Publication Date

Winter 3-1-2023

Urban areas are uniquely positioned to have a significant impact on biodiversity and the health and resilience of ecosystems and therefore play an essential role in advancing conservation goals. Unlike more “wildland” ecosystems, urban ecosystems are not solely owned and/or managed by public entities or with the sole goal of ecosystem restoration. The important plants, animals and ecosystems in cities are scattered across open spaces and public parks that are already protected and being managed for conservation, as well as on private properties that often comprise the majority of land in cities, which supports the need to address biodiversity and climate resiliency at multiple scales, on various land uses, and through a diverse array of strategies. Municipal governments, such as the City of Los Angeles (City), can play an essential role in addressing biodiversity and habitat connectivity on both public and private land in cities through plans, reports and policies that can help to create more “symbiotic cities”. Since public lands are largely already protected, zoned for open space and/or managed by various municipal, county, state, federal and/or non-profit agencies, it is critical to look to private property protections to ensure a cohesive approach to managing urban ecosystems. As such, the City’s Department of City Planning is proposing a Wildlife Ordinance that will enact a set of land use regulations that aim to balance private development with the need for wildlife habitat and connectivity (via standards related to grading; residential floor area; lot coverage; vegetation and landscaping; height; fences and walls; lighting, windows; and trash enclosures). The creation of the Wildlife Ordinance will assist in the management of the urban ecosystems in Los Angeles, California, and also provide other jurisdictions in the region, across California, and around the world with a roadmap for how government entities, and planners in particular, can address biodiversity, habitat connectivity and climate resilience in cities.



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