A recent study indicates that that rapid urbanization will affect the future of plants and animals and availability natural resources. The implications for city planners are ominous. If cities are planned without any regard for nature, then nature will die. As per a United Nations Report, presently, 50% of the population of the world is living in cities. This will increase to 60% by 2030. Nearly 2 billion people will be added to the existing population in the cities. These will be people who will migrate from rural areas. Most of this growth is going to happen in India, Africa and China and countries that are ecologically rich like islands and sea coasts. This kind of lopsided growth will put these areas at risk.
We need to design, build and expand cities taking into consideration, conservation and protection of nature otherwise we will not have any nature left. Studies have been conducted, building various scenarios on the effect of urban growth on ecosystems and natural resources. The studies have made some startling revelations on the effect of the present growth in urbanization. By 2030, there could be severe damage to ecosystems.
Some of the main findings are given below:
Although the effects of increased urbanization will be localized, when added up, the effects are a huge threat to nature and biodiversity. Urban areas cover huge parts of the globe and the chances are that many endangered species will become extinct shortly.
In addition to threat to nature, economic concerns will emerge. Fires started intentionally or accidentally can cause destruction on a large scale leading to huge losses. People in Rio de Janeiro at the Tijuca National Park have been known to cause fires to drive away wild animals. Water quality in urban areas will affect freshwater systems in protected areas.
But all is not lost. If conservationists, Governments and city planners, work together, man and nature can live in harmony.