Nature All Around Us: A Guide to Urban Ecology

Paperback | September 21, 2012

EditorBeatrix Beisner

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It’s easy to stand in awe of a city’s impressive skyline, marveling at its buildings reaching for the clouds and its vast network of roadways and train lines crisscrossing in every direction. It can often seem like everything in a city is man-made, all concrete, steel, and glass. But even the asphalt jungle is not all asphalt—a sidewalk’s cracks are filled with nature, if we know where and how to look. To aid us in this quest is Nature All Around Us, which will help us to recognize (and look after) the natural world we traipse through in our daily lives.

Nature All Around Us
uses the familiar—such as summer Sundays humming with lawn mowers, gray squirrels foraging in planters, and flocks of pigeons—in order to introduce basic ecological concepts. In twenty-five short chapters organized by scale, from the home to the neighborhood to the city at large, it offers a subtle and entertaining education in ecology sure to inspire appreciation and ultimately stewardship of the environment. Various ecological concepts that any urban dweller might encounter are approachably examined, from understanding why a squirrel might act aggressively towards its neighbor to how nutrients and energy contained within a discarded apple core are recycled back into the food chain. Streaming through the work is an introduction to basic ecology, including the dangers of invasive species and the crucial role played by plants and trees in maintaining air quality.

Taken as a whole, Nature All Around Us is an unprecedented field guide to the ecology of the urban environment that invites us to look at our towns, cities, and even our backyards through the eyes of an ecologist. It is an entertaining, educational, and inspiring glimpse into nature in seemingly unnatural settings, a reminder that we don’t have to trek into the wild to see nature—we just have to open our eyes.

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From the Publisher

It’s easy to stand in awe of a city’s impressive skyline, marveling at its buildings reaching for the clouds and its vast network of roadways and train lines crisscrossing in every direction. It can often seem like everything in a city is man-made, all concrete, steel, and glass. But even the asphalt jungle is not all asphalt—a sid...

Beatrix Beisner, Christian Messier, and Luc Alain Giraldeau are all professors in the Department of Biology at the University of Quebec at Montreal.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:160 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 1.1 inPublished:September 21, 2012Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226922758

ISBN - 13:9780226922751

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction: What Is Ecology?

PART 1 AROUND THE HOUSE AND GARDEN

1 Apple at My Core
2 Arboreal Aqueducts
3 Lawn Lions
4 Praise for Lazy Gardeners
5 The Evolution of Food
6 Hey, Taxi!
7 Social Life
8 Bathroom Drama
9 Winter Warmth

PART 2 IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

10 The Secret Life of Ponds
11 A Life of Extremes
12 Prowling Predator
13 Pigeontown
14 Animal Intelligentsia
15 Squirrelly Neighbors
16 From the Chimney Tops
17 Long Lifelines

PART 3 THE METROPOLIS

18 Canary in the City
19 Wing Beats
20 Enough Already!
21 Darwin’s Sweet Tooth?
22 A Breath of Fresh Air
23 Successful Little Birds
24 Opportunistic Gulls
25 Urban Roots

Conclusion
Glossary

Editorial Reviews

"Nature is all around us, not just in remote places, the authors remind us in this cleverly written work by ecology experts. In short chapters, they urge readers to study the relationships between animal life and mankind, starting first with the immediate scene, the house and garden. Readers may proceed next to the larger setting, the urban community. They draw attention to exotic creatures that invade the environment and will eventually harm native plants and animals. This book, translated from the French (originally entitled Écologie en ville) by Beatrix Beisner, is not only a guide to ever present nature, but also a subtle reminder to care for the natural world that gives us so much pleasure."