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Urban Expansion Threatens Biodiversity

posted Sep 25, 2012, 2:16 PM by Mike Stamper
     A recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences warns that current rates of urban development could significantly affect biodiversity worldwide in the near future.  Based on models of urban expansion, researchers at Yale, Texas A&M and Boston University predict that by 2030 urban areas will expand by more than 463,000 square miles, or 1.2 million square kilometers.  The study points out, that, while urban planners currently think in terms of carbon footprint, biodiversity may actually be a more important consideration.
     “We need to rethink conservation policies and what it means to be a sustainable city,” said Burak Güneralp, the study’s second author and research assistant professor at Texas A&M University. “It’s not all about carbon footprint, which is what mayors and planners typically think about now, but we need to consider how urban expansion will have implications for other, nonhuman species and the value of these species for present and future generations.”