Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Wildlife populations fallen by 60pc since 1970, threatening civilization: WWF report

The Cerrado a vast tropical savanna ecoregion of Brazil is being cleared for soy monoculture The Cerrado a vast tropical savanna ecoregion of Brazil is being cleared for soy monoculture Credit Adriano Gambarni PA
Guillermo Lane | 01 November, 2018, 13:26

Through indicators such as the LPI, the Species Habitat Index (SHI), the IUCN Red List Index (RLI) and the Biodiversity Intactness Index (BII), as well as Planetary Boundaries and the Ecological Footprint, the report paints a singular disturbing picture: human activity is pushing the planet's natural systems that support life on earth to the edge.

The aim is to bend the biodiversity curve upwards, away from the current declining trend, by mitigating the impact of excessive human consumption and unchecked biodiversity loss through the development a roadmap 2020-2050 that is based on active participation of all stake-holders, namely, The Governments, Businesses, the Researchers and the community at large. Globally, natural resources are estimated to provide services - for example, pollination of plants - worth 125trillion United States dollars (£97trillion) a year.

The report highlights that over recent decades, human activity has also severely impacted the habitats and natural resources wildlife and humanity depend on such as oceans, forests, coral reefs, wetlands and mangroves.

This report shows that many species are dwindling at an alarming rate.

This year's report indicates our role in the loss of 83% of freshwater wildlife since 1970, 20% of the Amazon, and half of the world's shallow-water corals which is a shocking statistic.

WWF chief executive Tanya Steele said: 'We are the first generation to know we are destroying our planet and the last one that can do anything about it.

"The future of millions of species on Earth seems not to have captured the imagination or attention of the world's leaders enough to catalyze the change necessary", the report says.

Calling the wildlife and the ecosystem "vital to human life", the current chairman of an intergovernmental panel on biodiversity and world's most eminent environmental scientists said, "destruction of nature is as risky as climate change".

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The staggering loss is reflected in the organization's Living Planet Index, which tracks global biodiversity by measuring the abundance of mammals, reptiles, birds and other species.

Species are disappearing due to habitat loss and degradation, as well as overexploitation of wildlife, pollution and climate change, the Living Planet Report 2018 says.

The African grey parrot population in south-west Ghana, which has decreased by 98 percent between 1992 and 2014. Also the hunting of endangered species for food production, plays a role.

The World Wildlife Fund said in a statement that the move would have "devastating consequences" and be an "enormous setback" to efforts to protect the animals in the wild.

Marco Lambertini, the Director General of WWF International, sees the situation as an obligation-and a chance to make a difference.

The whale shark population in the Indo-Pacific is estimated to have fallen 63% over the last 75 years, and in the Atlantic by more than 30%, so that globally populations are thought to have fallen by more than 50% over the last 75 years.

"We are living in time when our continuous need for increased consumption is driving us into an era the scientists are calling the Anthropocene - where humanity is shaping the future of the planet". The Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Agreement and Convention on Biological Diversity were evidence the world was trying to change the path for the natural world.

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