Published: Fri, November 02, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Scientists call for stop to disappearance of Earth's remaining intact land, sea

Scientists call for stop to disappearance of Earth's remaining intact land, sea

Together, these maps provided the first full global picture of how little wilderness remains.

The authors describe wilderness areas as those places that do not have industrial level activity within them according to the marine and terrestrial human footprint. "Already we have lost so much". "Some wilderness areas are protected under national legislation, but in most nations, these areas are not formally defined, mapped or protected", he said.

Two years after scientists found that 77 per cent of land - excluding Antarctica - and 87 per cent of oceans had been modified by human intervention, researchers recently found that 70 per cent of the world's remaining untouched wilderness is in just five countries.

True wild spaces - land and sea areas mostly unaffected by mankind's explosive expansion and insatiable appetite for food and natural resources - now cover just a quarter of the planet.

The study follows an alarming report from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which estimated that human activity has decimated wildlife population by 60% in the past four decades.

M - The world's last wilderness may vanish sooner rather than later, new research has warned, Daily Mail reports. It is hard to believe, but between 1993 and 2009 a staggering 3.3 million square kilometres of terrestrial wilderness - an area larger than India - was lost to human settlement, farming, mining and other pressures. "We must grasp these opportunities to secure the wilderness before it disappears forever".

"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.

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"We need the immediate establishment of bold wilderness targets - specifically those aimed at conserving biodiversity, avoiding risky climate change and achieving sustainable development", Allan noted. The authors of the Nature paper and their organizations urge participants at the meeting to include a mandated target for wilderness conservation.

Most scientists and conservationists agree that no place on earth is completely untouched by humanity, either due to past occupation or through global processes like climate change, but in a wilderness area, human impact is still minimal.

A global target of retaining 100% of all remaining wilderness is achievable, although it would require stopping industrial activities like mining, logging, and fishing from expanding to new places. This would incentivise nations to make wilderness protection central to their climate strategies.

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

Mechanisms such as REDD+, which allows developing nations to claim compensation for conserving tropical forests they had planned to clear, could be extended to other carbon-rich wilderness areas such as intact seagrasses, and even to wildernesses in rich countries that do not receive climate aid, such as the Canadian tundra.

"Similar to species extinction, the erosion of the wilderness is essentially irreversible", they wrote.

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