A vision for incorporating human mobility in the study of human-wildlife interactions

Diego Ellis-Soto*, Ruth Oliver*, Vanessa Brum-Bastos, Urska Demsar, Brett Jesmer, Jed Long, Francesca Cagnacci, Federico Ossi, Nuno Quiroz, Mark Hindell, Roland Kays, Matthias-Claudio Loretto, Thomas Mueller, Robert Brian Patchett, David Sims, Marlee Tucker, Yan Ropert-Coudert, Christian Rutz, Walter Jetz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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As human activities increasingly shape land- and seascapes, understanding human–wildlife interactions is imperative for preserving biodiversity. Habitats are impacted not only by static modifications, such as roads, buildings and other infrastructure, but also by the dynamic movement of people and their vehicles occurring over shorter time scales. Although there is increasing realization that both components of human activity substantially affect wildlife, capturing more dynamic processes in ecological studies has proved challenging. Here we propose a conceptual framework for developing a ‘dynamic human footprint’ that explicitly incorporates human mobility, providing a key link between anthropogenic stressors and ecological impacts across spatiotemporal scales. Specifically, the dynamic human footprint integrates a range of metrics to fully acknowledge the time-varying nature of human activities and to enable scale-appropriate assessments of their impacts on wildlife behaviour, demography and distributions. We review existing terrestrial and marine human-mobility data products and provide a roadmap for how these could be integrated and extended to enable more comprehensive analyses of human impacts on biodiversity in the Anthropocene.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1362–1372
JournalNature Ecology and Evolution
Early online date31 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • Animal ecology
  • Anthropause
  • Anthropulse
  • Anthropocene
  • COVID-19
  • Data integration
  • Human mobility
  • Human-wildlife interactions


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