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6 Problems Caused by Shrinking Biodiversity

6 Problems Caused by Shrinking Biodiversity
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Written by David DeFranza

Estimates of species loss are, without a doubt, staggering. In 2007, Sigmar Gabriel, the Federal Environment Minister of Germany, cited estimates that up to 30% of all species will be extinct by 2050. Others have estimated that as many as 140,000 species are lost each year. The alarming trends have led some to declare the current period the “Sixth Great Extinction.”

But, extinctions—even mass extinction events—are not new. Though the current trend is caused, undeniably, by human action—through poaching, habitat destruction, pollution, and anthropogenic climate change, among others—mass reductions in biodiversity can—and have—occur without human interference.

The question then, is what does humanity lose when global biodiversity is significantly reduced?

Simply: A lot. Here are six significant human problems caused by reduced biodiversity:

guy_ingocnito/flickr

1. Economic Cost of Lost Biodiversity

Topping the list, of course, is the monetary value of biodiversity around the world. In terms of ecosystem services—functions like pollination, irrigation, soil reclamation and other things that would have to be paid for if nature couldn’t take care of it on its own—the value of global biodiversity has been estimated in the trillions. Because of this, deforestation alone has been estimated to cost between $2-5 trillion annually worldwide.

 

Top photo from picturen8 via flickr

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75 comments

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4:52AM PST on Feb 21, 2013

This is the revenge

11:35PM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

Read with a sickened heart and stomach. This is exactly why the Rethugicons CAN NOT win.

7:31PM PST on Feb 5, 2012

whew

6:00AM PST on Dec 14, 2011

The causative disease is simply human over-population and no amount of application of well intentioned "Green wash" will magically make it all go away. Humans require masses of space to build houses and cities and require enormous chunks of land to feed the rapidly multiplying masses. All this land is taken away from natural fauna and flora and the tiny bits we leave nature is polluted on land, sea and air by masses of our solid, liquid and gaseous waste. Even in this article that once again deals with the symptoms of the overpopulation disease, poor old David DeFranza cannot bring himself to once mention the underlying disease. To effectively deal with a problem honesty and courage are essential requirements – both these qualities are sadly absent from most of the popular “Green” movement.

6:54PM PST on Dec 11, 2011

Support organisations like the World Land Trust and the UK Woodland Trust. And battle invasive weeds!

6:50PM PST on Dec 11, 2011

humans are ok. it's consumers that are sucking the life from our planet while polluting her. not all humans are consumers. there's a major difference.

4:05PM PST on Dec 11, 2011

Well, I guess I was wrong, bacteria are actually smarter than humans.....

4:02PM PST on Dec 11, 2011

we need to protect the species we still have!!!!

3:10AM PST on Dec 11, 2011

Noted. Thank you.

11:48PM PST on Dec 10, 2011

symbiosis (smb-ss)
The close association between two or more organisms of different species, often but not necessarily benefiting each member. The association of algae and fungi in lichens and of bacteria living in the intestines or on the skin of animals are forms of symbiosis. Some scientists believe that many multicellular organisms evolved from symbiotic relationships between unicellular ones and that the DNA-containing organelles within certain eukaryotic cells (such as mitochondria and chloroplasts) are the product of symbiotic relationships in which the participants became interdependent. There are four forms of symbiosis: amensalism, commensalism, mutualism, and parasitism

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
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