Human activity slashes mammal stomping grounds by up to two-thirds

Science | AAAS | 1/25/2018 | Staff
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Foxes tend to roam in areas near human habitation with easy access to food.

The modern world would barely be recognizable to the mammoth and bison herds of ages past. Roads subdivide large stretches of land, and clusters of buildings and people have sprung up nearly everywhere. Indeed, humans have modified the environment so much, they may have cut the distance by which mammals—large and small—roam by some two-thirds, according to a novel analysis published today. That lack of movement could upend ecosystems and increase the number of human-animal conflicts, researchers say.

Era - Humans - Environments - Oscar - Venter

“We’re moving into an era where humans have changed natural environments extensively,” says Oscar Venter, an ecologist at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George, Canada, who calls the new paper “very important” with significant implications. “What’s not exactly clear is what this is going to mean.”

Scientists have tried to figure out how human activity affects animals for decades. For nearly 20 years, for example, they have used GPS collars to track threatened species living in national parks, in farmlands, and near suburbs and cities. But such studies typically follow a single species or population over time, limiting how the results can be applied.

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Years - Marlee - Tucker - Biologist - Senckenberg

A few years ago, Marlee Tucker, a biologist at the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, and other researchers decided to launch a much wider scale study. They wanted to compare the movements of as many mammal species as possible—from pocket mice to grizzly bears—and find out how much human actions affect those activities.

So Tucker started collecting data on the whereabouts of animals equipped with GPS collars from...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Science | AAAS
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