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Loss Of Biodiversity Affects Livelihoods

April 11, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 104

Mass extinction of plants and animals could have a severe impact on the living standards of the poorest people on the planet and costs up to $40 billion a year, the first major report into the economic impact of biodiversity loss has found.

Global GDP could decline by 7 percent by 2050 if ecosystem decline isn't tackled, according to the study, unveiled at the United Nations talks on biological diversity in Bonn this week. Scientists say biodiversity is facing its greatest threat in millions of years, with three species dying every hour. Now the economic cost of such destruction has been assessed.

"The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity" review analyzes the final impact of the loss of natural life. It is hoped that, like the "Stern Review of Climate Change", which revolutionized the way countries looked at the economics of global warming, this report will galvanize governments support for tackling the problem.

The damage to land ecosystems each year is directly responsible for crisis such as rocketing food prices. "Urgent remedial action is essential because species loss and ecosystem degradation are inextricably linked to human welfare," said the report. The earth could loose 11 percent of its natural areas by 2050 if we fail to combat loss of species diversity. Agriculture, the expansion of infrastructure and climate change would all contribute to the decline." The loss of biodiversity and ecosystems is a threat to the functioning of our planet, our economy and society," the study warns.

Environmentalists welcomed the report's "stern-like" recognition of biodiversity. The subject has failed to draw the same funding and interest as climate change despite links between the two issues. "Biodiversity is not just a green issue, it is life support, providing fuel, food, fiber, medicines, pollination, soil fertility and water,", said the report. We have to integrate biodiversity in all policies. The loss of biodiversity is now affected the economy through the depletion of fish stocks from over and illegal fishing to agriculture activities affecting river basins. The Report recognizes the economic value of biodiversity for the millions of people directly dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods.

Over and illegal fishing is one of the key areas of study, which says all of the world's fisheries are likely to have collapsed within 50 years if current trends are not reversed. For the billion people who rely on fish protein, this would have a devastating impact. Deforestation is another type of species decline with a link to prosperity. It makes the ground less productive for cultivation and fewer trees results in less carbon dioxide absorbed, aiding global warming.

Source: EzineArticles
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