Urban sprawl is eating up significant swaths of western wilderness, so says a new report and interactive map created by the Center for American Progress and Conservation Science Partners.
"Every 2.5 minutes, the American West loses a football field worth of natural area to human development," begins the report, covered by CItyLab, which analyzed satellite images of eleven states and nearly three dozen datasets to determine how fast natural areas are being lost and why.
The findings are reflected in a map showing the rates of rural development and its causes in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
Between 2001 and 2011, roughly 4,300 square miles of natural western wilderness was developed, with California losing the most natural area.
Urban sprawl was responsible for more than half of the natural lands lost between 2001 and 2011. The map calls out the rapidly growing cities of Las Vegas and Park City, Utah—showing satellite images of human development dramatically encroaching on natural lands.
Energy infrastructure for industries including oil, gas, and coal was the second leading cause of natural land loss, followed by transportation and agriculture activities.
Mapping America's 'Disappearing West' [City Lab]