Only 2% to 3% of the planet remains ecologically intact

    Only two to three percent of the Earth's surface remains intact from an ecological point of view, 10 times less than previously estimated, according to a study released today.

    The authors of the investigation, published by the scientific publication “Frontiers”, consider it worrying that only 11% of the sites evaluated in the study are in protected areas, and explain that many of the identified areas coincide with territories managed by indigenous communities, which play a fundamental role in maintenance.

    Areas identified as functionally intact include eastern Siberia and northern Canada for the boreal and tundra biomes, and part of the rainforests of the Amazon and the Congo basin and the Sahara desert.

    The study authors recall that for more than 30 years, natural areas, which have not been significantly modified by man, have been identified as priorities in conservation and protection actions, something that is recognized by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.

    “We know that the intact habitat is losing more and more and the importance of the intact habitat has been demonstrated both for biodiversity and for people,” said Andrew Plumptre, from the University of Cambridge (UK), lead author of the study.

    The investigation concluded that many of the habitats considered intact after all have species missing, either due to human action or due to invasive species or diseases, he warned.

    Although there is no common definition for the integrity of habitats, the maps created so far estimated that between 20% and 40% of the earth's surface remained free from major human disturbances (such as housing, roads or light or noise pollution).

    With a different approach, assuming that an intact ecological community contains the species likely to occur in a given location, without loss, and with reference to an earlier time (year 1500), the authors also assessed the integrity of the fauna and its density.

    Despite the numbers, the authors say that up to 20% of the Earth's surface could be restored in order to maintain the integrity of the fauna, through the reintroduction, and protection, of some species.

    Source: Futuro – Plataforma Media by
    The article has been translated based on the content of Futuro – Plataforma Media by
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