Tenth of world's wild areas vanished since 1990s: Research

Sep 13, 2016 12:17 IST

The world's wilderness has reduced by a tenth in the past two decades, according to a study conducted by the scientists from the University of Queensland in Australia.

Their findings are reported in the journal Current Biology in the second week of September 2016.

The findings highlight an immediate need for international policies to recognize the value of wilderness areas and to address the unprecedented threats they face.

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Key highlights of the research

The scientists mapped wilderness areas around the world and compared the results with a previous similar map produced in the 1990s.

An estimated 1.3 million square miles (3.3 million square km), almost 10 percent, of wilderness has disappeared since the 1990s.

The Amazon basin and central Africa have been hit the hardest.

The comparison showed that a total of 30.1 million km2 (around 20 percent of the world's land area) now remains as wilderness. The majority of the areas are located in North America, North Asia, North Africa, and the Australian continent.

However, comparisons between the two maps show that an estimated 3.3 million km2 (almost 10 percent) of wilderness area has been lost in the intervening years. Those losses have occurred primarily in South America, which has experienced a 30 percent decline in wilderness, and Africa, which has experienced a 14 percent loss.

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