Science

WWF: For 50 years, the population of Earth was reduced by 60%

WWF: For 50 years, the population of Earth was reduced by 60%”

The new estimate of the massacre of wildlife is made in a major report produced by WWF and involving 59 scientists from across the globe. The world's global economy has jumped from an estimated $3 trillion United States in 1950 to $80 trillion U.S. now, and humans have modified most of the Earth's landmass; only a quarter remains unmodified, and 15.4 per cent is protected. Between 1970 and 2014, populations have declined by an average of 60 percent. "That is the scale of what we have done".

A summary of the report says it looked at more than just population trend data. "This is actually now jeopardising the future of people".

Life on earth is being wiped out by humans living beyond the planet's means according to a new report from conservation organisation WWF.

There is time, however, to intervene and stem some of the losses, the report's authors say. The Species Habitat Index measures the suitable habitat available for each species, the IUCN Red List Index tracks extinction risk, and the Biodiversity Intactness Index, monitors how much of a region's original biodiversity remains. That increased from 28 million tons that year to a peak of 130 million tons in 1996-although it has modestly decreased to 110 million tons in 2014, the last year of estimates. Four years ago, the decline was 52%. "Wildlife around the world continue to dwindle", said Carter Roberts, President and CEO of WWF-US.

It blamed exploding human consumption, climate change, pollution, farming and deforestation.

Again, the report cites an ever-increasing demand for land used for food production and increased demand for energy, land, and water.

The Living Planet Report 2018 also focuses on the value of nature to people's health and that of our societies and economies. Three-quarters of the entire country on the earth are affected according to the study, today from human intervention.

The most striking decline in wildlife populations was in the tropics in South and Central America, with an 89 percent loss compared to 1970. In the tropical savannah called cerrado, an area the size of Greater London is cleared every two months, said Barrett. The report further goes on to identify the two key drivers of biodiversity loss - over exploitation of resources and agriculture, attributing 75% of species loss since 1500AD to these two factors. "Our planet is at a crossroads and we have the opportunity to decide the path ahead", Marco Lambertini wrote in WWF's Living Planet Index (LPI).

The pace of loss is staggering in some ecosystems. "But some conservation efforts are working everyone may not agree, but India's Project Tiger is one example". But an upcoming meeting of the 195-nation body could be the beginning of a "revolution" that will see the Convention re-engineered in 2020 into "a new deal for Nature". The U.N. warned climate change poses "an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet" that will "require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society". "We have to get it right this time".

"We are the first generation to know we are destroying our planet and the last one that can do anything about it", said WWF U.K. Chief Executive Tanya Steele in a statement.



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