Cities support a greater number of threatened species than non-urban areas

The earth is facing a catastrophic species extinction crisis. The dominant approach to conservation has been to focus on protecting pristine environments, but new research from Australia demonstrates that on average, urban environments contain disproportionately more threatened protected species in a given area than non-urban environments.

Investigators looked at the distributions of 1,643 in Australia, and counted up the number of these species that occurred in square-kilometer units across the continent. By comparing the cells found in cities with those located in non-urban areas, the researchers explored the relative importance of cities for conserving nationally-protected species.

All cities in Australia contained protected species, and 30% of the species listed as protected in Australia inhabited . Cities consistently supported a greater number of protected species than other areas.

The findings highlight the opportunities that cities present for tackling biodiversity loss.

"Our results show that to tackle species extinction we can no longer afford to ignore the places where most of us live and work," said Dr. Christopher Ives, co-lead author of the Global Ecology and Biogeography study. "In Australia, every city has a role to play in safeguarding the country's most threatened biodiversity."

More information: Global Ecology and Biogeography,

Journal information: Global Ecology and Biogeography

Provided by Wiley

Citation: Cities support a greater number of threatened species than non-urban areas (2015, December 7) retrieved 14 April 2024 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Explore further

Protected area design secrets revealed in new study


Feedback to editors