About this Research Topic
The tropics (tropical regions) are inhabited by around 40 percent of the world’s population. By 2050, the region will host more than half of the planet’s population and two-thirds of its children, and it is expected to add another 3 billion people by the end of the century. The urbanization rate is faster in the tropics than globally, where approximately 45% of people live in cities with steeply increasing tendency. The tropics also concentrate a large proportion of the world´s poorest population, which is increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and loss of ecosystem services (ES). Thus, a major challenge facing the world today is how biodiversity and ES can be conserved and maintained in urban social-ecological systems, particularly in the tropics, where rapid urbanization processes are underway and the amount of biodiversity is remarkable.
The challenge of urbanization for ecosystem services/disservices specifically deserves further analysis in tropical regions, which are very understudied in this regard. Indeed, there remain controversies in the field of urban ecosystem policy and management, partly because the varying approaches and methodologies used make comparisons across cities difficult. Considering that the majority of the current world population lives in cities, urban landscapes – including urban ecosystems – provide a new paradigm for the multidisciplinary study of biodiversity conservation through the combination of classical ecology studies associated with more applied and human-centered disciplines like urban planning, public policy, and environmental psychology. However, this urban-centered approach, emphasizing ecosystem services/disservices, is still highly biased towards studies from cities throughout subtropical regions.
Considering the large urban footprint in the tropics, this Research Topic in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution will emphasize the need to develop an agenda and action for research on this subject. Explicitly, we expect to:
• describe and quantify the implications of provisioning urban ecosystem services/disservices for improving human well-being;
• increase our understanding of the conditions leading to the effects of ecosystem services/disservices on the social system in a comparative perspective;
• develop a platform for communicating and disseminating information regarding biodiversity and urban ecosystem services/disservices, in order to raise public awareness; and
• propose instruments to manage urban variables for the provisioning of ecosystem services, including urban management and governance.
This Research Topic aims to deliver important contributions to several high-profile initiatives supporting the preservation of ES and biodiversity, sustainable development and knowledge synthesis that can contribute to understanding governing mechanisms and management structures. This project supports the identification of the critical needs and priorities of tropical cities and their social-ecological networks.
Keywords: social-ecological systems, natural resource governance, ecosystem services, human well-being, green areas
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.