Study Shows 10 Percent Decline In Global Wilderness Over 20 Years

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The Xingu River flows near the area where the Belo Monte dam complex is under construction in the Amazon basin on June 15, 2012 near Altamira, Brazil. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The world’s wilderness areas have experienced catastrophic losses in the past two decades, according to a new study published Friday in the journal “Current Biology.”

Comparing current maps with those from the 1990s, researchers concluded that more than 3.3 million square kilometers, or about one-tenth of the world’s total wilderness, has been lost, raising deep concerns about what effect that has on local economies and global climate change.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson speaks with James Watson, the study’s lead author, about what he and his team found.


James Watson, professor at the University of Queensland and director of the Science and Research Initiative at the Wildlife Conservation Society. He tweets @cyclonewatson.

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