Only 3% of Earth’s Ecosystems Are Still iIntact

Our planet is quite diverse when it comes to ecosystems. And few things excite biologists more than looking at parts of the world that are still relatively free of human interference.

So much so that, in the last 30 years, scientists who have the objective of protecting the Earth’s biodiversity have sought to establish goals to preserve and expand these areas that still remain of wild nature.

But how do you know what’s really wild when it’s found? According to most people, this response is linked to remote places with few human inhabitants. But for scientists, this is more complicated. After all, most scientific definitions of wild nature focus on the concept of integrity.

Ecosystems

So if the basic structure of a habitat , such as a forest, is intact and there is little evidence of human impact, then it is often considered a wilderness.

In the last decade, studies have been done in an attempt to map how ecosystems are intact on a global scale using satellite imagery. Estimates suggested that between 20 and 40% of the planet’s surface could be considered ecologically intact.

However, what can be detected by satellites is an insufficient measure of how wild a habitat is. So a new study was done where researchers used a different definition of intact ecosystems. According to this definition, the environment is intact if all species known to live in the area are still present and if they are abundant enough to fulfill their ecological roles.

Preserved

They set the reference value in 1500 AD Which means that only parts of the world are ecologically intact as they were 500 years ago, and therefore only they could be considered wild.

As a result, the researchers found that only 2.8% of the Earth’s surface fits this description. These places, 10,000 square kilometers or more, are spread across many parts of the world.

Some of them are: the Nouabale-Ndoki National Park in Congo, the Serengeti-Ngorongoro in Tanzania, the Alto Rio Negro indigenous territory in the Amazon rainforest, the Greater Siberian Polynya in northern Russia, and the Kawésqar National Park in southern Chile.

These places are very rare and should be conserved. However, only 11% of them are within a protected area.

Restoration

If these wilderness areas are so few what needs to be done to restore them? Of course, in places where species have gone extinct, the original nature cannot be restored. But where species have not been completely eradicated there is hope that the ecosystem can be restored.

For this to happen, a significant commitment from governments and multinational bodies is needed. Not least because the reintroduction of animals into ecosystems can be expensive and difficult. In addition to the original elimination to wildlife, so that success is guaranteed.

According to the researchers’ predictions, ecosystems with wildlife communities at historic levels of abundance could be restored on up to 20% of the planet’s land. Focusing on areas where the habitat appears intact according to satellite imagery.

Russia Plans To Resurrect An Army Through Cloning

Exactly 20 years ago, a group of Siberian archaeologists discovered the remains of an army of Scythian warriors buried in the Republic of Tuva. The fossils, preserved, date back 3,000 years. The discovery in itself is surprising. However, the most incredible was the statement by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu regarding the find. Shoigu announced that they have plans to clone the warriors.

According to a recent report published by the news portal All That is Interesting, Shoigu, who is from Tuva, revealed his intention during an online session of the Russian Geographical Society held last week. The minister, in addition to managing the Russian Geographical Society, is one of President Vladimir Putin’s strongest allies – who also attended the meeting and showed support for the minister’s idea.

Declaration

As reported by the All That is Interesting portal, during the online session, the Russian Minister of Defense spoke about the potential for new research that could involve the Scythian warriors found by archaeologists, referring specifically to the use of DNA , which was preserved in Siberian permafrost.

According to a report published by the Daily Mail news portal, the Russian Defense Minister has hinted that he intends to clone DNA to rebuild the army. “Of course, we would very much like to know how we can make the plan viable and I believe you understand what would come after that,” the minister said in an interview with the Daily Mail. “It would be possible to do something, as they did with Dolly the Sheep. In general terms, I think it will be very interesting”.

For some analysts, although the meeting was formal and Shoigu’s words were quite clear, the announcement marks the presence of a strong political purpose, after all, Russia has recently sent around 100,000 troops to the Ukrainian border. In the meantime, political experts believe that the development of a study on the cloning of warriors will serve as food for the Kremlin propaganda machine.

Excavations

The remains of the Scythian warriors are highly conserved, and for this reason they could not be more remarkable. The excavations began in 1998 and were conducted by a team of Siberian archaeologists. German archaeologists joined the group later. In three years, professionals have unearthed 3,000 Scythian warriors – nomads of Iranian descent who occupied the European steppe from the northern borders of China to the Black Sea between the 7th and 3rd centuries BC. At the time the excavations were carried out, Shoigu ordered a shaman to be present – ​​so as not to irritate the spirits.

In 2018, Shoigu invested in new excavations, which were led by Russian and Swiss experts. To date, the work of the professionals also included the presence of a new shaman.

“The discovery encompasses not only the Scythian warriors, but also the remains of horses, probably used in sacrifices, and other elements,” said archaeologist Timur Sadykov. “This confirms the existence of cultural practice”.

The plan to clone the warriors

The meeting of members of the Russian Geographical Society yielded enough material for the press, as, as we said at the beginning of the article, the minister clearly expressed his objective in cloning the DNA of the Scythian warriors. “We have already carried out several researches on the subject”, revealed a Sputnik News report. “A lot of information has been confirmed, but there is still a lot to be done”.

Russia’s objective is based on the case of Sheep, the first cloned mammal. The sheep case made headlines in numerous media outlets in July 1996, when the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland, revealed success in the cloning experiment.

So far, what the press has at hand are only the minister’s statements. It is unclear how much the Russians should strive to clone the old army and bring it back to life. We can only wait.