Wilderness area twice the size of Alaska lost in last 20 years: Study

Wilderness area twice the size of Alaska lost in last 20 years: Study

An alarming revelation has been made in a research paper that since the 1990s around a tenth of earth’s wilderness has been lost. Human activity and disturbance have been reducing these natural spots on an annual basis and this will impact habitat of many wild species.

Scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society have reached the conclusion after assessing satellite and survey data dating back to the 1990s. From the assessment, the researchers have come to know that across the globe, area twice the size of Alaska has been lost in the last two decades.

Study’s lead researcher James Watson from Australia's The University of Queensland said that the biggest loss has taken place in South America at 30% and in Africa at 14%. The researchers have warned that such losses would have significant impact on indigenous communities, wildlife and climate change.

Sadly, no restoration can take place in these regions. Watson has shared that once wilderness areas are lost, the ecological processes behind these ecosystems are also lost and they never make a comeback. Positive news was majority of earths’ remaining wilderness or around 80% is composed of big patches of land.

The researchers said that the revelation holds a lot of importance for species living in these regions. It has been said so as if habitats are interrupted by roads then there is a low possibility that the animals would survive.

One thing that is quite clear is that more steps are needed to strengthen and protect earth’s remaining wilderness. The steps need to be taken include basic conservation, transforming grasslands and forests into reserves and protected areas.

“What can happen in the near-term is to encourage major policy mechanisms to actually speak to wilderness values and wilderness protection”, affirmed Watson.