Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 599–611 | Cite as

Comparative study of urban ecology development in the U.S. and China: Opportunity and Challenge

Article

Abstract

As human society has entered the century of the city, studies of urban ecosystems have shown a booming increase since the beginning of the 21st century. Urban ecology aims to fully understand the problems and find the solutions to sustainability challenges of an increasingly urbanized planet. As typical representatives of developed and developing nations, the U.S. and China are experiencing different urbanization processes. Yet the development of scientific investigations in the field of urban ecology in the two countries seems to have reached the same goal by different means. We compare the development of urban ecology in the U.S. and China in terms of related disciplines, main research fields, and hot topics. In general, American urban ecology connects tightly to a basic ecology research paradigm and trans-disciplinary study, while Chinese urban ecology emphasizes practical problem-solving but lacks sufficient theoretical and technical support. In the end, four key differences between American cities and Chinese cities are discussed, including urbanization stage, urban boundary and population, urban form and landscape, and urban metabolism and management. These differences present both challenges and opportunities for collaboration in urban ecological studies between U.S. and China. The collaboration between urban ecologists of the U.S. and China will contribute not only to the two countries’ cities but also to cities from both developed and developing countries.

Keywords

Urban ecology, Comparative study China U.S 

References

  1. Alberti M, Marzluff JM, Shulenberger E et al (2003) Integrating humans into ecology: opportunities and challenges for studying urban ecosystems. Bioscience 53:1169–1179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bai XM (2007) Integrating global environmental concerns into urban management - the scale and readiness arguments. J Ind Ecol 11:15–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bai XM, Shi PJ, Liu YS (2014) Realizing China’s urban dream. Nature 509:158–160CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Botkin DB (1990) Discordant harmonies: a new ecology for the twenty-first century. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. Brazel A, Selover N, Vose R, Heisler G (2000) The tale of two climates - Baltimore and Phoenix urban LTER sites. Clim Res 15:123–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brown LR (2001) Eco-economy: building an economy for the Earth. Norton, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. Cadenasso ML, Pickett STA, Groffman PM, Band LE, Brush GS, Galvin MF, Grove JM, Hagar G, Marshall V, McGrath BP, O’Neil-Dunne JPM, Stack WP, Troy AR (2008) Exchanges across land-water-scape boundaries in urban systems. Ann NY Acad Sci 1134:213–232CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Chan KW (2007) Misconceptions and complexities in the study of China’s cities: definitions, statistics, and implications. Eurasian Geogr Econ 48:383–412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chen CD (1990) The urban ecological studies in China. Acta Ecol Sin 10:92–95Google Scholar
  10. Chen XQ, Wu JG (2009) Sustainable landscape architecture: implications of the Chinese philosophy of “unity of man with nature” and beyond. Landsc Ecol 24:1015–1026CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Collins JP, Kinzig A, Grimm NB, Fagan WF, Hope D, Wu JG, Borer ET (2000) A new urban ecology. Am Sci 88:416–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Frosch RA, Gallopoulos NE (1989) Strategies for manufacturing. Sci Am 261:144–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Goodland R, Daly H (1996) Environmental sustainability: universal and non-negotiable. Ecol Appl 6:1002–1017CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Grimm NB, Faeth SH, Golubiewski NE et al (2008) Global change and the ecology of cities. Science 319:756–760CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Grimm NB, Grove JM, Pickett STA, Redman CL (2000) Integrated approaches to long-term studies of urban ecological systems. Bioscience 50:571–584CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kaye JP, Groffman PM, Grimm NB et al (2006) A distinct urban biogeochemistry? Trends Ecol Evol 21:192–199CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Kennedy C, Cuddihy J, Engel-Yan J (2007) The changing metabolism of cities. J Ind Ecol 11:43–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lin T, Yu YJ, Bai XM et al (2013a) Greenhouse gas emissions accounting of urban residential consumption: a household survey based approach. PLoS ONE 8:e55642CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Lin T, Xue XZ, Shi LY et al (2013b) Urban spatial expansion and its impacts on island ecosystem services and landscape pattern: a case study of the Island City of Xiamen, Southeast China. Ocean Coast Manag 81:90–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lin T, Gibson V, Cui S et al. (2014) Managing urban nutrient biogeochemistry for sustainable urbanization. Environ Pollut. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2014.03.038
  21. Lin T, Coppack T, Lin QX et al (2012) Does avian flight initiation distance indicate tolerance towards urban disturbance? Ecol Indic 15:30–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lin T, Gan YH, Feng L et al (2011) Developing harmonious multiethnic settlements in Southwest China: a spatial pattern analysis of Lijiang City. Int J Sust Dev World 18:530–536CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Liu JG, Dietz T, Carpenter SR et al (2007) Complexity of coupled human and natural systems. Science 317:1513–1516CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Liu JG, Diamond J (2005) China’s environment in a globalizing world. Nature 435:1179–1186CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Liu JG, Daily GC, Ehrlich PR, Luck GW (2003) Effects of household dynamics on resource consumption and biodiversity. Nature 421:530–533CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Luck MA, Jenerette GD, Wu JG, Grimm NB (2001) The urban funnel model and the spatially heterogeneous ecological footprint. Ecosystems 4:782–796CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lubchenco J (1991) The sustainable biosphere initiative—an ecological research agenda—a report from the ecological-society-of-America. Ecology 72:371–412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ma SJ, Wang RS (1984) The social-economic-natural complex ecosystem. Acta Ecol Sin 4:1–9Google Scholar
  29. Massey DS, Denton NA (1988) Suburbanization and segregation in united-states metropolitan areas. Am J Sociol 94:592–626CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mayer P (2010) Urban ecosystems research joins mainstream ecology. Nature 467:153CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. McDonnell MJ, Pickett STA (1990) Ecosystem structure and function along urban rural gradients—an unexploited opportunity for ecology. Ecology 71:1232–1237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Montgomery MR (2008) The urban transformation of the developing world. Science 319:761–764CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Nagy RC, Lockaby BG (2011) Urbanization in the Southeastern United States: Socioeconomic forces and ecological responses along an urban–rural gradient. Urban Ecosyst 14:71–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Seto KC, Fragkias M (2005) Quantifying spatiotemporal patterns of urban land-use change in four cities of China with time series landscape metrics. Landsc Ecol 20:871–888CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. National natural science foundation of China (eds) (1997) Stragic research report of natural science development—ecology. Bejing: Science press.Google Scholar
  36. Odum EP (1971) Fundamentals of ecology. Saunders, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  37. Palmer MA, Bernhardt ES, Chornesky EA et al (2004) Ecology for a crowded planet. Science 304:1251–1252CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Palmer MA, Bernhardt ES, Chornesky EA et al (2005) Ecological science and sustainability for the 21st century. Front Ecol Environ 3:4–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Pickett STA, Cadenasso ML, Grove JM et al (2011) Urban ecological systems: scientific foundations and a decade of progress. J Environ Manag 92:331–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Pickett STA (1997) A conceptual framework for the study of human ecosystems in urban areas. Urban Ecosyst 4:185–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Seto KC, Guneralp B, Hutyra LR (2012) Global forecasts of urban expansion to 2030 and direct impacts on biodiversity and carbon pools. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109:16083–16088CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Stern DI, Common MS, Barbier EB (1996) Economic growth and environmental degradation: the environmental kuznets curve and sustainable development. World Dev 24:1151–1160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Young GL (1974) Human ecology as an interdisciplinary concept: a critical inquiry. Adv Ecol Res 8:1–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Vitousek PM, Mooney HA, Lubchenco J, Melillo JM (1997) Human domination of Earth’s ecosystems. Science 277:494–499CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wackernagel M, Kitzes J, Moran D, Goldfinger S, Thomas M (2006) The ecological footprint of cities and regions: comparing resource availability with resource demand. Environ Urban 18:103–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wackernagel M et al (2002) Tracking the ecological overshoot of the human economy. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 99:9266–9271CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Wang RS (ed) (1991) Strategic research of urban ecology and its development. In: Ma S J. strategic study of Chinese ecology development I. Beijing: Chinese Economic Science PressGoogle Scholar
  48. Wang RS (2000) The frontier of urban ecological research in industiral transformation. Acta Ecol Sin 20:830–840Google Scholar
  49. Wang RS, Ye YP (2004) Eco-city development in China. Ambio 33:341–342PubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Weisz H, Steinberger JK (2010) Reducing energy and material flows in cities. Curr Opin Environ Sustain 2:185–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wu JG (2010) Urban sustainability: an inevitable goal of landscape research. Landsc Ecol 25:1–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wu JG, Jenerette GD, Buyantuyev A, Redman CL (2011) Quantifying spatiotemporal patterns of urbanization: the case of the two fastest growing metropolitan regions in the United States. Ecol Complex 8:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Wu JG (2014) Urban ecology and sustainability: the state-of-the-science and future directions. Landsc Urban Plan 125:209–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Wu JG, Xiang WN, Zhao JZ (2014) Urban ecology in China: historical developments and future directions. Landsc Urban Plan 125:222–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Zhao JZ, Dai DB, Lin T, Tang LN (2010) Rapid urbanisation, ecological effects and sustainable city construction in Xiamen. Int J Sust Dev World 17:271–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Zhou Y X (1995) Urban geography. The Commercial Press, Beijing, 1995Google Scholar
  57. Zipperer WC, Wu JG, Pouyat RV, Pickett STA (2000) The application of ecological principles to urban and urbanizing landscapes. Ecol Appl 10:685–688CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Lab of Urban Environment and Health, Institute of Urban EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesXiamenChina
  2. 2.Xiamen Key Lab of Urban MetabolismXiamenChina
  3. 3.School of Life SciencesArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

Personalised recommendations