The planet is at the start of a sixth mass extinction in its history, with huge losses already reported in larger animals that are easier to study.
Here 5 different alarming reports that show the extent of ecological collapse around the world.
1. Lost Bird Biodiversity in New Zealand
When humans arrived on New Zealand some 700 years ago, they discovered a plethora of unusual birds that could be found nowhere else in the world, having evolved in isolation on the island. All of these birds, along with half of New Zealand’s avian taxa, have since gone extinct. And according to a new study in the journal Current Biology, it would take 50 million years to recover the bird biodiversity that has been lost.
2. Large Freshwater Animal Populations Are Down 88% Since 1970
Freshwater ecosystems are among the most diverse and dynamic, but also the most threatened ecosystems on Earth. Globally, freshwater megafauna populations declined by 88% from 1970 to 2012, with the highest declines in the Indomalaya and Palearctic realms (−99% and −97%, respectively), as shown in new research. Among taxonomic groups, mega‐fishes exhibited the greatest global decline (−94%). In addition, freshwater megafauna experienced major range contractions.
3. Germany’s (and European) forests devastated
A catastrophic combination of heat, drought, storms, forest fires, beetle plagues and a fungi blight have so far this year destroyed swathes of German forest equivalent to more than 200,000 football fields. And that’s totally insane.
4. Insect Apocalypse Due To Alarming Explosion of Toxic Pesticide in the USA
The rapid and dangerous decline of the insect population in the United States — often called an “insect apocalypse” by scientists — has largely been driven by an increase in the toxicity of U.S. agriculture caused by the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, as shown in a recent study. Results show that American agriculture has become 48 times more toxic to insects over the past 25 years and pinned 92 percent of the toxicity increase on neonicotinoids.
5. Total Biomass of Flying Insects in Germany Has Dropped 76% Since 1982
To demonstrate the rapid decline, a lab technician holds up two bottles: one from 1994 contains 1,400 grammes of trapped insects, the newest one just 300 grammes.
In overall, unless we change our ways of producing food and living, animals, insects and vegetation as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades.