Both ominous and hopeful, a new report paints a picture of the value of biodiversity, the threats it faces and the window of opportunity we have to save species before it’s too late
Imagine being a scuba diver and leaving your oxygen tank behind you on a dive. Or a mountain climber and abandoning your ropes. Or a skydiver and shedding your parachute. That’s essentially what humans are doing as we expand our footprint on the planet without paying adequate attention to impacts on other living things, according to researchers from the University of Minnesota and McGill University. Because we depend on plants and animals for food, shelter, clean air and water and more, anything we do that makes life harder for them eventually comes around to make life harder for us as well.
But, reporting with colleagues from around the world in this week’s special biodiversity issue of the scientific journal Nature, the researchers also note that all is not lost, and offer specific strategies for turning that tide before it’s too late.
Forest Isbell, of University of Minnesota’s College of Biological Sciences, McGill biologist Andrew Gonzalez and coauthors from eight countries on four continents provided an overview of what we know and still need to learn about the impacts of habitat destruction, overhunting, the introduction of nonnative species, and other human activities on biodiversity. In addition, they summarized previous research on how biodiversity loss affects nature and the benefits nature provides — for example, a recent study showing that reduced diversity in tree species in forests is linked to reduced wood production. Synthesizing findings of other studies, they estimated that the value humans derive from biodiversity is 10 times what every country in the world put together spends on conservation today — suggesting that additional investments in protecting species would not only reduce biodiversity loss but provide economic benefit, too.
“Human activities are driving the sixth mass extinction in the history of life on Earth, despite the fact that diversity of life enhances many benefits people reap from nature, such as wood from forests, livestock forage from grasslands, and fish from oceans and streams,” said Isbell, who served as lead author the paper. “It would be wise to invest much more in conserving biodiversity.”
“Biodiversity plays a big role in the UN Sustainable Development Goals that aim to ensure human wellbeing in the long-term” said Gonzalez. “Attaining the UN SDGs will require action to conserve and restore biodiversity from local to global scales”.
The Latest on: Biodiversity
- India's Sacred Groves Are Disappearing, Taking Biodiversity And Culture With Themon November 30, 2019 at 4:09 pm
Conservationists believe that fewer than 250 of this type of civet remain due to widespread destruction of the state’s old-growth forests. No studies exist to comprehensively document the biodiversity ...
- Form biodiversity panels: NGTon November 29, 2019 at 6:39 pm
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the state government to put in place biodiversity management committees (BMCs) to take stock of the biodiversity at panchayat and town levels by January ...
- Nominations Open for The MIDORI Prize for Biodiversity 2020on November 28, 2019 at 4:03 pm
With the aim to encourage positive action for biodiversity and inspire others by showcasing the notable work of those it honours, nominations are now invited for the MIDORI Prize for Biodiversity 2020 ...
- Integrating climate adaptation and biodiversity conservation in the global oceanon November 27, 2019 at 11:29 am
3 School of Biology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK. 4 Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, ...
- Navigating transformation of biodiversity and climateon November 27, 2019 at 11:24 am
The Collection provides comprehensive review articles and original research by leading authorities on recent advances in the study of interactions between biodiversity and climate that deepen our ...
via Google News and Bing News