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What happens when we lose biodiversity

What happens when we lose biodiversity

A latest report published in the prestigious journal Science warns of the alarming loss of biodiversity that the planet is suffering by leaps and bounds. The study (The first to estimate the loss of biodiversity from ecological communities on a global scale), conducted by researchers from the Natural History Museum of London (UCL) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP-WCMC) has analyzed data from hundreds of scientists from around the world; around 2.38 million records on the 39,123 species and in 18,659 places, with alarming conclusions that can affect and influence the balance of the sustainability of human societies and the functioning of the ecosystem.

So that we have a general idea. The established safety limit is set at the loss of approximately 10% of species with respect to the figures prior to human use of the land. In that case, around 90% of the species typical of a certain area would be maintained. The map prepared by the researchers to illustrate the loss reveals that biodiversity is between 85% and 88%, from which it is extracted that it has fallen at least between 12% - 15%.

Biodiversity is being lost around the world, but some areas are particularly affected. The map below shows the populations of native species as a percentage of their original populations. The blue areas are the proposed safety limits, and the red areas are beyond, the most affected in loss of species:

Image via Natural History Museum, London (UCL)

According to data reported by the International Union for Conservation of Nature that are available in the reports of the World Development Indicators, there are almost as many species of plants threatened as the combined number of fish, mammals and birds that are in danger.

If to this study, we add the report formalized by the European Commission in which it is found that 80% of the original forests that covered the

Earth 8,000 years ago have been cut down, fragmented or damaged, by the hand of man. We are facing a delicate moment in the life of the planet whose response to such a situation must be global as in the case of climate change (Let's remember COP21), leaving aside the possible discrepancies between countries. This is an issue that affects everyone and at all levels.

The scientists of the study say that ... "In many parts of the world, the situation is reaching a point where human intervention will probably be necessary to maintain the function of ecosystems"

Although sometimes it is difficult to understand that we are part of a balanced chain that cannot be broken, in an ecosystem that everything fits perfectly and that the "break" of that balance affects us in a forceful way, we want to try to explain why it is it is necessary to maintain biodiversity and its ecosystems in perfect harmony.

When disasters or “loss” of an ecosystem occur - most of the time - by human activity, it has an impact on plant productivity, soil fertility, water quality, atmospheric chemistry, and many other global environmental conditions. that ultimately affect the well-being of human societies and the reduction of poverty. These ecosystem processes are controlled, both by biodiversity, and by the identity of the species of plants, animals and microbes in a community. Modifications by human actions in a region can disrupt the ecological functions that sustain life, both locally and covering large areas, depending on their importance.

Although all the factors are difficult to explain, we believe that in the following image the effects can be clearly clarified.

We must remember that it is vital for people's health and food sustenance. Living organisms, animals, plants and microorganisms interact to form complex and interconnected networks of natural ecosystems and habitats that, in turn, provide “ecosystem services” on which all life depends.

Although technology can replace some “ecosystem services” and buffer their degradation, many cannot be replaced. So it is no longer a question of whether we should protect the biosphere, it is already a necessity.

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Video: Simran Sethi: Were Losing Food Biodiversity (September 2021).