【FOCUS】 Protecting biological diversity
Biodiversity is the result of the development and evolution on earth over billions of years, and it is the material basis for human survival. The rich and poor of biodiversity is related to the prosperity and decline of civilization. Strengthening biodiversity protection is an important part of ecological construction civilization, and also an important starting point for promoting the high-quality urban development. SDG15 mentions the need to slow and halt the loss of biodiversity. This week's IN FOCUS will present five cases of innovative cities that are protecting biodiversity.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Edinburgh in Bloom
Edinburgh in Bloom brings together individuals and organisations to help make the city more attractive and sustainable. It encompasses a range of initiatives, such as planting flowers alongside streets and in parks and conserving threatened species. Community participation is a central feature of the initiative. It funds community projects, and helps set up groups and mobilise volunteers. For example, a ‘garden share’ scheme allows people without a garden to grow food and flowers, and a ‘garden aid’ service helps elderly or infirm residents look after their gardens. Finally, the initiative is about encouraging environmentally sustainable practices, such as rain water collection, developing cycle infrastructure and replacing street lighting with energy efficient LED bulbs.
By mobilising support and coordinating action, Edinburgh in Bloom is setting a new standard for conserving and enhancing historic and natural environments in imaginative and sustainable ways.
Ciudad de México, Mexico
Mexico is one of the five countries with the highest biological richness in the world. Mexico City represents only 0.01% of the national territory, however it holds approximately 12 % of the country's biodiversity and 2% of the world's biodiversity. Altépetl is a social program to support activities aimed at preserving and restoring the ecosystems and agro-ecosystems in Mexico City. The Altépetl program is focused on the conservation of agro-ecological practices and biocultural heritage in rural areas of Mexico City.
With the Altépetl program, brigade members and technicians are supported to carry out forest sanitation, surveillance, environmental protection and other forest management activities. Subsidies are also given to owners and stakeholders to encourage agro-ecological production, the commercialization of products in local markets, as well as initiatives that strengthen community management activities. The program also offers technical assistance to beneficiaries through training courses with technical facilitators and activities for the reconstruction of the social fabric. Direct monetary subsidies are granted to people who carry out activities of conservation, the sustainable use of natural resources and the protection of cultural heritage in ejidos, communities and private property.
The All united for more biodiversity charter, launched in 2012, is based on sustainable development and a participatory approach. The charter brings together 75 signatories from both professional and community organisations who commit to supporting biodiversity. Organisations participating in the project choose between six actions that are listed by categories. For example, “preserving the environment” equates to abandoning the use of pesticides, “save energy and resources” means reducing watering or light pollution, “planting for biodiversity” is implementing local species and meadows for bees, and “protect and develop the ecosystem” includes installation of biodiversity shelters and green walls and/or roofs.
Since then the city government has worked steadily on improving its environmental impact, and on promoting biodiversity through their forests and woods, parkland and nursery gardens, both in the city centre and on the outskirts. Through the charter, all stakeholders are given the opportunity to work together, thus strengthening an eco-friendly network and multiplying its impact on the city.
Ljubljana’s Bee Path
The Slovenian Carniolan honey bee has long been popular with beekeepers around the world due to its non-aggressive behaviour. These bees are particularly adept at adjusting worker population to nectar availability. They are resistant to some disease and parasites and live up to 12% longer than other breeds. Apart from the honey it gathers it keeps various useful plant species pollinated and helps preserve biodiversity.
Ljubljana’s Bee Path opened in 2015. The path is designed in such a way that visitors can learn the important role bees play in the city’s environment, the value of honey in our daily diet, and find out more about the city's long established beekeeping culture. The city encourages ecological good practices in beekeeping. Besides maintaining forest areas in the city, melliferous trees and perennial plants on public green areas are planted and by co-financing bee associations, the level of professional competence of beekeepers has risen.The Bee Path promotes public awareness of how significant bees are to food sovereignty, biodiversity and the long term sustainability of the city.
Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP)
The City of Edmonton started the Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP) in 2006 with 10 year a time frame. The project enables affected stakeholders to provide strategic direction for Edmonton’s entire urban forest. Edmonton's geography offers a unique river valley comprising the longest stretch of connected urban parkland in North America (111 km2).
The main UFMP objectives including effectively preserve, enhance, manage, sustain, and ensure growth in the Edmonton urban forest and protect native forest and tree species in collaboration with Edmonton Office of Biodiversity. Main steps and instruments in realising UFMP are planting and preserving trees, planning new methods for a water supply, communicating with inhabitants concerning tree issues, and developing management plans for natural forest and tree species. In 2009, an evaluating on the impact of the tree population pointed to environmental, economic, social, and health benefits. Existing and newly planted trees improve air / water quality, diminish energy costs, and increase property values.
Steps and instruments in this project are easily transferable to other cities. General awareness of the importance of trees within the city increases, planting, and tree preservation is possible in many cities.
Originally published on use: urban sustainability exchange. use is an open knowledge exchange platform dedicated to sustainable city making.
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