On 9th September the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) published the 2020 Living Planet Report which warns of drastic declines in mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles. The report also suggests ways in which we might curb biodiversity loss and begin recovery by 2050.
Loss of sea otters is proving to be devastating for the limestone reefs that underpin Alaskan kelp forest ecosystems. In a healthy, functional system, otters predate the sea urchins that graze on the reefs, but dwindling population sizes mean that reefs are likely to collapse within decades.
Despite the debate around the role and value of protected areas, recent research from the University of Queensland has shown that, when well-managed, they are incredibly effective. 80% of mammal species monitored doubled their coverage in protected areas over a period of 50 years, and 10% of the mammals studied survived solely on protected land.
This weekend, Sir David Attenborough returned to our screens in the UK with a new one-hour production titled Extinction: The Facts. In a departure from his usual style, the documentary depicts scenes of destruction, loss and crisis for many wild populations and ecosystems. His final line, however, is a call to arms: “What happens next, is up to every one of us”.