Wilderness of world is quickly disappearing, says study


A new study conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Queensland has revealed that the last wilderness in the world is rapidly disappearing. The study report also suggested that effective international conservation targets are very much necessary to protect this wilderness before they disappear from the world map.

During the study, the team of researchers mapped intact ocean ecosystems, complementing a 2016 project which charted remaining wilderness on the earth. The final study report revealed that only a little wilderness is remaining on the earth, and if not cared wisely, it will also disappear from the surface of the planet.

The research report also alarmingly revealed that the loss of wilderness excluding Antarctica is majorly attributed to human interference in nature.

"A century ago, only 15 percent of the Earth's surface was used by humans to grow crops and raise livestock. Today, more than 77 percent of the land, excluding Antarctica, and 87 percent of the ocean has been modified by the direct effects of human activities," said James Watson, a professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Queensland, Eurekalert.org reports.

The researchers found that more than 3.3 million square kilometers of wilderness were lost between 1993 and 2009 due to adverse human intervention.

"It might be hard to believe, but between 1993 and 2009, an area of terrestrial wilderness larger than India, a staggering 3.3 million square kilometers was lost to human settlement, farming, mining, and other pressures. And in the ocean, the only regions that are free of industrial fishing, pollution and shipping are almost completely confined to the polar regions," added Watson.

James R Allan, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Queensland argued that the development of an international policy is very much essential to protect the wilderness remaining on the planet. Allan said that wilderness areas protected under national legislation should be mapped, defined and protected properly to secure the remaining wilderness before it goes extinct forever.

This article was first published on November 1, 2018