Urban Grassland Restoration: A Neglected Opportunity for Biodiversity Conservation



Urbanization is one of the most severe threats to biodiversity, so why should not we use green space in cities to counteract the biodiversity loss as much as possible? Urban grasslands provide a large number of social, financial, recreational, and environmental ecosystem services but can also support high biodiversity. In this article, I describe the importance of urban grasslands for (local) biodiversity and recommend strengthening restoration ecological research and efforts to optimize these novel ecosystems for conservation purposes. The management intensity of a high proportion of urban grasslands decreased over the last decades. However, species richness of these grasslands is still low, although there is now a great potential for higher plant, but also animal diversity. While communal authorities are interested in cost-efficient but at the same time biodiversity-friendly management of urban grasslands, a well-founded scientific basis for the restoration of urban grassland is still missing. I argue that besides all challenges associated with the restoration of urban habitats we should urgently proceed in the development of appropriate and effective restoration approaches and communicate knowledge gained to urban planners and stakeholders. Widening the scope of restoration ecological research to novel ecosystems such as urban grasslands is one of the most important recent challenges for biodiversity restoration and it gives urban habitats the significance they deserve.