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Special Issue "Urban Biodiversity Conservation and Restoration"

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A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 December 2011)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Michael L. McKinney (Website)

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, The University of Tennessee, 1412 Circle Drive, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
Phone: +1 865 974-6359
Interests: urbanization; biodiversity; biotic homogenization; urban conservation; biological invasions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The human species is becoming urbanized at an astonishing rate. In 1910, just 10% of humanity lived in cities. By 2007, this proportion exceeded 50% and by 2025, it is estimated that two-thirds of the global population will be urbanized. The large majority of this urban growth (over 95%) will occur in developing nations which contain most of our planet’s remaining biodiversity. Conservation biologists therefore urgently need to focus much more research examining the impacts of urbanization on biodiversity, and ways to mitigate these impacts. This research directly contrasts with the long history of ecological research which has preferred to focus on pristine ecosystems “undisturbed” by human interactions. While seemingly contradictory, there is much evidence that urbanization can preserve biodiversity in several ways. People living in cities tend to have smaller per-capita impacts on the environment, for example, compared to people in rural areas. This is especially true where “sustainable” city planning has reduced the urban footprint by design by improved mass transit, large connected green spaces, public education about nature conservation, and native plant landscaping to name a few examples. This issue will focus on research that addresses these various ways that urbanization can be a positive factor in biodiversity preservation at the local, regional and global scales.

Prof. Dr. Michael L. McKinney
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • urban
  • urbanization
  • biodiversity
  • sustainability
  • sustainable cities
  • urban ecology
  • biotic homogenization
  • urban conservation
  • biological invasions
  • restoration

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Living More Than Just Enough for the City: Persistence of High-Quality Vegetation in Natural Areas in an Urban Setting
Diversity 2011, 3(4), 611-627; doi:10.3390/d3040611
Received: 30 June 2011 / Revised: 16 August 2011 / Accepted: 22 September 2011 / Published: 3 October 2011
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (967 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Urban environments pose special challenges to flora, including altered disturbance regimes, habitat fragmentation, and increased opportunity for invasion by non-native species. In addition, urban natural area represents most people’s contact with nature, given the majority of the world’s population currently live in [...] Read more.
Urban environments pose special challenges to flora, including altered disturbance regimes, habitat fragmentation, and increased opportunity for invasion by non-native species. In addition, urban natural area represents most people’s contact with nature, given the majority of the world’s population currently live in cities. We used coefficients of conservatism (C-values), a system that ranks species based on perceived fidelity to remnant native plant communities that retain ecological integrity, to quantify habitat quality of 14 sites covering 850 ha within the city of Indianapolis, Indiana, in the Midwestern United States. All sites contained significant natural area and were inventoried via intensive complete censuses throughout one or two growing seasons within the last 15 years. Mean C-values for five sites were high, especially when compared to values reported for the highest quality preserves in central Indiana. However, for most sites the difference in mean C-value with and without non-natives was rather high, meaning that natural quality is likely to have been compromised by the presence of non-natives. Sites receiving the highest levels of stewardship and those with the least public access via trails had the highest mean native C-values. A total of 34 invasive non-native species were found across all 14 sites. Most were woody species. Mean C-value over all sites was significantly negatively correlated with the number of non-natives present, especially those considered invasive. These results demonstrate for the Indianapolis area, and likely other urbanized Midwestern cities, remnant natural areas can retain high ecological value, especially if they receive regular environmental stewardship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Biodiversity Conservation and Restoration)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Lessons Learned from Chicago Wilderness—Implementing and Sustaining Conservation Management in an Urban Setting
Diversity 2012, 4(1), 74-93; doi:10.3390/d4010074
Received: 12 January 2012 / Revised: 30 January 2012 / Accepted: 6 February 2012 / Published: 15 February 2012
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (603 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We summarize the factors that shaped the biodiversity of Chicago and its hinterland and point out the conservation significance of these ecological systems, addressing why conservation of Chicago’s biodiversity has importance locally and beyond. We highlight Chicago Wilderness (CW), a regional biodiversity [...] Read more.
We summarize the factors that shaped the biodiversity of Chicago and its hinterland and point out the conservation significance of these ecological systems, addressing why conservation of Chicago’s biodiversity has importance locally and beyond. We highlight Chicago Wilderness (CW), a regional biodiversity conservation alliance committed to protecting nature and enriching the lives of the region’s residents. Chicago Wilderness, with over 250 institutional members, has for over a decade coordinated the efforts of diverse institutions, including federal, state, and local agencies, public land-management agencies, conservation organizations, and scientific and cultural institutions. Chicago Wilderness is committed to using science and emerging knowledge as a foundation for its conservation work. CW has several specialist teams that promote an interdisciplinary approach to conservation; we focus on the work of the CW Science Team, the one team with a research mission. The scientific investigations that are undertaken to provide a knowledge base for the work of Chicago Wilderness have drawn upon a wide variety of conservation paradigms, including that of resilience thinking, which we illustrate in a series of case studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Biodiversity Conservation and Restoration)

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