Steward T. A. Pickett, director of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, honored by CERC


Pickett is the director of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, an LTER working to understand the ecology of the urban environment

Last month, Institute of Ecosystem Studies scientist Dr. Steward T. A. Pickett was recognized for his contributions to the field of conservation science by the Center for Research and Conservation (CERC). He was honored with an Innovators in Conservation Award for his pioneering ecological research in Baltimore, MD. Since 1998, Dr. Pickett has served as the founding director of a long-term ecological research project that is focused on understanding how the urban environment is shaped by environmental, social, and economic factors. Called the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES), the project is comprised of 40 researchers from a range of academic disciplines; their shared goal-- investigating the greater Baltimore metropolis as an ecological system.

BES is one of 26 research programs established by the National Science Foundation to study ecological systems over long time periods. Only two of these Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) projects are headquartered in urban areas. The research being conducted by BES is innovating the way cities are viewed from both an urban planning and conservation perspective.

In his award acceptance speech, Dr. Pickett noted, "As human populations concentrate more and more in cities, both the promise and the risk of urban systems increase dramatically. I hope that an improved ecological understanding of cities can help make our urban areas more attractive places, thereby reducing the pressures on conservation in wild and rural lands. I also hope this understanding improves biodiversity in cities, and helps them perform more of the ecological work needed for their support."

To learn more about the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, visit

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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