Asia’s urban populations have grown significantly over the past three decades as people flock to cities, in search for jobs. A 2019 study by the Asia-Pacific Urban Forum found that most of the region’s population, over 2.3 billion people, now live in cities with an additional 1.2 billion people expected to join them by 2050. With droves of people settling in cities, Asia is expected to be home to 27 megacities (cities of over 10 million people) by 2030.
But such rapid, and often unplanned, urban development has come at a heavy cost for the natural environment. The loss of habitats resulting from deforestation, wetland drainage, destruction of grasslands and mangroves to make way for and to support the growth of these urban centres has had a huge impact on biodiversity. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) flagship Living Planet Report 2020 found that the numbers of mammals, birds, fish, plants and insects have fallen by an average of 45 per cent in the Asia-Pacific region from 1970 to 2016.
The truth is that cities are not just bad for biodiversity - they are bad for the planet.
A new research paper, written by Eco-Business in partnership with the Regional Project Energy Security and Climate Change Asia-Pacific of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), serves as a platform to bring greater attention to the biodiversity crisis and the solutions that could help stem it.
This is the second in a series of research papers on biodiversity. The first paper Accounting for nature: financing solutions for our planet’s natural systems can be found here.