|Wednesday What's New: Impacts of the Megacity|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Wednesday, 27 February 2013|
Do you live in a region that will soon be gobbled up by the megacity? Chances are that you do. If youíre not sure then take a look at this megacity map:
Megacities by definition have populations that exceed 10 million. Although you might not think of them this way, cities are ecosystems unto themselves, albeit socio-ecological ones due to the presence of humans, and will impact the environment just as much as any other global climate change. In an article published in Science on Feb. 8, 2008 titled "Global Change and the Ecology of Cities", an interdisciplinary team of ecologists, archaeologists, researchers, and sustainability experts outlined just what these impacts might be.
According to Jianguo (Jingle) Wu of ASU's School of Life Sciences, "Cities, and the people in them, will ultimately determine the global biodiversity and ecosystem functioning." These impacts range from land use and cover, urban waste discharge and urban heat island effects to global climate change, hydrosystems, biodiversity and biogeochemical cycles. Of all of these, the urban heat island (see EPA's Heat Island section for more information) effect has perhaps one of the greatest impacts on environmental resources.
But donít think you are immune of you live in a "rural" area says ecologist Nancy Grimm of Arizona State University who points our that rural landscapes at a city's edge show changes in soils, built structures, human settlements, the diversity of plant and animal species and further impacts on fringe ecosystems.