Cities and Their Rising Impacts on Biodiversity - A Global Overview


The research suggests that scientists are not studying the impacts of urban growth in the right places. 

To gain a clearer picture of the situation, an international group of scientists, including Professor Andrew Gonzalez from McGill’s Biology Department, surveyed over 600 studies on the impacts of urban growth on biodiversity. They published their findings today in Nature Sustainability.

“Our understanding of the rising impacts of cities is crucial for future biodiversity targets, but we must quickly fill existing gaps in our knowledge because they impede our ability to make new policy to manage the impacts of urban growth,” says Gonzalez.

The research underlines what we know about the effects of urban expansion on natural habitats:

  • We are living in the fastest period of urban growth in human history. By 2030, more than 2 billion additional people are expected to be living in cities, a pace of urban growth that is the equivalent to building a city the size of New York City every six weeks.
  • 290,000 square kilometers, (an area larger in size than the entire United Kingdom) of natural habitat are forecast to be converted to urban land uses by 2030.
  • The direct impacts of urban expansion on biodiversity will be most severe in the tropical coastal regions such as those in China, Brazil, and Nigeria where there is a high level of biodiversity.

Continue reading at McGill University

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