Nature. Wonder. Here.

The Urban Biodiversity Initiative (UBI) is an independent collective for urban ecology research, conservation and environmental education. We are based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

There is a wilderness right in our very backyards, if only we stop to look, listen and feel.


Delve into stories, commentaries and studies of urban nature


Let your gardens come to life and give life: find tools and ideas for supporting biodiversity

Species Guides

Check out our series on flora and fauna that thrive in our cities


Featured Posts

Rewilding, the case of urban Birdwing butterflies

Here I explain how you can think about ecosystems and how to restore them. The case study of the Golden Birdwing Butterfly, which can be found in the urban forest patch that is Rimba Ilmu Botanic Garden located inside the University of Malaya. Merely reintroducing a species does not produce long lasting results. Butterfly farms […]

soil beneath vegetation

Saving the Underground Farmers: Soil Ecosystems

Have you ever noticed the earth that you step on? It is where we get materials essential to our survival. It is soil that supports the growth of plants, the producers of the food chain and the sources of fibre, fodder, and fuel. At first look, it seems static and lifeless. In fact, soil hosts […]


Common name: Java waterdropwort Local name: Selom Scientific name: Oenanthe javanica Distribution: East, South, and Southeast Asia, as well as Australia Conservation status: Least concern, Cultivated, Native Description Selom is a native plant found in the rainforest in Malaysia. Selom is an erect, perennial plant growing from 10 – 150 cm tall. The plant has […]

Ulam Raja

Common name: Cosmos, wild cosmos Local name: Ulam raja Scientific name: Cosmos caudatus Distribution: Pantropical Conservation Status: Least concern, Cultivated, Naturalised species Description The name of the plant means ‘king of ulam.’ Its scientific name is Cosmos caudatus. Therefore, it is also known as cosmos in English. This plant is indigenous to tropical America, and […]

plant shoot road

Biodiversity in Cities

In recent years, ecologists have begun to take a second look at plants and animals appearing in cities. There seems to be more ‘nature’ in urban areas than one would expect. Cities are supposed to be human territories—steel, brick and concrete—not exactly welcoming to wildlife. But urban places display a variety of species and habitats […]

The City Tree

Most days, a city tree is just a tree. It stands there, out of the way, but close enough if you need a shaded parking or walk. Other days, a tree will make one pause and wonder. Cities all over the world remember to add trees to their streets and build parks from scratch to […]