Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Ecosystem preservation

I tend to focus on the importance of habitat conservation from an endangered species angle. A new report out today in calls for action on ecosystems for other reasons too:
A study by 1360 scientists from 95 countries finds that around two-thirds of the ecosystem services that support life on Earth are being degraded or used unsustainably. This is causing substantial and largely irreversible losses in the diversity of life, and threatening the livelihoods and wellbeing of future generations. …

Although evidence remains incomplete, there is enough for the experts to warn that ongoing degradation of 15 of the 24 ecosystem services examined is increasing the likelihood of abrupt changes that will seriously affect human wellbeing. This includes the emergence of new diseases, sudden changes in water quality, creation of "dead zones" along the coasts, the collapse of fisheries, and shifts in regional climate.

The MEA states that with significant policy and institutional changes, it would be possible to reverse ecosystem degradation, while meeting the increasing demands of a growing human population with higher expectations of quality of life.
Worth thinking about.