By Alex WroblewskiMay 4, 2018 3:08AM The low-water mark for most of the world’s most pristine landscape has now passed.
That’s the conclusion of a new study led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
While the number of plants in the Earth’s ecosystems has declined, the total number of species and individuals has remained roughly constant since 1900.
But the study found that the rate of biodiversity loss has accelerated in recent decades.
The scientists calculated the loss of species to a species in a given year and found that more than two-thirds of the species that disappeared between 1950 and 2020 were now extinct.
The authors believe the trend stems from a combination of factors, including climate change, habitat loss and other factors.
The global population of plants and animals has increased by about 20 percent per year, and the rate at which species are disappearing is increasing too.
While species are still abundant in the world, they are becoming less abundant at a faster rate than ever before, they said.
The study found the loss rate of species is accelerating in a wide range of ecosystems.
While the global population is decreasing, the rate per person has increased.
The researchers concluded that the rapid loss of biodiversity is directly related to the human impact on the planet’s ecosystems, including habitat loss, soil erosion, water shortages and water pollution.
“We found that species are losing their range and habitat more rapidly than they are recovering, and it’s been happening since the late 1990s,” said John DeLong, the study’s lead author and a professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Florida.
“The rate of extinction is accelerating because of the increase in the human population,” he said.
“There’s not much the humans can do to slow that.”
DeLong and his co-authors estimate that as the world warms and the global average temperature rises, the species in the oceans will go extinct at a rate of about 20 million species per year.
The increase in global extinction rates has been accompanied by an increase in species’ geographic ranges, as the number and types of species are increasing and populations are increasing, said study co-author Steven P. Zaleski, a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the Woods Head Institute for the Environment.
This is a consequence of the increasing density of life on land, said Zalesi, who also holds the Robert and Betty Meyerson Chair in Conservation Biology at the university.
While humans are directly responsible for most species loss, there are a few species that are not directly affected by human activity.
The species that live in areas where people are not present, such as deserts and savannas, are being driven into extinction.
But these species have no direct effect on humans, according to the study.
“These species are not a direct threat to us,” Zalesis said.
In addition to the loss rates, the researchers also looked at the effects of habitat destruction.
The loss of habitat and the resulting changes in land use can alter ecosystems.
“When the vegetation is lost, it’s the soil that’s lost, and that’s why there’s less plant species,” Zaleys said.
Zalees added that while humans can make a difference in the ecosystem by altering the landscape, they need to understand the processes involved.
“The soil is the foundation of the ecosystem.
If you’re not looking at it, the landscape will be the foundation for the ecosystem.”
The study was published in the journal Proceedings of The National Academy.
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