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Earth Stewardship Through Designed Experiments

The ESA meeting is one of the major gatherings of ecologists, and the ESI demonstration project at this meeting provides a unique forum to explore how ecologists can shape urban ecosystems through implementation of hypothesis-driven research in urban areas. GI, the focus of this year’s project, is traditionally implemented by engineers and landscape architects; given that these ‘nature-based solutions’ are underpinned by ecological systems and would benefit from ecologists playing a greater role in the design process, the ESI project aims to help ecologists and designers close this gap. Over time the goal is to replicate these ESI experiences nationally and institutionalize the ESI as an ongoing component of ESA conferences, so as to (A) clarify existing knowledge domains relevant to the integration of urban ecology with urban design projects; (B) inform city managers how ecologists can work with practitioners and shift from studying to shaping urban ecosystems; (C) develop designed experiments to foster relationships between ecologists, designers and other stakeholders; (D) use designed experiments with long-term monitoring as a tool to identify how to recreate natural processes within urban systems; (E) establish a national network of ecologists and urban planning practitioners and; (F) develop educational case studies based on city projects that inform and showcase the integration of ecological understanding and research into planning and management of urban GI projects. ESI demonstrates how land planning projects can serve as models for actionable science in a forum where “ecology for the city” is prioritized.


Resource Management

Generate materials to facilitate the development of resource management plans for urban greenspaces and watersheds, taking into account interactions between humans and ecosystems.

Enhance ecosystem services and social-ecological systems by developing multidisciplinary, phased ecological and community-based planning for Baltimore neighborhoods. 

Ecological Planning


Establish basic research through design experiments; monitor and model strategies to assess performance over time, inform adaptation, and enhance ecological function.

Research and Monitoring

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