Climate change and global food demand could drive a startling loss of up to 23 per cent of all natural habitat ranges in the next 80 years, according to new findings published in Nature Communications. Let’s read in detail causes for shrinking of habitats and its causes…
Deforestation and habitat loss also harms the natural cycles of ecosystems, affecting all stages of animal life from reproduction, to migration, to mating. For most species, survivability depends on geographic range.
The study analyzed changes in the different habitats of 16,919 species from 1700 onward and found that with the increase in habitat destruction due to agriculture and climate change, more species will die sooner than previously expected.
Rapid extinction of species
Habitat loss could accelerate to a level that brings about rapid extinctions of already vulnerable species. Shrinking ranges for mammals, amphibians and birds already account for an 18 percent loss of previous natural ranges, the study found, with a jump expected to reach 23 percent by this century’s end.
Endangered orangutans have long been a noteworthy species dwindling in population due to their rainforest island ranges in Borneo and Sumatra in Southeast Asia transforming into large-scale palm oil plantations.
Deforestation and greenhouse gases
Global food demand currently fuels agricultural sectors to increase land use, moving into habitats previously untouched. What results — deforestation — leaves more carbon dioxide in the air, increasing greenhouse gas emissions, the main driver of climate change.
In the US alone, agriculture-related emissions measure 11.6 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, which include carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.
Immediate threat to species
Farming and charcoal production have moved certain species of lemur — Madagascar’s signature primate — into private reserves. And Amazon jaguars are increasingly difficult to spot as their ranges are cut into to ranch cattle.
The report is one more substantiated piece of evidence to push for the reversal of the current conversion of natural habitat to land used for resources.
• Deforestation and climate change to cause destruction of a quarter of natural habitats around the world.
• The rapid loss of habitat means rapid extinction of already vulnerable species.
• The conversion of natural vegetation to agricultural and urban land a major threats to global terrestrial biodiversity.
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