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Lessons Learned from Chicago Wilderness—Implementing and Sustaining Conservation Management in an Urban Setting

Author(s): Liam Heneghan | Christopher Mulvaney | Kristen Ross | Lauren Umek | Cristy Watkins | Lynne M. Westphal | David H. Wise

Journal: Diversity
ISSN 1424-2818

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 74;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: urban biodiversity | resilience | ecological restoration | conservation alliance

We summarize the factors that shaped the biodiversity of Chicago and its hinterland and point out the conservation significance of these ecological systems, addressing why conservation of Chicago’s biodiversity has importance locally and beyond. We highlight Chicago Wilderness (CW), a regional biodiversity conservation alliance committed to protecting nature and enriching the lives of the region’s residents. Chicago Wilderness, with over 250 institutional members, has for over a decade coordinated the efforts of diverse institutions, including federal, state, and local agencies, public land-management agencies, conservation organizations, and scientific and cultural institutions. Chicago Wilderness is committed to using science and emerging knowledge as a foundation for its conservation work. CW has several specialist teams that promote an interdisciplinary approach to conservation; we focus on the work of the CW Science Team, the one team with a research mission. The scientific investigations that are undertaken to provide a knowledge base for the work of Chicago Wilderness have drawn upon a wide variety of conservation paradigms, including that of resilience thinking, which we illustrate in a series of case studies.
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