THF Conservation Grant
Urban Biodiversity Initiative (UBI) is an independent collective for urban ecology research, conservation and environmental education. Based at the Rimba Ilmu Botanic Garden at Universiti Malaya, they have received a THF Conservation Grant to implement a project promoting the rewilding of urban landscapes through education and community engagement. This project will lay a foundation for integrating biodiversity gardening into the wider urban greening agenda, engaging multiple stakeholders and develop resources for communities, as well as local institutions and government authorities.
Urban biodiversity is threatened by intensive land-use change and current landscaping norms that aim to neaten landscapes, making them inhospitable to native biodiversity in the process. These practices are contributing to the global loss of flora and fauna from ecological communities.
Biodiversity gardening lies at the heart of a paradigm shift from a purely aesthetic landscape to one incorporating ecosystem services and cultural values—a living landscape. Transforming urban and inner-city areas into biodiversity enclaves provides welcome relief to populations lacking access to parks and other sizeable reserves. This also creates abundant opportunities for environmental education and for people to connect with nature.
Several demonstration sites have been identified in Petaling Jaya including the compound of the University of Malaya’s Centre for Malaysian Indigenous Studies in Section 16, Petaling Jaya. Others will be added on as the project launches. UBI will conduct ongoing monitoring at these sites.
The project comprises three objectives:
Demonstrating the value and importance of urban biodiversity through education and by raising awareness. Running a training-of-trainers (ToT) workshop to lead communities in becoming citizen scientists by discovering and documenting the biodiversity around them.
Working with institutional and community partners i.e. schools and residential groups, to transform urban spaces into native biodiversity reintegration sites.
Creating biodiversity gardening resources and toolkits for urban communities in Malaysia. Developing a practical handbook and open-source digital resources enabling and empowering community groups and local government to independently conduct biodiversity audits and develop biodiversity reintegration sites.
Find out more from the Urban Biodiversity Initiative website.