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GGRA03H3 Lecture Notes - Cultural Landscape, Strip Mall, Longhorn Beetle

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Andre Sorensen

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GGRA03 – Lecture 6
Ecological Footprint Analysis
- asks what is the total area of difference ecosystem types to produce the input and dispose of all
wastes of a given city
- Wackernagel and Rees measured everything in terms of Land Area
- imagine a city enclosed in a dome – how big would the dome have to be to allow all inputs to be
produced and all wastes to be disposed
- measures all inputs into city system
Ex. High transit use = less energy per capita
- knowing the supply and what amount being consumed
- energy, food, wood, cement, glass, steel, water, etc.
- there are about 1.5ha of productive land per capita in the world, and Canadian (4.3ha) and
US(5.1ha) per capita footprints are much higher than their global share
- basically were over-consuming my 3times, if everyone consumed at our rate then wed be out
of resources
Ex. Toronto needed 280 times its own area to produce the supply and absorb the waste
- criticism: its an index, how you value the number because you have the equation dependent on
one factor, there is uncertainty in the calculation.
Cities as Biotic Systems
- some urban ecologists study cities as biotic systems
- examine the ways in which cities create new ecological niches for certain species (plants and
animals), urban animals
Ex. Racoons, rats, squirrels (black squirrels adapted in cities, red squirrels in forest), possums,
pigeons, cockroaches, bedbugs
- how do cities change species composition?
- insecticides and herbicides, huge amount of toxic chemicals used in habitat... cities are almost
like a desert
- what kinds of long-term impacts might be of concern?
- invasive species are in large part a product of urban monocultures, globalization, materials and
product flows
- urban monocultures allow the establishment of these invasive species, certain crowding of
species are allowed to exist in a habitat
Ex. Asian longhorn beetle
Urban Political Ecology
- another interpretation of cities as human ecosystem
- takes into account social and economic Power
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