Cities bear a great responsibility in conserving and fostering biodiversity, including the local implementation of the German National Biodiversity Strategy (NBS). Even cities with existing approaches to conserve biodiversity often lack a comprehensive citywide approach that considers the urban core. The latest developments in urban biodiversity are underrepresented in practical applications. Deficits in the application and implementation of knowledge illustrate the gap between research and practice.
The project scope called for the development of general recommendations for municipalities and specific measures towards the implementation of the NBS in urban areas. Central to this were green structures in densely built and intensively used city centers.
How can municipal biodiversity strategies counteract the loss of biodiversity in urban areas? How can the challenges of practical implementation be overcome, considering potential competitive forces on urban land uses as well as possible deficits regarding the appropriateness and application of environmental protection and planning tools? How can the gap between scientific findings and practical implementation regarding urban biodiversity be closed?
Building on recent scientific findings on urban biodiversity and the role of ecosystem services (ESS), the foundations for the creation and monitoring of municipal biodiversity strategies was developed by conducting an analysis of 1) planning and financial measures for action and 2) current implementation status of NBS in municipalities. The three research partners entered into continuous dialogue with the practitioner partners as well as with other municipal stakeholders. Both of the practitioner partners (the City of Bielefeld and the City of Heidelberg) in cooperation with the research partners developed exemplary parameters for comprehensive biodiversity strategies. These strategies are implemented in the form of actual measures in test areas. The implementation strategies as well as the development of biodiversity strategies had been accompanied by an intensive public awareness campaign to increase acceptance and integrate key players. The experiences of the partner cities and other cities in the coalition "Communities for Biodiversity" had been used to develop guidelines, which can support other cities to develop municipal biodiversity strategies.
One key result is a brochure with guidelines towards the creation of biodiversity strategies, called "Mehr biologische Vielfalt in Städten und Gemeinden – Eine Arbeitshilfe zur Erstellung kommunaler Biodiversitätsstrategien", available to cities across Germany (only in German available, see "Downloads").
The two implementing partners, the cities of Bielefeld and Heidelberg, developed exemplary parameters for their particular municipal biodiversity strategies and implemented actual measures in test areas.