Rethinking Urban Green Infrastructure as a Means to Promote Avian Conservation

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Lau, Allen
urban green infrastructure; avian; biodiversity; conservation; green spaces; climate change; Environmental Design; Environmental Health and Protection; Ornithology; Sustainability; Urban, Community and Regional Planning
project description
There is an under-recognized potential for cities to use urban green infrastructure to contribute to avian biodiversity conservation. At the global scale, climate change and growing urbanization are primary global drivers leading to decline and homogenization in world bird populations. Birds are fundamental and intricate species in ecosystems, and even in urban areas, act as indicator and regulator species contributing to healthy ecosystem function. While many cities have recognized the economic and social benefits associated with green spaces, such as the vast benefits ecosystem services provide to the urban dweller, the use of green spaces to concurrently contribute to avian conservation through habitat provisioning is currently deficient. This research provides a global comparative analysis to determine crucial variables in urban green spaces necessary to provide ecosystem services for the urban dweller while simultaneously supporting urban bird populations, particularly forest, grassland, and generalist bird species. It pushes for reform in existing management, norms, and principles that restrict green spaces' contribution towards avian conservation and acts as an ecological and conservation dialogue for policy makers, design-build and related professionals, and urban residents. The necessary abiotic, biotic, design, and management variables for urban forests and parks, residential gardens, and green roofs to support avian diversity are discussed, and management strategies and approaches are defined. Using these green spaces has the potential to create valuable avian habitat within our urban areas, which is increasingly important in light of growing urbanization and changing climatic conditions.