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Urban Development in Africa and Impact on Biodiversity
Purpose of Review Biodiversity remains an immense source of benefit to mankind and a major contributor to his well-being. Severe loss of biodiversity necessitated the conservation of a part of the biodiversity hotspots as protected areas. Despite this initiative, a sizable part of the conserved hotspots was still lost to anthropogenic factors among which is urban development. Therefore, we assessed the current status (2014–2021) of the biodiversity hotspots in the African region by estimating land-mass loss in km2 per biodiversity hotspot, identifying the direct-and-indirect impacts of urban development on biodiversity, while also giving recommendations for further research. Recent Findings Africa has the fifth-highest urban population presently. Thirteen countries on the continent will become heavily urbanized within the next three decades (2016 to 2050). Perennial urban problems remain a structural constraint to Africa’s urban development; hence, African biodiversity hotspots suffer both direct-and-indirect consequences of urban development. Only 13% (86,859 km2 ) of the protected areas of the biodiversity hotspots remain from a total of 665,845 km2. Furthermore, two out of the eight hotspots in Africa (Eastern Afromontane and Guinean forests of West Africa) are among the three global hotspots predicted to experience intense (about ten times) urban encroachment and possible loss of all their endemic species. Summary We implore future research to focus on regional studies (aside from global studies) because regional studies would provide more in-depth analysis of the hotspots, provide mapping data and reveal their current status in terms of landmass and the surviving endemic species, among others. Furthermore, the issue of climate change in the urban development biodiversity mix needs more research. Finally, there is an urgent need for sustainability and policy development studies that would advise on the appropriate management modalities for the hotspots in the face of continuous urban development.