From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Anthropause, Anthropocene
Mains level : Human impact on gelological time scale
Researchers in the UK are set to study the “Anthropause”, a term they have coined to refer to the coronavirus-induced lockdown period and its impact on other species.
Practice question for mains:
Q. What is the significance of declaring Anthropocene epoch? Discuss how it is different from any geological events. Discuss the Anthropause Period.
- Researchers have suggested the lockdown period, which is also being referred to as the “Great Pause”, be referred to with a more precise term.
- It is referred specifically to a considerable global slowing of modern human activities, notably travel.
- The unprecedented curbs imposed on millions of people around the world, mainly due to restrictions in travel, led to reports of unusual animal behaviour.
- For instance, there were pumas sighted in Chile’s Santiago, jackals in the parks of Tel Aviv in Israel, dolphins in the waters of Italy and even a monkey fight on the streets of Thailand.
- The researchers believe studying this period will provide valuable insights into the relationship between human-wildlife interactions in the 21st century.
What do the researchers hope to find?
- As a result of the lockdown, nature appears to have changed, especially in urban environments, since not only are there now more animals, but also some “unexpected visitors.”
- In their outline, researchers mention how the scientific community can use these “extraordinary circumstance” provided by global lockdowns to understand how human activity affects wildlife.
- On the other hand, there are some animals for which the lockdown may have made things more challenging.
- For instance, for various urban-dwelling animals, such as rats, gulls and monkeys who depend on food provided or discarded by humans, the lockdown would have made life more difficult.
Why is studying the lockdown important?
- Expanding human populations continue to transform their environments at unprecedented rates.
- Further, because the reduction in human activity during the lockdown on both land and sea has been “unparalleled” in recent history, the effects have been “drastic, sudden and widespread”.
- Essentially, this gives them a chance to study the extent to which modern human mobility affects wildlife.
- The study can be linked can help provide insights that may be useful in preserving global biodiversity, maintaining the integrity of ecosystems and predicting global zoonoses and environmental changes.