NGO WWF study says that heavy deforestation is choking biomes and increasing the list of endangered species.
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), an environmental advocacy organization, has just released the 2018 version of its Living Planet report. And the conclusions are not very good, especially for Brazil.
The analysis by 50 researchers around the world based on research from 19 organizations pointed to intense deforestation, which reduced from 20% to 20% of the Amazon Forest and 50% of the Cerrado, which are very representative of the country.
Earth lost 60 percent of its wild animals in 44 years, the report says.
The reduction of the green areas ends up bringing a direct implication in the life of species, further increasing the list of those that are threatened with extinction.
The current report, which brings a bleak scenario, confirms a curve of environmental erosion that has been steadily increasing in recent years.
WWF releases the report every two years. In this issue, the survey cites Brazilian animals among those threatened due to this loss of natural environment. In the list are the yellow jandaia (Aratinga solstitialis), the arm-ball (Tolipeutes tricinctus), the uacari (Cacajao hosomi), the boto (Inia geoffrensis) and the southern muriqui (Brachyteles aracnoides).
In the case of porpoises, the exploitation is considered as involuntary: the animals end up being trapped in fishing nets, even if they are not the target of predatory fishing.
According to the WWF, which monitors, since 1970, 16,704 animal populations, the decline of vertebrate populations in the period around the world is 60% – mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Since then, there has been an 83% decline in freshwater populations. In the case of mammals, the total reduction was 22%.
For comparative purposes, between 1970 and 2010, this decline was 52%. That is: we are not able to contain the damage, the less recover it. One of the most critical examples brought by the report is the elephant population in Tanzania, which has fallen by 86% since the 1970s.
To recover on its own from the damage caused by mankind, nature would need 6 million years, says the document.
In the tropics, especially in Central and South America, the deterioration of the ecosystem is even more serious – with a reduction of 89% of these populations.
The region between the tropics is where most of the life of the planet is, precisely because of the climatic issue. At the same time, it is in this range where there are also the largest areas of land use and natural resources – the cultivated areas for food production.
Deforestation for the intensive use of land has drastically affected the planet’s ecosystems.
According to the WWF, the extinction rate of species today – a number that indicates their risk of extinction – is 100 to 1,000 times higher than it was before human activities began to alter the biology and chemistry of the planet.
This means that Earth is experiencing its sixth mass extinction process in the last 500 million years. This time, the culprit is a species that inhabits the planet – us humans.
“Preserving nature is not just protecting the tigers, pandas, whales, and animals we enjoy. It’s much more: there can not be a healthy and prosperous future for men on a destabilized planet, dirty oceans, degraded soils and the empty woods, a planet stripped of its biodiversity, “said WWF director-general Marco Lambertini.
The deforestation that occurred in Brazil has affected, according to the WWF, not only the lives of animals. But also the supply of fresh water – which helps to explain the recurring water crises that have occurred, such as the one that has left the supply of the Southeast region at risk in recent years.
This is because the most affected regions, where they are closed and the Amazon, are in accordance with the goals of the United Nations convention on biodiversity, at least 17% of the ecosystems of each country would need to be in protected areas for conservation.
Brazil, a country which has the greatest biodiversity on the planet, is far from that number. Only 8% of the Cerrado is protected.
In the Pantanal, only 2% of the areas are protected.
The report shows that three-quarters of the planet have already been impacted by human action. There is a projection that by 2050, only 10% of the Earth is free of human interference.
The WWF points out that humans have already surpassed the limits of safety regarding climate change and levels of interference in the terrestrial system.
Biosphere integrity and biogeochemical phosphorus and nitrogen fluxes have also experienced human interferences considered irreversible – mainly due to the use of fertilizers in agriculture and intensive livestock management.
According to the text, this represents a marked decline in “planetary health”, “nature” and “biodiversity“. “Impaired health the well-being of people, species, societies, and economies everywhere,” he points out.
The organization issued a red alert for soil degradation and stressed that it is close to doing the same with regard to acidification of reserves freshwater and oceans.
Possible solutions to reduce such damages would be to use more efficient technologies already available for food production. Although there have been advances due to the latest equipment and techniques, the WWF believes that the improvements have grown less than potential damage.
The human footprint, the report concludes, is now three times more degrading than it was in 1970. An example is in waste. Currently, about 40% of what is produced ends up being discarded due to failures in the production process, transportation and even inside the residences.
The report emphasizes that it is necessary to raise the alert level to cause a wide and conscious movement, drawing attention to “enough of the world’s leaders.” According to the NGO, consistent action is needed before 2020 because, on the contrary, “an unprecedented door will close quickly.”
“We are the first generation to have a clear view of value nature and our impact on it. We may also be the last to reverse this trend, “the report warns.