Urbanization and Biodiversity Offset
Giselle Mae J. SimbajonUniversity of Mindanao, Professional Schools
Matina, Davao City
Keywords: Urbanization, Biodiversity, Urban Biodiversity, Conservation
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. It is important to remember that Biodiversity also exist 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.
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 problem 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 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 interact to support biodiversity is through the urban park managers and ecologist by investing effort through creative approach for preserving and restoring areas that were used before it was abandoned. Green roofs is also common to some urban green parks in promoting urban biodiversity conservation (Williams, NSG et. al, 2014). 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 as a value as a habitat for some species since it is has a limited capability of proving habitats for ground-level species. However, 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 environments and the problems associated with it. This allows people to develop sense of environmental responsibility and possess necessary skills 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 is a great treat 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.
Education is also one of the best way 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 approaches and do simple activities that can help our environment, it can really make a difference in conserving urban biodiversity.Implications
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 and provide understanding in the conservation of biodiversity. By this, students will be able to practice all acquired skills in conservation process even though they are outside school.
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