The Baltimore Ecosystem Study: Urban heterogeneity as driver and outcome

Last week the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) had its spring meeting. Discussion focused on the theory of urban heterogeneity. If that sounds like it may be confusing, we got a great example (shown below) of how the patchy distribution of ash trees in Baltimore and the patchy invasion of emerald ash borer may cause unequally distributed health problems to vulnerable populations based on loss of tree canopy and elevated urban heat island effects.

Distribution of ash trees, emerald ash borer, ash tree mortality, elevated heat island effects, and vulnerable populations as causes and effects of resource flows, population distributions and social choices: from Dr. S. Pickett, BES Director’s Blog

Examining these connections and patterns helps us better understand urban systems and how the often abrupt changes in social, environmental, and economic conditions in cities can affect things as different (but connected) as the distribution of ash trees and the distribution of human heat stress vulnerability.

Dr. Pickett on the thoery of urban heterogeneity at the BES meeting


Please follow the BES Director’s Blog here and journey with us as we advance our understanding of cities as socio-ecological systems.

The Consulting Group at SavATree provides project coordination support to the US Forest Service Northern Research Station, a primary partner in the Baltimore Ecosystem Study.