Urban Habitats

Urban Habitats

Urban Habitats

Urban Habitats

Synopsis

Urban Habitats presents an illustrated and practical guide to the wide range of British urban habitats and the flora and fauna which live within them, and examines the most important conservation and management issues presently being faced by the British government

Excerpt

Urban habitats sometimes conjure up images of disused canals filled with old prams and shopping trolleys, or derelict building plots gradually accumulating a cover of vegetation amongst a mass of fly-tipped refuse. However, an amazing range of habitats with their associated plants and animals are found in towns, cities and areas of urbanisation on the urban fringe. Including terrestrial and aquatic areas, these range from semi-natural sites that were enclosed by the spread of towns and cities, to artificial habitats formed during urban developments. Semi-natural sites include old woodlands, heathlands, parklands, river valleys and wetlands whilst other sites such as meadows, small woodlands, ponds, hedges and ditches may be remnants of agricultural land. Many open spaces within the town or city are a result of urban residence (for example parks and gardens, playing fields, buildings, cemeteries and sewage works) or are associated with disuse and decay (such as abandoned industrial land, waste tips and quarries).

Urban habitats are those within the confines of a town or city. the definition of a habitat on the urban fringe is less straightforward. the urban fringe can be considered as the boundary between urban areas and the wider countryside, particularly where otherwise rural areas have been subject to the impact of urbanisation. I use the term ‘urban fringe’ to encompass habitats such as derelict industrial land and mineral workings that are essentially urban but lie on the edge of conurbations or intrude into otherwise rural areas. the aim of this volume is to examine the range of habitats and their associated fauna and flora in urban and urban fringe areas, discuss management and conservation issues and suggest ways of investigating and monitoring urban ecology. It is perhaps unsurprising that habitats tend to be defined by the plants which live there. Plants are usually the most obvious residents in a site, being in many ways the structural components; providing shelter and food for many animals. in this book I discuss both the flora and fauna, although to avoid repetition some species are dealt with in only one of their major habitats. Urban habitats include terrestrial and aquatic sites, both inland and at the coast. Since many habitats in urban areas are covered in more depth by other volumes in the series, this book concentrates on those terrestrial and, to a lesser extent, aquatic habitats in towns and cities which are typical of urban areas.

As towns and cities develop, rural landscapes are destroyed or engulfed and new urban habitats are created. the rise in the world’s human population, from about 5.2 billion in 1990 to 8 billion or so in 2025, will increase the proportion living in urban areas (from 34 per cent in 1960 to 44 per cent in 1990 and probably about 60 per cent by 2025). This will not only bring more areas under the urban umbrella, but will also influence existing habitats in towns and cities. By

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