The World Daily
World’s ecosystems reduced to only 3% according to study



By Patryk Krych | The World Daily | APRIL 15th 2021


A recent study has suggested that only about 3% of the world’s total ecosystems remain in healthy and sustainable condition – with undisturbed territories and their original inhabitants left undisturbed.

Following this revelation, scientists have put forward the suggestion that measures need to be taken to begin restoring the various habitats and ecologies that have been ruined by the presence and development of humans. The reintroduction of elephants and wolves into certain habitats could be very good step towards such restorations.

“Much of what we consider as intact habitat is missing species that have been hunted [and poached] by people, or lost because of invasive species or disease,” said the lead author of the study, Dr Andrew Plumptre from the Key Biodiversity Areas Secretariat in Cambridge, UK.

He added: “It’s fairly scary, because it shows how unique places like the Serengeti are, which actually have functioning and fully intact ecosystems. We’re in the UN decade of ecosystem restoration now, but it is focusing on degraded habitat. Let’s also think about restoring species so that we can try and build up these areas where we’ve got ecologically intact ecosystems.”

It’s been a known and accepted fact for a long while that the biodiversity of the Earth is in danger, with populations of several vital species like bees and otherwise seeing a gradual and dangerous decline. Many scientists have expressed their fears that this may only be the beginning of a new mass extinction which may lead to filthier air and scarcer food sources.

The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Forests and Global Change. Where previous such studies had made use of satellite imagery for their analyses, the scientists in this study have made the argument that satellite imagery cannot determine the decreasing number of vital species per area – which is also important to determine the effects of humanity on the planet.


“We need to give nature significantly more space to carry us into the future, [but] I fear that the reintroduction of a few species in certain areas is not a gamechanger,” said Professor Pierre Ibisch, from the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development in Germany who was not involved in the study.

He added that the study failed to account for climate change: “Accelerating climate change is becoming the overarching threat to the functionality of entire ecosystems. Yesterday’s mammal intactness hardly tells us a lot about the functioning ecosystems in the [global heating] age.”

Plumptre admitted that the data maps they had used for the study were crude, and that the figure of 3% was a “ballpark estimate,” though he added that “The trouble is, at the moment, we don’t have any other maps.”

The study had used maps within the ranges of 7,000 species in 1,500 primarily taken from the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. The maps of human damage and impact to environments were combined with the maps which had shown the locations of where animals had disappeared in relation to their original ranges.

“Putting efforts into conserving these [intact] places is very important,” added Plumptre. “They are so rare and special, and show what the world was like before humans had any major impact, helping us measure how much we’ve lost.”


By Patryk Krych | © The World Daily 2021