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Urban Sprawl and Development Threatening Biodiversity in Animals

Habitat fragmentation linked with urban sprawl and development has been shown to negatively impact biological diversity in animals, according to new research.

"Researchers assessed four species -- three lizards and a bird -- in the Santa Monica Mountains near Thousand Oaks. Co-author Robert Fisher at the U.S. Geological Survey in San Diego said a similar study recently was started in San Diego County to see what has happened to genetic diversity in a region where habitat "connectivity" and conservation planning goes back several years.

His work in the Santa Monica Mountains suggests "habitat islands" are forming where animals are unlikely to be related to the same species in neighboring areas. In addition, animals within smaller and more-isolated habitat patches are closely related to one another."

Roads and other human-made barriers tend to isolate animals and encourage in-breeding, which reduces biodiversity and potentially increases the risk of extinction.

Full Story: Study shows urban sprawl threatens genetic diversity

Comments

Comments

Irvin Dawid's picture
Correspondent

Urban Sprawl and Population Growth

Unfortunately, the article failed to connect the two - but the commentors at the end of the article certainly seized upon it! I think we in the smart growth movement need to show that urban sprawl is NOT about population growth but land use and transportation policies that enable rapid land consumption - often when there is little, if any population growth (see the best example, Cleveland). Of course, the article was not written with that perspective in mind.

Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

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