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The Various Challenges in
Urban Ecosystem Research
Heikki Setälä
University of Helsinki
Department of Ecological and
Environmental Sciences
Hot future topic
Climate change
Increased temperature
Pori, August 2007
Other negative
consequences ...
CITIES and global change
Climate change
- precipitation
- temperature
Land use change
- urbanisationn
- agriculture etc.
Drastic Increase in
sealed surfaces
City floods
Contamination of surface
waters (= hulevedet)
1) Ecologists’s perspective  Problems with hydrological cycles
2) Ecologist’s perspective  Problems with Urban land use
Why to worry about impermeable, covered soils
Soils are an essential FUNCTIONAL UNIT
in all terrestrial ecosystems
Ecoystem Services
- food
- Water purification
- Nutrient cycling
- Detoxification
- etc.
””Living soil”
Outcomes of urban land use
Down-town Lahti:
> million m3 stormwaters to lake Vesijärvi
Outcomes of urban land use
Reduced and fragmented urban green space
Biodiversity aspects?
Esthetical aspects?
HOLISTIC view of urban systems:
Urban ecosystem
service network
Decisions/advice for City officials?
More appreciation towards urban green areas
To consider urban systems as ECOSYSTEMS with essential
life-supprting services
Sustainable future for cities and their inhabitants