Sixteen years of change in the global human footprint and implications for biodiversity conservation

Venter, Oscar, Sanderson, Eric W., Magrach, Ainhoa, Allen, James R., Beher, Jutta, Jones, Kendall R., Possingham, Hugh P., Laurance, William F., Wood, Peter, Fekete, Balázs M., Levy, Marc A., and Watson, James E.M. (2016) Sixteen years of change in the global human footprint and implications for biodiversity conservation. Nature Communications, 7. 12558 (2016).

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Abstract

Human pressures on the environment are changing spatially and temporally, with profound implications for the planet's biodiversity and human economies. Here we use recently available data on infrastructure, land cover and human access into natural areas to construct a globally standardized measure of the cumulative human footprint on the terrestrial environment at 1 km2 resolution from 1993 to 2009. We note that while the human population has increased by 23% and the world economy has grown 153%, the human footprint has increased by just 9%. Still, 75% the planet’s land surface is experiencing measurable human pressures. Moreover, pressures are perversely intense, widespread and rapidly intensifying in places with high biodiversity. Encouragingly, we discover decreases in environmental pressures in the wealthiest countries and those with strong control of corruption. Clearly the human footprint on Earth is changing, yet there are still opportunities for conservation gains.

Item ID: 45608
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2041-1723
Keywords: deforestation, economic growth, environmental impacts, global human footprint, land-use change, population growth
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© The Author(s). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Funders: Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), James Cook University, Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC DP110102872 and DE140101624
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2016 03:47
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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