Urban Sprawl and Wildlife Essay

Urban Sprawl and Wildlife Essay

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The conquering and development of natural land has in the past, been seen as a mark of human civilization. In the United States, our progress is often measured by growth and development, but should this be re-examined? There are many opinions on the subject of urban sprawl and its effects on wildlife, but one thing is for certain, we are expanding. From 1955 to 2005, urban and suburban areas grew by 300%, however, the population only increased by 75% over the same period (Ewing, Kostyack and Chen). According to NatureServe, a non-profit conservation organization, urban sprawl threatens one of every three endangered species in the United States. NatureServe’s analysis states, “rare and endangered species data shows that three-fifths (60 percent) of the nation’s rarest and most imperiled species are found within designated metropolitan areas, with the 35 fastest growing large metropolitan areas home to nearly one-third (29 percent) of these species. (Ewing, Kostyack and Chen) Nevertheless, other groups believe urban sprawl is beneficial to wildlife. The Landscape Analysis Lab at Sewanee: The University of the South in Tennessee argues that suburbs are doing more for the bird populations in Tennessee than the government supported tree plantations. Their data shows more diverse bird populations making suburbs their home. They find the housing developments more suitable since they are likely to have a wide variety of tree and plant species and other structures that provide diverse nesting opportunities, whereas the tree plantations usually only plant one type of tree (Miller). So, the debate continues, are humans encroaching on wildlife habitat and posing a risk to their survival, or do suburban environments with their lush lawns and...


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...p these species flourish.



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Works Cited
Ewing, R, et al. Endangered by Sprawl: How Runaway Development Threatens America's Wildlife. Washington, D.C.: National Wildlife Federation, Smart Growth America and Nature Serve, January 2005. Report.
Miller, Debra A. "Research Finds Urban Sprawl Not So Bad for Wildlife." Space News From SpaceDaily.Com. Space Daily, 13 Jan. 2007. Web. 10 Feb. 2012. .
Shaw, Jane. "Nature in the Suburbs." Backgrounder No. 1724 (2004). Essay.
Terris, Jutka. "Unwelcome (Human) Neighbors: The Impacts of Sprawl on Wildlife." Essay. August 1999.

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