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Herbert Sukopp – an inspiring pioneer in the field of urban ecology

Kowarik, Ingo

FG Ökosystemkunde / Pflanzenökologie

Urban ecology is a well-established integrative discipline with many historical roots. One of the eminent pioneers of urban ecology is the German ecologist Herbert Sukopp, who works in Berlin since the late 1950s and is often referred to as the founder of the "Berlin School of Urban Ecology". On the occasion of his 90th anniversary in 2020, this paper aims to recognize and commemorate the major contributions of Sukopp to the field of urban ecology, based on his scientific work and on results of an online survey on his perception in the international scientific community. Sukopp’s contributions were groundbreaking for the establishment of urban ecology. Specifically, his work furthered: (1) the performance of comprehensive biodiversity studies across all land-use types within the city, in relation to the specifics of urban environments; (2) the establishment of modern approaches of nature conservation in cities and their integration into all land-use types, and the city as a whole; (3) the formation of a multidisciplinary conceptual basis of urban ecology as a modern science, with combined scientific and applied perspectives, ultimately aiming at the preservation and further development of nature within cities for the benefit of urban residents. Herbert Sukopp is thus an important and inspiring pioneer in the field of urban ecology.