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A million animal and plant species “are heading towards extinction” – Explica .co

By on May 25, 2021 0

05/25/2021 at 8:33 AM CEST

Global biodiversity is shrinking at breakneck speed. One in seven of all known species is endangered and many more are in decline. The cause, the scientists point out, is uniquely human. We are immersed in the sixth global extinction which affects the planet and which will have a strong impact on the lives of people.

Of the seven million known animal and plant species on Earth, more than a million are headed “desperately for extinction.” and 25% of them “suffer from some degree of threat”, according to the professor of ecology at the University of Oviedo, Daniel García.

These figures “represent a situation of extinction equivalent to the great global extinctions that we know through the fossils, like that of the end of the Cretaceous, which swept away the dinosaurs”, explained García to Efe on the occasion of the commemoration, Last Saturday, International Day for Biological Diversity.

According to him, “we are in the middle of the sixth mass extinction of the planet”, only that, unlike the previous ones “, this time it’s happening in a few hundred years& rdquor ;.

García lamented that “the biodiversity that we know and that we still do not know, which seems to be a large part, is in crisis”. and populations of “many species” are “severely” reduced such as, for example, wild vertebrate animals, whose numbers “have halved in the past 50 years”.

However, “we still have time to reverse or, at least, to cushion to a large extent the biodiversity crisis”. because the ultimate cause is “exclusively anthropogenic”; and it is linked to the unsustainable use of natural resources by the human species.

The solution “is not simple, but it is doable”. And, according to this specialist, it is about increasing the extension of protected areas and nature reserves to ensure more species and more habitats in low impact and exploitation situations, as well as actively recovering them. degraded ecosystems and populations decimated by ecological restoration measures, such as forest reclamation.

To this must be added the promotion of sustainable development so that “we use natural resources without depriving future generations”.

García insisted that a massive extinction of species, from a “purely utilitarian” perspective, supposes “a huge blow to the foot of humanity”., because consumer goods are disappearing, such as fish from collapsed fisheries or wood from razed forests.

This loss includes the loss of ecosystem services, that is, the functions of biodiversity that ecosystems provide and which “have a direct impact on our well-being”, such as biological pest control or pollination. , which “we need to produce our crops”, in addition to climate control, erosion and argayos, which “we need to live in safety”.

More, with less biodiversity “we are losing health because habitat destruction kills plants that contain new drugs & rdquor; and, in addition, “it encourages the spread of diseases transmissible from animals to humans”.

Finally, heritage is lost because “species and natural landscapes have an intrinsic and ethical value for many of us”, underlined this expert.

The person in charge of the Species Program of WWF Spain, Gema Rodríguez, insisted to Efe in the same direction, describing the situation in Spain as “worrying”, because, even having the “richest biodiversity”; in Europe, it is the country “in which it is most threatened”.

The most threatened habitats are rivers and wetlands, since, according to 2020 data, in Spain “100% of freshwater fish species are in an unfavorable state of conservation”.

Many more are “critically endangered”; such as European mink, grouse, little shrike, Cartagena rockrose, gray teal or common mother-of-pearl.

“Human dependence on biodiversity is total & rdquor;, summarized Rodríguez, who defended that it was not about “enjoying a healthy environment or knowing that our children will see rhinos”, but that survival “depends on ecosystems, their functionality and their services”.

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