Biodiversity loss affects the world’s poorest

Mass extinctions of plants and animals threaten the livelihoods of the world's poorest people and cost up to £40 billion (US$78 billion) a year, the first major report into the economic impact of biodiversity loss has found.

Scientists say the Earth could lose 11% of its natural areas by 2050 if we fail to combat loss of species diversity, the Independent reported on Friday. "Urgent remedial action is essential because species loss and ecosystem degradation are inextricably linked to human well-being," said Pavan Sukhdev, author of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (Teeb).  

Overfishing is one of the key areas explored in the study, which says all of the world’s fisheries are likely to have collapsed within 50 years if current trends are not reversed. For the billion people who rely on fish protein, this would have a devastating impact.

Deforestation is also assessed. This week, 60 countries meeting in Bonn pledged to halt net deforestation by 2020.  

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