As the world struggles to halt biodiversity loss, ‘things are getting worse’

As the world struggles to halt biodiversity loss, ‘things are getting worse’

  • Science
  • December 10, 2022
  • No Comment
  • 18

46FD8B7F 111C 456C B20DA93F73D3B828 source News For Everyone Zoohouse News

The prospects for Earth’s biodiversity are bleak. Pollution, disease, habitat loss and climate change are among the myriad stressors now threatening tens of thousands of species around the world. Of the more than 150,000 species assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, “more than a quarter are threatened with extinction,” says Craig Hilton-Taylor, director of the IUCN Red List. “The trend on the Red List is that it’s getting worse.”

The IUCN announced the latest updates to the list on Friday, including 22 species whose conservation status has dropped. Abalone, dugongs and other sea creatures were among the species highlighted in the announcement.

The updates come amid crucial international negotiations in Montreal to draft a global agreement aimed at protecting biodiversity and reversing its decline by 2030, similar to the Paris Climate Agreement, which set targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming determines. The climate emergency often overshadows the plight of Earth’s rapidly disappearing species, but these crises are “two sides of the same coin,” and addressing one helps alleviate the other, says Hilton-Taylor.

The Red List has a network of thousands of researchers around the world who assess the risks of each species. These then flow into a ranking ranging from ‘least concern’ to ‘critically endangered’ for those species still found in the wild. (In addition, there are “extinct in the wild” and “extinct” categories.) While the list has no legal weight, it can serve as the “first call for conservation action,” Hilton-Taylor says, providing important information to governments and conservation groups , which are required for drafting conservation plans.

The abalone is a sea shell that is widely considered a seafood delicacy. Nearly 40 percent of the world’s 54 abalone species are now threatened with extinction, largely due to unsustainable harvesting and poaching, the IUCN says. Pollution, disease and heat waves in the sea, exacerbated by climate change, have worsened the plight of these animals.

Another sea creature, the dugong — a marine mammal related to the manatee — has also seen its situation worsen. The population off the coast of East Africa is now considered critically endangered, with fewer than 250 adult individuals remaining in the wild. The dugong population of New Caledonia, a French island territory in the South Pacific, is now classified as Vulnerable. Injuries from boat strikes endanger both communities, as does oil and gas exploration in East Africa and poaching in New Caledonia.

The IUCN also put the spotlight on the columnar coral, which is found throughout the Caribbean. Its population has declined by more than 80 percent over most of its range since 1990, and it has progressed from endangered to endangered. Of acute concern is the highly contagious hard coral tissue loss disease that has emerged in the last four years. Rising sea temperatures and pollution can make corals more susceptible to such diseases, and the columnar coral is “really just the tip of the iceberg” when it comes to coral plight, says Hilton-Taylor.

There were some glimmers of hope in the updates, seven species saw an improvement in their status. The Yosemite toad went from endangered to endangered thanks to a comprehensive conservation plan involving multiple government agencies as well as local landowners, Hilton-Taylor says. Likewise, engaging local communities was key in moving the Australasian bittern, a species of bird, from endangered to endangered. The bird thrives in wetlands, and conservationists in Australia have been working with local rice farmers to make their fields species-friendly, he says.

These achievements show that well-designed conservation plans — ones that involve local communities and have adequate resources — can make a difference when it comes to preventing species decline, Hilton-Taylor adds. He and many other conservation experts hope the biodiversity protection agreement being negotiated in Montreal this month will help enable such efforts on a much larger scale. “We really need a global plan to protect life on earth,” he says, and it needs to have “ambitious, bold, and measurable goals.”

One such goal under consideration in the ongoing negotiations in Montreal is to protect 30 percent of the planet’s lands and oceans by 2030. In a statement from the nonprofit Wildlife Conservation Society, its vice president for international policy, Susan Lieberman, said so to enable negotiations To be successful, “governments must commit to: preserving and protecting ecological integrity and highly intact ecosystems (from forests to coral reefs); equitable protection and conservation of at least 30% of land and oceans by 2030; and to stop the exploitation, trade and use of wildlife that is illegal, unsustainable or that poses a risk of transmitting pathogens to humans, wildlife or other animals.”

Related post

Police say 2 dead, 9 missing in Pennsylvania chocolate factory explosion

Police say 2 dead, 9 missing in Pennsylvania chocolate…

WEST READING, Pa. (AP) – An explosion at a chocolate factory in Pennsylvania killed two people and left several others missing…
Leroy Raffel, co-founder of Arby, has died at the age of 96

Leroy Raffel, co-founder of Arby, has died at the…

Arby’s co-founder Leroy Raffel has died aged 96, the company announced on its Facebook page Thursday, calling him “a truly visionary…
Utah Announces “Listening Session” After ESPN Documentary Airs

Utah Announces “Listening Session” After ESPN Documentary Airs

The University of Utah plans to hold a series of “listening sessions” about the 2018 murder of athlete Lauren McCluskey in…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *