Infrastructure is the foundation on which industrialized economies are built. As global population has grown and as economies of many regions have expanded, the quantity and scale of infrastructure has increased dramatically. Although some infrastructure is used to move people and commodities, much infrastructure is also used to control natural processes or to extract natural resources. Thus, understanding environmental change necessitates understanding the role of infrastructure in the environment. We review available inventories of infrastructure and current understanding of environmental impacts for different types of infrastructure. We also examine the current status of aging infrastructure and the potential environmental impacts and benefits of infrastructure decommissioning. Finally, we briefly review policies that have facilitated or inhibited infrastructure decommissioning or environmentally oriented modifications of infrastructure operation.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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