Facts About the Loss of Biodiversity
Fact #1: Global Biodiversity Deteriorated Rapidly over the Last Two Hundred Years
The last two centuries saw severe deterioration of biodiversity. In other words, species have been declining in numbers with many becoming extinct, ecosystems have been severely affected or destroyed, more than two thirds of the original forest that covered the surface have been cut down or damaged, while the damage continues to the present day.
Fact #2: Over 12,000 Species are Threatened with Extinction
According to the World Conservation Body IUCN, more than 12,000 species are threatened with extinction. But since the number of all species is estimated from about 1.75 million to as much as 14 million, many biologists believe that there are even more species at the brink of extinction.
Fact #3: One Third of World Coral Reefs Died Off
We have lost one third of all coral reefs, while another third is seriously damaged and threatened with extinction.
Fact #4: Europe is Home to the Highest Proportion of Species at Threat of Extinction
Europe is home to hundreds of thousands of species which, however, are very small in numbers in comparison to other parts of the world. Furthermore, Europe has the highest proportion of species which are threatened with extinction. According to the scientific community, this is due to the population growth and industrialisation in the last couple of hundred years.
Fact #5: Every 6 out of 7 Turtles is Threatened with Extinction
Also at risk of extinction are:
- one third of amphibians
- one quarter of conifers
- one quarter of mammals
- one eighth of birds
Mammals at greatest risk of extinction in Africa and Asia include tigers, lions and orangutans. In Europe, endangered species are the dolphins, whales, the Arctic fox and European mink, to mention only a few. In overall, nearly one half of all mammals living in Europe are at the brink of extinction and as many freshwater fish, reptiles and butterflies.
Fact #6: Loss of Biodiversity has a Direct Impact on Humans
We depend directly on biodiversity for food, raw materials, medicines and a variety of other products, while trees and forests for instance also play an important role in climate by absorbing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are responsible for global warming.
Fact #7: Humans and Human Activities are the Greatest Threat to Biodiversity
Plant and animal species throughout the world are threatened by humans and human activities, above all by:
- population growth
- overexploitation and depletion of natural resources
- urban sprawl and construction of roads, rail and other infrastructure