Humans are destroying the rest of the natural world at an unprecedented rate, according to an alarming new report.
The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services published a global assessment Monday that shows one million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction by human activity, reported BBC.
“We have documented a really unprecedented decline in biodiversity and nature, this is completely different than anything we’ve seen in human history in terms of the rate of decline and the scale of the threat,” said Dr. Kate Brauman, a University of Minnesota scientist who helped lead the writing of the report’s assessment.
Humans have harmed the earth throughout history, but that damage has rapidly worsened in the past 50 years, which saw the world’s population double, international trade increase by 10 times over and the global economy expand by four-fold.
That growth has led to the clearing of nearly 250 million acres of tropical forest, mostly from cattle ranching in South America and palm oil plantations in Southeast Asia, between 1980 and 2000.
Only about 13 percent of wetlands that existed in 1700 remain today, and only about 3 percent of the world’s oceans are free from human pressure.
About 25 percent of all animals and plant species are threatened by human activity, and around a million species could face extinction within decades.