Habitat and Animals Essay
Little care or thought was given to wildlife, or the delicate nature of their habitat as Urban Sprawl moved along with the progress of the times. This is supported by the opinion offered by Authors Emel and Wolch, in their book titled ‘ Animal Geographies: Place, Politics and Identity’, They state that ” The 1980’s cost of sprawl debate made no mention of wildlife habitat, and the adherents to the so called new urbanism and sustainable cities movements of the 1990’s rarely define sustainability in relation to the animals”(5).
Quoting statistics researched, compiled, and available at Smart Growth America.com, Authors Hapke, Goodwin, Pulsipher and Pulsipher state that ” In the United States Urban Sprawl eats up 2 acres a minute- A million acres a year- including 400,000 acres of land that is especially well suited for high quality specialty crops. Urban Sprawl is now an issue in virtually all parts of North America” (6). Quoting Vitousek (1997) and Marzluff and Hamel (2001), authors Johnson and Klemens explain that the destruction of animal habitat occurs because ” Humans alter the earth’s natural landscape in three main ways: Through agriculture, natural resource extraction, and urban and rural settlement” (7) .
There is immediate habitat loss as an area is developed, as noted almost one million acres per year are consumed. As humans take over and develop, the wildlife is displaced, and deprived of the habitat because it has been converted for use, and is no longer suitable to sustain life. Pollution, and the introduction of non indigenous invasive plant species enter the habitat as well, after humans move in to an area. (5) Emel Jody, Wolch Jennifer. Animal Geographies: Place, Politics, and Identity in the Nature-culture Borderlands, Edition: illustrated, Published by Verso, 1998, p.
132. (6) Hapke Holly M, Goodwin Conrad Mac, Pulsipher Lydia Mihelic, Pulsipher Alex. World Regional Geography: Global Patterns, Local Lives. Edition: 3, illustrated, Published by Macmillan, 2005. p. 81. (7) Johnson Elizabeth Ann. Klemens Michael W. Nature in Fragments: The Legacy of Sprawl. Edition: illustrated, Published by Columbia University Press, 2005. p. 19. 3 Many researchers agree with author John Kistler that “ Habitat loss is the single most important factor in the destruction of wild species”(8).
Imagine developers go in with big bulldozers, and dump trucks, and destroy the natural landscape without a thought to the population of animals that will be displaced. Without concerns about rare plant and animal species that may be at risk of extinction. It used to be as man moved in, the animals would move out, to nearby untouched areas with sufficient forage and water to survive. Johnson and Klemens point out that today ” However, as sprawl converts more land to development, there are few or no adjacent undeveloped lands to meet these needs”(9).
Now a drive along highways that pass close to any major development sites that are currently under construction, will reveal the fate of many of the dislocated inhabitants. Dead deer, coyotes, fox, racoons, hawks, and a multitude of other species are strewn along the roadside daily. Quoting Clevenger and (2001) and Forman (2003), in a paper prepared by professor Michael Starr, and students at Southern Illinois University, attempting to compile data on road kill occurrences states that ” It is undoubtedly true that the number of road-killed animals has been increasing through the years… until the last decade, very few scientific studies had been conducted to assess this assumption”(10). Based on data compiled by reported accidents with cars, and quoting Forman (2003), The SIUE paper stated that “ It has been conservatively estimated that 1 million deer alone are killed each year on the nation’s roads”(11).
These numbers are reported road kills involving car damage, the numbers of smaller species no doubt are astronomical, if a number could be assigned. (8) Kistler John. Animal Rights: A Subject Guide, Bibliography, and Internet Companion Edition: illustrated, Published by Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000. p 145. (9)
Johnson Elizabeth Ann. Klemens Michael W. Nature in Fragments: The Legacy of Sprawl. Edition: illustrated, Published by Columbia University Press, 2005. p. 30. (10) (11) Starr Michael J. “Surveying For Small Road-Killed Animals Along Rural Roads And State Highways” http://www. siue. edu/GEOGRAPHY/RoadKill. htm. SIUE Department of Geography. Feb. 2006. 4 States with most population growth had largest permanent loss of rural land Average low-population-growth state lost less than a third the rural land as average high-population growth state http://www. sprawlcity. org/charts_usda/us_6. html
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