NSF ULTRA-Ex (Chicago Wilderness)
The proposed research address a fundamental question: In a complex urban/metropolitan system, what are the convergences and tradeoffs between conserving biodiversity and the provisioning of ecosystem services to people? The research focuses on the Green Infrastructure Vision (GIV) of the Chicago Wilderness alliance, a conservation consortium of over 250 organizations. The GIV, designed to implement the Biodiversity Recovery Plan of Chicago Wilderness, is already influencing long-range land planning in the Chicago region. The GIV identifies 1.5 million acres of recommended resource protection areas – lands that need careful planning and management in order to protect the 360,000 acres of protected lands and waters in the Chicago Wilderness network.
The project focused on three specific objectives:
(1) Conduct a critical examination of the connections between the biodiversity-recovery goals of the region-wide Green Infrastructure Vision and the delivery of several critical ecosystem services to human communities throughout the Chicago region. Theoretical and empirical findings of already funded, ongoing projects will inform this research, which will examine linkages between social and ecological systems in the context of biodiversity management, green-infrastructure conceptualization and implementation, and the delivery of ecosystem services from the cultural to the biogeochemical.
(2) Determine the viable options for, and initiate a pilot “proof-of-concept” version of, a multi-faceted, interactive, web-based Chicago ULTRA-Hub. The proposed ULTRA-Hub will include an interactive platform for managing data, communicating research findings to planners and the public, and collaborating and interacting with scientists and practitioners. It will also be an umbrella and focal point for urban ecosystem research and policy, and will partner with regional education and outreach programs.
(3) Under the guidance of the Chicago ULTRA Council and through a series of outreach and education activities (e.g., a metropolitan-wide graduate course, quarterly meetings of area researchers, planners and land managers), develop the integrated theoretical and empirical framework for the full ULTRA proposal.
Last updated March 6, 2011