Biodiversity declines have continued despite repeated policy commitments aimed at slowing or halting the rate of loss. The Strategic Plan for the Convention on Biological Diversity (2010–2020) includes the 20 Aichi Targets to be achieved by 2020. Recent projections suggest that this is unlikely for most of the targets. Yet the 2050 vision requires a much more ambitious goal, which will necessitate recovery of biodiversity and bending the curve by 2030. The black line indicates currently observed trends (to 2015), dotted lines show extrapolations from current trends (black) and projections for biodiversity after 2030 that are declining (red), stabilizing (orange) or recovering (green). Redrawn from Mace, et al., 2018 / Nature Sustainability. Graphic: WWF

By Damian Carrington
26 October 2016

(The Guardian) – The number of wild animals living on Earth is set to fall by two-thirds by 2020, according to a new report, part of a mass extinction that is destroying the natural world upon which humanity depends.

The analysis, the most comprehensive to date, indicates that animal populations plummeted by 58% between 1970 and 2012, with losses on track to reach 67% by 2020. Researchers from WWF and the Zoological Society of London compiled the report from scientific data and found that the destruction of wild habitats, hunting and pollution were to blame.

The creatures being lost range from mountains to forests to rivers and the seas and include well-known endangered species such as elephants and gorillas and lesser known creatures such as vultures and salamanders.

The collapse of wildlife is, with climate change, the most striking sign of the Anthropocene, a proposed new geological era in which humans dominate the planet. “We are no longer a small world on a big planet. We are now a big world on a small planet, where we have reached a saturation point,” said Prof Johan Rockström, executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, in a foreword for the report.

Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF, said: “The richness and diversity of life on Earth is fundamental to the complex life systems that underpin it. Life supports life itself and we are part of the same equation. Lose biodiversity and the natural world and the life support systems, as we know them today, will collapse.”

He said humanity was completely dependent on nature for clean air and water, food and materials, as well as inspiration and happiness.

The report analysed the changing abundance of more than 14,000 monitored populations of the 3,700 vertebrate species for which good data is available. This produced a measure akin to a stock market index that indicates the state of the world’s 64,000 animal species and is used by scientists to measure the progress of conservation efforts.

The biggest cause of tumbling animal numbers is the destruction of wild areas for farming and logging: the majority of the Earth’s land area has now been impacted by humans, with just 15% protected for nature. Poaching and exploitation for food is another major factor, due to unsustainable fishing and hunting: more than 300 mammal species are being eaten into extinction, according to recent research.

Pollution is also a significant problem with, for example, killer whales and dolphins in European seas being seriously harmed by long-lived industrial pollutants. Vultures in south-east Asia have been decimated over the last 20 years, dying after eating the carcasses of cattle dosed with an anti-inflammatory drug. Amphibians have suffered one of the greatest declines of all animals due to a fungal disease thought to be spread around the world by the trade in frogs and newts.

Rivers and lakes are the hardest hit habitats, with animals populations down by 81% since 1970, due to excessive water extraction, pollution and dams. All the pressures are magnified by global warming, which shifts the ranges in which animals are able to live, said WWF’s director of science, Mike Barrett. [more]

World on track to lose two-thirds of wild animals by 2020, major report warns


The Great Acceleration: The increasing rates of change in human activity since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. The 1950s marks an explosion in growth. After this time, human activities begin to interfere significantly with Earth’s life support system. Data: Steffen et al., 2015. Graphic: WWF

The Great Acceleration: The increasing rates of change in human activity since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. The 1950s marks an explosion in growth. After this time, human activities begin to interfere significantly with Earth’s life support system. Data: Steffen et al., 2015. Graphic: WWF

26 October 2016 (WWF) – The Living Planet Report documents the state of the planet—including biodiversity, ecosystems, and demand on natural resources—and what it means for humans and wildlife. Published by WWF every two years, the report brings together a variety of research to provide a comprehensive view of the health of the Earth.

We are pushing our planet to the brink. Human activity—how we feed, fuel, and finance our lives—is taking an unprecedented toll on wildlife, wild places, and the natural resources we need to survive.

On average, we’ve seen an astonishing 60 percent decline in the size of populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians in just over 40 years, according to WWF’s Living Planet Report 2018. The top threats to species identified in the report link directly to human activities, including habitat loss and degradation and the excessive use of wildlife such as overfishing and overhunting.

The report presents a sobering picture of the impact human activity has on the world’s wildlife, forests, oceans, rivers, and climate. We’re facing a rapidly closing window for action and the urgent need for everyone—everyone—to collectively rethink and redefine how we value, protect, and restore nature.

“This report sounds a warning shot across our bow,” said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF-US. “Natural systems essential to our survival—forests, oceans, and rivers—remain in decline. Wildlife around the world continue to dwindle. It reminds us we need to change course. It’s time to balance our consumption with the needs of nature, and to protect the only planet that is our home.”

Living Planet Report 2018

1 comments :

  1. Anonymous said...

    One of humanities greatest ethical achievements. Now to render the rest extinct, and then ourselves.  

 

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