Wide Open Spaces Are Going Fast – Map Shows How Fast

dwindling open spaces

You’ve heard of urban sprawl. Chances are you’re quite at home with it. But you might not be aware of how fast it spreads – an acre of land is lost to human development every 2-1/2 minutes according to the website Disappearing West.

An interactive map of disappearing open space gives a county-by-county view of land loss with an explanation of what is being lost and why development is taking place.

A team of scientists at the nonprofit Conservation Science Partners, or CSP, analyzed nearly three dozen datasets; a dozen types of human activities; and more than a decade of satellite imagery for 11 western states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Here is what they found: Human development in the West now covers more than 165,000 square miles of land. That is roughly the size of 6 million superstore parking lots.

This development is growing fast. Between 2001 and 2011, natural areas in the West—including forests, wetlands, deserts, and grasslands—were disappearing at the rate of one football field every 2.5 minutes.

The aim of the site is to inform, inspire and motivate people to make an effort to protect open space before it is too late.

[Via Adventure Journal]