“One Million Species at Risk, Planets in Equilibrium”

Our planet is not doing well. “One million species are at risk of extinction, we are burning the richness of life on our planet” and “it emits more CO2 than it absorbs due to wildfires and deforestation in the Amazon rainforest”. The alarm comes from the WWF on the occasion of the day
Earth which is celebrated all over the world on 22nd April with the document “World Earth Day 2022: A Planet in Balance” where he highlights that our planet is not doing so well. Suffice it to say that 75% of the Earth’s surface, which is not covered by ice, has already changed significantly, most of the oceans are polluted and more than 85% of the wetlands are lost. Currently 1 million species are threatened with extinction on the planet. The extinction rate of animal and plant species is thousands of times higher than that of natural species.

Record the ebb from Sicily to Puglia: the Mediterranean recedes ten meters. WWF: “Indescribable”.

Data from the latest Living Planet report demonstrates the dramatic decline in biodiversity: the average decline in the vertebrate population over the last 50 years is 68%. About 25% of the 93,579 species for which conservation status has been assessed are currently endangered. The most important direct reason behind the loss of biodiversity in recent decades has been the change in land use and, primarily, the conversion of primitive habitats into agricultural systems: agriculture now consumes 40% of the earth’s surface and is responsible for 23%. % Of greenhouse gas emissions. This conversion of soil occurs mainly due to damage to forest ecosystems, which host 80% of terrestrial biodiversity: in the 21st century, 10% of the world’s forests have been lost (approximately 10 million hectares per year). From July 2020 to July 2021, deforestation in the Amazon increased by 22% over the previous year. The decline of biodiversity and the extinction of plant and animal species (not just lions, elephants, tigers at risk: 40% of the species endangered, including many pollinators) do not stop.

Although the Amazon rainforest has been important in absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for decades, a recent study published in Nature on July 14, 2021 found that parts of the Amazon rainforest are now emitting more carbon than that (” Added “). This is mainly due to two factors: increased deforestation and climate change, with the intensification of dry season and fires, which on the one hand reduces photosynthesis and on the other hand increases plant mortality. In these areas of emission, Emissions will also exceed the absorption of 1 billion tons of CO2 per year.

One of the most violent wildfires of recent decades hit Australia in 2019, destroying 8.5 million hectares of forest and an estimated one billion vertebrates: Precisely these “mega-fires” are on the rise globally, with prolonged droughts as a result of extreme weather. In recent years in America and Europe (Greece, Spain, Italy) there has been a steady rise in global extremes with unprecedented temperatures and devastating wildfires.

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The WWF document also analyzes the situation in Italy, where 50% of vertebrate species, 36% of amphibian species and 25% of bird species are threatened with extinction, mainly due to land use. Italy is the European country with the largest number of species, WWF added, it contains about half of the vegetation and about one third of the animals currently present in Europe. According to the “checklist” of the Ministry of Environmental Change, there are 57,468 species of animals in our country, of which 4,777 (8.6%) are endemic and about 12,000 can be considered as plant species. Since the middle of the last century, there has been a huge decline in biodiversity in Italy, especially due to land use, the NGO recalls. Soil conversion, the WWF explains, occurs primarily due to damage to forest ecosystems, which host 80% of terrestrial biodiversity: 10% of the world’s forests have been lost (approximately 10 million hectares per year) in the 21st century.

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