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Baltimore Ecosystem Study: Human Settlements as Ecosystems, Metropolitan Baltimore from 1797-2100


The Baltimore Ecosystem Study, begun in 1997, is a Long-Term Ecological Research project designed to understand the controls on urban system structure and function, and how structure and function of the urban ecosystem affect one another.

The proposed research will expand work that addresses three fundamental questions:

1) How do the spatial structure of socioeconomic, ecological, and physical features of an urban area relate to one another, and how do they change through time?

2) What are the fluxes of energy, matter, capital, and population in an urban system? How do they relate to one another, and how do they change over the long term?

3) How can people develop and use an understanding of the metropolis as an ecological system to improve the quality of their environment, and to reduce pollution to downstream air and watersheds?

Conceptual frameworks motivating these questions include ecological, hydrologic and social patch dynamics, the human ecosystem framework, the role of exotics in community organization, socio-spatial theory, resilience, biocomplexity, and urban design theory.

Download full proposal.

Research Team

Sources of Funding
National Science Foundation, $4,920,000 (2004-2010 current award cycle)
USDA Forest Service
US EPA Office of Research

Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Parks and People Foundation
The Gund Institute for Ecological Economics
University of Vermont
The Johns Hopkins University
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
University of North Carolina
USDA Forest Service
US Geological Survey
Yale University
US Army Corps of Engineers
Baltimore City Department of Public Works
Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks
Baltimore City Public Schools
Baltimore County Department of Environmental
Protection and Resource Management
Baltimore County Public Schools
Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance
US Bureau of the Census
Indiana University
Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Forest Service
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
University of Missouri, Columbia
Morgan State University
McDonogh School
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
College of Notre Dame of Maryland
Ohio University
Park School
Revitalizing Baltimore
Roland Park Country School
Towson University
University of Vermont

List of publications

Contact: Christopher G. Boone