Karen C. Seto

Yale University, Professor of Geography and Urbanization, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

February 12, 2010

Demands from growing cities drive tropical forest loss

Ruth DeFries

photo: Thomas Pintaric (for cityscape)

Demands from ever-growing cities in the developing world drive tropical forest loss, finds a study by Ruth DeFries (2001). DeFries analyzed satellite images of deforestation in 41 tropical countries and found a link with national agricultural exports and city growth. She comments, "What we're seeing is a shift from small-scale farmers driving deforestation to distant demands from urban growth, agricultural trade, and exports being more important drivers." See more coverage in The Guardian.

September 25, 2009

Mexican salamander threatened with extinction

Luis Zambrano

The population of axolotl, a salamander noted for its unusual life cycle and appearance, has plummeted 90% in the past four years, according to a new study co-authored by Luis Zambrano (2009). Wild only in the Xochimilco region, the axolotl is losing its habitat to urban expansion from Mexico City. Declining water quality and competition with nonnative fish for food are the main causes for the reduced numbers, the authors say. Read recent coverage by the BBC and Scientific American.