Global assessment highlights human threat to nature

A global assessment by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has warned that one million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction as a result of human activities.

The report notes the drivers of species decline as land conversion, including deforestation, overfishing, bush meat hunting and poaching, climate change, pollution and invasive alien species. It found that human activity has severely altered more than 75% of Earth’s land areas, and 66% of the oceans have suffered significant human impacts.

IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson said:

“The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”

The review compiled 15,000 scientific and government sources, and used indigenous and local knowledge. It is the first intergovernmental Report of its kind.

Authors say the only way to prevent ecological disaster is to undergo “transformative change” away from subsidies for detrimental practices and constant economic growth.

Read the IPBES Global Assessment Summary for Policymakers.