Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 259–275

A social ecology approach and applications of urban ecosystem and landscape analyses: a case study of Baltimore, Maryland

  • J. Morgan Grove
  • William R. BurchJr.

DOI: 10.1023/A:1018591931544

Cite this article as:
Grove, J.M. & Burch, W.R. Urban Ecosystems (1997) 1: 259. doi:10.1023/A:1018591931544


The early interactions between plant, animal, and human ecology in the 1920s in the United States provide an initial basis for understanding and directing an integrated ecosystem approach to the study of sociocultural and biophysical patterns and processes of present day cities. However, whereas the human ecology approach of the 1920s and 30s was interested in metaphorical similarities with plant and animal ecologists, we propose a more integrated approach to human ecosystem observation and analysis. A critical feature to an integrated, urban ecosystem approach is the ability of researchers to address the spatial heterogeneity of urban ecosystems; i.e. the development and dynamics of spatial heterogeneity and the influences of spatial patterns on cycles and fluxes of critical resources (e.g. energy, materials, nutrients, genetic and nongenetic information, population, labor, and capital). An important question in this context is how differential access to and control over critical resources affect the structure and function of urban ecosystems.

To address this heterogeneity, we illustrate a human ecosystem and landscape approach and how the concept of social differentiation can be applied spatially at different scales with a case study from our research in Baltimore, Maryland. Further, we identify different methods, tools, and techniques that can be used for an integrated, urban ecosystem approach.


Copyright information

© Chapman and Hall 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Morgan Grove
    • 1
  • William R. BurchJr.
    • 2
  1. 1.Northeastern Forest Experiment Station, USDA Forest ServiceSouth BurlingtonUSA
  2. 2.School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale UniversityNew HavenUSA