A team of scientists has produced an innovative new study of the environmental impact of major urban ecosystems, published in the April issue of the journal Ecological Applications.
The team includes Joseph P. McFadden and Jennifer Y. King, both of UC Santa Barbara's Department of Geography. They analyzed environmental data gleaned from the "Twin Cities Household Ecosystem Project," a study of 3,100 households in the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., and surrounding areas. The article is the first major paper to come out of the project.
The data analysis yielded a huge bank of interconnected information, with many applications. The results will be useful to a vast number of individuals and groups, including economists, engineers, hydrologists, transportation specialists, urban designers, political scientists, lawyers, environmental agencies and groups, NASA, and others. The results will help in the crafting of messages and designing of systems that will assist in preserving the environment, and possibly curbing climate change, the researchers said.
McFadden and King were recruited by UCSB's Department of Geography from the University of Minnesota, where they began work on the Twin Cities project. The highly interdisciplinary nature of UCSB's Department of Geography allows them to manage their part of the project with ease. "This may be the best place in the world for our part of this research," said McFadden, the principal investigator at UCSB.
The researchers explained that the project is unique in both its scale and comprehensive approach to studying urban ecosystems. It covers the whole span of a major metropolitan region, from the city center to the "exurban" fringe, 34 miles out, across two counties.
"We measured an enormous range of different activities that make up each household's impacts on the environment," said McFadden. "All of those measurements were made on the same set of households at
|Contact: Gail Gallessich|
University of California - Santa Barbara