urban ecology, landscape ecology, succession
2801 Sharon Turnpike; P.O. Box AB
Millbrook NY 12545-0129, USA
845 677-7600 x130
Steward Pickett is an expert in the ecology of plants, landscapes, and urban ecosystems. The founding director of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (1997-2016), he also co-directed the Urban Sustainability Research Coordination Network. This project established lasting, interdisciplinary connections between urban designers, policymakers, and managers; the National Science Foundation deemed the project a model for research coordination networks.
Pickett’s research focuses on the ecological structure of urban areas and vegetation dynamics, with national and global applications. Among his research sites: vacant lots in urban Baltimore, primary forests in western Pennsylvania, post-agricultural fields in New Jersey, China’s rapidly urbanizing Yanqi Valley, and riparian woodlands and savannas in Kruger National Park, South Africa.
By applying ecological theory to urban planning, architecture, and landscape architecture, Pickett strives to convert cities and suburbs from ecological liabilities into ecological assets. He forges partnerships between ecologists and people who design and manage cities to protect and promote ecosystem services in urban environments.
Patterns in ecologically-important factors like water retention, vegetation growth, and wildlife habitat availability change when humans develop natural areas. Using satellite data, Pickett studies urban landscape composition as it evolves over time and links this information to social and demographic influences.
Heat waves, floods, and air quality alerts – cities like New York are already suffering from the impacts of climate change. What does the future hold? And how can ecology improve urban resilience and the lives of city residents?
Ecology looks at the relationships between organisms and the environment they live in. That can mean forests, oceans, prairies and other wilder areas, but it also includes cities.
When you hear of infrastructure, it's mostly about roads, bridges, buildings - that sort of thing. But there is another kind of infrastructure, and it's alive.
Why is it salt turning up in streams in the summertime? Rock Salt lowers the temperature at which water freezes, so it's widely used in wintertime to prevent our roads from icing up. It's a boon for safety but there are environmental consequences.