When cities are the last chance for saving species

Date: 17, Sep, 2019
Author(s):   Kylie Soanes, Pia Lentini
Publisher: Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment

Urban environments are arguably among the most suitable targets for conservation science, as they represent opportunities to preserve both species and habitats under threat while at the same time allowing people to engage with nature. We highlight the need for conservation within urban environments using species whose recovery is entirely dependent on effective action within cities and towns. We identified 39 urban‐restricted species in Australia and reviewed the advice guiding their conservation to address the question, “What does conservation look like when cities are the last chance for saving species?” We argue that in such circumstances securing land for conservation purposes cannot be relied upon; instead, species must be protected on lands not originally intended for conservation and urban communities must be involved in recovery actions. Ultimately, to achieve such outcomes, decision makers need to recognize the importance of urban ecosystems in the recovery of imperiled species.