Biodiversity in Drastic Decline

Data from the Zoological Society London (ZSL) suggests that between a quarter and a third of all species have been lost since 1970. The Earth is currently undergoing a major extinction episode, the like of which has not seen since the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event, 65.5million years ago. However the fundamental correlates of decline of this extinction episode are rooted in pollution, farming and urban expansion resulting in habitat loss, over-exploitation of marine resources and hunting.

According to the ZSL’s data, populations of land-based species have fallen by 25%, marine by 28% and freshwater species by 29%. African antelopes, swordfish and hammerhead sharks are said to have undergone some of the most marked declines.

The press release is timely insofar as the Convention on Biological Diversity is hosting the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Bonn on the 17-18th May this year. The aim of the convention was to accomplish a “significant reduction” in the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. The ZSL is sceptical that the target will be met, and is critical of governments; citing a lack of policy implementation in order to achieve this goal.

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