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In less than 50 years, more than two-thirds of the populations of wild animals have disappeared because of human activity, alarms the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), in a report released Thursday. But it is still possible to stop these massive losses.
The decline of wild animals is accelerating. The world has lost more than two-thirds of its wildlife populations in less than 50 years, mostly due to human activity, warns Thursday, September 10 in a report by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), which points out the dangers of this collapse for the future of humanity.
Between 1970 and 2014, populations of vertebrates – fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles – fell 60% globally and 89% in the tropics, South America and Central America, the document said. . Species have never declined at such a rapid rate, which today is one hundred to one thousand times greater than that calculated over geological time.
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Intensive agriculture, soil degradation, overfishing, climate change, plastic pollution: the main threats to biodiversity today – the loss and degradation of their habitats and overexploitation – are linked to human activities.
“The impact of humans is so strong and widespread today that it is causing wildlife to disappear on Earth,” the press release said. AT To date, only a quarter of the land has escaped human activity. A figure that is expected to drop to just 10% in 2050 if nothing is changed. “
By attacking the planet’s natural capital, humanity is putting itself at risk. The stability of our economy and society depends on nature and the services it provides to us for free, the statement said. If one had to pay for fresh air, drinking water, for food, the amount would be estimated at 125 trillion dollars per year, that is to say more than the world GDP (80 trillion dollars / year).
“We used several models applied to different scenarios that explore a wide range of possible actions, explains David Leclère, lead author of this study. The baseline scenario is that nothing changes and confirms that continuing trends in increase in population, diets, agricultural yields and efforts to protect (nature) will lead to further loss of biodiversity. ”
The only glimmer of hope, according to the most optimistic scenario, “it is still possible to stop the massive losses of biodiversity, provided that all available levers are activated, in particular the demand for human food”, continues the scientist.
Combined with efforts to reduce our future demand and its consequences on land use, these increased protection measures would prevent two-thirds of future biodiversity losses, without increasing the price of food.
But if we only implement increased protection and restoration measures, they will not lead to this reversal, or even reduce future biodiversity losses by 50%. And they would lead to increases in food prices.
“If we want this reversal by 2050, our study tells us that we must act now, concludes David Leclère. Because the rates of recovery of biodiversity are much slower than those of its recent destruction. And any delay in l action will result in further biodiversity losses that could take decades to repair. In addition, some losses are irreversible: when a species is extinct, it is forever. Finally, a characteristic of biodiversity is that it is extinct. has points of no return: once certain thresholds have been passed, ecosystems will continue to deteriorate. “