Science

Without urgent action we may lose our habitats forever: WWF

Without urgent action we may lose our habitats forever: WWF

Living Planet Report 2018 is the twelfth edition of WWF's biennial flagship publication.

The study of animal populations is one of the most comprehensive ever taken, with 59 scientists from across the world involved. These reductions are thought to be directly linked to human activity since current rates of species extinction are now 100 to 1,000 times higher than before human pressures became a factor. "Or we can be the generation that had its chance and failed to act; that let Earth slip away".

The Living Planet Report, published every two years, aims to assess the state of the world's wildlife.

The benefits provided by wildlife and nature are not just things that are "nice to have", the report's authors stress.

"We are sleepwalking towards the edge of a cliff" said Mike Barrett, executive director of science and conservation at WWF.

The top threats to species identified in the report are directly linked to human activities, including habitat loss and degradation and overexploitation of wildlife.

"Exploding human consumption is the driving force behind the unprecedented planetary change we are witnessing, through the increased demand for energy, land and water", the report says.




In addition to the significant decline in populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians, half of the world's shallow water corals were lost in the past 30 years, while 20 percent of the Amazon disappeared over the past 50 years.

"We are the first generation that has a clear picture of the enormous impact we have on nature".

Loucks said of those monitored, freshwater species are experiencing the "most worrying decline at 83 percent".

The findings of the 2018 Living Planet Report are based on the "Living Planet Index" that tracked the trends of no less than 16,704 populations of 4,005 vertebrate species over the past 40 years. Species highlighted include African elephants, which declined in number in Tanzania by 60 percent in just five years between 2009 and 2014, mainly due to ivory poaching. "'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.

The World Wildlife Fund said in a statement that the move would have "devastating consequences" and be an "enormous setback" to efforts to protect the animals in the wild.

Leslie also said Canada has committed to new land protections the size of Alberta by 2020, and if it's done right, the country could make "meaningful progress" on protecting Canadian wildlife. Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International, said that the fundamental issue is consumption, and we can not ignore the impact of wasteful lifestyles. "It is time that we look beyond business as usual scenarios and galvanise collective action for positive change, allowing the planet an opportunity to revive itself", Secretary General and CEO of WWF-India Ravi Singh said.

The authors urged the 200 member countries of the Convention on Biological Diversity to come up with a set of global goals to protect animal species when they meet next month in Egypt. In particular, over the past 50 years the expansion of agricultural activities has led many ecosystems to disaster.


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