This percentage is much lower than previous estimates, which were estimated at 20% to 40%, because it takes into account the loss of species caused by intact habitats and the decrease in species populations.
Madrid (EUROPA PRESS)-According to a new study published in Frontiers of Forests and Global Change, only 2% to 3% of the Earth’s surface is considered to be ecologically complete.
This percentage is much lower than previous estimates, which were estimated at 20% to 40%, because it takes into account the loss of species caused by intact habitats and the decrease in species populations. A complete habitat restoration method for specific species can restore the ecological integrity of approximately 20% of the land.
More than 30 years ago, people identified wilderness areas (natural areas that have not been significantly modified by humans) as the focus of protection and conservation actions. Only recently have begun to define how to measure wildlife, with the focus on complete habitats. The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity also recognizes that the integrity of natural ecosystems is an important goal of the global biodiversity framework after 2020.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Andrew Plumputre of the Secretariat of the Major Biodiversity Regions in Cambridge, said: “We know that complete habitats are being lost day by day, and we have proven complete habitats for biodiversity and humans. Value.” It is found that many of the habitats that we consider to be intact are species hunted by humans, or species lost due to invasive species or diseases. “
Currently, there is no universal definition of completeness. Past assessments focused on mapping human impacts on habitat integrity. It created a anthropogenic impact map that independently assessed that 20% to 40% of the earth’s land area is free from major human disturbance (such as human settlements), roads and Light and noise pollution).
In this new study, Plumptre and his colleagues took another approach. They did not pay attention to human impact, but set the scope of Criteria C Key Biodiversity Area (KBA) as the scope, which pointed out that the complete ecological community has all the species known to be found in the location, especially its natural abundance Degree (ie, none). Relative to the appropriate area reference point, the known animal loss in the area).
As a reference, the author chose 1500 AD because this is the reference date for assessing the extinction of the species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In addition to habitat integrity, the author also assessed the integrity of animals (that is, no loss of animal species) and functional integrity (no loss of animal density below a level that would affect the health and function of the ecosystem).
The author explored how to apply these three integrity measures to reduce the number of sites that meet the KBA Code C qualification. They found that if Criteria C is defined as a fully functional site, only 2% to 3% of the earth’s land surface meets the conditions, which is 10 times less than previous estimates.
Worryingly, only 11% of the measurement locations are covered by protected areas. Many areas identified overlap with territories managed by indigenous communities, which play a vital role in maintenance. According to the authors: “The functionally intact areas include Eastern Siberia and the tundra biome in eastern Siberia and northern Canada, the Amazon basin and parts of the Congo tropical forest, and the Sahara desert.”
However, there is hope. According to the authors, the reintroduction of only a few species into the rest of the intact habitat can restore the integrity of wildlife to as many as 20% of the earth’s land area. Plumputre said in a statement: “The results show that by reintroducing species that have been lost in areas where human impact is still low (which may pose a threat to their survival), it is possible to increase ecological integrity by as much as 20% of the area. The figures can be approached and reconstructed to reach their functional level.”
In the future, identifying areas based on KBA Standard C may help focus attention on these locations for protection and restoration, Plumptre said: “It turns out that complete habitats have important benefits for wildlife and wildlife. . Become a key goal of the ongoing “Convention on Biological Diversity” negotiations after the 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. It is necessary to recognize these special sites in places with complete functions in complete habitats, and plan to focus restoration on areas with ecological integrity. Can be restored.”