Wildlife in 'catastrophic decline' due to human destruction, scientists warn

Katie Ramirez
September 12, 2020

The decline is happening at an unprecedented rate, the report warns, and it threatens human life as well.

The research shows that implementing these measures together rather than in isolation will allow the world to more rapidly alleviate pressures on wildlife habitats, thereby reversing biodiversity trends from habitat loss decades earlier than strategies that allow habitat losses and then attempt to reverse them later on.

Nature and biodiversity also protect humans, he adds, and we're already seeing the effect of that loss of protection.

The average size of wildlife populations has plummeted more than two-thirds in less than 50 years because of deforestation and rampant overconsumption, experts said on Thursday in a stark warning to save nature in order to save ourselves. The report places the blame on humans for our current state, noting we have altered three-quarters of the planet's ice-free land surface.

While aided by factors such as invasive species and pollution, the biggest single driver of species lost is land-use changes: normally, industry converting forests or grasslands into farms.

The report pointed to humanity as the underlying cause of the deterioration of nature and the decline in the wildlife population.

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You can read the WWF's Living Planet Report in full here.

It's understood that the most significant impact on animal population is the loss of habitat, due to things like farming, deforestation, land conversion and urban expansion. The presentation of its latest Living Planet Report (Living Planet Report 2020) was accompanied by the defense of the New Accord for Humans and Nature, which has the ambitious objective of reaching, by 2030, the value of zero loss. of habitats, zero species extinction and halving the ecological footprint of production and consumption.

However, the WWF said now "we are over using the planet's capacity by more than half". Also one in five plants is threatened with extinction. Realising that a "global, collective" effort is needed, the report notes that "increased conservation efforts are key, along with how we produce our food and energy". "Now nature is sending us a desperate SOS and time is running out".

"COVID-19 is a clear manifestation of our broken relationship with nature, and highlights the deep interconnection between the health of both people and the planet". "We are playing Russian Roulette with the threat of pandemics and in the end, we will lose - big and COVID-19 is only the beginning", she said. The widespread decline in species' populations suggests a bleak future as ecosystems are pressed to the limit, but the report also shows we still have a shot to fix things.

"The longer the wildlife stay in supply chains with other humans and people, the greater the risk of spillover of a wildlife disease to humans", said Rebecca Shaw, chief scientist at WWF. "It really is possible, but it will take global conservation strategies along with a transformation of the way we produce and consume as humans, especially for our food system", Opperman says.

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