BIODIVERSITY & INCLUSION: Leveraging community connections into shared stewardship and increased conservation capacity at Tumamoc Hill and beyond
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe question is not if, but ever increasingly, how and where do urban areas and conservation intersect, and further how urban regions will shape the future of the planet’s biodiversity. As reported by the IUCN, in many parts of the world they [Urban Protected Areas] are the only places not completely dominated by human influence, and the only hope for the survival of many of the world’s plant and animal species, including humans themselves. The primary goal of protected areas is conservation, and protecting the region’s natural and cultural diversity, however traditional conservation is often focused on controlling human disturbance through restrictive measures - extremely limiting and/or eliminating human access and influence to sensitive areas. Increasingly, it is being recognized that urban areas require unique conservation approaches which acknowledge the extent to which human and natural systems are interconnected, for better and for worse. Rather than focusing on the worst and eliminating these connections, more contemporary approaches focus on embracing and celebrating this contact, and building community connections to sensitive natural areas through which urban residents can positively engage with the natural environment and play a more active role in conservation. This project focuses on Tumamoc Hill, and its need to think beyond Tumamoc’s traditional “island” boundaries and a preserve & protect approach to conservation and research. It explores how UPAs are critical spaces for cultivating and disseminating ecological knowledge and strategies through which human and natural communities - which have co-evolved for 1,000’s of years - can potentially co-exist in supportive and even mutually beneficial ways. The design begins to envision how Tumamoc can cultivate community connections and creative conservation practices that will support and protect Tumamoc’s rich heritage and support conservation within its borders and even beyond.