29 APR 2010
WORLD LEADERS HAVE FAILED TO STEM BIODIVERSITY LOSS, STUDY SAYS
International leaders have made no progress in reducing global biodiversity loss since signing the 2002 Convention on Biological Diversity but instead have presided over a rapid loss of habitat and species in recent years, according to a new study. After looking at 30 indicators worldwide — including censuses of species, extinction risk, and habitat extent — researchers found no evidence that policies implemented since the 2002 international meeting have significantly reduced the rate of species decline. “Biodiversity is still being lost as fast as ever, and we have made little headway in reducing the pressures on species, habitats, and ecosystems,” said Stuart Butchart of the UN Environment Program’s World Conservation Monitoring Center and the lead author of the paper published in the journalScience. Since the 1970s, animal populations have been reduced by 30 percent, mangrove and sea grass populations have declined by 20 percent, and 40 percent of the planet’s coral cover has disappeared, according to researchers. While there have been success stories — including the designation of more than 12,400 square miles in Brazil’s Juruena National Park as a protected area and the recovery of the European Bison — the report says that such efforts must be intensified.