The growth of our cities has had important consequences on the environment: damage to natural areas, consumption of natural resources, the significant use of space, the production of greenhouse gases, the pollution of the soil and sub-soils. This is why cities are thinking about sustainable development. To diminish their environmental footprints, some cities are placing greater emphasis on environmental considerations in planning their urban development. They are practising urban ecology.

Ecology is a young science that concentrates on the interactions between living creatures and the environments in which they are found. The word “ecology” is derived from the Greek words “oikos” (the house) and “logos” (study). Over time, ecology has evolved: population ecology, ecophysiology, landscape ecology, marine ecology, and forest ecology, to name but a few. In studying the relationship between organisms and their environments, ecology allows us to see the impact that humans have upon nature. Through its use, we have realized that we do not live in a vacuum, and that the actions we take can have repercussions of various scales. This science c Read More
The growth of our cities has had important consequences on the environment: damage to natural areas, consumption of natural resources, the significant use of space, the production of greenhouse gases, the pollution of the soil and sub-soils. This is why cities are thinking about sustainable development. To diminish their environmental footprints, some cities are placing greater emphasis on environmental considerations in planning their urban development. They are practising urban ecology.

Ecology is a young science that concentrates on the interactions between living creatures and the environments in which they are found. The word “ecology” is derived from the Greek words “oikos” (the house) and “logos” (study). Over time, ecology has evolved: population ecology, ecophysiology, landscape ecology, marine ecology, and forest ecology, to name but a few. In studying the relationship between organisms and their environments, ecology allows us to see the impact that humans have upon nature. Through its use, we have realized that we do not live in a vacuum, and that the actions we take can have repercussions of various scales. This science can greatly affect our society and the ways in which we address problems presented by urbanization, population growth, and globalization. The science of ecology can help us predict the biological consequences of our political and economic choices. It is up to us to decide if we find the anticipated consequences of a project acceptable. 


© 2013, "Sherbrooke museum of nature and science". All Rights Reserved.

Green corridors: to play the game, go on the VMC site at “Urban Wildlife: Our Wild Neighbours”, in the “Games” section.

Build the longest urban green corridor! To play the “Green corridors” game, go on the VMC site at “Urban Wildlife: Our Wild Neighbours”, in the “Games” section. http://www.museevirtuel-virtualmuseum.ca/sgc-cms/expositions-exhibitions/faune_urbaine-urban_wildlife/corridors_verts-green_corridors-eng.php

Productions Multimage

© 2013, "Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke". All Rights Reserved.


More and more people are deciding to grow flowers on their balconies, to plant gardens, to make flower beds, and to plant trees. Looking up at buildings in your area, you may even see a roof covered with greenery.

Parks, green corridors, green belts, frog crossings, fish ladders: these are examples of concrete projects enabling cities and wildlife to coexist. For example, the frog crossing at Brompton Lake is the only one of its kind in Canada. In October 2000, three tunnels were built under Route 220, linking marshes to the frogs’ breeding grounds. Although the idea was first regarded as far-fetched, it seems to have proven a success. Fish ladders are another construction intended to help migratory species, such as the salmon, trout, and eels that use waterways in which sections have become inaccessible due to dams.

In 50 or 100 years, will our houses be covered with vegetation? Or will architects be building underground towers of thirty floors or more, in an effort to hide from a savage climate, and at the same time shelter an ever-growing population?

More and more people are deciding to grow flowers on their balconies, to plant gardens, to make flower beds, and to plant trees. Looking up at buildings in your area, you may even see a roof covered with greenery.

Parks, green corridors, green belts, frog crossings, fish ladders: these are examples of concrete projects enabling cities and wildlife to coexist. For example, the frog crossing at Brompton Lake is the only one of its kind in Canada. In October 2000, three tunnels were built under Route 220, linking marshes to the frogs’ breeding grounds. Although the idea was first regarded as far-fetched, it seems to have proven a success. Fish ladders are another construction intended to help migratory species, such as the salmon, trout, and eels that use waterways in which sections have become inaccessible due to dams.

In 50 or 100 years, will our houses be covered with vegetation? Or will architects be building underground towers of thirty floors or more, in an effort to hide from a savage climate, and at the same time shelter an ever-growing population?


© 2013, "Sherbrooke museum of nature and science". All Rights Reserved.

The frog crossing at Brompton Lake

The frog crossing at Brompton Lake is the only one of its kind in Canada.

Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune - Estrie

© 2013, "Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune". All Rights Reserved.


Fish ladders

Fish ladders in North Hatley (Quebec).

Ministère des ressources naturelles et de la faune - Estrie

© 2013, "Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune". All Rights Reserved.


There have always been animals in the city, but the idea of studying them is very recent. Scientists did not consider the city as an ecosystem until the 1960s. We are beginning to understand how animals and people co-exist in the city. Will the animals that live in the city be even better adapted in 50 or 100 years?
There have always been animals in the city, but the idea of studying them is very recent. Scientists did not consider the city as an ecosystem until the 1960s. We are beginning to understand how animals and people co-exist in the city. Will the animals that live in the city be even better adapted in 50 or 100 years?

© 2013, "Sherbrooke museum of nature and science". All Rights Reserved.

City park, Vernon (British Columbia)

As with any modern urban environment, Vernon (British Columbia) has well watered and tended city parks.

Okanagan Science Centre

© 2013,Cuyler Page. All Rights Reserved.


The trees that grow in the city make up an urban forest. This semi-natural ecosystem brings life to the city, because it is the principal area where animals interact. Many cities have decided to encourage ground cover in certain areas and along bicycle paths. When we view an urban forest as an ecosystem, we are better able to understand its many ecological functions. It improves the quality of the air, helps to regulate the climate, reduces the impact of wind, reduces erosion, regulates drainage, and provides many species with both food and shelter.
The trees that grow in the city make up an urban forest. This semi-natural ecosystem brings life to the city, because it is the principal area where animals interact. Many cities have decided to encourage ground cover in certain areas and along bicycle paths. When we view an urban forest as an ecosystem, we are better able to understand its many ecological functions. It improves the quality of the air, helps to regulate the climate, reduces the impact of wind, reduces erosion, regulates drainage, and provides many species with both food and shelter.

© 2013, "Sherbrooke museum of nature and science". All Rights Reserved.

Barred Owl seen through the leaves, Sherbrooke (Quebec)

Barred Owl seen through the green leaves of a maple tree, Sherbrooke (Quebec).

© Daniel Jeanson

© 2013, Daniel Jeanson. All Rights Reserved.


By planning the development of the cities, we can ensure that our biodiversity resources are safeguarded. The importance of urban planning, by incorporating nature into the city and preserving the surrounding landscape included aesthetics, health and recreational benefits. The citizens have to take part in decisions that relate to the management of urban affairs.

Suggest a change you could make that would promote biodiversity in your city. You can build a model or do a drawing that illustrate the changes you propose.
By planning the development of the cities, we can ensure that our biodiversity resources are safeguarded. The importance of urban planning, by incorporating nature into the city and preserving the surrounding landscape included aesthetics, health and recreational benefits. The citizens have to take part in decisions that relate to the management of urban affairs.

Suggest a change you could make that would promote biodiversity in your city. You can build a model or do a drawing that illustrate the changes you propose.


© 2013, "Sherbrooke museum of nature and science". All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

Familiarize yourself with the principles of urban ecology. Learn how to make choices leading to biodiversity. Build a model.


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