Today, global diversity is declining at an unprecedented rate due to destructive human activities, including habitat modification, the use of pesticides and herbicides, and, more recently, climate change. And although some researchers believe that anthropogenic climate change will not be so massive, living organisms may have too little time to adapt to them.
Scientists can only roughly estimate its scale – for example, by tracking the population trends of existing species of living organisms: they remain at a stable level, they decrease or increase. To learn more about these trends, researchers from the UK and the Czech Republic analyzed available population data for more than 70,000 species worldwide to see how numbers have changed since records began.
The conclusions turned out to be disappointing: the number of 48 percent of the species is now falling, only three percent is growing. However, about 33 percent of species that are not considered endangered today, in fact, came dangerously close to the line, after which the IUCN assigns them the conservation status of “threatened species”.
The researchers also found that the smallest class of terrestrial vertebrates, amphibians, is experiencing the greatest crisis today, while the decline in the number of fish and reptiles turned out to be the least serious. The scientists noted that tropical species are now suffering the most, probably because species in such areas tend to be more sensitive to environmental changes.
Thus, the authors sum up in a study published in the journal Biological Reviews, the Holocene mass extinction may be even more serious than we think about it. Today, our world has not yet crossed the “climatic point of no return”, after which environmental changes will become irreversible. But the Earth’s biosphere has already been seriously affected by the destructive activities of man, and the losses in the end can be very serious.
Tags: Sixth mass extinction turned worse thought Naked Science