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What Is Urban Conservation?

A wooden barrel can be used to collect rain to water plants.
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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 09 April 2014
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Urban conservation is the ecological practice of conserving green areas and natural resources in an urban setting. Yards, parks, and rivers in urban areas can all benefit from urban conservation practices, which typically clean up pollution and encourage population by native plant and animal species. Urban conservation can also include planting more trees, bushes, and flowers in urban areas, which can help to lower temperatures and freshen urban air. Conserving water and energy in urban settings can also be important for the conservation of the world's resources, since most people now live in urban areas. The introduction of more reliable public transport can also help with green urban planning, since it typically reduces carbon emissions in urban areas.

The cleanup of polluted urban waters, and the protection of these waters, can be a big part of urban conservation. Rivers, lakes, coastal areas and other waterways in urban areas are vulnerable to pollution. Cleaning these waters, and protecting them from further pollution, can help restore ecosystems to a state of health. In addition, the people who live in urban areas typically take more enjoyment from clean, healthy waterways where fishing, boating, and other recreational activities can take place. Protecting urban waterways can also increase urban resources, giving the area an additional supply of fresh water.

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Many urban planning officials believe that incorporating green spaces into an urban area can make that area more pleasant and perhaps healthier to live. Trees and other plants in city parks and along boulevards help lower air temperatures. Urban areas are typically construction of concrete, asphalt and other materials that absorb sunlight, raising the air temperature in cities. Trees and bushes offer shade to help cool cities. They can also help filter pollution from the city air, while regulations on waste disposal and use of outdoor chemicals can help further curtail pollution.

In smaller cities and towns, conservation can often mean providing places where native animals may live. Many animals continue to live alongside humans in smaller cities and towns. Cultivating native vegetation, protecting against soil erosion, and even sometimes offering shelter to native species can be a part of urban conservation. Even the most rural communities may encourage farmers to cultivate the native plants that indigenous species use for food and shelter. Gardeners and subsistence farmers may be encouraged to collect rainwater in vats or barrels to water crops and plants.

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