We’ve Killed Off 10% of Earth’s Wilderness Since the 1990s
Researchers report catastrophic declines in wilderness areas all around the world. We’re killing off the planet’s wildlife – quickly.
this research shows that immediate action needs to be taken. Here, wilderness is regarded as pristine places with little to no human intervention. Many developed countries like France, the US, UK or Australia, have regulations regarding these places. But even so, these areas are being destroyed at an unprecedented rate.
“Globally important wilderness areas — despite being strongholds for endangered biodiversity, for buffering and regulating local climates, and for supporting many of the world’s most politically and economically marginalized communities — are completely ignored in environmental policy,” says Dr James Watson of the University of Queensland in Australia and the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York.
Despite being crucial, not only for other living beings but for our survival as well, wild areas are being neglected simply because, let’s say, we don’t come in contact with them so often, and thus we don’t care about them as much. This also gives the opportunity for many to take advantage and destroy the habitat under the cover of dense forests.
“Without any policies to protect these areas, they are falling victim to widespread development. We probably have one to two decades to turn this around. International policy mechanisms must recognize the actions needed to maintain wilderness areas before it is too late. We probably have one to two decades to turn this around.”
In a mere 20 plus years, we’ve managed to destroy one tenth of life on the planet. However, or own governments are more concerned on how to more quickly “devour” what’s left, even under threat of war.
“The amount of wilderness loss in just two decades is staggering” Dr Oscar Venter of the University of Northern British Colombia. “We need to recognize that wilderness areas, which we’ve foolishly considered to be de-facto protected due to their remoteness, is actually being dramatically lost around the world.”
There’s still time to protect what’s left, but we have to act fast. Much of what we’ve done is already irreversible, but we can still make a different – with an active intervention. Otherwise, we’ll be left with little true wilderness on the planet.
“Without proactive global interventions we could lose the last jewels in nature’s crown. You cannot restore wilderness, once it is gone, and the ecological process that underpin these ecosystems are gone, and it never comes back to the state it was. The only option is to proactively protect what is left.”