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 farms.
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
"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 CIESIN.