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Land, Freshwater and Sea Use Change

This indicator measures cropland expansion, river fragmentation and pressures on marine environments through shipping and direct human impact. Land- and sea-use change is the major human influence on habitats. Habitat loss is one of the biggest threats to biodiversity and is the number one reason species go extinct. Clearcutting forests to create agricultural lands, creating dams that change river flow and intensifying shipping in marine environments are all examples of land- and sea-use change that cause habitat destruction. This indicator includes data from terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments. Terrestrial: Potapov’s global maps of cropland extent gain were used to assess conversion of land cover to cropland. Please note that forest canopy loss (another important aspect of land-use change) is covered in indicator 5.2. Freshwater: The Water Risk Filter’s Fragmentation Status of Rivers has been integrated into the Biodiversity Risk Filter without changes. See the specific risk indicator layers in the WRF methodology for more details. Marine areas: Halpern’s shipping and direct human impact score were used. What does very high risk mean for this indicator? Areas of very high risk experienced high percentages of cropland expansion (>12%) and a high fragmentation of rivers; or high pressure from shipping and direct human impact.

RCoE Action:

World Wildlife Fund (WWF). "WWF: A Biodiversity Guide for Business." May 23, 2022,….


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