23% of earth’s natural habitats could be gone by 2100, study finds

Climate change and global food demand could drive a startling loss of up to 23 percent of all natural habitat ranges in the next 80 years, according to new findings published in Nature Communications.

Habitat loss could accelerate to a level that brings about rapid extinctions of already vulnerable species. Shrinking ranges for mammals, amphibians and birds already account for an 18 percent loss of previous natural ranges, the study found, with a jump expected to reach 23 percent by this century’s end.

Global food demand currently fuels agricultural sectors to increase land use, moving into habitats previously untouched. What results — deforestation — leaves more carbon dioxide in the air, increasing greenhouse gas emissions, the main driver of climate change. In the U.S. alone, agriculture-related emissions measure 11.6 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, which include carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Read more…

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