Five countries hold 70% of world's wilderness
November 14-29, 2018 -- The conference of parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity meet in Egypt to work on a plan for the protection of biodiversity beyond 2020. Ahead of the meeting, researchers from the University of Queensland (UQ) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have for the first time produced a global map that sets out which countries are responsible for nature that is devoid of heavy industrial activity.
Scientists say that 77% of land, excluding Antarctica, and 87% of the ocean has been modified by human industry and warn that urgent international action is needed to protect the planet’s few remaining wild places.
According to the study, published in the journal Nature, just five countries - Australia, the U.S., Brazil, Russia and Canada - hold 70 per cent of all the wilderness.
The researchers created a global map by combining 2016 data, which looked at the human impact on land, with 2018 data that analysed our impact on the oceans.
Wilderness, the study’s authors said, is defined as an area not subject to direct human use.
These areas are the only places on earth that have natural levels of biodiversity, and can continue to sustain plant and animal species on an evolutionary time scale.