Kat Kerlin in Phys.Org:
Roughly half of Earth’s ice-free land remains without significant human influence, according to a study from a team of international researchers led by the National Geographic Society and the University of California, Davis. The study, published in the journal Global Change Biology, compared four recent global maps of the conversion of natural lands to anthropogenic land uses to reach its conclusions. The more impacted half of Earth’s lands includes cities, croplands, and places intensively ranched or mined. “The encouraging takeaway from this study is that if we act quickly and decisively, there is a slim window in which we can still conserve roughly half of Earth’s land in a relatively intact state,” said lead author Jason Riggio, a postdoctoral scholar at the UC Davis Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology.
…Approximately 15 percent of the Earth’s land surface and 10 percent of the oceans are currently protected in some form. However, led by organizations including Nature Needs Half and the Half-Earth Project, there have been bold global calls for governments to commit to protecting 30 percent of the land and water by 2030 and 50 percent by 2050. Intact natural lands across the globe can help purify air and water, recycle nutrients, enhance soil fertility and retention, pollinate plants, and break down waste products. The value of maintaining these vital ecosystem services to the human economy has been placed in the trillions of U.S. dollars annually.