Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 199–213 | Cite as

Approaches to the study of urban ecosystems: The case of Central Arizona—Phoenix

  • Nancy B. Grimm
  • Charles L. Redman


CAP LTER focuses on an arid-land ecosystem profoundly influenced, even defined, by the presence and activities of humans and is one of only two LTER sites that specifically studies the ecology of an urban system. In this large-scale project, biological, physical, and social scientists are working together to study the structure and function of the urban ecosystem, to assess the effects of urban development on surrounding agricultural and desert lands, and to study the relationship and feedbacks between human decisions and ecological processes.

Our interdisciplinary investigations into the relationship between land-use decisions and ecological consequences in the rapidly growing urban environment of Phoenix are of broad relevance for the study of social ecological systems and cites in particular. Refinements in our conceptual model of social ecological systems focuses our attention on recognizing the scales and periodicities of ecological and human phenomena, understanding the means and impacts of human control of variability in space and time, and finally an evaluation of the resilience of various aspects of socio-ecological systems especially their vulnerabilities and their potential for adaptive learning.

long-term studies data mining nutrient cycling diversity ecological footprint urban climate socioecosystem resilience urban landscape urbanization 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy B. Grimm
    • 1
  • Charles L. Redman
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Life SciencesArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.The Center for Environmental StudiesArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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