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Property Rights Foundation of America®
Founded 1994

Biodiversity and the City: A Case Study of the New York Metropolitan Region

Chart information

Figure 1. The New York Metropolitan Region. A map showing the northern counties of New Jersey; the southern counties of New York, including Long Island and Staten Island; and the southwestern counties of Connecticut. These 31 counties are the New York Metropolitan Region.

Figure 2. Amount of Arable Land Used for Luxury Crops. Arable Land Used for Most Common Lifestyle Related Crops (1996). Land consumed in millions of hectares.

Sugarcane: 17.2
Vegetable Oils 16.1
Coffee: 11.2
Cocoa: 5.4
Tobacco: 4.8
Tea: 2.5
Illegal Drugs: 0.5

Source: Heilig

Figure 3. Comparison of Per Capita Solid Waste Generation and Percent of Waste Collection, Selected Cities (Circa 1990s); kilograms per capita, per year

Abidjan: approx. 200 of which approx 50 was not collected
Quito: approx. 275 of which approx. 60 was not collected
Bangkok: approx. 300 of which approx. 40 was not collected
Sao Paolo: approx 350 of which approx. 20 was not collected
Washington, DC: approx 1200 of which almost none was not collected

Source: WRI Report, 1997

Figure 4. Components of Biodiversity

This chart is a represented by a triangle whose three points are labeled "Local," "Global," and "Regional." Overlaid on this triangle is a second whose points are labeled "Diversity," "Complexity," and "Stability."

Figure 5. New York City Water Supply System.

This chart is a map of southern New York State showing the Croton water supply system somewhat north of New York City, and the Delaware and Catskill systems in upstate New York. The three water systems are connected to New York City by the Delaware Aqueduct and the Catskill Aqueduct. Source: NYC Department of Environmental Protection.

Figure 6a. Organic Nitrogen from Waste in tons (number are approx.)

1900: Horse - 400; Human - 11,000
1920: Horse - 300; Human - 19,000
1930: Horse - 200; Human - 31,000
1940: Horse - negligible; Human - 40,000
1950: Horse - negligible; Human - 43,000
1960: Horse - negligible; Human - 49,000
1970: Horse - negligible; Human - 55,000
1980: Horse - negligible; Human - 60,000

Figure 6b. Arsenic & Lead Emissions in metric tons (numbers are approx.)

1900: Arsenic - negligible; Lead - negligible
1920: Arsenic - 200; Lead - 2800
1930: Arsenic - 400; Lead - 1400
1940: Arsenic - 600; Lead - 1200
1950: Arsenic - 500; Lead - 2000
1960: Arsenic - 600; Lead - 1100
1970: Arsenic - 300; Lead - 500
1980: Arsenic - 100; Lead - 400

Figure 7. A Dynamic Environment. Historical Climate Trends

There are two charts. The first shows average temperature from 1900 to 2000. Although the numbers swing up and down wildly, the overall slope = .196 F per decade. The second chart shows precipitation in inches. Again it varies a great deal from year to year. The overall slope is .099 inches per decade.

Figure 8. Climate Change Scenarios.

Average Temperature Change in Degrees Centigrade. (numbers are approx.)

In the decade of the 2020s
Current trend: .5
HCGG: 1.4
HCGS: .9
CCGS: 1.1

In the decade of the 2050s
Current trend: .9
HCGG: 2.5
HCGS: 1.5
CCGG: 3.7
CCGS: 2.8

In the decade of the 2080s
Current trend: 1.2
HCGG: 3.4
HCGS: .2.4
CCGG: 5.7
CCGS: 3.6

Percentage of Precipitation Change (numbers are approx.)

In the decade of the 2020s
Current trend: 2

In the decade of the 2050s
Current trend: 3
HCGG: 14
HCGS: 10
CCGS: -15

In the decade of the 2080s
Current trend: 4
HCGG: 30
HCGS: .20
CCGS: -3

Figure 9. Reduction in 100-Year Flood Return Period - Sea Bright - (numbers are approx. in number of years)

In the decade of the 2020s
Current trend: 58
CCGG: 47
CCGS: 49
HCGG: 55
HCGS: 58

In the decade of the 2050s
Current trend: 45
CCGG: 25
CCGS: 28
HCGG: 38
HCGS: 43

In the decade of the 2080s
Current trend: 36
CCGS: 10
HCGG: 20
HCGS: 27


Figure 10. The New York Metropolitan Region Proposed Biosphere Reserve

This is the same map as in Figure 1, but with two concentric circles emanating from the center of New York Harbor. The inner circle encompasses most of the five boroughs of New York City and a few of northeastern New Jersey. The outer circle encompasses all of the inner circle plus Nassau County and part of Suffolk County on Long Island, parts of Rockland and Westchester in upstate New York, a portion of Fairfield in Connecticut, and extends out to include most of Passaic, Morris, Somerset, Middlesex and Monmouth in New Jersey.

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Biodiversity and the City