Urban expansion is fueling deforestation
There is a direct correlation between urban expansion and deforestation, researchers say. Can a City Be Sustainable?, a new book published by the Worldwatch Institute, documents the link between these two trends.
Cities can harm forests in two ways, according to a blog post by Gaelle Gourmelon based on an excerpt of the book. Migrants streaming into developing cities often embrace diets heavy on meat and processed food. As a result, more land is cleared for livestock and grazing. Some deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon is the result of huge demand for soybeans and other crops from distant Chinese cities, Worldwatch says.
The other way cities harm natural habitats is with encroachment that destroys forests and waterways. “Cities worldwide are growing by 1.4 million new inhabitants every week,” Gourmelon writes. “Urban land area is expanding, on average, twice as fast as urban populations.”