Urban rewilding projects are drawing nature back to our cities, including creating urban grasslands for butterflies and incredible homes for deadly raptors.
For the rarest bird in the UK, London’s busy West End seems unlikely to be its habitat. It is estimated that there are only 20 to 40 pairs of red-tailed salamanders in this country. But in recent years, this rare bird has begun to settle in this crowded area of central London, and it has not been manually introduced into the area.
In addition to the red-tailed salamander, there are also some unexpected wildlife that start to live in the eye-catching urban landscape. Moths, butterflies, woodpeckers, and even large brown bats—these species commonly found in rural pastures—are also increasing in this part of London.
This is a growing trend worldwide. Peregrine Falcons were once threatened with extinction in the United States, but now in New York, people often see them dive down from skyscrapers and pass through the city at a very fast speed.
These changes are the result of more and more conservation work, turning densely populated cities from the dead end of wild animals into attractive habitats, allowing wildlife to live in harmony with urban residents. A new initiative even advocates keeping bees in office buildings.
Woodsson, a senior landscape architect at design and planning firm Arup, says you don’t have to completely redesign the layout of a city to do just that. Sometimes creating small green spaces at regular intervals is enough to attract wildlife back to an area. The Wild West, a project involving six of the largest landowners in London, is seeking to set up a 100-square-meter green space every 100 meters.
“This is an ambitious goal,” Woodson said. “The ultimate goal is to create a green corridor between parks in London.”
In addition to planning for more green areas, many landowners choose to retrofit existing buildings with green walls or roofs. It seems to have worked so far. Since the wildlife baseline assessment two years ago, some unexpected species have returned to the area, including the red-tailed pheasant.
“Creating spaces for wild animals to live in, including rock piles and log piles. They are very good at attracting different insects, and over time, they can allow more species to multiply naturally.” These conditions say: Great for this bird. ”
Attracting rare species back to the city is not simply because “this is a good thing”, although it does make urban life more diverse and interesting. Some of the species attracted by these projects are those we rely heavily on in terms of food safety, such as pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Their numbers have plummeted globally.
“We realize that planning, development, architecture, and industrial design have collectively led to the extinction of other species on the planet,” said Joachim, director and co-founder of Terreform, an eco-planning and construction company. Restore these habitats and integrate them into our architectural plans. ”
Sometimes this means planning a huge 8-storey transparent vertical lawn on the wall of an office building in Manhattan. Monarch butterflies are native to North America, but since the 1980s, the monarch butterfly’s breeding habitat plant milkweed (also known as milkweed) has been extensively damaged. Rapid extinction. “Melly is a highly invasive species, and humans don’t like it-it can make you rash or invade your beautiful American lawn,” Joachim said.
Building a space for monarch butterflies in the building is one of the efforts to slow their rapid decline.
“It’s a sanctuary for monarch butterflies. It’s where they breed. It’s a breeding ground for caterpillars. It’s also a habitat for chrysalis and adult butterflies.” Joachim said. “They lived there for a few weeks and then And flew away. ”
In order to have a real impact on Monarch butterfly populations, just one protected area is not enough. The most important thing is to restore the butterfly’s natural habitat-both inside and outside the city, on its route to Mexico-and especially to provide more marlins.
In the city, the roof garden is obviously where the maleix begins to grow. One of the roof gardens is planned to be built on top of the butterfly building, and people can greet them when they are released outdoors. This is a contribution that every owner and tenant can make, not just the owner of a large landmark building. In order to make long-term changes, people need to temporarily ignore the condition of the lawn so that the muscles can grow well.
Sometimes wild animals return to the city not because people have created a specific space for them, but because things that are harmful to them have been removed. The insecticide DDT was originally considered a magical chemical and has been widely used in agriculture since the 1940s. It was not until decades later that it was found to be highly toxic to many species, including humans, and was banned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1972.
Monarch butterfly lays eggs on milkweed (milkweed), but gardeners consider it to be a harmful plant
The birds most affected by DDT are raptors because this toxin accumulates in the food chain. Peregrine Falcon is the fastest raptor in the world. Its population in the United States has decreased sharply. By the 1970s, this bird was on the verge of extinction.
A group of scientists has launched a conservation operation called the Peregrine Falcon Fund, which attempts to breed peregrine flocks in captivity until they can be released into the wild. The place where you live and thrive is unexpected.
“They started to try to put the funerals back in the city,” said Katzner, global participation director of the Peregrine Fund. “Not only has it succeeded, but the results have been very good.”
Skyscrapers provide a very suitable habitat for birds-at high altitudes, there are steep drops, and there are nests far from potential predators such as raccoons or foxes. Scientists work with homeowners to build ledges for birds to nest on. Provide sufficient food for pigeons and migratory birds. With the reduction of DDT pollution on the food chain, the number of urban peregrine falcons has skyrocketed.
“Now, you can find them in almost every city in the United States, including Manhattan. There are several pairs,” said Kazner. “You can walk into downtown New York and see cruise ships flying between skyscrapers.”
Even for those birds that have been released to the countryside, there are now many reports about their active migration to the cities, because the cities have become a good habitat. Raptor in the city not only excites bird watchers, but also helps reduce the number of rodents in the city.
Urban rewilding programs often have multiple levels of benefits-green spaces make people happier, they also help solve drainage problems and prevent floods, and they provide a home for pollinators and other animals. But perhaps one of their most valuable properties is to make people feel more connected to nature and to be more aware of our relationship to the environment.
In the long run, we must not only plant green plants in existing urban areas, but also change urban development models. Until recent years, urbanization also meant turning green spaces into gray with concrete, asphalt, and glass for traditional buildings and infrastructure. There is no doubt that this transformation is harmful to our mental health, physical health, environment, ecosystems and wildlife.
Rewilding cities is one way to reverse this process: giving priority to plants and animals, which can benefit our health, well-being, and the urban environment that comes with it.