Conference 2003

Conference 2003
Greening the City:
Bringing Biodiversity Back
into the Urban Environment


Mark McDonnellThe Challenge of Preserving Biodiversity in Urban and Suburban Environments: the Melbourne Example

Associate Prof. Mark McDonnell (Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology — ARCUE, Melbourne, Australia)

The preservation, restoration and ecologically sound management of urban and suburban natural areas are crucial to the maintenance of global, regional and local biodiversity. Throughout the world the number and size of urban areas are increasing. It has been predicted that by the year 2025 over 60% of the world's population will be living in urban settlements. Unfortunately, our ecological understanding of the world has been obtained from studying natural areas specifically selected to minimize the presence of humans. In addition to their intrinsic value, urban and suburban natural areas are especially important for providing unique examples of pre-urbanized ecosystems at a local scale and are refugia for indigenous plants and animals. This makes them valuable sources of propagules and organisms for future restoration projects. Patches of indigenous vegetation located in cities and towns are also vital living laboratories for environmental education providing many urban dwellers their only opportunity to experience and learn about the regions natural heritage. Urban and suburban natural areas in Australia and throughout the world are facing many serious problems that threaten their persistence. The conservation, management and restoration of these valuable areas present a formidable challenge to Melbourne and other cities around the world.

In this talk I will describe the current status of indigenous biodiversity in Melbourne and the future challenges we face in preserving our valuable natural resources.

Conference sponsored by:

British Council NZ
The Community Trust
Landcare Research

Follow this link to view other organisations supportive of the conference

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Last updated: October 12, 2003