By Muhammet Tarhan
ANKARA (AA) – About one million out of the eight million animals and plant species in the world are threatened with extinction, mostly due to human activities, according to a report on biodiversity and ecosystem services.
On Dec. 20, 2013, at its 68th session, the UN General Assembly proclaimed March 3 — the day of signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in 1973 — as UN World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.
The World Wildlife Day will be celebrated this year under the theme Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet, as a way to highlight the central role of forests, forest species and ecosystems services in sustaining the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people globally and particularly of Indigenous and local communities with historical ties to forested and forest-adjacent areas.
According to the information compiled by the Anadolu Agency correspondent from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services 2019 report, nearly 1 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction, most of them within ten years.
– Well-being of ecosystems deteriorating rapidly
According to the report, the well-being of ecosystems, which humans and all other species depend on, is deteriorating faster than ever. It is predicted that this will have serious effects on people all over the world.
The average abundance of native species has dropped by at least 20% in settled habitats since 1900, the report said.
More than 40% of amphibian species, around 33% of reef-forming corals, and more than a third of all marine mammals are threatened nowadays.
While clear data on insects was not available, the available data indicated an estimated 10% of insect species are also endangered.
At least 680 vertebrate species have gone extinct since the 16th century, according to the report.
– Factors negatively affecting biological diversity
While there are nearly 8 million animal and plant species globally, factors such as climate change, consumer preferences, urbanization, change in demography, land-use changes, pollution, over-harvests and invasive species spread negatively affect biodiversity.
The report also revealed that human actions had significantly altered three-quarters of the settled habitant and about 66% of the marine habitant.
The number of invasive foreign species per country has climbed by about 70% in 21 countries since 1970.
Almost half — 47% — of land-dwelling flightless mammals and 23% of birds that may already have been adversely affected by climate change are threatened, the report said.
Meanwhile, 25% of terrestrial freshwater and marine vertebrates, invertebrates and plant groups are also threatened with extinction.
On the other hand, the global terrestrial habitat integrity, caused by habitat loss and disruption, has also dropped by 30%.
*Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev