The Earth Has Lost 60% Of Its Wild Animals In 44 Years

Endangered animals. Image: Haywiremedia Shutterstock

The Living Planet Report 2018 reveals an impressive human impact on the planet. The way we feed ourselves and organize our society and economy is pushing nature to the limit. That’s what the Living Planet report 2018 tells us, published by the WWF.

The document presents a haunting picture of the impact of human activity on the world’s fauna, forests, oceans, rivers and climate, highlighting that the time for change is fast running out.

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One of the indicators used in the report, the Living Planet Index (LPI), provided by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), which monitors wildlife, indicates that fish, bird, mammal, amphibian and reptile populations declined. by an average of 60% between 1970 and 2014.

The main threats to the species identified in the report are directly related to human activities, including the loss and degradation of habitats and the excessive exploitation of wildlife.

“Science is showing us the harsh reality, our forests, oceans and rivers are suffering at our hands. Centimeter by centimeter, species by species, the reduction in the number of wild animals and places is an indicator of the tremendous impact and pressure we exert on the planet, by squeezing the living tissue that sustains us: nature and biodiversity “, Dissemarco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International.

America is one of the regions that suffers the most from the loss of biodiversity. The estimate is that since the 1970s, the populations of species that inhabit southern and Central America have decreased by 89%. The main cause of this loss of species is deforestation. In the last 50 years, 20% of the Amazon has disappeared. Experts indicate that if total deforestation reaches 25%, the “point of no return” will be reached, and it may collapse.

Image: Lance van de Vyver Shutterstock

This report also addresses the importance and value of nature for global social and economic well-being. In addition to helping to ensure the supply of clean air, clean water, food, energy, medicine and other resources, nature is estimated to provide the world with services worth $125 billion each year.

“Everything is directly connected. From insects and birds that pollinate the crops that feed us, through the supply of drinking water on which all our activities depend, to the air we breathe every second. The protection of forests, water resources, biodiversity is also the protection of people and our society. Compromising the environment is compromising our future ”, says Mauricio Voivodic, Executive Director of WWF-Brazil.

This may change although the scenario presented in the report shows a terrifying reality, there is hope but not without great effort. Nature has a capacity for regeneration, but reversing the current situation will take a lot of work and significant changes in the way we relate to the environment.

The report highlights the opportunity for the global community to protect and restore nature in 2020, a critical year in which leaders must measure progress on the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris agreement.

Chapter 4 of the report is inspired by a scientific paper titled ” Aiming Higher to Bend the Biodiversity Loss Curve “, which suggests a roadmap for the goals, indicators and metrics that the 196 CBD Member States could consider to adopt. an urgent, ambitious and effective global agreement for nature.

“The statistics are terrifying, but all is not lost. We have the opportunity to design a new path that allows us to coexist sustainably with the nature on which we depend. Our report sets an ambitious agenda for change. We are going to need your help to get there, “said Prof. Ken Norris, ZSL Director of Science.

More information: Living Planet Report 2018.

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