Humanity for Habitat: Residential Yards as an Opportunity for Biodiversity Conservation

Susannah B. Lerman*, Kelli L. Larson, Desirée L. Narango, Mark Goddard, Peter P. Marra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The primary threat to biodiversity is habitat loss and degradation. Private residential land (yards) encompass large proportions of urban, suburban, and rural spaces and is among the most rapidly expanding systems on Earth. Yards also represent a conservation opportunity to provide wildlife habitat, support biodiversity, restore ecosystem function and ecosystem services, and increase local opportunities for people to connect with nature. In the present article, we propose a humanity for habitat stewardship practice by synthesizing the evidence-based yard management actions that can advance the conservation value of yards, with a focus on benefits to biodiversity, climate resiliency, and people. The magnitude and extent of yard management might differ, depending on the region, specific management practices, the yard’s size, and the yard’s location along the urban to rural gradient. We detail opportunities, challenges, and strategies for encouraging stronger public participation in conservation through yard stewardship to facilitate biodiversity-friendly residential landscapes that benefit wildlife and people.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberbiad085
Pages (from-to)671–68973
Number of pages19
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023

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