Rio de Janeiro (AP) – Every day, billions of people depend on wild plants and animals for food, medicine and energy. But a new UN-backed report says over-exploitation, climate change, pollution and deforestation are pushing millions of species to the brink of extinction.
The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform – or IPBES – of the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services report said on Friday that if mankind did not improve the sustainable use of nature, the world would lose 12% of its wild tree species, more than a thousand wild mammal species. And about 450 species of sharks and ray among other irreparable damage.
Humans regularly use about 50,000 wild species and 1 in 5 of the world’s 7.9 billion people depend on these species for food and income, the report said. While 1 in 3 people rely on wood for cooking, this number is even higher in Africa.
“It’s essential that these uses be sustainable because you need to have them for your kids and grandchildren. So when the use of wild species becomes sustainable, it is bad for the species, it is bad for the ecosystem and it is bad for humans, ”reports co-chair Marla R. Emery told the Associated Press in the United States
Beyond the depressing picture, the report provides recommendations for policymakers and provides examples for the sustainable use of wildlife and plants. Protecting the rights of indigenous peoples should be a central issue for those who have historically made sustainable use of wild species, the report said.
According to the survey, indigenous peoples occupy about 38,000,000 square kilometers (14,600,000 square miles) of land in 87 countries, which is equivalent to about 40% of the Earth’s protected area.
“Their lands tend to be better in terms of sustainability than other lands.” And the common thread is the ability to engage in traditional practice, ”said Emery, who is also a researcher at the U.S. Forest Service.
Emery argued that preserving national and international systems such as education is essential, which promotes the preservation of indigenous languages, as it maintains the ability of older members to transfer traditional knowledge about sustainable practice to a new generation.
An example of good practice is catching the world’s largest freshwater fish, the Arpaima, on the Amazon in Brazil, Jean-Marc Fromentin, vice-president of the French report, told AP.
“It was a move from an unstable to a sustainable situation,” Fromentin said. “Some communities in Brazil have developed community-based management and then called in some scientists to learn more about fish biology and to establish an efficient monitoring system. It worked so well that the model has moved to other communities and countries like Peru. “
Gregorio Mirabal, head of the Coordinating Agency for Indigenous Peoples in the Amazon Basin, who did not participate in the report, told the AP that several UN studies have already emphasized the importance of biodiversity and the threat posed by climate change, but they will not address it.
Indigenous leaders have pointed to growing problems in the region, such as water pollution and oil spills from mercury used in illegal mining. Furthermore, those who oppose the practice face violence, such as the recent killing of an indigenous fighter in a mining area in Venezuela.
“The Amazon has unreasonable exploitation of natural resources, but no social investment to improve the health, education, cultural and food conditions of indigenous peoples,” Mirabal said.
The report was approved by representatives of 139 member states gathered in the forests of Germany this week. It involved dozens of experts ranging from scientists to indigenous knowledge holders. IPBES is an independent intergovernmental organization and is not part of the UN system, but it has the support of the UN Environment Program and other agencies.
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