Wild animal population has dropped by 60 percent since 1970

02 November, 2018, 23:20 | Author: Ann Santiago
  • Only a global pact on the scale of the Paris Agreement on climate change will save the natural world from irreversible collapse the World Wide Fund for Nature said

"Nature is not a "nice to have" - it is our life-support system".

Currently, only a quarter of the world's land is free from human impact-most notably, rising food production and increased demand for energy, land, and water.

The Living Planet Index, which tracks trends in global wildlife abundance, indicates that global populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles declined on average, by 60% between 1970 and 2014, the most recent year with available data.

The report, a collaboration with the Zoological Society of London, blames overuse of natural resources and agricultural activity driven by human consumption as the key causes of wildlife declines and destruction of oceans and landscapes.

As per the WWF report, the figures note "The increasing rates of change in human activity since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution". Shallow-water coral reefs have been cut in half in the last 30 years, and about 20 percent of the Amazon rainforest has disappeared over the last 50 years, the authors found. "'A global deal" worldwide action is needed over the next two years in order to stem the tide of natural destruction, the organization noted, urging world governments and businesses to strike a deal similar to the 2016 Paris agreement for climate change.

"This report sounds a warning shot across our bow", says Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF-US. "In some cases, especially in marine environments, over-exploitation and overuse are the drivers of the decline of these species", he said.

Current action to protect nature is failing because it is not enough to match the scale of the threat facing the planet, the conservationists claim.

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But that is not the same as stripping 40% (or 60%) of wildlife from the planet.

"But our inaction is wiping out species across the globe and it terrifies me that, unless we make committed and immediate change to the way we live, there will be no other option for them".

India is one of the worst affected by biodiversity loss even though its per capita global ecological footprint is among the lowest in the world, WWF experts said, commenting on the report's findings. We have an opportunity to design a new path forward that allows us to co-exist sustainably with the wildlife we depend upon. What is needed to change this is bold and well-defined goals and a credible set of actions.

To map soil biodiversity, a risk index was generated combining eight components including pollution, loss of above ground diversity, nutrients overloading, overgrazing, intensive agriculture, fire, soil erosion to do the same.

Ciaran Flood from the Irish Wildlife Trust says wildlife in Ireland is declining in line with global trends.

"A healthy, sustainable future for all is only possible on a planet where nature thrives and forests, oceans and rivers are teeming with biodiversity and life", said WWF International director general Marco Lambertini to AFP.

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