The decline in global biodiversity is a pressing issue that can be primarily attributed to human overpopulation and overconsumption. Excessive production and consumption displace other species as we continue to expand our settlements, agriculture, infrastructure, and other activities. The main drivers of biodiversity loss include land-use change, direct exploitation, climate change, pollution, and invasive alien species.
is the leading cause of biodiversity loss, driven by agriculture, forestry, and urbanization. Intensive agriculture has resulted in increased food production but at the expense of ecosystem services and climate stability. Problematic is particularly extensive livestock breeding not only as it devours lots of land but cattle also produce a powerful greenhouse gas: methane. Logging has reduced native forest cover, while illegal timber harvests negatively impact the environment and the livelihoods of rural communities. Ecosystem functionality is compromised when more than 20% of species are eliminated, and this threshold has already been surpassed in many areas.
threatens both land-based and aquatic species, with unsustainable logging, gathering, and hunting being major contributors. Unsustainable practices put various plant groups and wild animal species at risk. Global trade in wild species has expanded, and illegal trade in wild species is now the third largest class of illegal trade globally. Sustainable use is crucial for the well-being of both wildlife and people who depend on them for their livelihoods.
Invasive alien species (IAS)
pose significant threats to native plant and animal life, leading to the decline or extinction of native species and negative effects on ecosystems. Islands are particularly vulnerable to IAS due to their isolation and a high proportion of endemic and specialized flora and fauna. International cooperation and action are required to address the global issue of IAS, focusing on prevention and rapid detection at borders.
including chemical waste, has a devastating impact on ecosystems, especially in freshwater and marine habitats. Excessive nutrient loading, air pollution, and marine plastic pollution all contribute to the loss of biodiversity and affect the survival of both wildlife and humans.
is an intensifying threat to biodiversity, affecting vulnerable ecosystems such as coral reefs, mountains, and polar ecosystems. Besides severe direct and indirect impacts on human health, climate change alters weather patterns and species distributions, threatening up to one in six species at the global level.
Addressing these drivers of biodiversity loss
requires a multi-faceted approach. Policies, governance, enforcement, and engagement of indigenous peoples, local communities, and the private sector are all necessary for promoting biodiversity conservation. Furthermore, international cooperation and action on issues such as IAS, climate change, and pollution are essential. By working together to tackle these challenges, we can protect biodiversity and build a more sustainable future for both wildlife and humans.