The world is still loosing biodiversity at an alarming rate despite world leaders promising in 2002 to cut the rate of loss by 2010. That’s the stark warning from a paper published in the journal Science this week by a large team of international researchers.
Together they pooled data from the past four decades on 31 “indicators” of the state and pressures on biodiversity and found no signs of improvement but many of continued breakdown of species, populations and ecosystems as well as unrelenting impacts from human activities. It means that the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which meets later this year, will fall a long way short of it’s intended targets.
There is some good news though, with increases in the number of protected areas – although we still need many more - and commitment to tackling invasive species. There are also a few cases demonstrating that where there is political will and necessary money, biodiversity loss can be reduced or reversed.
This finding probably comes as no great surprise. We hear so much of the ongoing problems faced by the natural world, it was hardly likely that this study would paint anything except a fairy dismal picture. So why do we need studies like this?
Hopefully this study will stimulate world leaders to start setting out tough new plans for reversing the downward spiral of global biodiversity and help make sure that next time we stick to our promises.