The IPBES Reports on Rapid Decline of Nature and the Major Causes

The 7th session of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) held in Paris last April 29 to May 04, 2019, released a report on how nature has been declining at a rapid rate.

As a result, the rate by which species face extinction has also accelerated, causing grave global impacts. IPBES Chairman, Sir Robert Watson reported that the health of ecosystems relied on by mankind and all other species, have been deteriorating at increased levels. The IPBES Chair stresses,

“We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”

 

The session report evaluates changes that transpired over the past 5 decades, based on relevant information compiled by 145 expert researchers from 50 countries during the recent 3 years, and on additional inputs submitted by 310 contributing authors.

IPBES Extinction Report

An unprecedented number estimated at around 1 million species of flora and fauna are currently under threats of extinction. Since the 1900, the average abundance of species native to prominent land-based habitats has declined by 20 percent at the least. At present, nearly 33 percent of reef building corals, more than ⅓ of marine mammals, more than 40 percent of amphibian species, and an estimated 10 percent of insect species, exist at threatened levels.

Most important of all is that more than 9 percent of all breed of domesticated mammals used for a variety of food products and for agricultural purposes have gone into extinction, while at least 1,000 animal breeds are threatened.

All such findings are said to be caused by the following drivers of changes in nature, for having the greatest global impacts: (1) modifications in land and sea use, (2) outright exploitation of living organisms, (3) extreme climate change (4) pollution and (5) invasive species

IPBES Examples Cited for the Drivers of Changes in Nature

To explain briefly on how the aforecited drivers of changes are causing rapid decline of nature, the IPBES Report cited the following:

A third of the Earth’s land surface and almost 75% of the planet’s freshwater resources are now being used for agricultural purposes, including livestock production.

Since 1992, areas used as human settlement and as environment on which infrastructures are built, have more than doubled.

Global plastic pollution has increased 10 times since 1980. A separate report released by Plastic Europe supports such findings. The trade association has estimated that about 4.8 million up to 12.7 million tonnes are thrown into the ocean each year.

Plastic materials are considered major pollutants, in view of the massive accumulation of plastic wastes in the environment. The largeness has reached a point of creating problems for human population and wildlife, and on their respective habitats as well.

At this point, allow us to add our own opinion, as we also perceive that increase in plastic pollution stems from rapid population growth. The United Nations Organization, approximates that annually, about 130 million babies are born.

Each child born, will then be using plastic materials from birth to maturity. At infancy alone, every newborn will be using plastic-lined disposable diapers instead of the traditional cloth types. When it comes to feeding bottles, many are inclined to use a set of plastic bottles due to economic reasons, since not everyone can afford the glass bottle types, particularly those touted as the best anti colic bottles.