Of the approximately 8 million species (of which 5.5 million are insects) currently living on our planet, “it is expected that 500 to one million are threatened with extinction, many of which will become extinct in the coming decades,” says 1800 -Page UN Biodiversity Report.
Such a catastrophic forecast is in response to warnings from many scientists who believe that the Earth is at the beginning of the 6th “mass extinction”, the first attributed to human civilization. Over the past 500 years, at least 680 vertebrate species have become extinct.
Agriculture and fishing
The report is based in part on an analysis of well-studied species, mostly vertebrates. The loss of this biodiversity has a direct impact on people. Food, energy, medicine: “The goods that humans obtain from nature are fundamental to the existence and richness of human life on Earth, and most of them cannot be completely replaced,” the report warns.
For example, more than two billion people use forest wood for energy, four billion use natural medicines, and 75% of crops need to be fertilized with pollen carried by insects.
The report assesses how much humanity today depends on the state of natural systems in various areas – in the supply of food, fresh water, in the absorption of greenhouse gases, the growing volumes of emissions of which contribute to the warming of the atmosphere.
The report contains many dramatic details about how humankind has destroyed natural ecosystems over the past 50 years, as well as an assessment of what is likely to happen in the coming decades if urgent action is not taken.
Between 1980 and 2000, 100 million hectares of rainforest were lost, mainly through clearing forests in South America for grazing and in Southeast Asia for oil palm plantations.
Human activities are directly responsible for this dire situation: destructive land use (agriculture, forestry, mining) and direct resource exploitation (fishing, hunting). They are followed by climate change and environmental pollution.
According to scientists, the extinction of biological species continues at an accelerating pace, the reason is the development and change of global agriculture and land use. Emergency measures are needed at the political level to prevent a global environmental catastrophe, experts from 50 countries, working on the report, warn.
Since 1970, the world’s population has doubled, the global economy has quadrupled, and international trade has grown tenfold. To feed, clothe and energize this burgeoning world, forests are being cleared more and more rapidly, especially in tropical regions.
The report notes that the link between biodiversity extinction and climate change is sometimes amplified by the same factors.
“If we want to create a sustainable planet that serves communities around the world, we must change course over the next 10 years, just like climate does,” said Rebecca Shaw, Science Director for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) …
The report also estimates that three-quarters of the land, 40% of the marine environment and half of the watercourses are “seriously damaged”. Moreover, those regions where indigenous people live, whose lives directly depend on the exploitation of natural resources and who do not think about their restoration, have suffered the most.
Across the world, urbanization is accelerating – the area of cities has doubled since 1992.
According to the authors of the report, about 25% of the planet’s animal and plant species are currently under threat of destruction.
Global trends in the ecology of insects remain unknown, but cases of mass death of bees and other insects in different parts of the world are well known.