Urban ecologists study human-nature interactions

Urban-Ecology-CAP-LTERIn the latest installment of the "Sustainable Cities" series, Senior Sustainability Scientist Nancy Grimm discusses common misconceptions about ecologists and nature. She presents the idea of untouched wilderness as an example. “We’ve recognized that there really aren’t such places, or are very few such places, left on Earth,” says Grimm, an ecologist herself who has worked in the field for more than 30 years. Grimm is also the director of Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research, a project launched in 1997. CAP LTER is one of 26 LTER sites throughout the United States. Based at ASU, it is one of only two sites that examine urban ecosystems. Specifically, the Phoenix site answers questions about ecosystem services - benefits provided to people by the environment or wildlife - and studies how humans interact with nature in their cities.