39 threatened species found only in Australian cities

Australia is home to 39 urban-restricted threatened species – from giant gum trees, to ornate orchids, wonderful wattles, and even a tortoise. But with many of these species critically endangered, CAUL/TSR Hub researchers Kylie Soanes and Pia Lentini say that cities offer a golden opportunity to preserve species under threat, and engage people with nature.

Their research, published recently in an article for Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, showed that some of Australia’s most endangered plants and animals live entirely within cities and towns, often hidden in plain sight along railway lines, roadsides and schools. These threatened species have always lived in these locations, and as our cities have expanded they have incidentally become urban dwellers. But as the authors explain, space for nature in the city is quickly disappearing with urban growth and much is earmarked for future development.

In this recent article for The Conversation, Soanes and Lentini suggest we need to think differently about how and where we do conservation, get to know the species that live in our cities and involve urban communities in the process.

Featured image: Caley’s grevillea. Credit: Tatters via flickr

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