Biodiversity loss is an issue that impacts all life on Earth. It refers to the decline or disappearance of species from their former ranges and habitats, as well as reduction in their population size.
Humans are the primary cause of biodiversity loss on land, due to agricultural practices, habitat destruction and overfishing. Furthermore, anthropogenic climate change and its consequences on forests, oceans and coral reefs significantly raises the risks for species extinction.
Conservation efforts are the most essential and successful tools for conserving biodiversity, yet they require significant resources to succeed. They encompass a variety of actions, from better managing protected areas to raising public awareness about its significance.
The loss of biological diversity poses a grave threat to many aspects of our lives, such as food security and livelihoods. It impairs ecosystem services and the planet’s capacity to absorb carbon dioxide, having an adverse effect on human health and well-being.
Animals and plants provide essential ecological services, such as water quality regulation, nutrient cycling and climate extreme buffering. These essential services are essential for all life on Earth; if lost, serious negative repercussions could occur for human wellbeing.
Habitat loss is the primary cause of biodiversity loss on land. This can be triggered by agricultural expansion, human settlements and overgrazing livestock. Additionally, natural disasters or chemical spills have been known to exacerbate habitat loss.
Wildlife and plant species that depend on forests and other natural habitats are especially vulnerable to the effects of loss of vegetation. In some cases, deforestation and other land-use changes can even result in the extinction of entire species.
In other cases, invasive species are introduced into new areas and compete with native species for food and habitat. This can cause population declines among native species or even lead to their extinction.
Ex-situ conservation is the practice of breeding and maintaining threatened or endangered species in artificial settings such as zoos or botanical gardens. This helps prevent their extinction by giving them longer breeding cycles and providing them with a place to escape competition for space, food, and water.
The loss of species and other forms of biodiversity is a global crisis that requires sustained, large-scale conservation efforts. These can include protecting and managing the world’s natural forests, guaranteeing clean drinking water supplies, reducing pollution levels and controlling overfishing practices.
Recently, a report by the United Nations indicates that global efforts to conserve biodiversity are failing. A decade ago, almost every country agreed upon 20 targets under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity as an effort to stop extinctions and protect biodiversity. Unfortunately, these targets remain unmet today.
These targets, set to be achieved by 2020, were a major diplomatic victory. Unfortunately, according to a new UN report, countries are still failing to meet their commitments, further compounding the biodiversity crisis.