Human overpopulation and over-consumption are leading Earth to its sixth mass extinction faster than was previously thought, with the human race likely to be eradicated along the way, a new study warns.
While much research has focused on the number of species being lost, this study, published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, looks at the decline in the size and the range of living creature populations over time.
The scientists surveyed 27,600 land vertebrate species — land-living creatures with spines, including mammals — and a more detailed list of 177 mammal species.
What they found was that populations have shrunk dramatically over recent years and that the range of land over which they can wander when conditions — such as global warning — threaten their habitats has decreased drastically.
Of the 177 mammal species surveyed, all have lost at least 30 percent of their geographical ranges and more than 40% have declined in population size by at least 80%.
The worst-hit areas are Asia followed by Australia, Africa, Europe, North America and South America.
These findings indicate nothing short of “biological annihilation,” the scientists conclude, “a massive anthropogenic [human-driven] erosion of biodiversity and of the ecosystem services essential to civilization.”
In 2014, a study by the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London found that human consumption had caused the quantity of wild animals on earth to halve over the past 40 years.
Extracted from http://www.timesofisrael.com/earth-already-in-midst-of-next-mass-extinction-scientists-warn/ – 13 July 2017