There’s Nothing Simple about the Urban-Rural Interface

A new book edited by U.S. Forest Service researcher Wayne Zipperer, with co-editors David Laband and Graeme Lockaby, focuses on urban-rural interfaces—those places where city and suburban development touch on the countryside.

Published by the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America, the articles in Urban-Rural Interfaces: Linking People and Nature focus on the different ways of defining the rural-urban interface and different approaches to studying it. The book is organized into three sections, the first two addressing natural and human aspects of the interface, the last looking at approaches to integrating these two systems for planning and other processes.

Urban-rural interfaces come in many varieties, from the fast food restaurant in the middle of a cow pasture to the planned office park in the midst of a forest, to the rapidly expanding home development climbing the side of a Southern Appalachian mountain. 

“There are so many different types of interfaces, and the challenges that develop in the urban-rural interface are complex from both ecological and human perspectives,” says Zipperer, research forester with the Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS)  Integrating Human and Natural Systems unit in Gainesville, Florida. “We included discussions from a wide range of researchers. Their diverse viewpoints give an idea of the richness and complexity of the interfaces themselves.”

Audiences for the book include scientists and managers in the fields of ecology, soil science, wildlife management, forestry, environmental studies, environmental/natural resource economics, landscape architecture, rural sociology, land-use policy and planning.

Many Forest Service researchers were involved in the book, with SRS scientists authoring several chapters:

For more information, email Wayne Zipperer at

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