Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Marginal Nature: Urban Wastelands and Hybrid Ecosystems

I will be doing a presentation with this title for the International Urban Wildlife Management and Planning Conference in Austin May 22-25 this spring. I will also host a fieldtrip tour of Hornsby Bend on Sunday May 22. My topic for my talk is a deliberate response to one of the main speakers Marina Alberti's use of "hybrid environments" in her recent book Advances in Urban Ecology. As she uses hybrid environments and complexity theory, I don't find much of what she proposes very insightful. I was also surprised that she does not reference the work in hybrid geographies in her book. I do agree that urban ecosystems are definitely hybrid systems [agricultural land is too], but urban ecologists have already said this without all the obfuscation of complexity theory and emergent properties. Kowarik and his book Urban Wild Woodlands is a good example of more insightful ecology.

However I appreciate Alberti's work and look forward to meeting her. Perhaps she will come for a tour of a real hybrid ecosystem, Hornsby Bend?

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