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Mapping the 'Conflict Zones' Between Sprawl and Biodiversity

If cities keep growing as they do now, nearly 400 of them will sprawl into the habitats of endangered species by 2030.
World map showing the 400-plus large cities that sit in biodiversity hotspots
World map showing the 400-plus large cities that sit in biodiversity hotspotsAtlas for the End of the World

By 2030, the world is expected to add another billion people or so, bringing the total population to roughly 8.5 billion. And with humans becoming increasingly urban, sprawl will only get worse, taking up precious space that wild birds, mammals, plants, and the like can still call home.

In fact, at least 423 large cities (that is, with more than 300,000 people) across the globe are nestled inside 36 biodiversity hotspots: regions that harbor a high diversity of animal and plant species found virtually nowhere else in the world. And considering the growth trajectory of these cities—as modeled by the Seto Lab at Yale University—a staggering 90 percent of them could end up destroying the natural habitats of endangered species over the next decade or so.