Humans and their activities have always been responsible for degrading the environment and its components. Their constant activities like urbanisation, encroachment, deforestation have all created a disbalance between the components of the environment. The recent few years have seen significant adversities like Landslides, floods, loss of biodiversity, forest fires, etc. All these have been due to climatic changes which are because of the exploitation of the environment by the humans. Such factors have led to a considerable increase in the loss of biodiversity. The natural flora and fauna have paid hefty prices and are on the verge of extinction. Many have even become extinct. The ecosystem is getting disturbed and suffering damage because of the diminishing figures of species. A report by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment states that more than 30% of the mammals, amphibians and bird species are threatened with extinction due to human activities.
What is biodiversity loss?
Biodiversity refers to the diversity of life in all its forms- within a species, an ecosystem or the entire earth. It includes individual organisms within a species and biological communities within the defined area. The loss or decline in the number of species, individual organisms, natural communities refers to biodiversity loss. Around 12, 259 species are threatened with extinction as per the world conservation body. A report by Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of Germany states that by the year 2050, 30 per cent of the species will be extinct.
Need to preserve the biodiversity
Biodiversity is critical, and humans are dependent on it to quite an extent. It gives them food, medicines, raw materials and other necessary goods and services. The forests also provide wood, oxygen, clean water and other natural materials like gas, fuel, etc. all these clearly show the need and importance of preserving the declining biodiversity.
Some alarming facts on the declining biodiversity
The WWF International states that humans have exerted so much pressure on the planet that wildlife is being destroyed tremendously and is getting extinct day by day. Let’s discuss some of the alarming facts on the declining biodiversity.
- Most of the ecosystems are becoming extinct and are on the verge of destruction. The rainforests, coral reefs and wetlands are getting destroyed and are becoming distinct. Nearly 20 per cent of the Amazon rainforest has disappeared in just 50 years. In the last 30 years, the shallow water corals have also become extinct.
- The increasing human activities causing pollution, disease and climate change affect the fish species to a great extent. These problems are reported to be a threat of 12 per cent for birds and 8 per cent for the fish population.
- The total population of wild vertebrates including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, have experienced a decline of 60 per cent till 2014.
- Today, around 1 million species of plants and animals are on the verge of extinction. The world is at number 6 in terms of facing mass extinction.
- Since the 16th century, around 680 vertebrates have become extinct due to human activities.
- Approximately 40 per cent of all the animal species including birds, beetles, butterflies and bees are about to become extinct. 1 out of 8 birds, 1 out of 4 mammals, 1 out of 4 conifers, 1 out of 3 amphibians and 6 out of 7 marine turtles are on the extinction threat.
- The rate of freshwater species has declined by 83 per cent since 1970.
- The rate of species extinction is a hundred times higher than the average since the last ten years and is still increasing at a fast pace.
- The wildlife population is decreasing at a rate of 1 per cent every year.
The data and facts above are enough to understand the importance of preserving biodiversity. These facts clearly show that we are very close to losing our flora and fauna if we don’t become aware and understand the harm we are causing to the whole ecosystem. The facts already show the pace with which the extinction is taking place and what would be the situation in the next ten years. Therefore, we need to act rationally and responsibly towards making the planet a better place to live for both the humans and our flora and fauna.