An international panel of experts has warned that action is needed to halt the loss of the Earth’s biodiversity, as about a third of all species have either disappeared or become extinct in the past five centuries.
“The loss of biodiversity is one of the world’s biggest environmental problems, and perhaps even more important than climate change,” said environmentalist Johannes Knopps, professor at the University of Liverpool Xian Jiaotong in Suzhou, China. “Climate change can be addressed by stopping more emissions of carbon dioxide in the world. Atmosphere. Conversely, if you lose a little, it will be gone forever.”
Professor Nobs was one of sixty researchers involved in the preparation of a major study of global biodiversity loss based on the analysis of geographic and demographic data collected from thousands of experts.
The team noted the need to include the voices of those experts who are often under-represented in biodiversity research, including women and those from the Southern Hemisphere.
The researchers explained that the purpose of the work is to identify gaps in existing knowledge and identify conflicting opinions in this area.
The experts also set out to identify the most influential factors currently affecting the world’s ecosystems.
They report that the scientific community is unanimous that the loss of Earth’s biodiversity will greatly limit nature and the role it plays in our lives.
More species may be endangered than previously thought, researchers say.
They estimate that the proportion of endangered or extinct species since 1500 is about 30%.
They warned that the figure could rise to around 37% by the end of the century if current trends continue.
With “fast and intense” conservation efforts, the rate could still average 25%, the researchers believe.
“A significant increase in investment and conservation efforts now could eliminate the risk of extinction of about one in three species expected to be endangered by the end of this century,” they wrote.
According to the study, the most influential drivers of biodiversity loss are climate change, pollution, and changing land and sea use and exploitation.
Professor Nobs said: “Biodiversity loss is happening in many different places and there are gaps in our overall understanding of this. This collaboration can help us reach consensus on where efforts should be made to improve biodiversity.”
The ecologist also noted that previous studies on how land use affects biodiversity are often influenced by its demographic and geographic location.
He explained that land sharing focuses on thinking about how agriculture and cities coexist within biodiversity.
“These results indicate that there may be a disproportionate focus on land settlement, and there should be more interest in land sharing,” Nobs added.
The researchers said they hope their colleagues will use their findings to understand the global perspective of biodiversity loss and incorporate different perspectives into future research.
The full results of the study are published in magazine Borders in Ecology and environment.