We have wiped out more than half of animal species in the world
World Wide Fund for Nature, WWF, Switzerland, NOTIMEX October 1, 2014 |
Human activity is largely responsible for the disappearance of over 50% of animal species in the world since 1970, warned the World Wildlife Fund in Geneva, Switzerland. Biodiversity is declining both in temperate and tropical regions, but the decrease is greater in the tropics. Declining biodiversity in Latin America is the most dramatic with a drop of 83 percent. According to IPV, freshwater species suffered a decline of 76%, twice that loss suffered by the marine and terrestrial species. With respect to the ecological footprint, for over 40 years, the pressure of humanity on nature exceeded what the planet can replenish. The consequences are a reduction of the amount of resources and accumulation of waste at higher than that can be absorbed or recycle rates.
Human activity is largely responsible for the disappearance of over 50% of animal species in the world since 1970, warned the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Geneva, Switzerland. In the edition of the biannual Living Planet Index (HPI), the fund stated that the amount of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish with which we share the planet was reduced to half.
The report released at a press conference in Geneva by the director general of WWF, Marco Lambertini, outlined the tremendous pressure that humanity is putting the planet. We have exceeded the Earth’s biocapacity said Lambertini, after adding that use more natural resources than the Earth can generate and produce more carbon dioxide than the earth can absorb. The WWF report, entitled Species and Spaces, People & Places, mentions that on a global scale, the loss and degradation of habitat, hunting and climate change are the main threats to biodiversity. Biodiversity is declining both in temperate and tropical regions, but the decrease is greater in the tropics.
The IPV showed a reduction of 56% in 3,811 populations of 1,638 species during the same period. Latin America has the most dramatic decline, down 83%, he said. According to IPV, freshwater species suffered a decline of 76%, twice that loss suffered by the marine and terrestrial species. Major threats to freshwater species are the loss and fragmentation of habitat, pollution and invasive species. Changes in water levels and connectivity of the aquatic system, such as irrigation and hydroelectric dams, have a great impact on freshwater habitats, said the WWF.
Terrestrial species decreased by 39% between 1970 and 2010, a trend that according to the WWF no signs of abating. Loss of habitat to make room for human land use, particularly for agriculture, urban development and energy production remains a major threat, compounded by hunting. Meanwhile, marine species declined 39% between 1970 and 2010 Between 1970 and mid 80s the largest decline, followed by a period of stability before undergoing the next period of marked decline was experienced. The most pronounced decreases were recorded in the tropics and in the Antartic Ocean. Among the affected species include sea turtles, sharks and big marine migratory birds such as the wandering albatross.
We need another Earth
Regarding the ecological footprint, Lambertini explained that for over 40 years, the pressure of humanity on nature exceeded what the planet can replenish. You need the regenerative capacity of 1.5 planets to provide the ecological services they use every year, “he estimated. Ecological overshoot is possible now because we can cut down trees faster than the time required to mature, catch more fish than the oceans can replenish or emit more carbon to the atmosphere, the forests and oceans can absorb, he said . The consequences are a reduction of the amount of resources and accumulation of waste at higher rates than those that can be absorbed or recycle bottom alerted. Such is the case of increasing concentrations of atmospheric carbon.
The ecological footprint sum of all goods and ecological services humanity demand and competing for space. Includes biologically productive (or biocapacity) land needed for crops, grazing land and developed land; fishing areas and production forests. It also includes the area of forest required to absorb additional carbon dioxide emissions than the oceans can not absorb. Both the Ecological Footprint and biocapacity are expressed in the same unit: global hectares (gha). In 2010, the global ecological footprint was 18,100 million hags; ie 2.6 gha per capita. While the total biocapacity of the Earth was 12,000 million hag; ie 1.7 hag per capita.
The carbon released from burning fossil fuels has been the dominant component of the ecological footprint of humanity for over half a century and continues to increase. In 1961, carbon represented 36% of our total ecological footprint in 2010 reached 53%, notes the WWF. The ranking of the countries that leave more ecological footprint is headed by Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE, followed by Denmark, Belgium, Trinidad and Tobago, Singapore; United States, Bahrain and Sweden.
The WWF considered to be an increasing challenge to keep increasing biocapacity to land degradation, freshwater scarcity and rising energy costs. For the WWF we have not proved to be good stewards of our one planet. The way that we supply our needs now is compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, the report warns. This is exactly the opposite of what advocates sustainable development.