More than 2500 scientists from around the world have supported a study that is warning about the side effects on the environment if President Donald Trump’s wall along the U.S.- Mexico border is built.
The scientists warn that a hardened barrier will cause devastating ecological effects while hampering binational conservation efforts.
According to ScienceDaily, a group led by Robert Peters, William J. Ripple, and Jennifer R. B. Miller call attention to ecological disturbances that could affect hundreds of terrestrial and aquatic species, notably including the Mexican gray wolf and Sonoran pronghorn.
The scientists state that the wall will have a negative effect on the wildlife populations by fragmenting, degrading, and eliminating existing habitat, as well as by blocking species migration.
“Our analysis shows that the border bisects the geographic ranges of 1506 native terrestrial and freshwater animal (n = 1077) and plant (n = 429) species,” say the authors, adding that the number includes 62 species already listed as Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Additionally, they warned that as a result of the 2005 Real ID Act, construction could proceed “without the necessary depth of environmental impact analysis, development of less-damaging alternative strategies, post-construction environmental monitoring, mitigation, public input, and pursuit of legal remedies.”
The wall will also harm ongoing research and conservation programs, including those in binational habitat corridors and the 18% of borderlands that contain environmentally protected lands.
As a way to prevent the negative effects of the proposed wall, the group of scientists gave Congress and the Department of Homeland Security several recommendations that need to be implemented as soon as possible.
The recommendations include: following existing environmental laws, taking action to mitigate ecological harm, and forgoing physical barriers in particularly sensitive areas.
Their article also demands from the government to start encouraging scientific research in the borderlands, to inform and assist environmental evaluation and mitigation efforts.
“National security can and must be pursued with an approach that preserves our natural heritage,” the scientists concluded.