The report states that almost 70% of animal populations have been wiped out since 1970. Wildlife

Earth’s wildlife populations have declined by an average of 69%, according to a leading scientific assessment, as humans continue to clear forests, consume off-planet, and pollute on an industrial scale.

From the open ocean to tropical rainforests, the abundance of birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles has declined by more than two-thirds on average between 1970 and 2018, according to WWF and the Zoological Society of London’s (ZSL) biennial. The Living Planet Report. Two years ago the figure It was 68%four years ago, It was 60%.

Many scientists believe us they are experiencing the sixth mass extinction – the greatest loss of life on Earth since the dinosaurs – and that it was driven by humans. The 89 authors of the report call on world leaders to reach an ambitious agreement at the conference Cop15 biodiversity summit In Canada, this and to reduce carbon emissions in December to limit global warming to below 1.5C this decade, halting the widespread destruction of nature.

The Living Planet Index combines a global analysis of 32,000 populations of 5,230 animal species to measure changes in wildlife abundance across continents and taxa, creating a graph similar to the stock index of life on Earth.

In the Latin American and Caribbean region, including the Amazon, average wildlife populations have declined by 94% over the past 48 years. WWF-UK chief executive Tanya Steele said: “This report tells us that the worst declines are in the Latin American region, home to the world’s largest rainforest, the Amazon. Deforestation The pace is accelerating, depriving this unique ecosystem not only of its trees, but of the wildlife that depends on them, and of the Amazon’s ability to act as one of our greatest allies in the fight against climate change.

A set of graphs showing the decline of biodiversity in 5 regions of the world since 1970

The second largest decline was Africa with 66%, Asia and the Pacific with 55% and North America with 20%. Europe and Central Asia experienced an 18% decline. According to the report, the total loss is equivalent to the disappearance of the human population of Europe, the Americas, Africa, Oceania and China.

“Despite science, dire predictions, passionate speeches and promises, burning forests, flooded countries, record temperatures and millions of people displaced, world leaders continue to sit back and watch our world burn before our eyes,” Steele said. “Climate and natural crises, their fates intertwined, are not a distant threat that our grandchildren will solve with yet-to-be-discovered technology.”

He added: “We need a new prime minister to show that the UK is serious about helping people, nature and the economy, delivering on every promise made for our world. Failure will not be forgotten or forgiven.”

A young lion overlooks the city skyline in Nairobi National Park
A young lion overlooks the city skyline in Nairobi National Park. Lions are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list, with perhaps as few as 23,000 left in the wild. Photo: Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images

Leading nature charities have accused Liz Truss prioritizes economics over conservation and environmental protection, and worries that rare animals and plants may lose protection. A “bonfire” of the EU red tape happening at the end of this year.

The report notes that not all countries have the same starting points for biodiversity loss, and the UK does it is only 50% of its biodiversity wealth compared to historical levels biodiversity integrity indexmaking it one of the most depleted countries in the world.

According to the report, land-use change is still the most important driver of biodiversity loss on the planet. Mike Barrett, WWF-UK’s executive director of science and conservation, said: “Globally, the declines we are seeing are primarily due to the loss and fragmentation of habitat managed by the global agricultural system and its conversion to intact habitats. to produce food.”

The researchers highlight the increased difficulty animals have in moving across terrestrial landscapes as they are blocked by infrastructure and farmland. Only 37% of rivers longer than 1,000 km (600 mi) are free-flowing throughout their entire length, and on land only 10% of the world’s protected areas are interconnected.

Future declines are not inevitable, the authors say, identifying the Himalayas, Southeast Asia, the east coast of Australia, the Albertine Rift and Eastern Arc Mountains in eastern Africa, and the Amazon basin as priority areas.

The IUCN is also developing a standard for measuring an animal’s conservation potential, known as its green status, which will allow researchers to plan a recovery path for some of the one million endangered species on Earth. The pink dove, burrowing bettong and Sumatran rhino were highlighted as species with good conservation potential. in a study last year.

A wild pink pigeon in the Black River Gorges National Park in Mauritius
The wild pink pigeon identified as a species that could benefit from conservation efforts in the Black River Gorges National Park in Mauritius. Photograph: Mauritius Wildlife Photography/Alamy

Humanity is eroding the foundations of life and urgent action is needed, said Robin Freeman, Head of Indicators and Evaluation at ZSL. “To see any bending of the curve of biodiversity loss… it’s not just about conservation, it’s about changing production and consumption – and the only way we can legislate or call for that is to have these clear measurable targets. calls for restoration of abundance, reduction of extinction risk and cessation of disappearances at Cop15 in December.

find more where the age of extinction coversand follow biodiversity reporters Phoebe Weston and Patrick Greenfield on Twitter for all the latest news and features

About the author


Leave a Comment