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Incorporating critical elements of city distinctiveness into urban biodiversity conservation

Parker, Sophie S.
Biodiversity and conservation 2015 v.24 no.3 pp. 683-700
biodiversity, cities, ecosystems, habitats, human communities, landscapes, planning, scientists, threatened species, urban areas, urban development
The conservation of biological diversity is closely linked with the fate of the world’s cities. While the protection of sensitive and threatened species and habitats has often taken place in natural landscapes largely devoid of people, strategies for preserving the Earth’s biodiversity that can be employed within cities are likely to become more common as urban areas continue to increase in size and number. Progress towards the development of effective conservation methods for working in urban areas is impeded by several factors, including the unfamiliarity that many conservation scientists have with urban landscapes, and the need to identify and incorporate elements of an urban area’s distinctiveness into biodiversity conservation projects. Even cities of the same size differ significantly in terms of their bio/geo/ecological realm or “natural” environment, their human communities, and their built environment, and these differences matter for the development of urban conservation strategies. Conservation practitioners can effectively incorporate information about these differences into their implementation efforts by: using a robust adaptive management framework that allows for an iterative approach in the development of strategies, employing the ecosystems concept when working in project areas that include urban spaces, incorporating pre-existing socioeconomic data into urban conservation planning, and harnessing technological and other resources readily available within urban areas to meet the needs of biodiversity conservation practitioners.