Urban wildlife corridors

Conduits for movement or linear habitat?

Authored by: Ian Douglas , Jonathan P. Sadler

The Routledge Handbook of Urban Ecology

Print publication date:  December  2010
Online publication date:  December  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415498135
eBook ISBN: 9780203839263
Adobe ISBN: 9781136883415


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In his excellent description of places to see wildlife in London, David Goode (1986) describes railway lines were often the best place to see foxes in London. He also extolled the ecological interest of walks along abandoned railways, such as that from Mill Hill to Edgware. Without specifically using the word ‘corridor’ he was advocating the virtues of linear habitats in cities (Figure 22.1). In a similar book on Belfast, published almost 20 years later, Robert Scott (2004) describes the Lagan Valley as a two-way corridor, enticing wild creatures upstream from the marine environment of Belfast Lough and downstream from the surrounding countryside into the heart of the city; a pattern mirrored in other large cities with riparian corridors (e.g. Newcastle and the Tyne valley). Connective features such as green networks and corridors have been influential in guiding planning policies in many areas of the world (Turner 2006; von Haaren and Reich 2006), but are also subject to considerable debate and confusion (Hess and Fischer 2001). They have long been seen as providing connectivity, linking greenspaces, and minimizing the potential effects of fragmentation on wildlife (Jongman et al. 2004), while providing important recreational, leisure and nature experience possibilities for people (Gobster and Westphal 2004). The idea of urban wildlife corridors is now firmly established in natural history and has become part of urban environmental planning. Figure 22.1 Abandoned railway line at Stamford Brook, Trafford, Greater Manchester, UK, forming a potential wildlife corridor.

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