Efforts at mitigating global biodiversity loss have often focused on preserving large, intact natural habitats. However, preserving biodiversity should also be an important goal in the urban environment, especially in highly urbanized areas where little natural habitat remains. Increasingly, research at the city/county scale as well as at the landscape scale reveals that urban areas can contain relatively high levels of biodiversity. Important percentages of species found in the surrounding natural habitat, including endangered species, have been found in the urban forest. This contribution concisely highlights some examples of urban biodiversity research from various areas of the world. Key issues involved in understanding the patterns and processes that affect urban biodiversity, such as the urban-rural gradient and biotic homogenization, are addressed. The potential for urban areas to harbor considerable amounts of biodiversity needs to be recognized by city planners and urban foresters so that management practices that preserve and promote that diversity can be pursued. Management options should focus on increasing biodiversity in all aspects of the urban forest, from street trees to urban parks and woodlots. © 2006 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.
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