Africa Biodiversity Endangered By Man And Climate Change

Commercial logging at a tropical forest in Gabon, West Africa. All regions of Africa are suffering the effects of climate change and increased human activity. BIOSPHOTO | MICHEL GUNTHER

By The EastAfrican

A UN study published recently paints a gloomy picture of the future of humanity as unprecedented pollution and decimation of ecosystems push more than one million species to the brink of extinction.

That doomsday scenario is nowhere closer home than in Africa where arable land, forests, seas, lakes and rivers are under threat from human activities, threatening the natural balance that ensures plant and animal species live in harmony.

The Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service is the most comprehensive study of the future of living beings, having been compiled by 145 scientists who looked for the common thread in 15,000 research documents.

“The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever…we are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide,” says Robert Watson, the chairperson of Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

If the trend continues, the assessment said, 40 per cent of amphibian species, a third of marine mammals and a third of reef-forming corals will become extinct—not existing in their natural settings—by 2070.

Already 85 per cent of wetlands have been lost as has two-thirds of the ocean area and three-quarters of the land surface. Already 32 million hectares of tropical forests disappeared between 2010 and 2015. Read more>>

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