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The city as a refuge for insect pollinators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Damon M. Hall
  • Gerardo R. Camilo
  • Rebecca K. Tonietto
  • Jeff Ollerton
  • Karin Ahrné
  • Mike Arduser
  • John S. Ascher
  • Katherine C R Baldock
  • Robert A Fowler
  • Gordon Frankie
  • Dave Goulson
  • Bengt Gunnarsson
  • Mick E. Hanley
  • Janet I Jackson
  • Gail Langellotto
  • David Lowenstein
  • Emily S. Minor
  • Stacy M. Philpott
  • Simon G. Potts
  • Muzafar H. Sirohi
  • Edward M. Spevak
  • Graham N. Stone
  • Caragh G. Threlfall
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-29
Number of pages6
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number1
Early online date14 Jan 2017
DateAccepted/In press - 14 Sep 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print - 14 Jan 2017
DatePublished (current) - 1 Feb 2017


Research on urban insect pollinators is changing views on the biological value and ecological importance of cities. The abundance and diversity of native bee species in urban landscapes that are absent in nearby rural lands evidence the biological value and ecological importance of cities and have implications for biodiversity conservation. Lagging behind this revised image of the city are urban conservation programs that historically have invested in education and outreach rather than programs designed to achieve high-priority species conservation results. We synthesized research on urban bee species diversity and abundance to determine how urban conservation could be repositioned to better align with new views on the ecological importance of urban landscapes. Due to insect pollinators’ relatively small functional requirements—habitat range, life cycle, and nesting behavior—relative to larger mammals, we argue that pollinators put high-priority and high-impact urban conservation within reach. In a rapidly urbanizing world, transforming how environmental managers view the city can improve citizen engagement and contribute to the development of more sustainable urbanization.

    Research areas

  • pollinators, urban, Urban ecology, Insects Animals, Communications, Conservation planning, Governance, Funding and philanthropy, Politics and policy

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