WASHINGTON (Reuters) --Humans take up 83 percent of the Earth's land surface to
live on, farm, mine or fish, leaving just a few areas pristine for wildlife,
according to a new report this week.
People also have taken advantage of 98 percent of the land
that can be farmed for rice, wheat or corn, said the report, produced by
scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Columbia
University's Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN)
in New York.
Their map, published on the Internet at http://www.wcs.org/humanfootprint, adds together influences from population density, access from roads
and waterways, electrical power infrastructure, and the area used by cities and
The few remaining wild areas include the northern forests of
Alaska, Canada and Russia; the high plateaus of Tibet and Mongolia; and much of
the Amazon River Basin.
"The map of the human footprint is a clear-eyed view of our
influence on the Earth," Eric Sanderson, a landscape ecologist for the WCS, who
led the report, said in a statement.
"It provides a way to find opportunities to save wildlife
and wild lands in pristine areas, and also to understand how conservation in
wilderness, countryside, suburbs, and cities are all related."
Antarctica and a few Arctic land patches were not included
in the study because of the lack of data and near absence of human influences,
said Malanding Jaiteh, senior staff associate at