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John Celecia

Urban ecology: biodiversity and contemporary stakes of


inventories
In: Journal d'agriculture traditionnelle et de botanique applique. 39e anne, bulletin n2,1997. Sauvages dans la
ville. De l'inventaire naturaliste l'cologie urbaine. pp. 241-263.

Abstract
Urban Ecology is introduced in an historical context, and an account is given of its development in concept and practice as a
pioneering research venture in an international UN programme. The basic components of a paradigm for urban ecosystems are
presented, ranging from the most quantifiable variables such as energy and materials flows, to the most intangible and
unquantifiable such as psychosocial aspects. Examples of interdisciplinary, integrative and problem-oriented ecological research
are given on urban systems, on urban/hinterland interrelationships and on nature and biological diversity in urban, periurban and
industrial systems. Special emphasis is placed on the role, functions and benefits of nature in Cities, and on the need for regional
and interregional scientific cooperation and for reducing the North/South gap in research and training in these fields in a world
confronting burgeoning urbanisation. An extensive, albeit little known multilingual international bibliography is provided.
Rsum
Le contexte historique de l'cologie urbaine est prsent ainsi que son dveloppement en concept et en pratique, dans le cadre
d'un programme international de recherche pionnier sous l'gide des Nations- Unies. Les lments de base d'un paradigme des
cosystmes urbains sont voqus, depuis les variables les plus quantifiables tels que l'nergie et les flux de matriaux
jusqu'aux plus intangibles et inquantifiables tels que les aspects psychosociaux. Des exemples de recherche en cologie
interdisciplinaire, intgre et applique concernant les systmes urbains, les interrelations villes - "hinterlands" la nature et la
biodiversit urbaines, pri-urbaines, industrielles sont prsents. Mention particulire est faite du rle, des fonctions et des
bnfices de la nature en ville, ainsi que du besoin d'une coopration scientifique rgionale et interrgionale, notamment pour
rduire le foss Nord-Sud en matire de recherche et de formation, dans un monde confront une urbanisation croissante. Une
importante bibliographie peu connue, multilingue, et internationale est fournie.

Citer ce document / Cite this document :


Celecia John. Urban ecology: biodiversity and contemporary stakes of inventories. In: Journal d'agriculture traditionnelle et de
botanique applique. 39e anne, bulletin n2,1997. Sauvages dans la ville. De l'inventaire naturaliste l'cologie urbaine. pp.
241-263.
http://www.persee.fr/web/revues/home/prescript/article/jatba_0183-5173_1997_num_39_2_3627

Journal d'Agriculture Traditionnelle et de Botanique Applique - 1997 -VoLXXXIX (2) : 241-265

URBAN ECOLOGY: BIODIVERSITY AND


CONTEMPORARY STAKES OF INVENTORIES
John CELECIA *
ABSTRACT - Urban Ecology is introduced in an historical context, and an account is
given of its development in concept and practice as a pioneering research venture in
an international UN programme. The basic components of a paradigm for urban
ecosystems are presented, ranging from the most quantifiable variables such as energy
and materials flows, to the most intangible and unquantifiable such as psychosocial
aspects. Examples of interdisciplinary, integrative and problem-oriented ecological
research are given on urban systems, on urban/hinterland interrelationships and on
nature and biological diversity in urban, periurban and industrial systems. Special
emphasis is placed on the role, functions and benefits of nature in Cities, and on the
need for regional and interregional scientific cooperation and for reducing the
North/South gap in research and training in these fields in a world confronting
burgeoning urbanisation. An extensive, albeit little known multilingual international
bibliography is provided.
KEY- WORDS - Biodiversityconvention / UNCED - global environment - North/South
gap
urbanization - urban ecology - urban ecosystem - city and surroundings - nature
biodiversity - sustainable development.
RSUM - Le contexte historique de l'cologie urbaine est prsent ainsi que son
dveloppement en concept et en pratique, dans le cadre d'un programme international de
recherche pionnier sous l'gide des Nations- Unies. Les lments de base d'un
paradigme des cosystmes urbains sont voqus, depuis les variables les plus quantifiables
tels que l'nergie et les flux de matriaux jusqu'aux plus intangibles et inquantifiables
tels que les aspects psychosociaux. Des exemples de recherche en cologie
interdisciplinaire, intgre et applique concernant les systmes urbains, les interrelations villes"hinterlands" la nature et la biodiversit urbaines, pri-urbaines, industrielles sont
prsents. Mention particulire est faite du rle, des fonctions et des bnfices de la
nature en ville, ainsi que du besoin d'une coopration scientifique rgionale et
interrgionale, notamment pour rduire le foss Nord-Sud en matire de recherche et de
formation, dans un monde confront une urbanisation croissante. Une importante
bibliographie peu connue, multilingue, et internationale est fournie.
MOTS-CLS - CNUMAD / Convention de la Biodiversit, Environnement global cart Nord/Sud - explosion urbaine - cologie urbaine - cosystme urbain - ville et
environs - nature - diversit biologique - dveloppement soutenable.
THE HISTORICAL DIMENSION
In both the industrialized and developing worlds, the idea of a pristine
nature, untouched by human beings, persists in an almost fundamentalist
- Docteur en cologie vgtale, Conseiller auprs de la Division des Sciences cologiques,
Unesco, Paris.
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context within part of the conservation community. This can be seen in guides
and posters in which nature is presented without the presence of humans,
particularly in Europe. Despite this, history shows the long influence humans
have had over nature (UNESCO, 1981). About 8000 years ago,
Mediterranean vegetation was already considerably modified by humans.
Some 4000 years ago, massive deforestation took place in China. By five
centuries ago, vast expanses of European temperate forests had been converted
into agricultural land. A century ago, North American forest ecosystems were
already largely transformed by human activity. In recent decades, profound
changes have affected tropical forests and related ecosystems and the people
that inhabit them, and these proceed today at an accelerated pace.
This long standing trend suggests that we should exercise considerable
prudence and flexibility when using terms such as "natural", "semi-natural" and
"artificial" habitats. Professor A. GOMEZ-POMPA of the
University of
California at Berkeley (personal communication) states this very clearly in his
field studies of tropical rainforests in Mexico and Central America, in which
he has found in areas thought to be "pristine" and "virgin", vestiges of ancient
(to relatively recent) human occupation and transformation, including
pre-Columbian cities, as well as the presence of introduced species.
In our examination of the relationship between cities including their
biological diversity and their natural and rural hinterlands, it thus appears
necessary to take into consideration the historical dimension of human
occupation, as well as land and resource use patterns through time. The
Mediterranean basin is a classical and readily accessible example of such
historical imprint (UNESCO, 1981). In this context, landscape ecology becomes
a useful tool for the integration of interacting systems. The history of human
settlements goes along with the evolution of the landscape in which Nature,
Culture and Society constitute an inseparable blend (CELECIA, 1995).
The occurrence and distribution of biological diversity in cities historically
has received mostly sporadic and dispersed attention, since most biologists
have considered that these highly human-dominated systems did not merit
much attention as compared, for example, with more natural, "pristine"
environments, ranging from tropical rain forests to high altitude mountain
tundras. The same can for example be applied, to soils ; examination of maps
dating from the beginning of this century shows that soils in urban, periurban
and industrial systems have received either pedological or edaphological
attention only relatively recently (CELECIA, 1992; BULLOCK & GREGORY,
1991; Hollis, 1992; Phillipson, 1989).
Increasing attention is, however, being given to restoration, recovery,
recreation or rehabilitation of nature in cities (ADAMS & DOVE, 1987; BARKER
& Graf, 1989; Comit MAB Espafiol, 1989; Dean, 1989; Gill & Bonnett,
1973; Goode, 1993; Harrison et ai, 1995; Johnston, 1987; Leclerq, 1974;
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NCC, 1987, 1990; Salvador Palomo, 1995). In fact, there is a growing
appreciation for the enhancement of "natural" and seminatural habitats, and
the great number of possibilities which the resulting mosaic provides for the
development of a rich and unique biological and biotope diversity (ADAMS,
1994; Celecia, 1995; Grapow, 1995; Leedy et aL, 1978; MiYAWAKl, A., 1996;
Platt et aL, 1994; Reduron, 1996; Sukopp, 1969, 1987, 1990; Sukopp &
WERNER, 1982, 1987). This ranges from the growing practice of establishing
meadows, with the consequent species richness (as compared to the more
"manicured" and strictly managed urban landscapes and gardens) to
reconstitution or restoration of mature temperate forest ecosystems, as practiced for
example in Japan (MiYAWAKl, 1996). The literature abounds with references
to research on the occurrence and distribution of wild and domestic plant and
animal life in urban and peri-urban areas.
Of particular interest are studies on domestic varieties and races of plants
and animals, which show that these areas may be havens for relicts of such
germplasm (HEYWOOD, 1996). This is enhanced by the practice of urban
agriculture, horticulture, agroforestry and animal husbandry in both the
developing and industrialized world (DI CASTRI, CELECIA & HADLEY, 1983;
GUTMAN, 1987; LAUNET, 1996; SCHAFER, 1992; SmIT & NASR, 1992). In many
cases, urban and periurban food producers may find satisfaction in practicing
organic and low input farming, offering to consumers the opportunity to buy
horticultural products long since gone from the formal commercial production
and distribution circuits, which increasingly must adhere to official nationally
or regionally imposed norms that are built on high intensity and high input
production systems.
As for urban fauna (BARKERS aL, 1994; LUNIAK, 1996; VlDA, 1996),
considerable attention has been paid to the occurrence, distribution and ecology of
birds (DlNETTl, 1994) and mammals (CEBALLOS & GALINDO, 1984 ; LPEZMORENO, 1993), and to a lesser degree to such aspects in reptiles and
amphibians. Arthropods, and insects (DAVIS, 1978; LPEZ-MORENO & DfAZ
BETANCOURT, 1995), have also been widely studied. In some cases, amateur
naturalists have received recognition for their work, as in the United Kingdom
where, for example, special publications such as the Bulletin of the Amateur
Entomological Society diffuse their work. Many studies have focused on
nuisance, hygiene or public health issues, such as epidemics, allergies, etc.
The City as an Ecosystem: UNESCO's Pioneer Role
in Urban Ecology
UNESCO's intergovernmental Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme
is the first concerted international venture to consider cities where half of the
world's population lives and works as ecological systems (CELECIA, 1996).
The MAB Programme was established in 1971 to identify and propose
solutions for problems involving the relationship between the human population
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and its environment by means of applied research. With respect to cities, the
MAB Programme fosters an ecological approach to the study of urban systems
as a basis for planning and management. In a twenty year span, over 1 00 field
projects have been carried out, a number of them in cooperation with the
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in cities and other human
settlements in various regions of the world covering a wide range of biogeographical, bioclimatic, social, economic, political, cultural and development
situations (SPOONER, 1986): Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt, Gotland
in Sweden, Hong Kong and Rome, among others (BOYDEN, 1976, 1979;
Celecia, 1987, 1990; Duvigneaud, 1975; Giacomini, 1981; Zucchetto &
JANSSON, 1988; PARS et ai, 1985;VESTER, 1976). Particular attention has
been given to the relationship between urban, peri-urban and industrial
systems and their hinterlands in an attempt to harmonize regional planning with
urban development, including the sustained use and conservation of natural
resources. Recently, and in consideration of UNESCO's role in Agenda 21
and in connection with the Convention on Biological Diversity (Diverditad,
1996; UNESCO, 1994), special consideration has also been given to the
conservation and protection of biological diversity (including in cities), as well
as to the diversity of biotopes, ecosystems and landscapes (UNESCO, 1994,
1995, 1996), the latter representing the inextricable blend of nature and
culture (Celecia, 1995).
Earlier work had set the stage for such integrated research (MUMFORD,
1963; STEARNS & Montag, 1974) at a time when the ecological sciences were
still strongly dominated by bioecologists who did not hide their scepticism and
even contumely towards multiple attempts to develop the basis for human and
urban ecology. Since energy and energy systems are at the heart of urban
ecological problems (BOYDEN, 1976), the energy crisis of the mid-1970's did
much to awaken people to the urban/industrial dilemma (BOYDEN, 1979;
ZUCCHETTO & JANSSON, 1985). It also stimulated the search for alternatives
in approaches to improving knowledge and understanding of such complex
systems (NEWCOMBE, 1983).
The ecological approach (Celecia, 1987, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996) considers
that the city, just as other ecosystems, is characterized by its structure and
function, including both biotic and abiotic components, and the cycling and
conversion of energy and materials. Cities also have their own spatial
organization and distinctive patterns of change through time, which result in
patterns of species behaviour, populations dynamics and the formation of various
communities, each of which is specific to the urban environment. Certain
characteristics of the urban ecosystem are unique, when taken as a whole ; they
can be summarized as indicated below (BOYDEN & CELECIA, 1981; CELECIA,
1987, 1990, 1992, 1994; Duvigneaud, 1974; Mumford, 1963), along with
several other variables (CELECIA, 1987, 1994).
The urban ecosystem concentrates a high productivity of human outputd,
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such as information, knowledge, creativity, cultural expression, labour,
science, technology and industrial products, among other things, which are
exported (intentionally or otherwise) to other systems;
It is an exceptionally (or typically) open system, as shown by the flows of
energy, materials, information and people; by the levels of interaction and
exchange; and by patterns of strong dependence, especially in connection with
other systems (rural and "natural"), upon which the urban system depends.
This notion is essential when considering nature whether wild or
domesticated in and around cities, its environmental and social roles, and its due
consideration in integrated planning and management. In fact, the city and its
hinterlands become a system of interfaces, with the corresponding complexity,
richness and vulnerability characteristic of other such ecological interfaces.
The urban/periurban/industrial system exerts pre<tdure on land, both
within and outside its political boundaries, through occupation and
appropriation, bringing about topographical changes, moving large quantities of
soil, affecting food production systems, watersheds and landscapes, and
contributing to the alteration and loss of biological diversity and of ecosystem
integrity and productivity as well as to land degradation and soil loss
(Camarasa, Folch &Masalles, 1977).
The urban ecosystem typically exhibits low biological productivity, thus
making it highly dependent on its associated rural hinterlands. For cities in
industrialized countries, the rural and resource hinterlands extend well
beyond the immediately adjacent areas and often reach throughout the globe,
thus exerting a strong influence on production patterns and modes, market
demands and the establishment of prices. In both industrialized and
developing countries, sustainable management of urban and periurban green spaces
and their links to rural and natural hinterlands should thus be an important
component of urban and regional planning (CELECIA, 1995). Such spaces have
obvious benefits and advantages for the environment and the human
population, including for example, food and energy production schemes, such as
allotment vegetable gardens and agroforestry practices, which should ease the
pressure on rural and protected spaces (DI CASTRI, CELECIA & HADLEY, 1983;
GUTMAN, 1987; NEWCOMBE, 1983). Of course, the maintenance and
continued evolution of biological and genetic diversity in urban and periurban
systems also depend on appropriate planning and management (ADAMS, 1994;
BOUSSOUD-CORBIRES, 1990; GOODE, 1993; DEAN, 1989; SUKOPP, 1990;
SUKOPP & WERNER, 1982, 1987). The potential of cities to harbour a unique
and rich biodiversity when adequately planned and managed will be discussed
in the following section.
The urban ecosystem is characterized by a niadive consumption of energy .
Moreover, as human power is replaced by machines, the demand for energy
increases tremendously (BOYDEN, 1979; BOYDEN et ai, 1981; ZUCCHETTO &
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JANSSON, 1985), with a consequent increase in demand for materials, the most
critical one being water, with an increasing use both in developing and
industrialised situations (LlNDH, 1985).
Urban systems, due to their high consumption levels of energy and
materials linked to unsustainable production and consumption patterns, are also
characterized by a didproportionate amount of wad te production. The system
itself is not able to deal with such amounts or only in part and they must
therefore be exported to be processed by the hinterlands, which are
themselves already affected by the enormous demand for energy and materials from
the urban and industrial systems. Once again it is the global hinterlands terrestrial, coastal or marine where most urban and industrial wastes are
dumped, as is evidenced by the exports of wastes from industrialized to
developing countries.
This dependency of urban areas on the hinterlands and the pattern of
consumption and demand make them unstable, fragile and highly vulnerable
dydtenid, from both the environmental, and social and economic viewpoints.
However, the most distinctive unique feature of the urban ecodydtem Id ltd
human component, its humanness. As a consequence, all the factors inherent
to the human population biological, social, psychological, economic, cultural
and political, among others must be taken into account. These are intangible
variables that are hard to qualify and difficult or impossible to quantify, such
as creative behaviour, the impression of security, the feeling of belonging, job
satisfaction, sense of goal, aesthetic considerations, etc. Experience has shown
that neglect of these and other aspects of human reality, so important for the
quality of the human environment and experience, can lead to mistaken
interpretations and conclusions on the nature of urban problems, and thus to
misguided planning and management (BOYDEN & CELECIA, 1981; BOYDEN et ai,
1981; GlACOMINI, 1981). Biosocial surveys have thus contributed
considerably to introducing the human factor into urban ecological projects. Moreover,
studies on the perception of the quality and conditions of the urban
environment concerning different actors in the urban setting, ranging from children to
planners, have become valuable tools to adjust approaches to real-life
situations (Bonnes, 1986, 1987, 1991, 1993; Bonnes & Sacchiarolli, 1995;
Millward & Mostyn, 1989; Mostyn, 1979; Rohde, & Kendle, 1995).
Studies of perception have also contributed to the establishment of strategies
for public awareness, environmental education and, most importantly, public
participation at all levels of the population (OST et ai, 1993; WayBURN &
Celecia, 1988).
Of course, this compilation represents the urban situation that has
developed rapidly in the second half of this century, in an accelerated process which
parallels that of the global environmental crisis (CELECIA, 1987, 1994, 1996).
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NATURE, BIODIVERSITY, CITIES,
CONSERVATIONAND DEVELOPMENT
Nature and cities
During the twenty year span between the mid-seventies and the
mid-nineties (which corresponds to the period between the 1972 Stockholm UN
Conference on the Human Environment and the 1992 Rio de Janeiro UN
Conference on Environment and Development) much progress has been made
in accepting the idea that nature conservation should include urban and periurban areas. Since the first quarter of this century pioneering naturalists and
scientists such as Paul JOVET have recognized the importance of biological
diversity in human-dominated systems, bringing new insights as well as novel
spatial, temporal and human dimensions into the study of biodiversity. This
has paved the way to cities becoming an important component of the overall
effort in nature conservation. A number of factors further contributed to the
evolution of urban nature conservation, as reviewed by HEYWOOD (1996):
1 . the increasing amount of urban wasteland, including the products
of industrial transition.
2. the development of environmentalism, plus the activism of urban
groups in the "greening" of cities;
3. the recognition of the discipline of urban ecology;
4. the creation of urban wildlife organizations;
5. the reduction in some forms of pollution (e.g. smoke-free zones ;
pedestrian areas);
6. a growing recognition of the fact that the urban environment is
a mosaic of ecological niches that are occupied by a variety of
species;
7. a responsive attitude on the part of local authorities.
To the above can be added:
8. a greater presence of devoted amateur naturalists and highly
informed gardeners in urban and periurban areas;
9. increasing environmental education efforts both formal and
informal in urban and periurban areas, reaching broad sections of
the population, including frequent journalistic contributions (e.g.
special sections in Sunday supplements).
10. greater pressure from local populations and citizens activist groups
on policy-makers.
Again, HEYWOOD (1996) provides a list of types of urban green spaces
which, with some additions and modifications, even if not exhaustive,
includes:
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-

Natural, national and regional parks


Biosphere reserves
Municipal parks and gardens
Botanic gardens
Nature centers
Zoological gardens and "safari" parks
Wildlife corridors
Urban commons
Garden centers
Urban forests (natural relicts or
plantations)
- Business and industrial parks
- Vacant lots and derelict land
- Nature and special interest reserves
(fauna, flora, etc.)

Residential gardens and "villas"


Arboreta
Roadside verges
Greenways
Railroad embankments and rights
of way
Old quarries and gravel pits
Allotment gardens
Nurseries
Lotie and lentic continental water
environments
Coastal zones
Cemeteries
Golf courses and other sports fields
Trees planted along roadways

A great number of studies have been published by governmental and


nongovernmental organizations and programmes dealing with the multiple
aspects of biological diversity. In nearly all cases, the distinction is made
between ex ditu and in ditu conservation (Dl CASTRI & YOUNES, 1996, UICN,
1992, UNESCO, 1994).
In ditu conservation refers to the maintenance of natural ecosystems and
habitats, as well as the maintenance and recovery of viable populations of
species in their native surroundings and, in the case of domesticated or cultivated
species, in the environments where their distinctive properties were
developed. It permits continued evolution (and co-evolution) within the ecological,
physiological and genetic context where the species in question evolved prior
to human impact.
Ex ditu conservation refers to the maintenance of components of biological
diversity outside their natural habitats, in facilities such as botanical gardens,
zoological gardens and gene banks. It results in evolution driven by selective
forces different from those in which the species evolved previously. Therefore,
ex ditu conservation can only be regarded as a short-term solution (Le., a
stop-gap measure) to a critical situation in which in ditu conservation is either
impossible or has a high risk of being unsuccessful or compromised.
Biodiversity, Conservation and Development
The present concern for the conservation and protection of biological
diversity, and the resulting Convention, represent two of the most outstanding
achievements of the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development (UNCED, Rio de Janeiro, 1992), translated into Agenda 21,
and reflected in innumerable activities being undertaken the world over,
which range from cutting edge scientific research, to citizens' movements to
prevent further environmental deterioration and loss of biodiversity.
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Some long-standing myths and misconceptions in connection with biological
diversity have now been broken (CELECIA, 1994; FAO, 1993; UICN, 1992;
UNESCO, 1992, 1994), enabling us to recognize several important points:
We barely know what biodiversity exists, and to understand how and
why many species are threatened. We are only just beginning to appreciate the
potential value and uses of biodiversity for humans. Moreover, the role that
different species have in the maintenance of natural systems remains largely
unknown. Most species have yet to be identified and studied. While only
between 1.3 and 1.5 million species have been identified, estimates today range
between 5 to over 30 and even 80 million species (WCMC, 1992). Most of the
undescribed biodiversity is in critically important, highly speciose and largely
understudied groups such as insects, fungi and bacteria, among others
(UNEP, 1995). We should thus minimize loss and other threats as we strive
for improved knowledge of biodiversity and the ecosystem role of
biodiversity.
Every individual species cannot necessarily be saved. Species naturally
have a finite lifetime, and some biodiversity loss is therefore unavoidable. But
current rates of extinction far exceed natural background levels. To be
effective, conservation efforts should focus primarily at the biotope, ecosystem and
landscape levels to preserve the integrity of the system and minimize loss
since, conservation focused on individual species is often not viable or cost
effective.
Conservation of biodiversity should not target only the tropical
ecosystems. The effort should be global, and should lead to a general framewdrk for
conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity throughout the world.
Protected natural areas do not by themselves meet all of conservation
needs. Most biodiversity Li found outdide protected areas, in natural or semi-natural
systems and in situations dominated to different degrees by human
intervention, such as land under agriculture, cultivation or fallow, grazing lands,
plantation forests, and also urban, periurban and industrial dy<t tenu. Protection should
also include the diversity of cultivated and domesticated species, races and
varieties and their wild relatives. It also requires integrating conservation and
regional development planning.
We are thus faced with new understanding of the patterns of biological
diversity, in which it may become difficult to distinguish between "natural"
and "human-impacted" (also referred to as "artificial") areas, both of which
merit being studied, inventoried and mapped. Urban and periurban areas
represent complex mosaics offering multiple habitats to numerous species of
animals and plants, which additionally show multiple adaptive features to the
urban environment (BARKER & GRAF, 1989; BRUNO, 1984; RUFF, 1987;
SUKOPP, 1990).
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Biological diversity plays a crucial role in all situations, from the most
natural to the most human-dominated:
Providing food, construction material, raw materials for industry,
medicines;
Absorbing and breaking down pollutants, including organic wastes,
pesticides, heavy metals;
Recharging groundwater, protecting catchment basins and
buffering extreme water conditions;
Producing soil and protecting it from excessive erosion;
Providing the basis for improvements to domesticated plants and
animals;
Storing and cycling nutrients essential for life (e.g. carbon, oxygen,
nitrogen and phosphorus).
Awareness-building and environmental education among urban and periurban populations should include information on the role of biodiversity so that
the human inhabitants of these areas can better appreciate and contribute to
nature and the conservation of nature in and around urban environments
(UNESCO, 1994).
The interdigitation and continuity of the natural and semi-natural spaces in
cities, which through appropriate planning and management, will connect
with natural and rural hinterlands, could include the network of linear
wildlife and cultivated habitats, such as canals and rivers, streams, hedgerows,
ditches, railroads and road verges, parks, gardens and allotment gardens.
These constitute remarkable habitats themselves, supporting a surprisingly
diverse flora and fauna (ADAMS, 1994; ADAMS & DOVE, 1989; DEAN, 1989;
Dinetti, 1994; Folch, 1996; Leedy et ai, 1978; Lopez-Moreno, 1991;
Miya^aki, 1996; NCC, 1987, 1990; Pisarski, 1982; Schmid, 1996; Sukopp,
1990). The re-creation of biotopes resembling autochthonous climax
vegetation communities has been successfully tested in temperate areas such as in
Japan, among other places (MlYAWAKI et ai, 1987; MlYAWAKI, 1996). The
urban environment thus can harbour a biological diversity which not only is
adapted to it, but which, due to changes in land use and agricultural
production, risks disappearing from the countryside, as exemplified in Rome where
patrician gardens have become havens for native species of flora and fauna
(BRUNO, 1984; GlACOMINl, 1981; GRAPOW, 1995). As far as interdigitation is
concerned, a classical European example can be seen in Copenhagen,
Denmark, also called the "Finger City", representing the physical integration
of urban development and green areas in long-term urban/regional planning.
Concerning research on the beneficial roles of vegetation in cities, the
relationship between urban vegetation and urban climate has been a topic of
considerable interest and international exchange among scientists and city
planners during the last thirty years, and within UNESCO's MAB
Programme since the 1980's. Such is the case of research in Dayton, Ohio in
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the USA (PhATT et aL, 1994; ROUNTREE et ai, 1983; Smith, 1987), the results
of which were applied at the planning and management levels, and were also
relevant to community participation in the management, use and enjoyment of
urban and periurban green spaces, and in particular urban forests. The
Dayton research team later worked in close collaboration with representatives
of the city of Valencia, Spain, as a validation site for the research approaches
tested in Ohio, and as a preliminary phase to the elaboration of the Green Plan
of the City of Valencia (SALVADOR PALOMO, 1995; Smith, 1987). The case
studies of Dayton and Valencia were taken up by the city of Seoul, Republic of
Korea, which adapted their research approaches to local conditions to ensure
the application to its own research (KlM, 1996). The experience of these three
cities demonstrated the value of making good use of a MAB research network
in collaborative ventures and in fostering exchange of information and of
personnel among scientific teams. In a number of research studies including the
three cited above, urban vegetation has been part of a strategy to attenuate the
deletereous effects of urban climate on the urban environment and on human
health, and in particular in the so-called "heat islands", particularly in "stony
cities" (e.g. Barcelona and Valencia in Spain). For the interested reader, a
broad review on this topic has been carried out by STULPNAGEL, HORBERT
and SUKOPP (1990) with reference to different cities, and with special
attention to Berlin, enhancing the role of urban forestry in improving
environmental and living conditions in urban areas.

BIOSPHERE RESERVES: RECONCILING CONSERVATION


AND DEVELOPMENT
Biosphere Reserves represent a unique category of protected area established in 1974
within the framework of UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme
(UNESCO, 1996). In 1996, there were 337 sites in the International Network of
Biosphere Reserves in 85 countries (UNESCO, 1996), representing a broad variety of
biogeographic and bioclimatic regions of the world, as well as a wide range of economic,
demographic, social, cultural and development situations. Biosphere Reserves attempt to
reconcile the conservation and protection of biological and genetic diversity, as well as
representative portions of important terrestrial or coastal/marine ecosystems and
landscapes, with the rational use of land and of natural resources, the safeguarding of
cultural values, the enhancement of traditional practices of resource use, searching for
the active participation of local populations in their quest for sustainable and equitable
development.
Some Biosphere Reserves represent multiple categories of protected areas, e.g. National,
Provincial or Regional Parks; National Monuments; Biological Reserves; World
Heritage sites, Ramsar sites; and other conservation and protection figures (ROBERTSON
& CELECIA, 1993).
A number of these Biosphere reserves are found near or in the vicinity of cities of varying
size (CELECIA, 1995): Montseny (Barcelona), Manzanares (Madrid), Donana (Seville),
Sierra Nevada (Granada) in Spain; Camargue (Arles) in France; Waddensea (Hamburg)
and Schorfheide-Chorin and Spreewald (Berlin) in Germany; and in Mata Atlantica
(Sa Paulo and Rio de Janeiro) in Brazil; Parque Costero del Sur (La Plata and Buenos
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Aires) in Argentina; Central California Coast (San Francisco) in the United States of
America, to name a few. In every case, their management plans must make provisions for
the possible consequences that such proximity of urban areas implies. This is achieved
through a system of zoning which permits a range of uses from minimal intervention
i.e. a core zone which contains samples of representative ecosystems for scientific
observation and monitoring to increasing levels of human intervention and experimentation
on approaches to sustainable development for the benefit of local populations including
the enhancement of traditional systems of land and resource use, environmental
education and training, sustainable tourism and other practices in buffer and transition zones.
The Biosphere Reserve, with its evolutive and forward-looking concept and practice,
appears to be a valuable category of conservation area for considering urban zones as an
integral part of conservation units. Biosphere Reserves ensure a more integrated
regional approach to conservation planning and sustainable use of land and natural resources.
Such were the conclusions of a Scientific Consultation on "Cities, Protected Areas and
the Concept and Practice of Biosphere Reserves" jointly organized by the United
Kingdom MAB Urban Forum and UNESCO/MAB and held at the University of
Manchester in February, 1994, in which cities such as Barcelona, Berlin, London,
Manchester, Valencia and Warsaw were represented by scientists having participated
actively in MAB research in urban areas and in Biosphere Reserves (DOUGLAS, 1995).
NATURE AND CITIES WITH A HISTORY
The literature on the subject of nature in and around cities is surprisingly
abundant, and must constitute part of any thorough review of the history of
the natural sciences, including works by Carl von LlNN, Georges-Louis
LECLERQ DE BUFFON and Charles DARWIN, well-known naturalists, even to
the general public. In fact, it is not surprising that these notorious scientists
and many others reviewed by various recent authors (cf. dupra AYMONIN: 15,
JOLINON: 91, cf. infra MAURIN & HENRY: 333, LOURTEIG & JOVET: 505) have
made fascinating observations and discoveries in urban and periurban
environments, since they were intimately familiar with such areas. Detailed faunistic and floristic inventories, herbals and herbaria were produced two and
three centuries ago in Paris, London and other major European urban and
periurban settings. More recently, the work of Paul JOVET (1896-1991), of the
National Museum of Natural History in Paris, has contributed greatly to this
subject, as was brought to light in the special commemorative workshop held
on the centenary of his birthdate. JOVET's work includes inventory of the flora
and vegetation of Paris and its surroundings, and of a small botanical garden
in his residence in the outskirts of Paris, replicating representative biotopes in
the area, as well as of other parts of France. A complete listing of his rich
contributions was compiled by Anne- Elizabeth WOLF (cf. infra WOLF &
JOVET). A similarly important scientific heritage exists in many European
cities, and is in need of compilation, analysis and synthesis, as well as
comparisons on a regional basis, which would then provide the basis for examining
changes in the occurrence and distribution of plant and animal species,
populations and communities through time, and in relation with urban expansion,
land use and occupation, the introduction of exotic species, ecological
invasions, etc. (Barkers at,. 1994).
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Cities, Ecology and Nature Conservation: A Call for Solidarity
Hyperspecialization, compartmentalization and fragmentation of the
organization of knowledge, which is reflected in the structures and ways in which
both academic and government institutions work, has tended to lead to an
incomplete understanding of complex human situations and to the formulation
of unwise, strongly sectoral policies - not least with respect to understanding,
planning and managing urban systems. One response to these perceived
shortcomings has been a call for more integrative approaches to resolving the
problems of cities and other human settlements, a call often associated with the
"ecology"
term
(CELECIA, 1996).
Although "ecology" has often been interpreted by the public as a rallying
force for political action, a catalyst for social cooperation and a trigger for
economic change, it should be recalled that ecology as a scientific discipline was
originally defined in 1869 by the German zoologist Ernst HAECKEL as the
study of the interrelations between organisms and their environment.
However, in an attempt to avoid a possible trend towards complacency,
stagnation and reductionism, which has characterized many scientific disciplines,
it would perhaps be better to consider ecology as an open ended, evolutive,
multifarious approach, oriented to increasing knowledge and understanding of
complex systems and to problem-solving. Ecology defined this way can thus
be considered as both a discipline and an approach. The dominance of natural
scientists in the development of ecology precluded the full development of
disciplinary orientations requiring cooperation among a host of fields spanning
the natural, social and human sciences, such as human and urban ecology.
Only in the last quarter century have human-dominated systems and
situations gained their rightful place in ecological thinking and studies.
This paper thus presents a review of the development of urban ecology and,
consequently, of the consideration of urban, periurban and industrial systems
as ecological systems. It further examines of the contribution of the resulting
conceptual and methodological research approaches to the overall effort
towards sustainable urban development (CELECIA, 1997). A review is given of
the burgeoning interest in biological and genetic diversity, and of the fact that
urban, periurban and industrial systems are also relevant for increasing
knowledge and understanding in this field. In fact, it is time that our concern for
biological diversity be expanded to include these areas which are already
inhabited by half of the world's population.
While the summary presented above reveals increasing attention to these
issues, it also indicates that, as in the case of so many biodiversity issues, there
is ample room for reinforced research on the occurrence, distribution and
functioning of biological diversity in highly complex human-dominated systems.
Such research and the results obtained are critically important for improving
human well-being within the context of sustainable and equitable development.
S a u v a g e .'

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It is true that inventories are an important component of our quest to
improve our knowledge and understanding of biodiversity. However, they are but
one of the many tools available for confronting this challenge, for trying to
assess how much we know about biodiversity and where the most important
gaps occur in our knowledge, and for determining how the monitoring of
biodiversity must be strengthened.
In fact, we are dealing here with an important component of our "natural"
or "ecological" capital, for which we have direct responsibility because of its
relation to the living conditions and even the survival of present and future
generations. It follows then, and as indicated in previous sections, that the
"open" character of the city as an ecosystem is important and should motivate
urban, regional and land use planners to ensure a continuum between cities
and their rural and natural hinterlands. This strategy would not only serve
nature conservation but also would help citizens realise that the city is an
integral part of the region in which it is located, and on which they depend.
The value of nature in and around urban areas has to date, been mainly
expressed in scientific, ethical, aesthetical, educational, health, functional,
economic, recreational and perceptual terms. We have also learned to express
it now in terms of need, access, human rights, multisensorial experience,
therapy, contentment, well-being social exchange, communication, identity,
historical and cultural heritage, spirituality and peace.
Conservation has ceased to be merely an altruistic ideal or a luxury resulting
from a romantisized, sentimentalized notion of nature. It has become a need
and an essential component of integrated management plans seeking the
sustainable use of land and natural resources, in which cities constitute a major
and growing concern. However, we are also aware of the scarcity or, as it
occurs dramatically in the developing world, even the paucity of qualified
human resources and institutional structures to fill the recognized gaps of
knowledge. Ironically, the number of trained personnel in developing
countries to undertake studies on biological diversity is inversely proportional
to species richness in such countries (UNEP, 1996). Already there are serious
limitations to the study of biodiversity in critical ecosystems (e.g. humid
tropics), and local institutions and authorities in many cases can not
reasonably be expected to undertake priority studies of nature and biological
diversity in situations of burgeoning urbanization with dramatic human needs, in
which planning and management take place in a chronic state of crisis
(Celecia, 1987).
The scarcity or paucity of human resources in life sciences and ecology in
biodiversity-rich developing countries can also be seen in botanic gardens
(Planta Europa Proceedings, 1995). The 15 countries of the European Union
have 367 such gardens, whereas the USA has 240, the 15 countries of the
former USSR 157, and the 17 countries comprising the rest of Europe 148. There
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are 19 Botanical gardens in Canada, and 58 in Australia. The number of
botanic gardens diminishes rapidly in developing countries to the point that some
have none at all. Such is the case of Africa (not counting South Africa) where
the 162 botanic gardens occur in just 30 of the 51 countries, leaving 21
countries without such gardens. Similarly of the 23 Central American and
Caribbean countries, 5 lack a botanic garden. A parallel situation is found
concerning herbaria, and in particular tropical herbaria. Reinforced
collaboration from industrialized countries is thus needed, in which education and
training hold a priority position among assistance initiatives.
The above points out at the need for greater cooperation between and
among individual scientists, scientific teams and their institutions at local,
national, regional and inter- regional levels. Since ecological thinking
contributes to providing the inspiration and underpinning of many collaborative
efforts that deal with complex issues and problems related to the environment
and its resources (in which the consideration of biological diversity is crucial),
this also means breaking the behavioral barriers of professional corporatism,
compartmentalization and single-discipline academic narrowness.
Let the specialist not be threatened by this plea. The call is rather for a
change of attitude and behavior, and for developing a culture of cooperation and
solidarity.
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DISCUSSION
Andr GuiLLERME **
Je rejoins tout fait John CELECIA sur la ncessit d'avoir une perspective
de longue dure, cyclique ou non concernant l'cosystme "ville". Mais je
voudrais revenir sur la question des sols, qui me semble fondamentale dans notre
socit contemporaine, et qu'il s'agisse d'espaces urbains, pri-urbains ou en
pleine urbanisation. Je pense aux problmes lis l'impermabilisation des
sols, aux remontes de nappe et aux inondations : aujourd'hui, les ingnieurs
contrlent trs bien le flux des rivires, mais on contrle beaucoup moins les
inondations provenant de l'intrieur du sol et provoques par
l'impermabilisation. Paris est un exemple bien connu : entre 1800 et 1995, le taux
d'impermabilisation du sol est pass de 20 % 95 %. Les archologues travaillent sur
les couches profondes, mais le sol proprement dit a t profondment remani
depuis une centaine d'annes par les ingnieurs des villes qui y ont install les
rseaux enterrs l'eau, les gouts, l'lectricit, le mtro mme, etc. Le sol a
t boulevers. Ces sols jouent videmment un rle important pour la
vgtation, qu'il s'agisse des sols en place, ou des matriaux de construction. Jusque
*"* - Discutant.
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dans la premire moiti du XIXe sicle o furent dcouverts les chaux
hydrauliques et les ciments artificiels, la grande majorit des villes du Bassin Parisien
sont des milieux calcaires, puisque le mortier est fait base de chaux. Il cre
des conditions particulires pour une vgtation urbaine spcifique qui tend
disparatre au cours des XVIIIe et XIXe sicles, d'autant que les ingnieurs
n'apprcient pas la vgtation pousse entre les pierres, qui dgrade leurs
monuments. La prise en compte de l'histoire est donc ncessaire. On a parl ce
matin des chardons : ils ont t abondamment utiliss dans les villes
"drapantes", o l'on fabriquait le drap de laine ds les XIIe et XIIIe sicles, parce que
les ttes rigides, montes sur des manches, servaient donner plus de soyeux,
plus de volume au tissu. Des ouvriers, les compagnons laineurs, battaient ainsi
les draps mouills et suspendus des claies, l'aide d'une "croise", instrument
de bois sur lequel taient attaches treize ttes de DLpjaciu fuLlonum L.1. Il y
avait ainsi des cultures spciales de chardons foulon proximit des
manufactures de draps fins comme Louviers, Elbeuf, Sedan et dans les rgions du
Lauragais et de la Provence.
J'insisterai sur le dernier point dvelopp par John CELECIA, celui de
l'interdisciplinarit. La question de la ville a commenc se trouver formule
dans la pense scientifique au cours du XIXe sicle, mais toujours en marge. Il
faut travailler sa reconnaissance comme objet interdisciplinaire : l'analyse de
la vgtation urbaine peut s'enrichir par les apports de l'archologie, de
l'histoire, de l'hydrologie. Cette science ouverte doit permettre d'amliorer la ville
d'aujourd'hui et de demain.
Bernadette LlZET
J'aimerais que John CELECIA dveloppe un peu cette notion de crise
institutionnelle.
John CELECIA
La crise de l'environnement est fortement associe la crise des institutions,
surtout celles lies la recherche des solutions aux problmes de
l'environnement. Logiquement, cette situation se rpercute sur les systmes de
valorisation de la science, les orientations, les contenus, et les destinations de la
recherche, ainsi que sur les programmes de formation technique et
professionnelle, et d'ducation environnementale, tous les niveaux. En 1991,
Francesco Dl CASTRI indiquait que seulement 5 10 % de la recherche
produite dans le cadre de l'environnement pourrait tre utile pour la planification
et la prise de dcision. C'est aberrant, quand on sait que le budget assign la
recherche sur l'environnement est notoirement insuffisant. Mais d'autres
impratifs priment aujourd'hui, dans le contexte de la mondialisation de la
1 - Cette utilisation manuelle des ttes de chardon foulon s'est poursuivie jusqu'en 1830 environ, date
laquelle on les a utilises dans des machines. En 1983, la cardre cultive avait disparu presque
dfinitivement. En 1990, la revue La Hulotte (08240 Boult-aux-Bois) lanait une grande
opration de sauvetage en proposant ses lecteurs de cultiver chez eux Dipacud fullonum L.
La seule condition pour recevoir un petit sachet de graines, tait de s'engager procder
sa propre rcolte en automne, et d'en restituer une partie La Hulotte pour enrichir le stock
disponible.
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production, de la consommation, du commerce et de la distribution, et des
dsordres montaires qui s'ensuivent. Quant la formation des jeunes
techniciens et des professionnels qui doivent s'adapter aux problmes de
l'environnement, il est vident que les efforts actuels pour leur formation restent isols,
fragmentaires et plutt en marge des curjuj d'ducation suprieure. En France,
aujourd'hui, de nombreuses communes ont besoin d'expertise en matire
d'environnement. Est-ce que la formation des Conseillers en environnement est
suffisante et sont-ils assez nombreux ? Malgr le besoin d'une telle expertise,
est-ce que les budgets locaux, dpartementaux ou rgionaux prvoient ces
embauches ? Si l'emploi existe, est-ce que ces jeunes professionnels peuvent,
non seulement s'adapter la complexit et aux incertitudes des problmes,
mais galement les interprter en relation avec des situations
biogographiques, bioclimatiques, socio-conomiques et socio-culturelles locales ? Des
efforts sont faits dans ce sens, mais un grand nombre d'institutions, aux
niveaux national, rgional et international continuent valuer la recherche
sur la base de disciplines individuelles. La comptition entre les disciplines, en
particulier pour les crdits, ainsi que la persistance des corporatismes
traditionnels, ne favorisent pas le dialogue ni la modestie.
Cette situation est exacerbe par des structures administratives inadquates
et des mentalits rigides. La formation des jeunes professionnels dans
l'environnement se confronte donc sa propre incapacit rpondre aux nouvelles
exigences en ressources humaines et aux difficults d'intgration de la
recherche la planification, la gestion et la prise de dcisions. Confronte
l'incertitude inhrente aux systmes complexes, la science actuelle devrait
laborer une nouvelle stratgie. Depuis la grande Confrence de Stockholm en
1972, diverses organisations et programmes internationaux gouvernementaux
et non gouvernementaux, ainsi que plus de soixante-dix ministres de
l'Environnement ou d'entits quivalentes, ont t mis en place dans le monde.
Mais lprs du Sommet de la Terre, en juin 1992, les mmes problmes se sont
poss, avec une acuit encore lus grande : en matire de diversit biologique et
gntique, la vitesse des dgradations s'avre bien suprieure celle de la
recherche des solutions. La communaut scientifique doit rflchir, et prendre
acte.

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Fabula urbana
Two dparrowd
chirping indignantly their way into non conformim
tided to peer into human behavior
and bledd their feat herd.
They dedpued loverd in the park
who cavorted on their (the dparrowd ' I)
rightful cracker crumbd
and hated card and chromium
in the dweating hazard of dtreet dcavanging.

They nedted and laid their eggd on corniced


defying the endledd murmurd of telephone cabled
whildt dcantily plumaged youngdterd
would be martyred
by hoboLdh emanciated alley catd.

Avec l'aimable autorisation de DIDACTTON


There wad aldo the daily terror of the pigeond
with their bold and loud behavior
where the wordt wad the boidteroud male
who chadtied hu harem with hid
relentUdd ludt...
And the dparrowd bledded their featherd
(They are monogamoud, you know).

John Celecia
Sauvage

Two dparrowd were perched on a cornice


chirping their indignation at
the durface tremor of the dubway,
the rattle of dtreetcard, the blaring of hornd,
the clamoring of countledd expreddionledd madkd
hurrying to nowhere.
And they counted their bleddingd and
bledded their featherd
(For God had made them dparrowd and
not people or pigeond) .
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