DAVID SEITER SPOKE AT "CROSSROADS IN THE CONCRETE JUNGLE: EXPERIENCES AND EXPLORATIONS OF URBAN PLANTS AND PEOPLE" SYMPOSIUM
A symposium on the evolution and distribution of spontaneous plants in urban areas across the globe was held on September 22, 2016 at Rutgers University's Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health (IFNH). The event was organized to create a dialogue among professionals studying different facets of urbanized areas, and included speakers specializing in ecology, geography, forest services, landscape architecture and education.
Research by each professional takes the city as a unique ecological opportunity to monitor novel ecosystems of plant adaptation alongside human involvement. For example, disconnected ecosystems within an urban area lead plants to have more productive seed dispersal systems than the same species in rural areas. Another example is the complexity of plant distribution through human consumption. By purchasing unregulated commercial plants, people are leaving biological signatures on the land. Its impact is neglected, but the plant may escape from the individual house one day and continue to reproduce across the territory. Although urbanization resulted in a global homogenization of biota, various biological interactions of human, animals and plants at each urbanized area create diversity within the local ecosystem.
Civic involvement in sharing the common goals of education, improving public health and infrastructure will connect communities and enforce the study of urban ecology. The discussion ended with the hope to encourage the public's involvement in understanding the complex system and distribution of plants in the territory caused by humans and urbanization. By monitoring ever-changing ecosystems, we can continue to encourage, and raise awareness of, the ecological benefits of plant species, and in doing so overcome the perception of plants only focused on their aesthetics.
Stay tuned for future collaborations with various professionals!