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Wilderness Cuts the Risk of Extinction for Species in Half

March 12, 2020 |

This article was originally published on Mongabay.

“Plant and animal species living in wilderness areas are less likely to go extinct, a recent study has found.

Defined as intact habitats that haven’t been affected by human use on industrial scales, wilderness “buffers” the life it supports against the threat of extinction. In fact, it slashes the risk on average by more than half compared to that faced by species living outside these areas, Moreno Di Marco, James Watson, and colleagues reported Sept. 18 in the journal Nature.

“This research provides the evidence for how essential it is for the global conservation community specifically target protecting Earth’s remaining wilderness,” Watson, an ecologist with the University of Queensland, in Australia, and the Wildlife Conservation Society, said in a statement.

…Wilderness landscapes span the globe, from the high Arctic to equatorial rainforests. It turns out that the “buffering effect” of wilderness on extinction risk holds across a wide range of these habitats.

“There wasn’t just one ecological or biogeographic region where wilderness areas were important,” Di Marco said.

The authors note that all wilderness areas have “intrinsic conservation value,” and they store carbon, provide clean water and support the livelihoods of indigenous communities around the globe.”

Read on at: Mongabay

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