Five factors that contribute to the nature crisis

The human race has introduced over 37,000 species that are invasive, and many dangerous, into biomes across the globe, and are threatening the diversity of animals and plants, says a study released by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

It is the Invasive alien species report ,produced by experts from 49 countries, states that these invaders are an important factor in 60% of all extinctions. It also states have cost the world economy more than $423 billion per year. The report labelled the invasive alien species as a threat to the sustainability of human development and wellbeing.

It includes over one million animals, plants, and other living things that are facing the risk of disappearing. The publication comes as nations are preparing to accelerate the process of implementing the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, a historic agreement that aims to stop and reverse the loss of nature in the 2030 timeframe.

Invasive species of the wild are one of the top five causes of biodiversity loss, and the framework seeks to “eliminate (or) reduce” their effects on the natural ecosystem.

We’ll take a closer look at the most invasive species of aliens and the other major factors that contribute to the loss of nature that have been identified by the IPBES, an independent body that works to assist states in managing biodiversity in a sustainable way.

An invasive species

The term “invasive aliensspecies” (IAS) comprises species of plants, animals, and microorganisms that have entered and established themselves in areas that are not their native habitat. IAS can have devastating effects on native animals and plants which can lead to the disappearance or even disappearance of native species, and negatively impacting ecosystems.

Changes in use of the sea and land

Forests are cut down and converted to other uses, mainly agricultural. Photo by CIFOR/ Axel Fassio

The main cause of biodiversity loss is how humans make use of the ocean and land. This is a result of the conversion of landcovers like forests, wetlands along with other ecosystems, for urban and agricultural uses.

Since 1990, about 442 million hectares of forest has lost by conversion to different land use. Agriculture expansion is still the main reason for deforestation, destruction of forests and biodiversity loss.

A global food chain is the main factor behind the loss of biodiversity. Agriculture alone is the primary threat to more than 85 percent out of 28,000 species threatened with dying.

Mining materials like minerals extracted from the ocean floor, as well as the construction of cities and towns, also have an impact on the natural ecosystem and biodiversity.

Rethinking how we cultivate and eat food is a approach to reduce the stress for ecosystems. Disused and degraded farmland could be an ideal site for restoration. It could help in protecting and restoring important ecosystems like peatlands, forests and wetlands.

Changes in the climate

Animals and birds in the polar region are losing their habitat due to global warming. Photo by UNEP/Olle Nordell

Since the year 1980, the emission of greenhouse gases has increased by a third, increasing the average temperature of the world by a minimum of 0.7 degree Celsius. Climate change is impacting ecosystems and species across the globe particularly the most fragile ecosystems like coral reefs, mountains, polar ecosystems, and mountain ranges. There are signs that climate change-related temperature increases could be threatening as many as one out of six species globally.

Ecosystems like forests, peatlands, wetlands, and wetlands.represent global carbon storage. Conservation sustainable, restoration, and conservation are essential to meet the goals set out in the Paris Agreement. Through collaboration in harmony with nature, carbon emissions can be reduced by as much as 11.7 gigatons equivalent to carbon dioxide each year until 2030 and more than 40 percent of what is required to stop global warming.

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