New map reveals just 13 of the worlds oceans are still wild

first_img “Wilderness” might bring to mind sprawling forests in national parks like Yosemite and Yellowstone, but there is a second wilderness—the world’s seas. Now, for the first time, researchers have systematically mapped out that wilderness (in blue, above) by identifying what fraction of the ocean remains largely unaffected by humans. Their answer? Just 13%.To produce the map, the team didn’t conduct on-the-sea-floor surveys, but instead investigated the regional impacts of 15 human-caused ecosystem stressors, including pollution, fishing, and commercial shipping, all of which have been shown to degrade habitats by disrupting food chains and reducing biodiversity. Areas that were the least affected by all 15 stressors qualified as wilderness. When the numbers were in, just 13% of the ocean—or 54 million square kilometers—met that definition, the researchers report today in Current Biology.These relatively pristine areas are generally found in remote regions at high latitudes—places where relatively little fishing and shipping occur. There are also some patches near the coasts of New Zealand, Australia, and Chile, likely thanks to low human populations there. But coastlines within the exclusive economic zones of most countries (in red, above)—and heavily trafficked regions like the Atlantic Ocean and northern Pacific Ocean—have next to no marine wilderness left. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe By Katherine KorneiJul. 26, 2018 , 11:00 AM New map reveals just 13% of the world’s oceans are still ‘wild’ Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Protecting these regions, which are often hot spots of biodiversity, will take a concerted international effort, the researchers say, as less than 5% of marine wilderness now falls within special zones of conservation and management (green, above). And because humans are literally pushing deeper into the sea with deep-sea fishing and oil and gas wells, conservation efforts must extend beyond the water’s surface all the way down to the sea floor. But, the team argues, to preserve something “irreplaceable,” the effort will be well worth it. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Jones et al., 2018, Current Biology 28, 1–7 August 6, 2018 © 2018 Elsevier Ltd., adapted by N. Desai/Science Emaillast_img read more