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Amazon and Central Africa Have Lost Most Wilderness Since 1990s
September 11, 2016
Unrelenting human expansion and its accompanying agriculture, logging and mining have resulted in the loss of about 10 percent of wilderness regions globally in the past two decades, researchers said on Thursday. A new study in the journal Current Biology raised concerns for these vital areas, which form the foundation for ecosystems - particularly in the places that have lost the most: the Amazon rainforest and Central Africa.
Researchers defined "wilderness" as "biologically and ecologically intact landscapes free of any significant human disturbance." They mapped existing areas, and compared that with an image from the 1990s to find that about 3.5 million square kilometers, or almost 10 percent of pristine space, had disappeared in the past two decades.
"The amount of wilderness loss in just two decades is staggering," said study co-author Oscar Venter, of Canada's University of Northern British Columbia.