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Earth faces the sixth extinction

Due to the depletion of land decreased their fertility at a quarter of the planet.

As the alarm on the future of the planet sounds the report of the intergovernmental science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystems (IPBES). Humanity has reached the sad record of our activities threatened animals and plants is thousands of times stronger than it was during the last 10 million years.

In fact, we are talking about “the sixth extinction” in Earth’s history. Of the five previous very large “Great extinction” 250 million years ago wiped out 90 percent of the world’s biodiversity. But then the cause was natural disasters, particularly volcanoes, but today the main destructive power became a man.

To such conclusion 145 scientists from 50 countries, which for three years preparing its report. In this huge document, nearly two thousand pages, a lot of “high profile” figures. They eloquently show how barbaric man is changing the face of mother nature. Here are just some. The man took the matter so zealously that of the 8 million species of plants and animals, including 5.5 million insect species, about one million could disappear from the face of the Earth in the coming decades.

Key factors of destruction the authors of the report called, in particular, changes in land use, hunting, climate change, pollution of the environment. According to the researchers, due to human activities is already heavily degraded 75 percent land, 40 percent of the World’s oceans and 50 percent of the river waters. Starting from the XVI century, became extinct not less than 680 species of vertebrates. According to the average estimates across all groups of plants and animals extinction now threatens 25 percent of the species. Under threat are more than 40 percent of amphibians, 33 percent of reef corals and more than a third are marine mammals. Extinction threatens 10 percent of the insect species, but if the trend continues, by the end of the century on Earth, they generally can not stay, it will fundamentally change the entire biosphere of the planet.

One third of the resources of marine fish is caught in an irrational way. Endangered is 33.5 thousand species of plants (14 percent of known species), 11% of all species of birds and mammals threatened with extinction, and another 14 percent are already on their way to extinction. About 30 per cent from 24 thousand species of fish are also under threat of extinction.

The authors of the report emphasize: deteriorating nature, man cuts off the branch on which it sits. Because it provides us with food, energy, medicines, genetic resources, different materials, etc. Nature maintains the quality of air, fresh water and soil that affect the humanity, regulate the climate, provide pollination and pest control and reduce the impact of natural hazards. For example, more than 75 percent of the world’s food crops, including fruits and vegetables, coffee, cocoa, and almonds depend on pollination by insects. Marine and terrestrial ecosystems and “clean” more than 60 percent of industrial carbon emissions.

In addition, the loss of coral reefs reduces protection of coastal areas, increasing the risk of floods and hurricanes for 100-300 million people living in coastal areas. More than 85 percent of the area of wetlands has been lost. In most tropical areas in the period from 2010 to 2015 it lost 32 million hectares of primary forests or recovering.

Extremely unfavorable situation with plastic. Since 1980, the pollution of the marine environment, they had increased ten times, affecting at least 267 species, including 86 percent of sea turtles, 44% of seabirds and 43 percent of marine mammals. It can affect people through the food chain.

This list of “charges” against a person can go on and on. Overall assessment the report has been appalling: in the XXI century the world is on the verge of the sixth extinction of species of plants and animals.

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