Experts are calling for international policies to act on reversing human destruction before it's too late.
Human activity has managed to destroy a tenth of the world’s wilderness in the last 20 years alone according to researchers who published a paper on the subject earlier this week.
It was 20 years ago that scientists and researchers began a massive world mapping project showing wilderness spots unaffected by human activity both biologically and ecologically. At the time, that amounted to 30.1 million square kms or around 20 percent of the total land mass of Earth.
Last year, a new map was constructed to see the differences over the 20 year period but what the researchers found was shocking – a loss of 3.3 million square kms which equates to 10 percent of the land that was present back in the 1990s.
The most affected area was the Amazon rainforest which made up 30 percent of the overall loss and is mainly down to deforestation and logging activity.
The sobering reality is that conservationists only have a short amount of time to slow down the destruction and start to turn it around through governmental protection policies.
“You cannot restore wilderness, once it is gone, and the ecological process that underpin these ecosystems is gone, and it never comes back to the state it was. The only option is to proactively protect what is left,” stated Dr Oscar Venter of the University of Northern British Colombia and author of the study.
The slower rates of destruction are located in North America, North Asia, North Africa and Australia where preservation has kept destruction at a low-rate. But there are still concerns not enough is being done to protect mother nature’s beauty.
“We need to recognise that wilderness areas, which we’ve foolishly considered to be de-facto protected due to their remoteness, are actually being dramatically lost around the world,” stated Venter. “Without proactive global interventions we could lose the last jewels in nature’s crown.”
Details of the study were published in the journal Current Biology.