Biodiversity loss is continuing apace, in spite of a pledge by the world’s governments to significantly reduce the rate of decline, according to a report by Global Footprint Network and WWF presented at a recent U.N. conference.
In 2002, the U.N.-established Convention on Biological Diversity set a goal of significantly slowing the current rate of species loss. The Convention recently adopted the Ecological Footprint as one of a suite of indicators to assess progress in meeting this goal. 2010 and Beyond: Rising to the Diversity Challenge, presented at the 9th Annual Convention on Biological Diversity, reports that the Convention is highly unlikely to meet its target of halting declines by 2010.
Shrinking biodiversity is in large part a factor of increasing demand on the planet’s resources, said Global Footprint Network Executive Director Mathis Wackernagel. “To understand what is left for wild species, we need to understand what people are taking for themselves. We are one species, but there are 10 million others,” Wackernagel said. “If other species are to survive, we must share the bounty.””
WWF’s Living Planet Index, which tracks nearly 4,000 populations of marine, land and freshwater species, declined 27 percent between 1970 and 2005. In 2003, the last year for which data are available, humanity’s total Footprint exceeded the productive capacity of planet by 25 percent, according to Global Footprint Network calculations, and the trend shows no sign of slowing.
The report to the CBD identifies five major threats to biodiversity. These are: habitat loss, fragmentation or change, especially due to agriculture; overexploitation of species, such as overfishing; pollution; climate change; and the spread of invasive species. Human consumption patterns – in areas like energy use, timber, paper and fuelwood production, and fish, meat and crop consumption – translate directly to these threats.
The report warns that humanity faces serious consequences – including threats to our food, medicine and clean water supplies and increased exposure to natural disaster – if current trends continue. It calls on leaders to take immediate action to reduce the growing pressures on natural ecosystems.
Read the report.
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Posted by Samantha Stone on 09/16/2008 at 04:59 PM
It is a very sad legacy and future we are to leave generations to follow.The government is spending billions on the war.That money could do so much good instead destruction and death. If government does not set a standard to save resources and the biodiversity of our planet than humanity’s future is bleak.Our country must implement plans to ensure a sustainable future. Legislation and education mandates could play one big part of a positive outcome.Our country must lead the world toward a positive green future and they will follow.