Steward T.A. Pickett is an ecologist known for contributions to urban ecology, social-ecological systems theory, and the study of natural disturbance. He was born and raised in Louisville, KY. He received a B.S. in Botany from the University of Kentucky in 1972, and the PhD in Botany from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in 1977. He served on the faculty of Rutgers University until 1987, when he moved to Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY, where he is now Distinguished Senior Scientist. He was founding director of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, a pioneering interdisciplinary program encompassing research, community engagement, and education. He has served as President of the Ecological Society of America, and on the boards of the American Institute of Biological Sciences and City as Living Laboratory. He is a recipient of the Botanical Society of America’s Centennial Award, a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America, and its 2021 Eminent Ecologist; he is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Steward Pickett's research focuses on the social-ecological structure and processes of urban areas, and the disturbance and dynamics of forest, woodland, and oldfield vegetation. Current projects include the environmental equity of green infrastructure, urban-rural connections in China and the New York's Hudson Valley. He is working with colleagues from ecology, anthropology, science-technology studies, and ethics to identify new ways to use systems theory and disturbance or disaster theory as cross-disciplinary bridges that also have relevance to policy. Other current interdisciplinary research examines the role of segregation as an ecological factor in urban ecology, which links familiar concerns of environmental justice with a concern with the social and ecological feedbacks at the relatively neglected interface or race and ecological processes. These topics also resonate with his work testing a new framework - "the continuum of urbanity" - to expose regional- and coarser-scale social and environmental effects of the interaction of connectivity, lifestyle, livelihood, and the contrasts among places characterized by differing degrees of urban intensity.

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Primary Section

Section 64: Human Environmental Sciences