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Change in terrestrial human footprint drives continued loss of intact ecosystems

Citation

Williams, Brooke et al. (2020), Change in terrestrial human footprint drives continued loss of intact ecosystems , Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3tx95x6d9

Abstract

Human pressure mapping is important for understanding humanity's role in shaping Earth’s patterns and processes. Our ability to map this influence has evolved, thanks to powerful computing, earth observing satellites, and new bottom-up census and crowd-sourced data. Here, we provide the latest temporally inter-comparable maps of the terrestrial human footprint, and assessment of change in human pressure at global, biome, and ecoregional scales. In 2013, 42% of terrestrial Earth could be considered relatively free of direct anthropogenic disturbance, and 25% could be classed as ‘wilderness’ (the least degraded end of the human footprint spectrum). Between 2000 and 2013, 1.9 million km2 of land relatively free of human disturbance became highly modified. The majority of this occurred within tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannah, and shrubland ecosystems, but the rainforests of Southeast Asia also underwent rapid modification. Our results show that humanity’s footprint is eroding Earth’s last intact ecosystems, and greater efforts are urgently needed to retain them.

Methods

For full methodolgical details please see: Williams, B.A, Venter, O., Allan, J.R., Atkinson, S, Rehbein, J., Ward, M.S, Di Marco, M., Grantham, H., Ervin, J., Goetz, S., Hansen, A.J., Hansen, M.C., Jantz, P., Pillay, R., Rodríguez-Buriticá, S., Supples, C., Virnig, A.L.S., Watson, J.E.M., 2020. Change in terrestrial human footprint drives continued loss of intact ecosystems. One Earth, http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3600547

Usage Notes

This repository contains the outputs detailing the area in each state, and the area that transitioned between each state (wilderness, intact, and highly modified) at the global, biome, ecoregional, and national scales from the Williams et al. 2020 analysis.

The repository also includes the human footprint maps for the years 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2013 and all underlying code and data to re-create the human footprint maps.

Funding

NASA Biodiversity and Ecological Forecasting Program, Award: NNX17AG51G

NASA Biodiversity and Ecological Forecasting Program, Award: NNX17AG51G