Study: Only 3% of land areas unspoiled by humans

The researchers from Key Biodiversity Areas Secretariat at Cambridge have figured out the amount of “Intact Habitat” on the earth. An Intact habitat is an unbroken natural landscape with no signs of human activity. However, the study has included an additional factor to define “Intact Habitat”, which is, in these regions the plant and animal life has been intact as they were five hundred years ago.

Key Findings

  • It is widely accepted that the intact habitats are being lost. However, the study has found that the species in intact habitats are being lost due to invasive species or diseases. That is, the intact habitats are facing threats even without human activities.
  • The functionally intact regions were the northern Canada, east Siberia for boreal, Congo basin Amazon, Sahara Desert and the Tundra Biomes.
  • Earlier it was claimed that 40% of the earth remained free from human development. However, the study says that only less than 3% of land remained in the same condition with the same animal species.
  • According to the study, “Targeted reintroductions” of species is the only possible solution to increase the area with ecological intactness. By this 20% of ecological intactness shall be achieved.

Habitat Intactness

It is the region that has no sign of human disturbances.

Faunal Intactness

It is the region that retains all the original animal species that are known to reside for a particular period.

Functional Intactness

It is achieved when animal numbers in the region are high enough to support a healthy functioning ecosystem.

Way Forward

The world is now developing post 2020 Global Diversity Framework after Convention on Biological Diversity. Intact Habitat has been recognised as the most important target of the framework.

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