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Abstract

Urban ecology, evolution, and conservation are important disciplines in our urbanized and urbanizing world. In the last twenty years, academic work has elucidated generalizable patterns about how urbanization affects the natural world. In this talk, I will approach these patterns from the perspective of Latin America and the Caribbean, first giving a short review on what these patterns are, then asking questions about how cities may make vulnerable assemblages more or less vulnerable in the region. Then, I will briefly talk about how we define cities from a land use perspective and how the methods we use to do this may have implications for local decision-making. Finally, I will talk about the extinction of experience, a theory that predicts that urban residents lose their ability to care about nature because of a lack of direct experience with nature, and whether this pattern holds in four cities of Peru. These topics together show that biodiversity in cities and the decision-making processes that impact biodiversity are informed by the social and ecological histories of these spaces, demonstrating the importance of dialogue with, and self-directed governance and research by, urban residents.

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