Note:  Mehar Bajwa works for Bridge to India—an environmental consultancy firm, which conducts research and analysis in renewable energy, resource management, and urban planning in India. Email [email protected]
Abstract: Urbanization is rapidly emerging as one of the most potent forces to shape the global environment. There is already immense pressure on urban natural capital; local biodiversity has been isolated and overshadowed by urban sprawl. The irreversible loss of native biodiversity has an impact on multi-scale ecosystem functioning. It has become critical to reconcile these issues to ensure that urban development is sustainable and, in fact, betters the quality of life. This essay explores the interactions between urban biodiversity, natural capital, and people in urban human ecosystems. A strong scientific basis through continual mapping, monitoring, and assessment is required to communicate the implicit connection between biodiversity and the quality of life to the public and policymakers. Grassroots innovation, public participation, and local governance are critical to maintaining urban biodiversity. A natural capital and ecosystem approach are strongly recommended to ensure that urbanization becomes more sustainable and cities are able to reduce their ecological footprint.