- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Urban vegetation provides many ecosystem services that make cities more liveable for people. As the world continues to urbanise, the vegetation cover in urban areas is changing rapidly. Here we use Google Earth Engine to map vegetation cover in all urban areas larger than 15 km2 in 2000 and 2015, which covered 390,000 km2 and 490,000 km2 respectively. In 2015, urban vegetation covered a substantial area, equivalent to the size of Belarus. Proportional vegetation cover was highly variable, and declined in most urban areas between 2000 and 2015. Declines in proportional vegetated cover were particularly common in the Global South. Conversely, proportional vegetation cover increased in some urban areas in eastern North America and parts of Europe. Most urban areas that increased in vegetation cover also increased in size, suggesting that the observed net increases were driven by the capture of rural ecosystems through low-density suburban sprawl. Far fewer urban areas achieved increases in vegetation cover while remaining similar in size, although this trend occurred in some regions with shrinking populations or economies. Maintaining and expanding urban vegetation cover alongside future urbanisation will be critical for the well-being of the five billion people expected to live in urban areas by 2030. Show more
Journal / seriesRemote Sensing
Pages / Article No.
SubjectUrbanisation; Remote sensing; Urban green space; Sustainable development; Green infrastructure
Organisational unit08058 - Singapore-ETH Centre (SEC) / Singapore-ETH Centre (SEC)
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