The city of Los Angeles has been certified as biodiversity haven by the National Wildlife Federation. The certification makes Los Angeles the largest city in the U.S. to have attained this feat. The city registered for the program with the National Wildlife Federation in August last year and started campaigns to get residents to help with the mission to boost the city’s wildlife.

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To achieve this goal, it took the collective work of city residents, organizations and schools, all of which turned to gardening with native plants, reducing or eliminating pesticide use and designing wildlife-supporting green spaces. Individuals registered 1,078 residential yards to be considered biodiversity havens. Further, 34 schools and 140 common areas were also registered for the program. After application, groups and individuals were required to practice gardening and construction projects with wildlife in mind. In the end, with the implementation of sustainable gardening efforts, individual residents and schools received their own certificates of biodiversity haven status.

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“This certification celebrates the ongoing work of LA Sanitation and our City Departments, our ecologist in Planning, our City Forest Officer, our Expert Biodiversity Panel, and all our local environmental organizations who labor every day to redirect the trajectory of Los Angeles from a city of concrete and conspicuous consumption toward a model urban city successfully co-existing and inextricably linked to the environmental health of its wildlife and natural areas,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz, who also authored the city’s biodiversity and wildlife corridor programs.

mountain lion in Santa Monica mountains

Los Angeles is the second-largest city in the country, but it is also one of the most biodiverse. The city is home to a wide array of wildlife, including hundreds of bird species, bobcats, coyotes and mountain lions, among others. Unlike many urban areas, this is one city that has created a conducive environment for people to co-exist with wildlife.

“Los Angeles’s success in getting certified under National Wildlife Federation’s Community Wildlife Habitat program shows how communities can enhance environmental sustainability, protect biodiversity and support environmental equity and justice,” said Patrick Fitzgerald, senior director of community wildlife at the National Wildlife Federation.

The city shared the news of its recognition along with the release of its 2020 LA Biodiversity Report. The report used 25 metrics to gauge city efforts to promote biodiversity. As part of its Green New Deal, Los Angeles has targeted no-net biodiversity loss by 2035. The LA Sanitation and Environment will also soon release a list of official biodiversity indicator species.

+ LA 2020 Biodiversity Report

Images via National Park Service (1, 2)