Our cities are important for people & planet.
Did you know? The vast majority of people in the US and world live in cities and urban areas, and urban populations will keep growing throughout the century. This means that most people rely on urban ecosystems to provide the critical services we get from the environment (like air and water filtration, carbon storage, climate moderation, outdoor recreation, wildlife habitat, etc). How can we ensure these ecosystem services get to people in urbanized landscapes?
Plants and insects provide services in cities.
When we grow plants in urban areas, from trees in a public park to flowers in your backyard garden, we cultivate spaces that provide these ecosystem services to the growing population. In addition, these plants provides habitat to insects that are absolutely essential for pollinating our food crops, feeding our wildlife, breaking down our waste products, and so many other services we rely on. Thanks, insects! A win for people and planet!
Cities are complex.
If only it were that simple! This scenario grows more complicated because cities are complex social-ecological landscapes marked by differences in vegetational communities, temperature, water availability, nutrient availability, paved surfaces, and human infrastructure. These factors influence plants and insects in cities, affecting the services they provide to the people who live there.