Published: Thu, November 01, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

World Wildlife Fund report

World Wildlife Fund report

The report also warns of a sharp decline in wetlands, with WWF-India officials believing India to be one of the most affected.

Depending on which categories are included, the current rate at which species are going extinct is 100 to 1,000 times greater than only a few centuries ago, when human activity began to alter the planet's biology and chemistry in earnest.

"The only good news is that we know exactly what is happening".

"In a nutshell, it's our own human activity that is leading to these declines", said James Snider, vice-president of science, research and innovation at WWF.

"It is a classic example of where the disappearance is the result of our own consumption, because the deforestation is being driven by ever expanding agriculture producing soy, which is being exported to countries including the United Kingdom to feed pigs and chickens", he said.

"Time is running out", the report says. While climate change was also cited as an important factor, the overexploitation of species, agriculture and land conversion were most responsible.

According to the report, 20% of the Amazon has disappeared in 50 years, while the earth is estimated to have lost about half of its shallow water corals in the past 30 years.

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As the report says, we are the first generation to have a clear picture of the value of nature and our impact on it. "In some cases, especially in marine environments, over-exploitation and overuse are the drivers of the decline of these species", he said.

The Living Planet Report has been tracking 16,704 populations of 4,005 vertebrate species since 1970.

Wildlife populations have, on average, decreased by 60 percent since 1970, a new report by the World Wildlife Federations found. "It's not just elephants, freshwater dolphins and rhinos, but Canadian wildlife too", Megan Leslie, WWF-Canada president and CEO, said in a release.

In its Living Planet Report, which the animal charity publishes every two years, the WWF said that three-quarters of the world had now been impacted by humans with safe havens for animal populations dwindling. As the world looks toward the promise of 2020 - a year that will see global leaders coming together on climate, biodiversity and sustainable development - governments, communities, businesses and organizations must come together to deliver a comprehensive framework agreement for nature and people under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

More generally, the marginal capacity of Earth's ecosystems to renew themselves has been far outstripped by humanity's ecological footprint, which has almost tripled in 50 years.

"It's mind-blowing", says WWF Director-General Marco Lambertini, describing the crisis as "unprecedented in its speed, in its scale, and because it is single-handed". "In the next years, we need to urgently transition to a net carbon-neutral society and halt and reverse nature loss - through green finance and shifting to clean energy and environmentally friendly food production", he said. It also said that half of the plant population since the start of our civilisation has been wiped out.

"When you lose biodiversity and world becomes biologically and aesthetically a poorer place", Keith Somerville, a professor in human-wildlife conflict at Kent University, told NBC News.

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