Books  Ecology  Ecological Theory and Practice 

Urban Ecosystems: Ecological Principles for the Built Environment

  • Discussion questions, exercises and laboratories at the end of each chapter encourage students to take an active role in their learning
  • Demonstrates the importance of interacting processes, rather than simple rules, in understanding urban ecosystems
  • Links ecological principles to human consumption, health and well-being, demonstrating how human actions can lead to a range of unintended consequences
  • Comprehensive review of the literature for deeper investigation, with key papers highlighted for further reading

By: Frederick R Adler(Author), Colby J Tanner(Author)

345 pages, 89 colour and 100 b/w photos and illustrations, tables

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Apr 2013 | #201561 | ISBN-13: 9780521746137
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £45.99 $59/€50 approx
Hardback | Apr 2013 | #201560 | ISBN-13: 9780521769846
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £103.00 $132/€112 approx

About this book

As humans have come to dominate the earth, the ideal of studying and teaching ecology in pristine ecosystems has become impossible to achieve. Our planet is now a mosaic of ecosystems ranging from the relatively undisturbed to the completely built, with the majority of people living in urban environments. This accessible introduction to the principles of urban ecology provides students with the tools they need to understand these increasingly important urban ecosystems. It builds upon the themes of habitat modification and resource use to demonstrate how multiple ecological processes interact in cities and how human activity initiates chains of unpredictable unintended ecological consequences. Broad principles are supported throughout by detailed examples from around the world and a comprehensive list of readings from the primary literature. Questions, exercises and laboratories at the end of each chapter encourage discussion, hands-on study, active learning, and engagement with the world outside the classroom window.

"[...] If you want a text on urban ecology that excels in the big picture of how these ecosystems work, rather than the organisms found within them, then this would be a hard book to match."
– Peter Thomas, The BES Bulletin 45(2), June 2014



1. Urban ecosystems and the science of ecology
2. Urban accounting
3. Urban ecosystem processes
4. The ecology of urban organisms
5. Implications of urban ecology


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Frederick R. Adler is a professor in the Departments of Biology and Mathematics at the University of Utah. He has published research in a broad range of topics throughout mathematical biology, including biodiversity, population dynamics and spatial ecology. He was awarded the University of Utah's Distinguished Mentor Award in 2009.

Colby J. Tanner is currently a visiting Research Fellow in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Lausanne. His work focuses on the interface between the local environment and the social aspects of animal behaviour.

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