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Better urban biodiversity can’t happen without fighting racism — study

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This systemic racism has many origins, ranging from historic minority in environmental groups like the Sierra Club to redlining, the of denying goods and service to Black communities, like park upkeep.

Modern parks were not built by accident. The pride of many cities, from to to , the best-maintained and most desirable parks have, in many cases, been set aside for richer, whiter, neighborhoods.

This systemic racism has many origins, ranging from historic minority in environmental groups like the Sierra Club to redlining, the of denying goods and service to Black communities, like park upkeep.

Now, researchers are finding that generations of racial inequality have made their mark on city ecosystems. A review of current literature published Wednesday in details both the ecological and evolutionary consequences of systemic racism in urban environments.

Filled with concrete and cars, it’s easy to forget that cities, just like everyone else on Earth, are biomes with their own flora and fauna. Some elements of these biomes are natural, like rats or weeds, while others are artificial. Humans can manage these biomes effectively, or at least hem them in — for example, while no city in history has ever successfully removed rats, they’re more likely to appear in some neighborhoods than others.

“Strong positive correlations exist between urban tree cover and household income for 7 major US metropolitan areas,” the study team, led by of the University of Washington, Tacoma writes. Looking further into two, Los Angeles and the Chicagoland area, the authors point to recent research that suggests a correlation between the age of a house and the state of its surrounding environment.

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