2.4.3 Species extinction and biodiversity loss

We are currently experiencing a massive global biodiversity loss in what is classified to be the Sixth Mass Extinction on our planet, an event not seen since 65 million years ago. The difference between this extinction and prior extinctions is that the current extinction is largely driven by human activity. The current rate of extinction is estimated to be a thousand times faster than historical rates.

The Living Planet Index (LPI) measures trends in biodiversity. The 2016 LPI report indicates that between 1970 and 2012, a 58% population abundance decline was observed in all assessed vertebrae species. This figure is expected to hit 67% by 2020 along current trend of species decline.

Source: http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/earth-s-sixth-mass-extinction-has-begun-new-study-confirms/

Biodiversity hotspots are the most biologically rich places on the planet. They support high numbers of endemic species found nowhere else on the planet. These hotspots face extreme pressures and threats due to urbanization and human activities.

Overexploitation of resources via business and export supply chains continue to degrade these hotspots. This overexpoitation is driven by consumer demand. Identifying these hotspot threats driven by consumer demand can help with the achievement of conservation goals.

Key Reading: Moran & Kanemoto (2016) “Identifying species threat hotspots from global supply chains”

Supplementary Resources

Living Planet Report 2020

Living Planet Report 2020 SUMMARY

Guardian Article – “World on track to lose two-thirds of wild animal populations by 2020”: Major report warns

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