As urban and peri-urban areas now contain most of the world population, they are of immense scientific and practical interest for researchers and stakeholders. Anthropogenic disturbances of natural environments lead to several impacts that threaten the sustainability of the ecosystems and human safety. Urbanization changes the water cycle due to an increase in impervious areas and a reduction in evapotranspiration, resulting normally in increases in runoff and flood hazard. These events have to be managed and mitigated due to the destruction caused and due to associated problems related to water demand and pollution. An additional important problem in urban areas is the increase of land degradation as a consequence of activities that constitute a threat to soil erosion and quality (e.g. construction works, residues deposition). Land degradation not only affects the sustainability of urban and peri-urban ecosystems but also the productivity of the soil. Furthermore, urban soils provide important ecosystem services, such as regulation (e.g. of climate, air and water quality, and flood protection), provision (e.g. food production), support (e.g. maintenance of biodiversity), and cultural quality (e.g. wellbeing and recreation).
This session aims to give an overview of the relationships in urban and peri-urban areas between soil, water, air and vegetation; interactions between nutrient and, energy cycles; and potential pollution and hazard problems. Contributions relating to current and future management issues, and how to use ecosystem services to mitigate impacts of future extreme events and hazards are also welcome.