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Global projections of future wilderness decline under multiple IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios
Resources, Conservation and Recycling  (IF10.204),  Pub Date : 2021-10-20, DOI: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2021.105983
Fangzheng Li, Wenyue Li, Fengyi Li, Ying Long, Shiyi Guo, Xiong Li, Chensong Lin, Jing Li

Globally, wilderness areas are being lost at a rate that outpaces their protection, which has adverse effects on the global environment. Rapid action is needed to understand the trends and consequences of global wilderness change. We present projections of global wilderness decline in 2100 under the influence of land-use change within the framework of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (IPCC SRES). The projections revealed that the decline of wilderness was deeply affected by different global socioeconomic development pathways. The total wilderness loss (4.74%) in scenario A2 (with slow technological innovation and traditional demand for biofuels) was much higher than in the other scenarios. Around 76.51% of the loss of global wilderness globally occurs occurred in South America, which will occur in Tropical and Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forests. The smallest loss (0.08%) occurred in scenario B1 (with a high level of environmental consciousness). We found that wilderness losses in 2100 will be concentrated in some important biomes, which have relatively high-density carbon storage. These findings stress the importance of targeted wilderness protection to ensure the long-term integrity of ecosystems and the balance of the carbon cycle.