Why Species Extinction is a Huge Threat

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Ben Cohen
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While global warming and pollution pose grave threats to the environment and ourselves, the escalating loss of biodiversity is perhaps the greatest direct threat to humanity. Every species on the planet is a part of a complex eco system and food web, and once a species is destroyed, the consequences can be devastating. While it is difficult to see ourselves as part of fragile eco systems, we are just as vulnerable as any other living creature, and if we continue to eliminate other species, we take a further step in eliminating ourselves. Unfortunately, Scientists who have compiled the 'Red List of Threatened Species' have warned that the proportion of species facing extinction is rising. From the BBC:

One fifth of animal and plant species are under the threat of extinction, a global conservation study has warned.....

Launched at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting, the report says that amphibians remain the most threatened category of animals, with 41% of species at risk, while only 13% of birds qualify for Red-Listing.

The highest losses were seen in Southeast Asia, where loss of habitat as forests are cleared for agriculture, including biofuel crops, is fastest.

"The 'backbone' of biodiversity is being eroded," said the eminent ecologist, Professor Edward O Wilson of Harvard University.

"One small step up the Red List is one giant leap forward towards extinction. This is just a small window on the global losses currently taking place."