Urban nature reserves can be important for climate change mitigation as well as adaptation. Most attention to natural areas in cities has focused on their roles in enhancing resilience to storms, flooding, and rising sea levels. However, many urban nature reserves are visited by large numbers of people and can be used to demonstrate, facilitate, and promote good behavior toward the environment, including behavior that reduces emissions of greenhouse gases.
A new publication from IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, “Urban Protected Areas: Profiles and Best Practice Guidelines,” describes nature reserves in 15 metropolitan areas around the world, the benefits they provide, and the challenges they face, and sets out principles for managing, creating, and defending them.
Here are two examples of urban nature reserves from the standpoints of adaptation and mitigation, respectively: In Mumbai, India, 10,400-hectare Sanjay Gandhi National Park, the largest permeable surface in a metropolis of 20 million people, helps to protect the city from floods. In Los Angeles, the 63,000-hectare Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area has a new “net-zero” visitor center that produces as much energy as it uses on an annual basis and demonstrates to visitors the value of energy efficiency.
“Urban Protected Areas” (124 pages, illustrated) is posted at www.iucn-urban.org.