Biodiversity loss is having severe consequences on not just ecosystems, but economies and quality of life worldwide, warns a recent report.
The report published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science has stated that although there is little doubt on the impacts that climate change and other human activities are causing to biodiversity worldwide, it is difficult to recognise the global trends of decline.
To explore the geography of biodiversity change, Shane Blowes and colleagues at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research have mapped trends in the richness and composition of biodiversity across marine, terrestrial and freshwater realms across the world.
To do this, they used BioTime, the largest database of local biodiversity time-series data currently available.
They found that changes to biodiversity are most prevalent across oceans, particularly in the tropical marine regions, which are hotspots for species richness loss.
Research by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), has warned that nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history.
They warn that: ‘We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.’
However, Prof Blowes and colleagues did not find an overall trend of global species loss but instead they found that the composition of local species is being reorganised rapidly and on a global scale.
Brita Eriksson at the University of Groningen in Groningen, Netherlands and Helmut Hillebrand from the University of Oldenberg in Wilhelmshaven, Germany said that: ‘This highlights that the global biodiversity crisis, at least for now, is not primarily about decline, but it is about the large-scale reorganisation.’
However, they note that this restructuring can have severe consequences on the way that ecosystems function and they, therefore, hope that this understanding can be used to advance future conservation methods.
In related news, the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) and Scottish Natural Heritage have launched the Biodiversity Challenge Fund (BCF) with funding of up to £2m to support large-scale projects which will improve the health and resilience of the natural environment.
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