What is urban biodiversity?

Biodiversity is the variety of animals, plants and fungi in an area. It is also the variety of genes within each species.

One of the thousands of species of butterflies found in Malaysia.

Many don’t know that Malaysia is country with mega biodiversity, which means that compared to the rest of the world we have many times more diversity. For example in Malaysia we have 6000 species of moths, 2000 species of bees, 8000 species of ants and 200 species of dung beetles.

The ubiquitous banyan growing out of a  concrete structure.

Of course in cities there are far fewer species. The study of urban biodiversity is about what can survive in our cities and the unique new ecosystems that emerge in them.

An example of urban biodiversity is the patches of pavement plants that grow next to our pathways, or the banyans that take over buildings as soon as they are abandoned. These become the foundation for food chains that allow pollinators or fruit eating birds to live in our cities. 

In terms of genetic variety, a good local example is the different breeds of banana that we enjoy. Malaysia has a wide variety of wild and domesticated banana species, and these allow us to have a wide selection of pisang goreng as well as the genetic diversity to breed more resilient crops in the future. 

Even a garden can seem like a forest to small animals like toads.

There are practices that we can do to make our cities more friendly to wildlife, this website is a repository of information on how we can create cities that can serve more than just humans.