May 12, 2021

Nearly a fifth of Earth’s surface transformed since 1960

Posted by in categories: climatology, sustainability

Whether it’s turning forests into cropland or savannah into pastures, humanity has repurposed land over the last 60 years equivalent in area to Africa and Europe combined, researchers said Tuesday.

If you count all such transitions since 1960, it adds up to about 43 million square kilometres (16.5 square miles), four times more than previous estimates, according to a study in Nature Communications.

“Since land use plays a central role for climate mitigation, biodiversity and food production, understanding its full dynamics is essential for sustainable land use strategies,” lead author Karina Winkler, a physical geographer at Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands, told AFP.

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