Urban Wildlife

Mule deer
Thoughtful, sustainable urban planning can help cities become healthy habitats for native wildlife, like these mule deer

Protecting and restoring wildlife habitat in our cities and suburbs is a vital component of wildlife conservation. Urban wildlife habitat can support habitat connectivity within ecological landscapes and serve as a refuge for species impacted by urbanization. Local land and water conservation projects can provide important urban wildlife benefits and connect our growing urban population with nature, potentially broadening support for natural resource conservation nationwide.

Forest Service scientists studying urban wildlife ecology use animal behavior analyses, species population surveys, quantitative studies, and computer modeling to identify urban planning strategies and conservation projects that can help make our cities friendly to people and native wildlife alike.

  • Study sites in city-fragmented habitats and near city edges allow scientists to examine the effects of urbanization on different species populations along the wildland-urban interface.
  • Continuous monitoring of wildlife distribution and behavior within city parks and open spaces leads to a more thorough understanding of how urban nature can provide critical habitat.
  • Observed patterns in wildlife population size and distribution associated with varying degrees of urbanization enable city planners to predict and pre-emptively address the effects of future construction projects on urban wildlife.

View a summary of urban wildlife research at the Forest Service »pdf

Learn more about urban wildlife »

Urban Wildlife Workshops: Wildlife Conservation in Cities and Suburbs

The Forest Service brings a diverse set of conservation interests together with leading experts each year at the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, in partnership with the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, the National Wildlife Federation, and Texas Parks & Wildlife. During a half-day session, speakers and participants explore urban wildlife conservation issues and strategies, funding opportunities, sustainability initiatives, successful partnerships, and the latest in urban wildlife research.