Overpopulation is Displaces the Natural World

"When the Europeans landed, the forests were so thick it’s often been said that a squirrel could travel from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi River without touching the ground. Squirrels can’t make that journey anymore. Dr. Doug Tallamy, who heads the Center for Managed Ecosystems at the University of Delaware in Newark, lists figures in his book Bringing Nature Home that cut to the heart of the problem. Seventy percent of the forests along the Eastern Seaboard are gone. In the lower 48 states, 43,500 square miles are paved with asphalt—an area five times the size of New Jersey—and 62,500 square miles are covered with sterile, nature-free lawns—an area eight times the size of New Jersey. “We’ve turned fifty-four percent of the lower forty-eight into a suburban matrix”—homes, roads, malls—“and forty-one percent more into various forms of agriculture.” And each year sprawl gobbles up two million more acres of wild land—an area the size of Yellowstone National Park."

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