Thursday, May 22, 2008

Biodiversity loss is not only ecological problem

Biodiversity loss is an ecological problem with ever-increasing impact, and according to estimations three species are driven to extinction every hour. But biodiversity loss not only presents problem for ecology, but also for economy. According to the latest report "The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity" biodiversity loss costs economy £40 billion every year. And this report also stated that without appropriate action 11 per cent of the natural landscapes that existed in 2000 would be lost by the middle of the century.

Biodiversity on Earth is product of more than four billion years of evolution and we could destroy it in much less time, since current estimations show that more than 25000 species are driven to extinction every year. So how much time will we need then to destroy something that was created for so many years? Century? Two centuries? According to Wikipedia these are the numbers of identified modern species so you can do the math:
  • 287,655 plants, including:
    • 15,000 mosses,
    • 13,025 ferns,
    • 980 gymnosperms,
    • 199,350 dicotyledons,
    • 59,300 monocotyledons;
  • 74,000-120,000 fungi
  • 10,000 lichens
  • 1,250,000 animals, including:
    • 1,190,200 invertebrates:
      • 950,000 insects,
      • 70,000 mollusks,
      • 40,000 crustaceans,
      • 130,200 others;
    • 58,808 vertebrates:
      • 29,300 fish,
      • 5,743 amphibians,
      • 8,240 reptiles,
      • 10,234 birds, (9799 extant as of 2006)
      • 5,416 mammals.

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