Urban ecosystems are important for two major reasons, says Dr Lucy Bastin of Aston University.
First, the urban environment is where most people spend most of their time. Secondly, urban areas have a huge undervalued resource in all those scruffy patches of derelict land; biodiversity on urban brownfield sites is often surprisingly impressive.
Background info about her: Dr Bastin is a lecturer in GIS (Geographical Information Systems) at Aston University. She applies spatial analysis techniques to health, environmental and socio-demographic research challenges.
She started out working for the Birmingham Urban Wildlife Trust, and then studied for a BSc in Zoology (Nottingham) and a PhD in the population ecology of urban plants (Birmingham). She has also worked as a researcher on fuzzy classifications of satellite imagery, and spent several years as a senior software developer at Tadpole-Cartesia.
You can see a video interview of Lucy and her colleagues here.