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Just 5% of world’s land unaffected by humans

ONLY 5 per cent of the world’s land is untouched by human activity, a study reveals today.

Research by The Nature Conservancy suggests that more land has been affected by human activity through settlements, agriculture, roads, railways, mining and energy developments like oil wells and wind farms than previously reported.

Just 30 per cent of regional ecosystems or habitats have seen low levels of human impact and retain most of their natural land, and only 52 per cent have merely been moderately changed or affected by humans, the research found.

Further loss or fragmentation of habitat could cause “precipitous declines” in the wildlife and natural services humans rely on to survive including provision of fresh water and crop pollination, researchers say.

Lead author Christina Kennedy said: “Our study reinforces that most of the world’s landscapes are complex mosaics of natural lands interspersed among human land uses.

“Conservation actions must include both protection and restoration strategies in the right places and in the right amounts to ensure functioning ecosystems.”

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