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Conservation Science for a Healthy Planet

New map shows alarming growth of human footprint- 75% of Earth’s land surface altered

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August 24, 2016 James Cook University

a new map of the ecological footprint of humankind shows 97 per cent of the most species-rich places on Earth have been seriously altered….”The most species-rich parts of the planet — especially including the tropical rainforests — have been hit hardest. In total, around 97 per cent of Earth’s biologically richest real estate has been seriously altered by humans,” he said. The scientists found environmental pressures are widespread, with only a few very remote areas escaping damage.

Humans are the most voracious consumers planet Earth has ever seen. With our land-use, hunting and other exploitative activities, we are now directly impacting three-quarters of the Earth’s land surface,” said Professor Laurance… Professor Laurance said the suitability of lands for agriculture appears to be a major determinant in where ecological pressures appeared around the globe.

“The bottom line is that we need to slow rampant population growth, especially in Africa and parts of Asia, and demand that people in wealthy nations consume less,” he said.

The updated and temporally intercomparable global terrestrial human footprint maps and the data behind have been published in Nature Communications and Nature Scientific Data.

  1. Oscar Venter, Eric W. Sanderson, Ainhoa Magrach, James R. Allan, Jutta Beher, Kendall R. Jones, Hugh P. Possingham, William F. Laurance, Peter Wood, Balázs M. Fekete, Marc A. Levy, James E. M. Watson. Sixteen years of change in the global terrestrial human footprint and implications for biodiversity conservation. Nature Communications, 2016; 7: 12558 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms12558

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