Five areas, including North America’s deserts, top conservation priorities
According to the most comprehensive global analysis of its kind ever conducted, wilderness still covers a large portion of the Earths land surface and contains only a tiny percentage of the worlds population but, surprisingly, only five wilderness areas hold globally significant levels of biodiversity. More than 200 international scientists contributed to the analysis, which is featured in this weeks online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study will appear in the September 2nd print edition.
The 24 wilderness areas identified by the analysis represent 44 percent of the Earths land surface, but are occupied by just 3 percent of the worlds population. Five of the wilderness areas fall, at least in part, within the United States, with the North American Desert complex (including northern Mexico) being one of just five "high biodiversity wilderness areas" globally that are high priorities for conservation attention. Only 7 percent of the wilderness areas enjoy any form of protection. Meanwhile, they face threats such as destructive agricultural practices, unsustainable hunting, invasive species, and resource extraction activities like industrial-scale logging and mining.
Brad Phillips | EurekAlert!
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