Nature is in a dangerous and unprecedented decline. Biodiversity shows a declining trend at rates unprecedented in human history. The rates of species extinctions and the trends of ecosystem degradation / destruction are accelerating, with tremendous impacts on the numerous Ecosystem Services used by people around the world.
This is what emerges from the 2019 Report of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), dopted at its 7th Plenary Meeting held between 29 April and 4 May 2019; a study with clear alarming data on the World Nature Health.
The IPBES 2019 Report is the most comprehensive ever completed. It has been compiled by 145 expert experts from 50 countries over the past three years, with inputs from another 310 contributing authors. It is the first intergovernmental report of its kind and it was built on the landmark Millennium Ecosystem Assessment of 2005, presented by the United Nation, introducing innovative ways of evaluating evidence at local, regional and global levels.
The IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson, following the presentation of this report, said that “the health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the foundations of our economies, livelistyles, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.” He added that “this Report also tells us that it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global”.
The global assessment confirms that over the last 50 years biodiversity and ecosystem services, essential for human existence and well-being, are deteriorating globally and at a faster rate than ever before: 75% of the Earth’s surface has been significantly altered; over 85% of the surface of wetlands has been lost and 66% of the ocean surface is experiencing cumulative effects. Some 25% of animal and plant species assessed are threatened (over 40% of amphibians, almost 33% of reef corals and over a third of marine mammals, among other results). More than 9% of domesticated mammal breeds became extinct by 2016 and at least 1,000 more breeds are threatened.