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The state of the world’s urban ecosystems: what can we learn from trees, fungi and bees?

The state of the world’s urban ecosystems: what can we learn from trees, fungi and bees?

Stevenson, Philip C. ORCID: 0000-0002-0736-3619, Bidartondo, Martin, Blackhall-Miles, Robert, Cavagnaro, Timothy R., Cooper, Amanda, Geslin, Benoit, Koch, Hauke, Lee, Mark A., Moat, Justin, O'Hanlon, Richard, Sjöman, Henrik, Sofo, Adriano, Kalliopi, Stara and Suz, Laura M. (2020) The state of the world’s urban ecosystems: what can we learn from trees, fungi and bees? Plants, People, Planet. ISSN 2572-2611 (Online) (In Press)

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1. Trees are a foundation for biodiversity in urban ecosystems and therefore must be able to withstand global change and biological challenges over decades and even centuries to prevent urban ecosystems from deteriorating. Tree quality and diversity should be prioritised over simply numbers to optimise resilience to these challenges. Successful establishment and renewal of trees in cities must also consider belowground (e.g., mycorrhizas) and aboveground (e.g., bees) interactions to ensure urban ecosystem longevity, biodiversity conservation and continued provision of the full range of ecosystem services provided by trees.
2. Positive interactions with nature inspire people to live more sustainable lifestyles that are consistent with stopping biodiversity loss and to participate in conservation actions such as tree-planting and supporting pollinators. Interacting with nature simultaneously provides mental and physical health benefits to people. Since most people live in cities, here we argue that urban ecosystems provide important opportunities for increasing engagement with nature and educating people about biodiversity conservation.
3. While advocacy on biodiversity must communicate in language that is relevant to a diverse audience, over-simplified messaging, may result in unintended negative outcomes. For example, tree planting actions typically focus on numbers rather than diversity while the call to save bees has inspired unsustainable proliferation of urban beekeeping that may damage wild bee conservation through increased competition for limited forage in cities and disease spread.
4. Ultimately multiple ecosystem services must be considered (and measured) to optimise their delivery in urban ecosystems and messaging to promote the value of nature in cities must be made widely available and more clearly defined.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Urban Ecosystems, City Trees, Mycorrhizas, Nature’s Contribution to People, Urban beekeeping, Regulating Ecosystem Services
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Chemical Ecology Research Group
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2020 23:07
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None

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