A research agenda for urban biodiversity in the global extinction crisis

Sonja Knapp*, Myla F.J. Aronson, Ela Carpenter, Adriana Herrera-Montes, Kirsten Jung, D. Johan Kotze, Frank A. La Sorte, Christopher A. Lepczyk, Ian MacGregor-Fors, J. Scott MacIvor, Marco Moretti, Charles H. Nilon, Max R. Piana, Christine C. Rega-Brodsky, Allyson Salisbury, Caragh G. Threlfall, Christopher Trisos, Nicholas S.G. Williams, Amy K. Hahs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Rapid urbanization and the global loss of biodiversity necessitate the development of a research agenda that addresses knowledge gaps in urban ecology that will inform policy, management, and conservation. To advance this goal, we present six topics to pursue in urban biodiversity research: the socioeconomic and social-ecological drivers of biodiversity loss versus gain of biodiversity; the response of biodiversity to technological change; biodiversity-ecosystem service relationships; urban areas as refugia for biodiversity; spatiotemporal dynamics of species, community changes, and underlying processes; and ecological networks. We discuss overarching considerations and offer a set of questions to inspire and support urban biodiversity research. In parallel, we advocate for communication and collaboration across many fields and disciplines in order to build capacity for urban biodiversity research, education, and practice. Taken together we note that urban areas will play an important role in addressing the global extinction crisis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-279
Number of pages12
Issue number3
Early online date9 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • biodiversity loss
  • ecosystem services
  • extinction crisis
  • social-ecological systems
  • urban conservation


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