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The World’s Wilderness: Going, Going and Soon Gone?

Outside: Recent studies have arrived at the same blunt conclusion: the world’s last, big wildlands are disappearing at an alarming rate. Is there anything to be done?

““We are running out of wilderness,” James Watson, director of the science and research initiative at the Wildlife Conservation Society, told fellow scientists last summer at the International Congress for Conservation Biology in Cartagena, Colombia. Watson, an associate professor fellow in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Queensland, Australia, pointed to a 2016 study in which he and colleagues described “catastrophic declines” worldwide in the extent of terrestrial areas that remain mostly free of human disturbance and retain their ecological and biological integrity.

“Our calculation is that there will be no globally significant wilderness in 50 years time,” Watson told Outside recently. “There will be patches of green, but there will be nothing big, anymore.”

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