Life on this planet, in all its wide diversity, is disappearing more quickly now than it has at any time in human history, and some 1 million species of plants and animals face extinction, new research from the United Nations has found.
The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, or IPBES, released a summary of the report May 6 in Paris.
“The overwhelming evidence of the IPBES Global Assessment, from a wide range of different fields of knowledge, presents an ominous picture,” Robert Watson, a chemist who chairs the IPBES, said in a statement from the platform. “We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”
The IPBES, which includes representatives from more than 130 countries, plans to publish the full, 1,500-page report — the most far-reaching on the decline of biodiversity and how it relates to human survival to date — later this year. It was the result of an investigation into around 15,000 studies by 145 researchers. The outlook for the range of species that we share the planet with — and on which we depend — is dire, according to the authors.
On land, the number of species has dwindled by an average of 20 percent, mostly in the last 120 years. Sensitive groups of animals have been particularly hard hit, with 40 percent of amphibians and about a third each of corals and marine mammals facing possible extinction.
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