From the smallest to the largest beings on the planet , as well as the soils where they inhabit, they face serious decline . This is summarized in the 2020 edition of the Living Planet Report .
The publication of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF for its acronym in English) indicates that the monitored populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians have decreased by 68% on average; in Latin America the result is more impressive, with an average reduction of 94%.
The report highlights that the most relevant driver of biodiversity loss in terrestrial systems is land use change, mainly the conversion of pristine native habitats such as forests, grasslands and mangroves, into agricultural systems, while much of the oceans is overfished .
“Nature is being transformed and destroyed at an unprecedented speed, at a very high cost to the well-being of the planet and humanity . The loss of biodiversity is a challenge for the economy , development and global security ”, indicated the WWF regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Roberto Troya .
The report offers as one of the parameters the Living Planet Index, which this year includes almost 400 additional species and 4,870 more populations than the last report published in 2018.
In Latin America and the Caribbean , 51.2% of the loss of biodiversity is due to changes in land use , due to unsustainable farming , infrastructure, urban growth , energy production and mining. For freshwater habitats, fragmentation of rivers and streams and water withdrawal are common threats.
And he adds that without soil biodiversity, terrestrial ecosystems can collapse, since up to 90% of living organisms, including pollinators , spend part of their life cycle in these habitats.
It also warns about the growing risk of extinction of plant species . It is estimated that one in five species (22%) is threatened with extinction, mostly in tropical areas.
Tarsicio Granizo, director of WWF-Ecuador emphasizes that the interrelation between the different elements of nature is clear. Biodiversity is a resource, because it guarantees agriculture, livestock, fishing, aquaculture, medicines, fibers , that is, all the resources to live.
“The conservation of nature is closely related to food sovereignty and the health of the world’s inhabitants; it is related to our own survival ”, he adds.
The report warns that the loss of biodiversity also threatens food security , so action is urgently needed to transform the global food system. The challenge is to modify agricultural and fishing practices , into ones that produce nutritious food and protect and conserve biodiversity. For agriculture it means reducing the use of chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides.
The Living Planet report concludes that, in order to reverse the loss of biodiversity, it is necessary to transform food production and consumption patterns , promote a model where the limits of the planet support political and economic decisions; and take action to stop the drivers of land use change, reduce waste, and promote healthier and more sustainable diets.
“The conservation of nature is not just a matter for environmentalists , it must become public policy to promote a sustainable economic recovery in the country, which protects natural resources and it is necessary that candidates express their position and proposals”, concludes Granizo .