FunNature & AnimalOnly 2.9% of the Earth is considered ecologically intact

Only 2.9% of the Earth is considered ecologically intact

Would you like to be in a place where no one has been? What consequences would it have for this ecosystem? It turns out that, according to the study published in the journal Frontiers in Forests and Global Change by an international and multidisciplinary research group, the consequences of human action have reached even further than we have come to tread in our history.

The study’s lead author, Dr Andrew Plumptre of the Secretariat for Key Biodiversity Areas in Cambridge, “We know that intact habitat is increasingly being lost and intact habitat values have been demonstrated for both biodiversity and natural resources. people, but this study found that much of what we consider intact habitat are actually lost species that have been hunted by people or that have been lost due to disease or invasive species. “

To date, numerous investigations have evaluated the concept of ” integrity ” of an ecosystem. However, most of them used measures of anthropogenic impact on a site, rather than fauna integrity or ecological integrity, something that was used in Dr. Plumptre’s study. Due to the inclusion of these two factors, what is considered to be the land area free of significant human disturbances went from being between 20% and 40%, in previous studies, to only 2.9%. These areas included eastern Siberia and northern Canada for the boreal and tundra biomes, parts of the tropical forests of the Amazon basin and the Congo, and the Sahara desert. An alarming fact is that only 11% of the intact territories are currently protected.

However, do not lose hope, as the findings of this study show that a species-specific restoration approach in still intact habitats could help restore the ecological integrity of approximately 20% of the planet. “The results show that it might be possible to increase the area with ecological integrity by up to 20% through specific reintroductions of species that have been lost in areas where human impact is still low, provided that threats to their survival can be addressed. and reconstruct the numbers to a level where they fulfill their functional function.

According to their study, conservation efforts should target the few remaining areas of the world that represent outstanding examples of ecological integrity and aim to restore ecological integrity in a much larger area of the world with intact habitat and minimal species loss while this is possible. For this reason it should be a fundamental objective of the ongoing negotiations of the global biodiversity framework post-2020 of the Convention on Biological Diversity “, argues Dr Plumptre.


Plumptre, AJ, Baisero, D., Belote, RT, Vázquez-Domínguez, E., Faurby, S., Jȩdrzejewski, W., Kiara, H., Kühl, H., Benítez-López, A., Luna-Aranguré , C., Voigt, M., Wich, S., Wint, W., Gallego-Zamorano, J., & Boyd, C. (2021). Where Might We Find Ecologically Intact Communities? Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, 4 .

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