Worlds last wilderness may vanish due to human activity

Worlds last wilderness may vanish due to human activity

Worlds last wilderness may vanish due to human activity

A century ago, wilderness extended over most of the planet. Today, more than 77 per cent of land - excluding Antarctica - and 87 per cent of the ocean has been modified by the direct effects of human activities, " said James Watson, a professor at the varsity. The results reveal that 70% of such untouched wilderness is located in just five countries around the world - Russia, Canada, Brazil, United States, and Australia.

In 2016, the scientists mapped the world's terrestrial wildernesses.

We argue that wilderness can still be saved.

The authors recommend imposing global targets within existing frameworks to protect these remaining ecosystems, saying "Already we have lost so much".

Wilderness areas are vast tracts of untamed and unmodified land and sea. Millions of indigenous people call these wildernesses their home, and rely on it to maintain their way of life. Such a move would enable nations to make the protection of wilderness areas an integral part of their strategy for reducing emissions.

Researchers from the University of Queensland (UQ) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have for the first time produced a global map that sets out which countries are responsible for nature that is devoid of heavy industrial activity.

Nearly two-thirds of marine wilderness is in the high seas, beyond nations' immediate control. Ensuring marine wilderness is off-limits to exploitation will be crucial.

Antarctica, the (almost) untouched continent.

"We can not afford to lose more", he said.

Between 1993 and 2009, an area of wilderness the size of India was lost to human settlement, farming and mining.

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"In the ocean, the only regions that are free of industrial fishing, pollution and shipping are nearly completely confined to the polar regions", he adds.

The scientists are calling for the establishment of global targets aimed at conserving biodiversity and avoiding risky climate change. We believe Earth's remaining wilderness can only be secured if its importance is immediately recognised within these agreements.

Conservationists are calling for a mandated target for wilderness conservation that will preserve the planet's vulnerable ecosystems. The past decade has witnessed rapid depletion of such wilderness due to climate change and deforestation, a trend that must be reversed to ensure humanity's survival as a species.

The loss of wilderness is not just a biodiversity conservation and climate issue.

John Robertson, the executive vice president for global conservation at WCS said wilderness would only be secured globally "if these nations take a leadership role".

Moreover, these spots often act as the world's lungs, storing carbon dioxide that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere.

Nations have ample opportunities, through legislation and rewarding good behaviour, to prevent road and shipping lane expansion, and enforcing limits on large-scale developments and industrial fishing in their wilderness areas.

"One obvious intervention these nations can prioritize is establishing protected areas in ways that would slow the impacts of industrial activity on the larger landscape or seascape", Watson said.

In addition, wilderness areas are also places where enormous amounts of carbon is stored and sequestered with intact ecosystems being at least twice important than similar degraded habitats when it comes carbon mitigation.

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