A group of researchers has developed interactive maps that show that humans began to influence nature 12 thousand years ago.
Scientists refute earlier reconstructions of the global history of land use, according to which most of the land was uninhabited even as late as 1500 AD, according to the new study.
It turned out that in 10,000 BC, mankind “captured” 72.5% of the earth, including more than 95% of temperate and 90% of tropical forests.
Our work shows that most areas designated as pristine, wild and natural are in fact areas with a long history of human use. The problem is not the use of land per se. The problem lies in the nature of land use in industrialized societies, which is characterized by unsustainable agricultural practices and unrestricted use and development.
Erle Ellis, Fellow at the University of Maryland Baltimore, professor of geography and lead author of the project
He explained that in these areas, “traditional communities have used land in a way that maintains their natural biological diversity.” This means that not all the impact on nature was only negative, people could support the surrounding systems.
The authors argue that the conservation and restoration of biodiversity will benefit from the support of indigenous peoples who use sparing traditional farming methods.
The work also emphasizes that it is not the land use process itself that harms nature, but the way people obtain natural benefits. Scientists called on modern people to follow the example of indigenous tribes and protect their natural habitats from destruction.