The importance of wilderness

“Wilderness areas act as a buffer against species loss, as the extinction risk for species within wilderness communities is—on average—less than half that of species in non-wilderness communities.” 1

A recent study published in the Journal Nature titled “Wilderness Areas Half The Extinction Risk of Terrestrial Biodiversity” mapped several locations around the world where maintaining wilderness areas should be a priority. The first statement the authors make in the abstract in this paper really hit the nail on the head for me.

“Reducing the rate of global biodiversity loss is a major challenge facing humanity, as the consequences of biological annihilation would be irreversible for humankind. 1

In this single sentence the authors make clear that the steady march of human activity, as currently, conducted could potential be catastrophic to all life on earth.

“Wilderness areas act as a buffer against species loss, as the extinction risk for species within wilderness communities is—on average—less than half that of species in non-wilderness communities.” 1

The paper points to several locations on the plant especially important to protect yet the authors also state that all wilderness areas have intrinsic conservation value thus we can all play a role by supporting local conservation efforts of wilderness area near to each of us. Below we showcase a few wilderness area we have recently spent time in. They are both beautiful as well as safe havens for biodiversity.

Click any photo for slide show.

Absoroka-Beartooh and Lee Metcalf wilderness areas.

References:

1. Reference: Di Marco, M., Ferrier, S., Harwood, T.D. et al. Wilderness areas halve the extinction risk of terrestrial biodiversity. Nature 573, 582–585 (2019) doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1567-7

For a short summary of the article visit Science daily.

A couple of groups that support the missions of wilderness as a buffer for biological diversity are:
The Wilderness Society
The Half-Earth Project

On a Sunless Summer Day

While camped at the meadows edge I look into a forest half dead.

The beetles’ have had their way.

The clouds got thicker and a late afternoon shower moved in from behind.

The rain came and the skies cleared but the pines in this forest will take longer to return if they do at all.

Ecosystems are dying or being destroyed around the around the globe.

From the polar regions to the tropical jungles to the coral reefs and the grasslands in-between.

We know this to be true.

Yes, there is untold beauty all around, but it’s becoming harder to see when looking into natures mirror on a sunless summer day.

Mt Zirkel Wilderness, CO.

https://www.chasingcoral.com
http://polarsea360.arte.tv
https://undark.org/article/saving-americas-broken-prairie/