Era of ‘Biological Annihilation’ Is Underway, Scientists Warn
From the common swallow of the exotic giraffe, thousands of animal species are in decline, an irreversible sign that the era of mass extinction is underway, according to new research.
The study, released Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, calls the current decline in animal populations a “global epidemic” and part of the “massive extinction sixth” largely caused by the destruction of habitats Human animals. The five previous extinctions were caused by natural phenomena.
Gerardo Ceballos, a researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City, acknowledged that the study is written in an exceptionally alarming tone for an academic research paper.
“It would not be ethical now not to speak in this strong language to draw attention to the seriousness of the problem,” he said.
Dr. Ceballos said he and his coauthors, Paul R. Ehrlich and Rodolfo Dirzo, both professors at Stanford University, are not alarmists, but use scientific data to support their claims that a significant decline in Population and the possible mass extinction of species around the world may be imminent, and that both have been underestimated by many other scientists.
The study authors examined reductions in the range of a species – as a result of factors such as habitat degradation, pollution and climate change, among others – and the number of populations being lost or extrapolated are declining, a method Which they use is used by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
They found that about 30 percent of all terrestrial vertebrates – mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians – fell due to population and local losses. In most parts of the world, mammalian populations lose 70% of their members due to habitat loss.
In particular, the cheetahs are cited, which were denied to about 7,000 members; Orangutans of Borneo and Sumatra outons, less than 5000 remain; African lion populations, which declined by 43 per cent since 1993; Pangolines, who have been “decimated”; And giraffes, whose four species currently have less than 100 000 members.
The study defines people as the number of individuals of a given species in a 10,000 square kilometer habitat unit, called quadrant.
Jonathan Losos, a professor of biology at Harvard University, said he was unaware of other documents that have used this method, but that it was “a reasonable first step” to estimate the magnitude of species decline and loss of population.
Dr. Losos also pointed out that to give accurate estimates of wildlife populations was difficult, in part because scientists do not always agree on what defines a people, making the matter inherently subjective.
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Despite these problems, Dr. Losos said: “I think this is a very important and worrying document documenting the problems we have with biodiversity are much more important than those commonly thought.”
The authors of the paper suggest that previous estimates of global extinction rates were too low, in part because scientists were too focused on the complete extinction of a species.
Two other estimated vertebrate species disappear each year, the authors wrote, “do not arouse enough interest for the public” and gives the impression that many species are in serious danger or mass extinction is a remote disaster.
In a conservative way, scientists estimate that 200 species have become extinct in the last 100 years. The “normal” extinction rate in the last two million years has been that two species disappear every 100 years due to evolutionary factors and other factors .
Instead of extinctions, we examine how people are: the disappearance of entire populations and decrease the number of individuals in a population.
Importantly, we found that this phenomenon occurs worldwide, but the tropical regions that have the highest biodiversity, experiencing the largest loss of numbers and temperate regions are highest proportions of population loss.
Dr. Ehrlich, who rose in 1960 after writing “The Population Bomb,” a book that predicted the imminent collapse of humanity because of overcrowding, said he had seen a similar phenomenon