(ORDO NEWS) — Much of the land area suitable for animal and plant life, including areas previously marked as pristine, has lost its ecological integrity. Forbes writes about it.
Despite the fact that 20 to 40% of the earth’s habitat is free from direct human impact, air and water pollution, the introduction of alien species and climate change negatively affect the state of larger territories.
Study author Andrew Plumptre, a biodiversity expert at the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute, argues that the value of intact habitats is important to biodiversity in particular and to humankind in general. The results of the study showed that pristine habitats are nothing more than absent species that have been either destroyed by humans or lost due to invasive species or diseases.
A map of the ecological integrity of various regions compiled by Andrew and his colleagues and a comparison of the current level of plant and animal diversity in pristine habitats with historical biodiversity data has led to staggering results: there is only about 2-3% of the Earth’s land, where one could see the same fauna and flora, as 500 years ago, before there was a serious anthropogenic impact.
Areas identified by scientists as untouched are eastern Siberia and northern Canada, parts of the Amazon and Congo rainforests, and the Sahara Desert. Only 11% of ecosystems are located within ecologically protected areas, and the conservation of these areas has a huge impact on maintaining biodiversity on Earth.
Research results show that it is possible to increase the area of ecosystems up to 20%, subject to the targeted return of species that have been lost in areas where anthropogenic impact is still observed, and if threats to their survival are minimized.
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