The WWF recently conducted a research in which it was discovered that overexploitation of natural resources for human consumption; land conversion- where in forest land used for commercial purposes such as agriculture and industrial setups as well as habitat loss are the top reasons for the steadfast and alarming decline in biodiversity.
Human beings have wiped out a staggering 60% of the global populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians since 1970, said the World Wildlife Fund. Letting off all of humanity with a sore warning as well as giving a final ultimatum, officials at the global conservation body said that humanity needs to “change course” before it is too late.
According to the WWF’s Living Planet Report 2018 released on Monday, 29th of October, 2018, the latest index showed an overall decline of 60% in population sizes of vertebrate species between 1970 and 2014. This reduction was especially marked in the tropics, with South and Central America suffering the most dramatic decline, that is an eighty nine percent loss since 1970. The numbers of freshwater wildlife species showed a dramatic decline of eighty three percent over the same period.
The report tracked four thousand and five vertebrate species.
While climate change is a growing threat, the report also said the overexploitation of species for consumption, industrialization, and activities such as land conversion and habitat loss were the top threats to biodiversity. Overfishing was said to be another reason behind the decline of species in the oceans. “A recent assessment found that only a quarter of land on Earth is substantively free of the impacts of human activities. This is projected to decline to just one-tenth by 2050,” said the report.
WWF United States President Carter Roberts said it was time to balance consumption with the needs of nature. “This report sounds a warning shot across our bow. Natural systems are essential to our survival – forests, oceans, and rivers – remain in decline,” he said. “It reminds us we need to change course.”
The report also explained the degradation of oceans, forests, corals, reefs, wetlands and mangroves. “The Earth is estimated to have lost about half of its shallow water corals in the past 30 years and 20% of the Amazon has disappeared in just 50 years,” it said.
WWF International Director General Marco Lambertini said the impact of unsustainable production models and wasteful lifestyles could not be ignored any longer. “In the next years, we need to urgently transition to a net carbon-neutral society and halt and reverse nature loss – through green finance and shifting to clean energy and environmentally friendly food production,” he said. “In addition, we must preserve and restore enough land and ocean in a natural state to sustain all life.”
"We are sleepwalking towards the edge of a cliff," a WWF official said.
By Chaynika Tewari