Population Health

September 9, 2020

Systemic racism also impacts plant and animal life in cities

An aerial view showing the differences in tree cover in two neighboring citiesNew research led by the University of Washington found that social inequalities, specifically racism and classism, are impacting the biodiversity, evolutionary shifts and ecological health of plants and animals in our cities.

For example, several studies the authors included found fewer trees in low-income and racially minoritized neighborhoods in major cities across the U.S. Less tree cover means hotter temperatures and fewer plant and animal species.

The project, which examined more than 170 published studies and analyzed the influence of systemic inequalities on ecology and evolution, also calls on the scientific community to focus on environmental justice and anti-racism practices to transform biological research and conservation.

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