20,000 U.S. Football Fields of Land to Fall to Urbanization Each Day

September 18, 2012 • Daily Email Recap

The following article points to a new study which looks at the expected urban expansion up to the year 2030 (20,000 American football fields becoming urban every day for the first three decades of this century). The actual study is available at PNAS and the abstract is pasted immediately below.

Link to full text at PNAS: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/09/11/1211658109.full.pdf+html

Abstract: Urban land-cover change threatens biodiversity and affects ecosystem productivity through loss of habitat, biomass, and carbon storage. However, despite projections that world urban populations will increase to nearly 5 billion by 2030, little is known about future locations, magnitudes, and rates of urban expansion. Here we develop spatially explicit probabilistic forecasts of global urban land-cover change and explore the direct impacts on biodiversity hotspots and tropical carbon biomass. If current trends in population density continue and all areas with high probabilities of urban expansion undergo change, then by 2030, urban land cover will increase by 1.2 million km2, nearly tripling the global urban land area circa 2000. This increase would result in considerable loss of habitats in key biodiversity hotspots, with the highest rates of forecasted urban growth to take place in regions that were relatively undisturbed by urban development in 2000: the Eastern Afromontane, the Guinean Forests of West Africa, and the Western Ghats and Sri Lanka hotspots…

Rapid Urban Expansion Threatens Biodiversity

See: http://environment.yale.edu/news/article/rapid-urban-expansion-threatens-biodiversity/

New Haven, Conn.- A brief window of opportunity exists to shape the development of cities globally before a boom in infrastructure construction transforms urban land cover, according to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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. That is equal to 20,000 American football fields becoming urban every day for the first three decades of this century.

The growth in urban areas will coincide with the construction of roads and buildings, water and sanitation facilities, and energy and transport systems that will transform land cover and cities globally. Recent estimates suggest that between $25 trillion and $30 trillion will be spent on infrastructure worldwide by 2030, with $100 billion a year in China alone.

To read the full article, please click here: http://environment.yale.edu/news/article/rapid-urban-expansion-threatens-biodiversity/

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