Amanda Tai, Public Policy Manager
This fall, I took a trip to Portland, Ore., to attend The Wildlife Society’s annual conference. I found it interesting that the conference logo combined Portland’s city skyline, its major river the Willamette and the wildlife habitat that permeates the city and its surrounding area. Portland is the perfect example of the complex intersection of wildlife habitat and urban environment. Previously, I had only experienced the downtown area of Portland, so this time, I was curious to learn more about how wildlife habitat incorporates itself into the city.To start, I paid a visit to Portland’s Hoyt Arboretum, just a quick trip from the downtown area. The arboretum’s extensive collection of trees provides food and shelter for birds as part of a larger wildlife corridor to the coastal mountains. Hiking around the arboretum’s trails, I forgot that I was still in a city. The incorporation of parks and greenspaces, like the Hoyt Arboretum, into a city allows wildlife to have a refuge in an urban environment.
The urban wildlife theme continued at the conference, where several presenters talked about the growing wildland-urban interface and the conservation challenges that come with urban development. National Science Foundation grant programs like the Urban Long-Term Research Area (ULTRA) and Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) are funding graduate student research on urban ecosystems and wildlife habitat. As we continue to build our Urban Forests program at American Forests, we are committed to addressing the vital role of forests in cities, including the urban wildlife that depends on them.