World woeful at protecting biodiversity

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    From BBC:


    The world's governments will not meet their internationally-agreed target of curbing the loss of species and nature by 2010, a major study has confirmed.

    Virtually all species and ecosystems show continued decline, while pressures on nature are increasing, it concludes.

    Published in the journal Science, the study confirms what conservationists have known for several years.

    The 2010 target was adopted in 2002, but the scientists behind this study say implementation has been "woeful".

    "Our analysis shows that governments have failed to deliver on the commitments they made in 2002," said research leader Stuart Butchart, from the UN Environment Programme's World Conservation Monitoring Centre (Unep-WCMC) and BirdLife International.

    "Biodiversity is still being lost as fast as ever, and we have made little headway in reducing the pressures on species, habitats and ecosystems."

    Unep chief scientist Joseph Alcamo added: "Since 1970, we have reduced animal populations by 30%, the area of mangroves and seagrasses by 20% and the coverage of living corals by 40%.

    "These losses are clearly unsustainable."

    World leaders faced the economic crisis head on," noted Simon Stuart, head of IUCN's Species Survival Commission.

    "We need that same level of investment and commitment for the environment."

    World's 2010 nature target 'will not be met'

    See also article on Science website:

    Report: Governments Have Failed to Protect Biodiversity


    Further, closely related article from BBC includes:

    The Earth's ongoing nature losses may soon begin to hit national economies, a major UN report has warned.

    The third Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-3) says that some ecosystems may soon reach "tipping points" where they rapidly become less useful to humanity.

    Such tipping points could include rapid dieback of forest, algal takeover of watercourses and mass coral reef death.

    "Twenty-one percent of all known mammals, 30% of all known amphibians, 12% of all known birds (and)… 27% of reef-building corals assessed… are threatened with extinction," said Bill Jackson, deputy director general of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which maintains the Red List.

    "If the world made equivalent losses in share prices, there would be a rapid response and widespread panic."

    "Many economies remain blind to the huge value of the diversity of animals, plants and other lifeforms and their role in healthy and functioning ecosystems," said Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Programme (Unep).

    "Humanity has fabricated the illusion that somehow we can get by without biodiversity, or that it is somehow peripheral to our contemporary world.

    "The truth is we need it more than ever on a planet of six billion heading to over nine billion people by 2050."

    Nature loss 'to damage economies'

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