The Complex Ecosystems of Cities, Where Plants Meet Politics


Source: Wired.

A biologist might, let’s say, a particular species of rabbit, spending years in the field observing a population of them. A botanist might do the same with a specific grass or tree.

But ecologists? They study life, too, but in whole systems at once. An ecologist might study the rabbit, the grass, and add in the local wolf population too. That’s because she’s less interested in the behaviors and traits of one species and more interested in how they interact.

The fact that environmental and social policies are so intertwined in cities has created some unexpected feedback loops, just like ecologists expect to see in a natural environment.