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More than half the world's human population resides in cities (United Nations Economic and Social Affairs Population Division 2015). Unpacking this singular statistic, it becomes clear that people come to live in urban environments via numerous routes. Some have lived in cities all their lives and are descendants of city dwellers. In other cases, cities spread and encircle them (Hurley et al. 2008; Unnikrishnan and Nagendra 2015). Increasingly, rural residents are national and transnational migrants to cities, pushed by armed conflict, natural disasters, and economic need or opportunity (United Nations Economic and Social Affairs Population Division 2013). In the case of the latter two routes, traditional ecological knowledge and practices involving flora and fauna may persist in urban habitats that constitute biocultural refugia (Barthel et al. 2010). This special section lifts up the proposition that such spaces, knowledge, and practices are fertile ground for ethnobiological study.


The item available for download here is the version of record originally published in Journal of Ethnobiology, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 807-819.

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This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.