Urban Ecology Cools Building, Cities, and Helps Biodiversity

Modern cities are full of biodiversity, you just need to know where to look .Urban ecology is a relatively new field of study that examines how isolated urban green infrastructure relates to one another to form an ecological understanding of our cities. This infrastructure includes green roofs, parks, water catchments, and private spaces like yards and balconies.

Cities can help cool their local area by encouraging green infrastructure, and given the heat wave the west coast is currently experience we need to invest in as much green infrastructure as possible.

The addition and maintenance of green infrastructure is now central to urban planning in most cities. This includes planting trees and bushes, naturalizing parks, restoring wetlands and promoting other forms of green infrastructure such as green roofs. Some cities, including Edmonton, have launched goat programs to control noxious weeds.

A complicating factor is that much of the urban greenspace is found in privately owned gardens. Depending on the city, gardens can make up between 16 and 40 per cent of the total urban land cover, and between 35 and 86 per cent of the total greenspace. Governments have little influence over these areas, leaving it up to individual people to make the right decisions.


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Butterflies are Back Thanks to Small Gardens

pollinator

If you planted native species in your garden then you deserve a pat on the shoulder. Your efforts have helped the butterflies return from dangerously low population levels. In Toronto we’ve seen the mass return of butterflies and it’s thanks to efforts by people and educational groups ensuring that pollinators get the food they need. It also helps hold back invasive species by helping native ones and therefore ensuring we don’t lose our biodiversity. If you haven’t planted native species – don’t worry the year isn’t over yet!

Monarch butterflies are flying all over the city, and many people are wondering how that’s possible after the species’ population reached an all-time low in 2010.

“Best guess is that the push in gardening for planting butterfly friendly plants and leaving milkweed alone has been successful. People are becoming more conscious of what they plant in their gardens and it’s a really fantastic positive change,” one user wrote.

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Thanks to Greg!

Seed Bank Saves Seeds

The ‘doomsday vault’ is getting more attention and love to save seeds. They’ve created a new, expanded, goal to save 100,000 seeds. This is good news because having a well-kept seed bank to preserve biodiversity can prove invaluable if some of the plants die out or are struck by a horrible disease. THink of it has a global insurance policy on plants.

Countries participating in the programme including Ireland, have assembled extensive duplicate seed collections to match those held at home. These are then to be delivered to the vault which will hold them in perpetuity at -18 degrees, something that should keep them safe for thousands of years, Dr Fowler said.

By the end of February there will be about 400,000 varieties in the vault.

Ireland’s seeds are expected to arrive either later this month or by April, Dr Fowler said.

The ongoing project is separate to this new initiative to rescue threatened seed collections in 46 countries, he continued.

Many countries struggle to maintain their seed banks to an international standard, leaving them at risk of partial or even total loss.

“There are a number of small seed banks around the world where the facilities are pretty poor. The seeds are basically dying in their packages,” he said.

“If we sit and wait we will have another wave of extinctions in agricultural biodiversity.”

Trust staff will visit 49 institutes where seeds are held, using funding provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Grains Research and Development Corporation.

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