Urban Nature

Nature is not always within the reach for people who live in the cities, but it is often just a short walk away.

Many species find remarkable ways of adapting and flourishing in urban settings. New research suggests that cities drive the evolution of species that live within them and may even spawn new ones.


Estimates are that up to half of a million plant species exist in the world today, only half of which have been identified and described. The only taxonomic groups thought to be substantially more diverse than land plants are fungi (1.5–5 million) and beetles (1.5 million).

The diversity of plant life is driven by adaptive changes that allow species to thrive in many different environments of the world. Plants have developed adaptations for different soil types, methods of pollination, daylight hours, temperature, altitude etc. All wild plant species are part of natural ecosystems which provide important services for humans.


World’s forests are home to almost half of all the plant, animal and microbial species in the world.

Beneath the surface of the forest floor, tree roots are closely bounded with huge networks of fungi that allow them to better uptake nutrients and water. Underground networks also provide fascinating ways for trees to communicate with each other.


Around 80% of the planet’s fresh water originates in the mountains, and flows downwards to form major rivers.

Mountains are very rich in biodiversity, and inhabited by numerous species that are unique for certain parts of the world. Ecologically, mountains act as isolated islands in the landscape, separated from each other by lowland regions, whose drastically different ecological conditions prevent high-altitude species from spreading.

Sky and Clouds

Colors we see are associated with different wavelengths of visible light – a small fraction of the spectrum of sun’s wavelengths. There is some beautiful physics behind the amazing sky colors we get to see at dawn and sunset, and clouds often add to the dramatic experience.

Seas and Oceans

Oceans cover more than two-thirds of our planet’s surface and account for more than 96% of all water on Earth. This is where life has began, where it has been evolving for over 3.5 billion years, and where some of the most amazing living beings that challenge biological classification and our perception of life can be found.

Rivers and Streams

Freshwater ecosystems – rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands – cover less than 1% of Earth’s surface, yet they host extremely high biodiversity – almost 6% of all known species in the world.

One remarkable feature of waters is that they connect into an aquatic network – from springs and mountain streams over creeks, rivers, lakes and groundwaters to wetlands, estuaries, seas and oceans. Along the way, environmental, hydrological and landscape gradients shape diverse biological communities characteristic for each part.


Freshwater ecosystems – lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands – cover less than 1% of Earth’s surface, yet they host extremely high biodiversity – almost 6% of all known species in the world.

There are 117 million lakes in the world. Most of them are freshwater and small – almost 80% of all are smaller than two football fields in size.