By 2030, an additional 1.2 billion people are forecast in urban areas globally. We review the scientific literature (n = 922 studies) to assess direct and indirect impacts of urban growth on habitat and biodiversity. Direct impacts are cumulatively substantial, with 290,000 km2 of natural habitat forecast to be converted to urban land uses between 2000 and 2030. Studies of direct impact are disproportionately from high-income countries. Indirect urban impacts on biodiversity, such as food consumption, affect a greater area than direct impacts, but comparatively few studies (34%) have quantified urban indirect impacts on biodiversity.
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The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
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The authors thank the thousands of scientists whose data and papers have made this Review possible. This Review is a joint effort of the working group sUrbio2050 kindly supported by sDiv, the Synthesis Centre of the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, funded by the German Research Foundation (FZT 118).
The authors declare no competing interests.
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Table S1. Forecasted urban-caused natural habitat loss, by country or other administrative unit (2000–2030). Results are sorted in descending order of the percentage of the total land area on which natural habitat was forecast to be lost to urban growth, from greatest to least urban impact. Small administrative units or other units with no data (for example, Antarctica) are not shown in this table.
Table S2. Forecasted urban-caused natural habitat loss, by biome and country-level income group (2000–2030). Results are sorted in descending order of the percentage of the total land area on which natural habitat was forecast to be lost to urban growth, from greatest to least urban impact.
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McDonald, R.I., Mansur, A.V., Ascensão, F. et al. Research gaps in knowledge of the impact of urban growth on biodiversity. Nat Sustain 3, 16–24 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-019-0436-6
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