Urbanization and Biodiversity Offset
Giselle Mae J. SimbajonUniversity of Mindanao, Professional Schools
Matina, Davao City
[email protected] Increasing urbanization is both perceived as an opportunity and a threat. Because of the desires of many countries to progress, people viewed urbanization as an answer to this concern. Urbanization provides a better lifestyle because everything is convenient and accessible. However, some people fail to realize the consequence of this phenomenon. Our environment is the first recipient of urbanization in which this can be a threat to our biodiversity. This paper highlights the consequences of urbanization and conservation process of urban biodiversity. The researcher also discussed her implications of the said matter.
Keywords: Urbanization, Biodiversity, Urban Biodiversity, Conservation
ACADEMIC PAPERMICHELLE ACLEDAN
The transformation from rural to urban residency gradually increases the percentage of individuals living in urban places. Almost half of the earth’s population now lives in urban areas and as the population in these areas increases, so does the construction of building and housing for settlement. The rapid conversion of land and scenery of rural area into concrete jungle containing high density of building is now what we call Urbanization. Many people viewed urban life as a better lifestyle because of the presence of facilities which they can easily access such as schools, hospitals and other infrastructures that provides services. But the desire to have a better life is not attained by people instead it increases urban poverty, worsens our economic status and of course it also pressures our environment and threatens Biodiversity which causes the degration of natural resources.
For many people, when they were asked about what is Biodiversity, the first thing that comes into their mind is rural areas where they can see different plants and animals thriving in that locality. If you also search online, the result would be numerous images of tropical rainforest and wild animals. People must take into account that Biodiversity can also be found in cities. Hundreds of species, plants or animals, can survive and even prosper in urban environment and we humans can be a tool in order for it to flourish even more. Urbanization and biodiversity must counteract to achieve success in both economy and preserving Biodiversity.
What is Urban Biodiversity?
Urban Biodiversity has been studied and defined by many experts. One definition given by Muller, et. al (2010) as cited by Gonzales and Magnaye (2017) they define Urban Biodiversity as the variability and the abundance of living species including the species and genetic variation and habitat diversity that can be found in the urban setting. Werner and Zahner (2009) as cited by Nilon (2011) they define Urban Biodiversity as the variety of flora and fauna species that settled in the city. They summarized their work that there is a great number of species settled in urban areas and can be centers of Biodiversity.
Consequences of Urbanization
The rapid conversion of rural locality to urban landscape is a great threat to Biodiversity. Increasing urban landscape for human settlement can separate people in urban areas from biological actuality and the natural world. Urbanization creates both opportunities for people to progress and threat in Biodiversity. For many people, urbanization provides efficiency. Living in urban areas provides better lifestyle and it is more convenient because everything is accessible. However they forget to think about its consequences. Gonzales and Magnaye (2017) mentioned in their study that urban settlers need to consider the existence of environmental stressor such as pervasive flooding, rising of pollution levels in air, water and land, increasing air temperature which all of these urban challenges put pressures in our ecosystem.
Majority of the world’s population now lives in urban areas. Many people view urban areas as a concrete jungle lacking in numbers with flora and fauna species. Although such view is inevitable, it is also acceptable to realize that urban areas are also capable of supporting species through conservation approach. To obtain a significant and long-term success in Urban Biodiversity Conservation, a careful balance between the needs of the nature and needs of the people must be recognized. As environment provides resources, it gives us enough reason for its conservation. Realizing our own Environmental responsibility can improve urban ecosystem services. Aronson et. al (2014) states that urban areas can support diverse species through urban green spaces. Urban green spaces gives people the opportunities to keep in touch with nature, furnish ecological processes and this also allows citizens to be aware of the conservation processes. How green spaces be in contact to support Biodiversity relies to the environmental engineers and ecologist by exerting effort through creating urban parks and understanding our environment so that they can create an approach that can preserve and restore areas that were used before it was abandoned. In addition, Williams, NSG et. al, (2014) asserts that green roof or living roof is also a way to reduce the negative effect of urbanization that can be installed at the roof of a certain infrastructure. For Braaker et. al (2014), green roofs has been a habitat type for highly mobile insects such us bees and weevils(a type of beetle). However, green roofs lacks habitat value for some species since it is has a limited capability of proving habitats for ground-level species. Furthermore, Beninde et. al (2015) states that urban green spaces in general provides only a limited biodiversity advantages since green spaces management has its limitation also.
City-dwellers can also conserve Biodiversity through conservation education or environmental education. This allows people to be informed and to raise their awareness about the environment and the problems associated with it. This allows people to develop sense of environmental responsibility and possess necessary skills that can help them address the problems associated with our environment. In this sense, people can be an active part in promoting and addressing problems associated with Biodiversity. Aside from that, Conservation Education advocates environmental programs such as construction of parks, zoos, botanical gardens and etc. which targets every individuals in the public, young or old, men or women, in order for them to be aware and participate in conservation action. (Shwartz et. al 2012)
50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas. As the population in this areas increases, so does the construction of houses for settlement and infrastructure to provide services for the convenience of people. Urbanization can be both an opportunity for people and a challenge to Biodiversity. It is important to remember that Biodiversity is not only present in rural locale but it is also present in cities. People in the city need to realize that urban biodiversity can be rich and humans can be a tool for it to flourish. Humans is encourage utilized creative approach through the construction of urban green spaces, using green roofs or living roofs and green infrastructure to maintain a balance between the needs of the people and the conservation of Biodiversity.
Education is also one of the best ways to promote urban biodiversity. Educating people regarding with this issues raises their awareness and enables them to actively participate in environmental protection and conservation. Provided that people utilizes such conservation approaches and do simple sustainable activities like reducing the emission of carbon dioxide, recycling and proper waste management or any activities that can help our environment, it can really make a difference in conserving urban biodiversity.
The school can be a tool in the conservation of biodiversity. It is the responsibility of the teacher to educate their students regarding with this concern. The aspect of Biodiversity should be taught in children as early as elementary. Children must be exposed early about how rich biodiversity can be. Biodiversity education is also integrated in subjects such as natural science and environmental science. Aside from that, Biodiversity is also in relation to ethics and economics because of its social and political concerns and controversial nature.
Engaging Biodiversity in school allows the students to be equip with necessary skills in conservation and provide understanding in preserving biodiversity. By this, students will be able to practice all the skills they acquired in conservation process even though they are outside the school.
Aronson MFJ, Lepczyk CA, Evans KL, Goddard MA, Lerman SB, MacIvor JS, Nilon CH, Vargo T. 2017. Biodiversity in the city: Key challenges for urban green space management. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 15: 189–196.
Beninde J, Veith M, Hochkirch A. 2015. Biodiversity in cities needs space: A meta-analysis of factors determining intra-urban biodiversity variation. Ecology Letters 18: 581–592.
Braaker S, Ghazoul J, Obrist MK, Moretti M. 2014. Habitat connectivity shapes urban arthropod communities: The key role of green roofs. Ecology 95: 1010–1021.
Gonzales, L. P., ; Magnaye, D. C. (2017). Measuring the Urban Biodiversity of Green Spaces in a Highly Urbanizing Environment and Its Implications for Human Settlement Resiliency Planning: The Case of Manila City, Philippines. Procedia Environmental Sciences, 37, 83-100.
Muller, N., Werner, P., ; Kelcey, J. G. (Eds.). (2010). Urban biodiversity and design. John Wiley ; Sons.Nilon, C. H. (2011). Urban biodiversity and the importance of management and conservation. Landscape and ecological engineering, 7(1), 45-52.
Shwartz A, Cosquer A, Jaillon A, Piron A, Julliard R, et al. (2012) Urban Biodiversity, City-Dwellers and Conservation: How Does an Outdoor Activity Day Affect the Human-Nature Relationship? PLoS ONE 7(6): e38642. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038642
Werner P, Zahner R (2009) Biological diversity and cities: a review
and bibliography (BfN-Skripten 245). Bundesamt fur Naturschutz,
Williams NSG, Lundholm J, MacIvor JS. 2014. Can green roofs support biodiversity conservation goals? Journal of Applied Ecology 51: 1643–1649.