Outstanding challenges for urban conservation research and action

Abstract : Researchers, advocates and policymakers have proposed urban conservation as an emerging, integrative discipline that can contribute to sustainable cities by delivering co-benefits to human and non-human components of biodiversity. Given the recent growth in biodiversity-friendly designs and management schemes, there is an urgent need for a synthesis of this fragmented research base to inform planners and decision-makers. We conducted a systematic multidisciplinary literature review (787 papers) and found that the importance of urban areas for general conservation is not convincingly supported by empirical research. Only few studies demonstrated that cities can directly contribute to conservation efforts, by hosting viable populations of rare or endangered species, or by providing green corridors for the passage of natural populations. From a social perspective, while several studies demonstrated that green infrastructure could provide services for people (notably cultural services), only few studies explored the role of species diversity per se. Our review also shows strong geographical, location and taxonomic biases in urban biodiversity conservation research that make generalisations difficult. It is a disturbing paradox that while research in urban biodiversity conservation is rising exponentially, the main motivations for conserving urban biodiversity remain largely untested and unproven. We thus propose a framework for promoting integrative urban conservation research to bridge those gaps. Together, these findings warn against expanding cities under green planning and call for enhancing biodiversity experience by improving the quality of existing green spaces throughout the entire urban matrix. We provide a set of recommendations for practitioners and decision-makers to continue action.
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Journal articles
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01073821
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Submitted on : Friday, October 10, 2014 - 2:51:18 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, April 2, 2019 - 2:58:33 AM

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  • HAL Id : halshs-01073821, version 1

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Assaf Shwartz, Anne Turbé, Romain Julliard, Laurent Simon, Anne-Caroline Prévot-Julliard. Outstanding challenges for urban conservation research and action. Global Environmental Change, Elsevier, 2014, pp.39-49. ⟨halshs-01073821⟩

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