UN’s Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Key Findings

The UN’s Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services make the following observations:

  • At least a million species are at risk of extinction because of human actions.
  • The abundance of native species in most major land habitats has fallen by a fifth since 1900.
  • Frogs and other amphibians which are particularly vulnerable because of their bodies and breeding habits, have suffered an astonishing 40% decline. Many scientists see amphibians as the ‘canary in the mine’, signalling dangers such as pollution and the spread of disease that can hit frogs and other amphibians harder at first than they do other animals.
  • Almost a third of corals around the world and more than a third of marine mammals are threatened. At least 680 vertebrate species have been driven to extinction in the last 400 years, and that is of those that can be reliably counted.
  • Even among the animals valued commercially, about a tenth of all the domesticated breeds of mammals that we eat have been driven to extinction, as the humanity is increasingly focus on just a few breeds.
  • The report ranks the major drivers of species decline as land conversion, including deforestation; overfishing; bush meat hunting and poaching; climate change; pollution and invasive alien species.
  • Human activity has resulted in the severe alteration of more than 75 percent of Earth’s land areas.

The report paints an ominous picture of the health of the ecosystems rapidly deteriorating. The findings of the report are expected to build pressure for countries to agree bold action to protect wildlife at a major conference on biodiversity due to take place in China towards the end of next year.

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