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Urban biodiversity arks

Urban biodiversity is an unplanned species assemblage. Although promoting native biodiversity should be the primary goal, the built environment often contains optimal habitat for non-natives. With planning and research, we could use cities as semi-natural assurance colonies for endangered species.

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Fig. 1: The potential of urban ecosystems for endangered species persistence.
Fig. 2: The reality of current urban biodiversity.


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U. Heise, P. Kareiva and T. Smith encouraged my thinking on urban biodiversity. My work was partially supported by the NSF (DEB 1457832).

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Correspondence to H. Bradley Shaffer.

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Shaffer, H.B. Urban biodiversity arks. Nat Sustain 1, 725–727 (2018).

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