Peter Marcotullio & Carson Farmer, Hunter College – City University of New York, New York, NY, USA

Presentation Title: Global urbanization-biodiversity tensions to the year 2100




A simple model was provided to project spatial human population every decade from 2000 to 2100. It is focused on urban growth, as most increases in population over the coming century will be within the world’s cities. A series of biodiversity layers is laid over the areas of population growth to identify potential locations of urban-biodiversity tension, using three types of analyses to identify these tensions. In the first analysis, the distribution of human population and biodiversity along the latitudinal gradient and in different ecosystems were examined and compared. In a second analysis, there was an examination of growth of population as specific locations (i.e., those with high endemism, location in or near biodiversity hotspots and locations in or close to protected areas, such as parks). Third, areas of both high biodiversity richness and high population density were identified.

Key Lessons Learned

  • The analysis suggests that given the spatial distribution of population and the increasing urbanization of the planet, the number of areas of urban-biodiversity tension demonstrate significant increases throughout the century.
  • These results, given the simple methods to project population, suggest more research and model development is needed to identify conservation strategies and could be applied immediately to help reduce future tensions.

Knowledge Gaps and Needs

  • The development of a process of projecting urbanization to 2050 and identifying locations of human-biodiversity tension.
  • Refinement of techniques and the ability to use them on a global geography for all countries to 2050 and possibly 2100.
  • The further use of object-oriented methods to develop more complicated models of urbanization, including land use change, economics components, etc., along with a larger set of biodiversity data.


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