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Private property makes up a large proportion of urban green space and differs from public greenspace in ecologically important ways. While including private property in urban landscape research is necessary, ecologists are frequently unprepared to work on private property and thus often exclude private land from empirical studies. To address this gap and encourage research on private property, we ask: “What lessons have urban ecologists learned from designing their research and completing their fieldwork that are relevant to researchers new to private property?” We present ten common methodological and practical challenges faced by urban ecologists, with solutions synthesized from semi-structured interviews with 24 urban ecologists from 7 countries, along with public health researchers and police officers. The compiled advice addresses all stages of research, including research design, sample design, gaining access to study sites, collecting data on study sites, and sharing results. Ecologists reported that their research and sampling design were shaped by the need to work with property owners, found communicating honestly and respectfully with property owners for the duration of the research influenced success, and emphasized practicing good field safety and preparing for both routine and stressful in-person encounters. Further research and collaboration among ecologists and private property owners is necessary to improve our understanding and management of urban ecosystems given the proportion of urban greenspace that is on private property. We hope that our suggestions will help guide the next generation of urban ecologists to take up this challenge.
Reorganized body of paper for increased readability and usability. Now formatted in a QA format to help researchers quickly identify what areas of the paper are most relevant to them.