How Do Changing Landscapes Affect Human Risk to West Nile Virus?

Urbanization is transforming the South. And as forests and farms are converted to urban land uses, there are environmental consequences—reduced water quality, invasive species, and loss of habitat for native wildlife and plant species. The changes also have implications for disease vectors, such as birds and insects that can carry West Nile Virus (WNV), Lyme disease, and more recently, the Zika virus.

One group of researchers has been looking at the connection between a wide ranging but integrated group of factors in the transmission of WNV—the loss of forest cover, increases in impervious surface, reduced water quality, socioeconomics, and other factors—that may play a role in supporting the bird and mosquito populations that are key in the spread of WNV.

Graeme Lockaby, a research professor with the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University, has been studying the impacts of forest conversion on water quality for decades. In recent years, he has been working with an interdisciplinary team of researchers, including Wayne Zipperer, SRS-4952 research forester; Wayde Morse, a social scientist, and Latif Kalin, a hydrologic modeler, both with the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn; and Navideh Noori, a hydrologic modeler at the University of Georgia. The team has been looking at how urbanization affects streams, creeks, and rivers in a range of settings from rural forested areas to the inner city.

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2015: Year of the Nature-Rich City?

By 2050, the percentage of individuals that live in urban areas will rise to over 60 percent.  In this article, Richard Louv explores what this means in terms of human physical and mental well-being.  Louv describes an urban approach that would help connect people to nature and a new  initiative to help young people do just that.

“… a new kind of city, one that connects people to nature where they live, work, learn and play, a city that nurtures the health, learning and creativity of humans and serves as an incubator for biodiversity.”

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Louv, Richard. 2014 Dec 29. 2015:Year of the Nature Rich City?  Children & Nature Network: The New Nature Movement. http://bit.ly/1J2otdZ

Urban Ecology Research Project Could Benefit Birds

urbanecologi[2Florida International University (FIU) is participating in a bird-window collision study that spans Central Mexico to Alaska. According to FIU professor John Whitney, best estimates indicate between 300 million and one billion birds in North America die each year as a result of collisions with building windows. Students are collecting data on bird mortality associated with these collisions, providing species names and the cardinal direction of the fatal impacts. This information will help scientists understand the risk factors for these collisions with the intent to reduce mortality by creating bird-friendly design options for new buildings and treatments for existing ones.

Research that explores the impacts of urbanization on wildlife continues to shape how the needs of humans may be balanced with the needs of other species. These studies lead scientists to continue to address the question of how humans and nature can coexist more successfully.

To read the full article visit: http://bit.ly/1s9JoAt

2013 Urban Forestry Institute – Registration Deadline Extended Until April 26

Over 80 percent of the U.S. population lives in urban or urbanizing areas.  Change in land cover from agriculture and forest land to developed land increases the amount of impervious surfaces, loss of forest cover, stormwater runoff, and pollution levels for both air and water.  Urbanization in the United States is projected to continue to increase in the near future.  The Urban Forestry Institute (UFI) will provide the most up-to-date tools and techniques to address these issues related to urbanization and improve the planning, management of our built environments.

The UFI is a weeklong, intensive training workshop that will take place in Nashville, TN, May 6 – 10, 2013.  The workshop is designed to provide state agency foresters, municipal planners, and other related professionals working in natural resources with in-depth, current urban and interface natural resource management education and training.  This training will enable these professionals to better assist municipalities in planning to lessen the effects of changing land use and urbanization on the environment.  The Institute will include formal presentations and case studies from some of the leading researchers and practitioners in the urban forestry/urban planning field.  Focusing on urban forest adaptive management, planning, and technology, the workshop will walk participants through the urban natural resources planning process and provide abundant hands-on management plan writing exercises.

Target audience:  This institute is geared toward state agency foresters who provide technical assistance regarding urban forestry to local communities, allied professionals (i.e. horticulturists, landscape architects, municipal arborists, etc.), and community planners who have an interest in learning how to effectively plan and manage their city’s natural resources.

Location:  Holiday Inn Express Downtown, 920 Broadway, Nashville, TN; A limited block of rooms will be available for the Urban Forestry Institute for $107 per night from Sunday to Thursday night of that week.  The hotel offers a complimentary, full breakfast every morning.

Registration:  The registration fee is $275 per person. This fee will cover all training materials, lunches and breaks. You may register on-line at: http://treesvirginia.org/joomla/. Please register by April 26, 2013.

Continuing education credits:  Society of American Foresters – 32.5 Cat. 1 – CF; International Society of Arboriculture – applied for

For more information about the Urban Forestry Institute, visit the Trees Virginia website at http://treesvirginia.org/joomla/.

 

Urban-Rural Interfaces: Linking People and Nature

What is the urban-rural interface? It is a visual phenomenon, a place where country gives way to neighborhoods and shopping areas in startling way? It is a simple factor of population density?

There is nothing simple about the urban-rural interface-editors David Laband, Graeme Lockaby, and Wayne Zipperer present the board spectrum of interdisciplinary complexities at play.

Organized into three sections on changing ecosystems, changing human dimensions, and the dynamic integration of human and natural systems, this newly released book is a must read for anyone who works in the real world, where natural and human systems are joined.

This is the new sustainability science, an emerging discipline that integrates social and economic values with the physical, chemical, and ecological functions of ecosystems. The goal is optimal management, since our human impact is often significant and far-reaching in both space and time.

Click here for more information about this book.