Why Urban Land Conservation
The need for biodiversity in our urban area is real. Communities of natural flora and fauna suffer without sufficient access to open space. Wildlife are stranded in isolated islands of natural habitat resulting in genetic inbreeding that weakens the species and ultimately leads to local extinction. Traditional land use policies and practices negatively affect the ability of ecosystems to absorb carbon, creating heat islands intensified by climate change, putting further stress on habitat islands. This drives AFC’s program of land conservation.
The San Gabriel Mountains are a vast natural landscape that is healthy and fully functioning. The San Rafael Hills, Verdugo Mountains and Griffith Park are islands of native habitat that need to be reconnected with the San Gabriels if they are to sustain healthy and diverse natural populations of wildlife and native plants.
When we speak of wildlife corridors we mean passageways suitable for movement of wildlife, including mammals, birds, butterflies and insects, and for dispersal of native plants between natural habitat areas.
AFC is working to connect these islands with corridors that will invite wildlife to pass freely from one area to another and allow these special urban habitats to adapt to climate change. We are also preserving lands in our foothills with the highest intrinsic ecological value.
To have the greatest impact we secure lands with the highest conservation value by:
- Purchasing private property
- Working with local jurisdictions to designate and improve pathways between habitat islands
- Working with local jurisdictions to assure that all appropriate land use regulations are in place and enforced
- Working with state wide organizations to assure recognition of wildlife corridors in new legislation and land use planning
We form a ‘friends’ group to help steward each property we acquire. We empower each with the authority and responsibility to maintain the land and to engage with the community. AFC provides expertise; written protocols, like for governance and habitat restoration; financial support; and other resources.