Humans Are Causing 1 Million Species to Be Under Threat of Extinction, Finds Report

145 expert authors from 50 countries got together over the past three years to complete this report.
Loukia Papadopoulos

About 1 million animal and plant species now under threat of extinction, found a new report released Monday by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. The study is the first intergovernmental report of its kind.


Overwhelming evidence 

"The overwhelming evidence of the IPBES Global Assessment, from a wide range of different fields of knowledge, presents an ominous picture," said IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson.

"The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide."

"The Report also tells us that it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global," he said.

"Through 'transformative change,' nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably - this is also key to meeting most other global goals. By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals, and values."

145 expert authors from 50 countries got together over the past three years to complete this report considered the most comprehensive of its type ever. The study also saw inputs from another 310 contributing authors.

Evaluating the last 50 years

The Report estimates changes over the past 50 years and includes a variety of possible scenarios for the coming decades. It consists of the systematic review of about 15,000 scientific and government sources.

Its finding is truly worrisome. Native species abundance in most major land-based habitats has fallen by at least 20%, mostly since 1900, and at least 680 vertebrate species have been driven to extinction since the 16th century.

"Ecosystems, species, wild populations, local varieties and breeds of domesticated plants and animals are shrinking, deteriorating or vanishing. The essential, interconnected web of life on Earth is getting smaller and increasingly frayed," said report co-chair  Prof. Josef Settele.

"This loss is a direct result of human activity and constitutes a direct threat to human well-being in all regions of the world."

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