This paper investigates how institutions in urban settings potentially identify, frame, and operationalise biodiversity conservation policies. It adopts the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework (IAD) to analyse a case study regarding the retention of ecologically mature trees in urban green space in Canberra, Australia. The research investigates; what are the structural and institutional arrangements that catalyze or inhibit biodiversity conservation in urban green space? Specifically, the IAD framework is applied to explore the institutional structures and the role of key decision-makers in the conservation and management of ecologically mature trees in urban green space. Ecologically mature trees represent an exclusive habitat for many species and are key structures for conserving biodiversity in urban settings. The results suggest the application of the IAD ‘rules-in-use’ analysis reveals that ecologically mature trees are inconsistently managed in Canberra, leading to conflicting approaches between institutions in managing urban biodiversity. It suggests that a more structured and replicable institutional analysis will help practitioners to empirically derive a more comprehensive understanding of the roles of institutions in supporting or inhibiting biodiversity conservation in urban settings. The research finds that developers, asset managers, and other stakeholders could benefit from explicitly mapping out the defined rules, norms and strategies required to negotiate economically, socially and environmentally achievable outcomes for biodiversity conservation in urban green space.
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