial for developing an ecological understanding of cities. This paper presents a new approach to quantifying the fine-scale heterogeneity in urban landscapes that capitalizes on the strengths of two commonly used approachesvisual interpretation and object-base...
Article
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The urban realm is changing rapidly and becoming increasingly interconnected across continents, and across contrasting types of land covers, while at the same time facing new environmental threats and experiencing new demographic and social pressures. The urban component of the global ecosystem can be made more sustainable by incorporating the ecol...
Chapter
The interaction of ecology and the study and application of environmental ethics can be facilitated by understanding the status of the fundamental background assumptions of the science. The classical paradigm of ecology, now superseded, focused on organisms and framed the science in a primarily equilibrium perspective. Steady state, homeostasis, an...
Chapter
A major purpose of this book is to lay out the constraints, opportunities, benefits, and pathways for improving the linkage between the science of ecology and the theory and practice of environmental ethics. The six chapters in this part together suggest a shared message.
Article
Socioecological theory, developed through the study of urban environments, has recently led to a proliferation of research focusing on comparative analyses of cities. This research emphasis has been concentrated in the more developed countries of the Northern Hemisphere (often referred to as the "Global North"), yet urbanization is now occurring mo...
Chapter
The chapter builds a metacity framework and details its features and utility. We start by outlining the general strategy for dealing with spatial complexity on various scales by using nested, spatial mosaics (Wu and Wu, Chap. 11, this volume). We then turn to a description of the three kinds of mosaics that are needed to understand and work with ur...
Chapter
While protection may alleviate some concerns within protected areas, should protection also be expected to mitigate the likelihood of invasion by alien species? Plant community dynamics may be thought of as generated by three broad classes of drivers: site availability and history, species availability and species performance. As all plant communit...
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We are entering a new urban era in which the ecology of the planet as a whole is increasingly influenced by human activities (Ellis 2011; Steffen et al. 2011a, b; Folke et al. 2011). Cities have become a central nexus of the relationship between people and nature, both as crucial centres of demand of ecosystem services, and as sources of environmen...
Article
Earth is now in a state without precedent, defined by human dominance of fundamental processes, including the water, carbon, and nitrogen cycles; species extinctions; sedimentation; and ocean acidification. The world is also increasingly interdependent: people and places are linked by carbon and nitrogen as well as by globalization and the internet...
Article
There is growing scientific interest, practical need, and substantial support for understanding urban and urbanising areas in terms of their long-term social and ecological trajectories: past, present, and future. Long-term social-ecological research (LTSER) platforms and programmes in urban areas are needed to meet these interests and needs. We de...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods The Shingwedzi River drainage of Kruger National Park, South Africa, is a heterogeneous landscape characterized by contrasts in water availability, vegetation structure, and geology. Water resources are distributed heterogeneously in time as the system experiences distinct wet and dry seasons and ephemeral rivers. Ripa...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods There is growing interest in linking ecological science with the theory and practice of urban design. Although this reflects existing precedents in landscape architecture, architecture, and planning, as urbanization increases around the globe and as urban jurisdictions become more invested in sustainability, there is g...
Conference Paper
Ecology has a strong base of conceptual clarity and empirical rigor. Ecology needs to 1) constantly strengthen and extend this foundation, but it also needs to: 2) become more diverse in persons, career types, and social roles, 3) integrate across the paradigmatic contrasts within the field, 4) recognize that science is a unified system consisting...
Chapter
This chapter provides the conceptual tools that can be used to understand successional pathways of vegetation dynamics observed in any specific situation. The causes, interaction of causes in different places, and common characteristics across successions are discussed.
Article
In many older US cities, lead (Pb) contamination of residential soil is widespread; however, contamination is not uniform. Empirically based, spatially explicit models can assist city agencies in addressing this important public health concern by identifying areas predicted to exceed public health targets for soil Pb contamination. Sampling of 61 r...
Article
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Older, economically troubled urban neighborhoods present multiple challenges to environmental quality. Here, we present results from an initiative in Baltimore, Maryland, where water-quality improvements were rooted in a socioecological framework that highlighted the interactions between biogeophysical dynamics and social actors and institutions. T...
Chapter
This chapter summarizes the nature of ecological science that is necessary to support a dialogue with urban design. First, ecology, as a science, represents a dialog between the conceptual constructs about how the world works and the observations of the material world itself. Second, ecological science has changed over time, so that generalizations...
Chapter
The development of the science of urban ecology in the United States has not been continuous. We identify three specific periods during the twentieth century when the application of ecological science to understanding the structure and dynamics of urban areas gained momentum. We begin with the Chicago School of the 1920s and 1930s that applied conc...
Chapter
Urban systems are heterogeneous due to a combination of natural and engineered landscape elements, and socio-cultural characteristics and behaviors of individuals and institutions. This chapter aims to address the question: how can an understanding of spatial heterogeneity serve as a bridge connecting ecology and urban design? We discuss the fundam...
Chapter
Within the science of ecology, urban ecology is defined as the study of structure, dynamics, and processes in urban ecological systems. Urban ecology is the study of the relationships of human and nonhuman organisms in urban areas, the interactions of these organisms with the native and built physical environment, and the effects of these relations...
Chapter
The different cultures of social equity and ecological science can be bridged by an enhanced understanding of the occurrence of environmental hazards and benefits. Knowledge about ecological disturbance improves understanding of how socio-ecological systems respond to the events that disrupt the structure of systems and the flows of resources withi...
Article
Land use changes may alter seed consumption patterns by vertebrates in forest landscapes. However, while some studies reported increased seed removal rates from the interior of forest patches towards the surrounding matrix habitat, other studies showed the opposite pattern. These inconsistencies perhaps occur because most of these experiments were...
Conference Paper
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Background / Purpose: One goal of sustainability plans in urban environments is to maintain or improve biodiversity. We contend that basic ecological theory can and should be revised to understand how biodiversity is maintained at multiple scales in urban ecosystems. We offer empirical support for a new conceptual model to understand the multi-sc...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods A familiar view of science is posits that science is conducted by dispassionate actors that avoid bias by following an invariant set of rules. Often called “the scientific method,” this procedure treats scientists as substitutable cogs in an infallible modernist knowledge machine. This is a view of science that is stil...