Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

WWF report paints a bleak picture of biodiversity in latest report

This is the last generation that can save nature - WWF Humans are wiping out life of earth says WWF with many species in danger of disappearing
Frank Williams | 01 November, 2018, 13:23

WWF and various other organizations have been collaborating on an annual Living Planet report since 1998.

The report is based on a survey of more than 4,000 species spread over 16,700 populations scattered across the globe. Current rates of species extinction are now up to 1000 times higher than before human involvement in animal ecosystems became a factor. The astonishing decline in wildlife populations is a grim reminder and perhaps the ultimate indicator of the pressure we exert on the planet'.

Their latest global report claims wildlife is dying out faster than ever and says nature needs worldwide "life support".

Global wildlife like the black crested macaque has been decimated, say the WWF. "Natural systems essential to our survival - forests, oceans, and rivers - remain in decline", he said. "This rapid planetary change, referred to as the "Great Acceleration", has brought many benefits to human society", the report said.

In this period "20 per cent of the Amazon" and "between 30 and 50 per cent of the mangroves" have decreased, while in the last 30 years, the Earth "has lost approximately half of its corals in shallow waters", and pollinators such as bees are "under increasing threat". Lakes, rivers and wetlands are suffering the most from overexploitation and continue to deteriorate at breakneck speed, with species declining by 83% since 1970, the report warned.

The species monitored were vertebrate species, or animals with a backbone, with database containing information on over 22,000 population of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians.

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Measured by weight, or biomass, wild animals today only account for four percent of mammals on Earth, with humans (36%) and livestock (60%) making up the rest.

"Decades of documented declines show us that we won't see wildlife recovery unless we all make it a priority - in all facets of our lives", said Megan Leslie, WWF-Canada president and CEO, in a release.

While shedding light on the extent and impact of human activity on nature, the Living Planet Report 2018 also focuses on the importance and value of nature to people's health and well-being and that of our societies and economies.

The WWF also called for "a new global deal for nature and people" similar to the 2015 Paris agreement to tackle climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The global ecological footprint over the past 50 years has increased by over 190% and this has fuelled the loss in biodiversity. "We may also be the last that can act to reverse this trend". "India is an extremely resource-rich country with at least 80% of the (world's) one-horned rhino population, and at least 60% of the global population of Asiatic elephants and tigers so it stands to lose a lot", said Dipankar Ghose, director, species and landscape at WWF, India.

The report uses the term "Great Acceleration" as the unique event we are now experiencing in the 4.5 billion-year history of the planet with exploding human population and economic growth driving unprecedented planetary change through the increased demand for energy, land and water. The WWF has urged the 196 member nations of the Convention on Biological Diversity to consider a range of targets when they meet in Egypt in late November.

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