Only a quarter of land is substantively free of human impact

Overexploitation of species, agriculture and land conversion. These are considered the main threats of biodiversity according to «Living Planet Report 2018»  in which WWF and Zoological Society of London have gathered proofs and concerns regarding the future of our planet. According to this assessment, only a quarter of land on Earth is substantively free of the impacts of human activities and this is also projected to decline to just one tenth by 2050! Two recent studies have focused on the dramatic reductions in bee and other pollinator numbers and on the risks to soil biodiversity, critical to sustain food production and other ecosystem services.

Marine and freshwater ecosystems are also facing huge pressures. Almost 6 billion tonnes of fish and invertebrates have been taken from the world’s oceans since 1950. Freshwater habitats, such as lakes, rivers and wetlands, are the source of life for all humans yet they are also the most threatened, strongly affected by a range of factors including habitat modification, fragmentation and destruction; invasive species; overfishing; pollution; disease; and climate change.

What makes biodiversity so important?

No, it is not just another rhino lost. Neither that a bee cannot be that important. Every single living thing on this planet has an important role in the ecosystem (not to mention the ethical reasons that imply their protection and conservation). Moreover…

  • Our health, food and security depend on biodiversity. From medical treatments to food production, biodiversity is critical to society and people’s well-being.
  • All our economic activity ultimately depends on nature. It’s estimated that, globally, nature provides services worth around US$125 trillion a year.
  • Stable planetary systems have enabled modern human society to develop. Without healthy natural systems researchers are asking whether continuing human development is possible.

«The Living Planet Report 2018» provides the scientific evidence to what nature has been telling us repeatedly: unsustainable human activity is pushing the planet’s natural systems that support life on Earth to the edge. According to the scientists who have contributed to this research «we are the first generation that has a clear picture of the value of nature and our impact on it. We may be the last that can take action to reverse this trend. From now until 2020 will be a decisive moment in history».

Photo: Ales Krivec via Unsplash

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