Joy Clancy from the University of Twente has reviewed the problem in the current issue of the African Journal of Ecology. She says “A hundred years ago 95% of the African population was rural, today 38% live in cities with about half the population expected to be urban by 2010.”
This rapid growth is resulting in huge changes in natural resource use, but the effects are highly controversial. “Some environmentalists say that demand for fuel wood and charcoal from cities are causing deforestation, but in fact it is change in land use that is the main driver” continues Joy.
“The real change is around cities – the ‘peri-urban’ areas – where woodlands are cleared for agriculture to feed the new centres of population.” She points out “When this is added to the effect on water demand and waste disposal on aquatic ecosystems, then African cities can have an ecological footprint much larger than their actual extent.”
But there is little research on the ecology of cities “Africa is famous for its wildlife and the ecology of places such as the Serengeti are familiar to people all over the world, but remarkably few ecologists are studying urban environments” says Jon Lovett, associate editor of the African Journal of Ecology.
“Although we know a lot about lions and wildebeest, the real ecological challenges are in the cities and these are being ignored” he continues. “We need a massive shift in focus to tackle the most urgent environmental issues”.
Davina Quarterman | alfa
Upcycling 'fast fashion' to reduce waste and pollution
03.04.2017 | American Chemical Society
Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences