Nature in the Suburbs, February 18, 2004 – Jane Shaw Senior Research Fellow

Title:               Nature in the Suburbs, February 18, 2004

Authors:         Jane Shaw Senior Research Fellow

Discussion Board

Shaw’s essay contains a clear cause and effect strategy. Her ideas flow in a chronologically coherent manner while conveying the various points to support her argument the influence of suburban development on the influx of wildlife. Her argument is supported by well-researched data that indicates the viability and truth of her thesis. In this paper we shall chronologically state and discuss her ideas while giving reference to the cause and effect strategy that she employed.

According to Shaw there are two main phenomena that are catalyzing the growth in numbers of the natural wildlife in America. These are: natural reforestation and suburbanization. The two phenomena can be assumed to have a major effect on the observed growth and will continue to do so in the coming years, as Shaw asserts. Americans are increasingly inclined towards having open spaces with lush green environments surrounding their habitats as their financial capacity increases. Research shows that some organizations like the “Backyard Wildlife Habitat” have emerged with the sole purpose of creating wildlife-friendly backyards to their customers living in the suburban areas. As such, animals like meso-mammals have places they can roam and feel comfortable around.

Shaw majorly attributes suburbanization to the growth of the deer population in America in this essay. According to her, the emergence of new animals like the Key deer which is an endangered species in Florida is to be attributed to the growth of suburban towns. Apparently, these towns offer an appealing ambience for these animals that makes them want to live close and inhabit them. With the ramification of modern suburban planning and development, the building criteria has been modified to accommodate the presence of these animals.

There are a few key effects of this upsurge of animals around suburban areas and the concept of undisturbed natural reforestation. The cases of deer presence on roads causing accidents and increase in coyote numbers around towns is a major effect. Shaw’s essay illustrates that there has been a 610% increase of the deer population since 1970. The above is to show that suburban development and natural reforestation are key drivers to these effects. In this essay, Shaw also relates accidents like attacks by mountain lions leading to the eventual deaths of two women near Sacramento and San Diego in state parks.

Shaw’s article concludes by asserting the fact that, wildlife population and forestation has grown over the years leading up to a better America. Suburbs have been a key cause of this growth and Shaw acclaims the fact that they are an attraction to the wildlife. In this regard, the wildlife population will continue to grow and develop with development of new suburban towns in America.


Thomas, R. (2000). A Guide to Smart Growth: Shattering Myths, Providing Solutions. Knowledge Technology & Policy, 13(2), 115-115

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