Loss of biodiversity major threat to development: GBO

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New Delhi, Nov 10 (UNI) Loss of biodiversity and disturbance of the ecosystem continue to be a major global threat to future development, says the fourth Report of the Global Environment Outlook(GBO) brought out by the United Nations.

Disbalance in the distribution of land, freshwater and marine biodiversity is more rapid than at any time in human history.

Ecosystems such as forests, wetlands, and drylands are being transformed, in some cases, irreversibly degraded.

The rate of species extinction was increasing, and a great majority of them, including the commercially important fish stocks, are declining in distribution or abundance or both.

The Report says that despite the importance of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem, they were being destroyed by people on an unprecedented scale, with little understanding of the implications that this will have in terms of their ability to function and provide services in future.

Biodiversity plays multiple roles in the daily lives of people through the supply of ecosystem services. In agriculture, biodiversity contributes in regulating and supporting services through soil formation, nutrient cycling, and pollination.

For example, the value of the regulating services provided by honeybees as pollinators for crops has been estimated at well over two billion US dollars per year, and the annual fish catch is valued at 58 billion dollars.

The Report says that poor people in rural and remote areas tend to be most directly affected by the deterioration or loss of ecosystem services. In view of this, many governments have established and adopted the 2010 biodiversity target to reduce the rate of loss of biodiversity at global, regional and national scales.

Though there have been local success stories of sustainable use of biodiversity, at a global level, and in most regions of the world, biodiversity continues to be lost because current policies and economic systems do not incorpoarte the values of biodiversity effectively in either the political or the market systems, and many policies that are already in place, are yet to be fully implemented, says the Report.

UNI

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