Urban ecosystems are diminished ecosystems

 

Being trained in plant ecology, I enjoy HCN’s well-balanced reporting of issues relating to that subject. The inclusion of Emma Marris’ review of Nathanael Johnson’s Unseen City in the Feb. 20 issue is an example. I agree that urban wildlife systems are ecosystems in their own right, and they contain many beautiful wonders, if we are willing to look for them. Yet at the same time we might want to remember that these urban ecosystems are simple, much less diverse, much more unstable, and far less productive of the so-called “services” upon which humans rely, than the relatively undisturbed ecosystems we find in our national parks, for example.

Stephen Fischer
Los Angeles, California