September 6, 2016

Population still exploding, but damage to ecosystems slows

Climate News Network - Foresters, geographers and ecologists have some good news. Although human population growth between 1992 and 2009 was 23%, and the global economy grew by 153%, the devastation to habitats, ecosystems and wilderness increased by only 9%.

And although the scientists found that the “footprint” of humanity has not grown to the same scale as the mass of humans and their goods and chattels, they report in Nature Communications that “pressures are perversely intense, widespread and rapidly intensifying in places with high biodiversity”.

The first pioneering study of the human footprint was based on data from the 1990s and published in 2002. .... In 1993, there were areas of no measurable human footprint over 27% of the continents, other than the Antarctic. In the subsequent decades, humans encroached onto 23 million square kilometres of these once-empty plains and forests.

“Our maps show that 97% of the most species-rich places on Earth have been seriously altered”

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