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Natural San Francisco
Our City’s Natural Heritage
Our city’s own biodiversity resides in very special places - including iconic park lands like the Presidio, Twin Peaks, Glen Canyon, Lake Merced and Golden Gate Par - that harbor a remarkable diversity of ecological communities of native habitats, plants and animals, including ten federally-listed endangered species, twenty globally rare plants, and hundreds of species of resident and migratory birds. The wetlands, prairies, dunes, oak woodlands and other wildlife habitats of our geographic area are part of the California Floristic Province, identified by Conservation International and the Nature Conservancy as a global biodiversity hotspot. Our local bioregion is recognized by the United Nations as the Golden Gate Biosphere Reserve, which underscores the severe urban pressures on our local biodiversity.
San Francisco was developed in a unique natural landscape, no less special than anywhere else on Earth. San Francisco, like other cities around the planet, has its own special ecological legacy, which deserves respect and protection no less importantly than the rainforests of Brazil or British Columbia. Around the world, people and policymakers have begun to acknowledge the importance of urban biodiversity. The United Nations, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) all have policies and programs that recognize the important of biodiversity in cities. In North America, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Madison, Austin and Kansas City are examples of cities that have an actual municipal department devoted to conservation of nature and biodiversity.
San Francisco is habitat for 800,000 people – meeting needs for space to work, play, and learn; for food, water, and air; for community with local flora and fauna. SF Environment provides support for urban agriculture and forestry and green buildings, helping residents and businesses harness environmental opportunities.