Accounting for cities' impacts on biodiversity in the global commons

Authored by: Jennie Moore , Meidad Kissinger

The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Cities and Landscapes in the Pacific Rim

Print publication date:  March  2022
Online publication date:  March  2022

Print ISBN: 9780367471149
eBook ISBN: 9781003033530
Adobe ISBN:


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Although cities provide efficient spaces in which the majority of humanity now live, their impact on global biodiversity is significant and often overlooked. Using Vancouver, Canada as a case study, this paper argues that an urban biodiversity strategy that does not take global ecological impacts into account will fail to meaningfully reduce biodiversity loss. The paper uses an ecological footprint analysis to reveal the role cities have as drivers of habitat loss at the global scale as well as suggest solutions to reduce impacts on biodiversity necessary for securing global ecological integrity that stem from urban centers. By measuring the consumption of its inhabitants and calculating its footprint, the analysis can quantitatively estimate the impact of Vancouver on biodiversity, even if this impact is indirect or spatially distant. A consumption-based ecological footprint analysis is used to quantitatively estimate the impact of Vancouver and its residents’ lifestyles on biocapacity. An interregional ecology approach is explored as a means of establishing accountability between urban residents and the global hinterlands upon which they rely for survival.

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