Erosion of Biodiversity: Towards an irreversible global catastrophe? (WWF report)

WWF has just published its 2018 “Living Planet” report. This twelfth report – a long series published every two years – highlights the massive erosion of wildlife populations. The decline was 52% between 1970 and 2010. Over the period from 1970 to 2014 it rose to 60%


The future of terrestrial biological diversity is believed to belong to rats and cockroaches. The Anthropocene is there, and the proof is that the Earth has lost 60% of its wild animals in 44 years, according to the latest WWF report. In the twelfth edition of its “living planet” report, the NGO relied on the monitoring of some 4000 species spread over nearly 16700 populations.

“World leaders are not sufficiently aware of or are not paying enough attention to the massive extinction that is under way, to drive the necessary changes,” the NGO deplores. “

Is there still hope?

WWF’s very alarming finding, however, does not exclude the possibility of reversing the “thanks” trend to Nature’s astonishing ability to regenerate itself “. The NGO cites the example of the humpback whale that has been brought in extremis of a population on the brink of extinction to a world population of thousands. Other examples of successful conservation programs are mountain gorillas and giant pandas.

Attacking the roots of evil:

The causes behind this acceleration of the global erosion of biodiversity? the report involves deforestation, loss of animal habitat, urbanization, intensive agriculture, soil depletion, overfishing, poaching, pollution, invasive species, disease, and climate change…

“To preserve nature is not just about protecting tigers, pandas, whales, which we cherish,” says WWF Director Marco Lambertini, “it’s a lot bigger: there can be no healthy and prosperous future for people. men on a planet with a destabilized climate, exhausted oceans, degraded soil and empty forests, a planet stripped of its biodiversity. “

Without ambitious measures, no solutions to the mess…

« The situation is really bad, it has been said for a while, but it gets worse, insists Marco Lambertini. Much attention has been focused on the climate, and rightly so. But we forget the other ‘systems’ (forests, oceans, etc.), interconnected with the climate and super important for the maintenance of life on Earth. The human has evolved during 2 million years in the heart of an abundant, rich nature … that we consider as acquired. But we are beginning to alter the biosphere to the point of pushing some systems to the brink of collapse. WWF therefore advocates ambitious measures without which, “the planet runs to its loss ».

Ecosystem services: an immense and “invisible” debt

According to WWF, the services provided free of charge by nature each year represent $ 125 trillion, or 1.5 times the world’s GDP. In the meantime, policy makers and the general public in general still struggle to correlate the maintenance of species and biodiversity with the comfort of human life, including through the provision of “free” ecosystem services. If these services were to disappear because of a disruption of ecosystems, the states had to pay for it, they just would not have the means… 

“We need to engage state and non-state actors to drive change, so policymakers understand that the status quo is not an option.”

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