The importance of biodiversity in cities and ecosystem services

James, Philip ORCID: 2011, The importance of biodiversity in cities and ecosystem services , in: Conferencia Biodiversidade em Ambiente Urbano, 23rd November 2011, Lisbon.

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In 1984 E. O. Wilson described the word “biophilia” as “the connections that human beings subconsciously seek with the rest of life”. Had Wilson written this text post 1992 he might have replaced the phrase “the rest of life” with a single word: Biodiversity. There is now clear evidence from various disciplines: medicine, health, sociology, physiology, and ecology, that biodiversity provides many ecosystem services (usually classified as supporting, provisioning, regulating, and cultural) that are fundamental to individual and societal health and well-being. In this talk this evidence will be reviewed briefly. Yet over time, as human society has developed from hunting and gathering to post-industrial there has been an erosion of individual and societal contact with nature; a trend which will be mapped out in this talk. Biodiversity is key, through the provision of ecosystem services, to the resilience of cities. The dawn of the 21st century brought with it unprecedented cultural challenges: peak oil, climate change; both testing societal resilience. It is our culture: our shared ideas, attitudes, and actions, which will determine how resilient our cities are. It is our attitudes to biodiversity that will shape the cities of tomorrow, and we need the outputs from good science to shape these attitudes. There are a number of scientific and cultural challenges that lie ahead; these will be drawn out in the concluding section of this paper.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Keynote)
Themes: Built and Human Environment
Health and Wellbeing
Memory, Text and Place
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences
Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Refereed: No
Depositing User: Professor Philip James
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2011 10:05
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2022 09:52

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