Navigation Links
Loss of biodiversity increasingly threatens human well-being: UBC, University of Michigan research

The loss of the planet's biological diversity is increasingly threatening Mother Nature's ability to provide humans with goods and services like food, water, fodder, fertile soils, and protection from pests and disease, according to a sweeping review of 20 years of research by an international team of ecologists, including biologists from the University of British Columbia and McGill.

The 17 researchers present their findings in the June 7 edition of the journal Nature in a scientific consensus statement that summarizes evidence that has emerged from more than 1,000 ecological studies conducted since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

"We've reached a point where efforts to preserve species and biological diversity might no longer be an act of altruism," says Diane Srivastava, Professor with the Department of Zoology and the Biodiversity Research Centre at University of British Columbia and author on the paper.

"This research review dramatically underscores the importance of strengthening--not weakening or curtailing--environmental assessment processes in order to stem the tide of the loss of species and diversity that so many humans benefit from and depend on. This is particularly true in economies heavily reliant on natural resources,like British Columbia's."

The balance of evidence reviewed in the study shows that genetic diversity increases the yield of commercial crops, enhances the production of wood in tree plantations, improves the production of fodder in grasslands, and increases the stability of yields in fisheries. Plant diversity also contributes to greater resistance to invasion by exotic plants, inhibits plant pathogens such as fungal and viral infections, increases above-ground carbon sequestration through enhanced biomass, and increases nutrient remineralization and soil organic matter.

"Much as the consensus statements by doctors led to public warnings that tobacco use is harmful to your health, this is a consensus statement by experts who agree that loss of Earth's wild species will be harmful to the world's ecosystems and may harm society by reducing ecosystem services that are essential to human health and prosperity," said Bradley Cardinale, Associate Professor at the University of Michigan and leader of the research effort.

"We need to take biodiversity loss far more seriously from individuals to international governing bodies and take greater action to prevent further losses of species."

The call to action comes as international leaders prepare to gather in Rio de Janeiro on June 20 for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, known as the Rio+20 Conference. The upcoming conference marks the 20th anniversary of 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, which resulted in 193 nations supporting the Convention on Biological Diversity's goals of biodiversity conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources.

"We believe that ongoing loss of biological diversity is diminishing the ability of ecosystems to sustain human societies," says Andrew Gonzalez, Associate Professor with the Department of Biology and the Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science at McGill University and author on the paper.


Contact: Chris Balma
University of British Columbia

Related biology news :

1. Managing biodiversity data from local government
2. A network of knowledge on biodiversity and ecosystem services in Europe
3. The absence of elephants and rhinoceroses reduces biodiversity in tropical forests
4. Palms reveal the significance of climate change for tropical biodiversity
5. Top priorities in biodiversity science agreed
6. EU-funded study underlines importance of Congo Basin for global climate and biodiversity
7. Beetle-fungus disease threatens crops and landscape trees in Southern California
8. CU research shows warming climate threatens ecology at mountain research site west of Boulder
9. Extreme weather threatens rich ecosystems
10. Worlds largest release of comprehensive human cancer genome data helps speed discoveries
11. Engineered microvessels provide a 3-D test bed for human diseases
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/15/2016)... ALBANY, New York , June 15, 2016 ... published a new market report titled "Gesture Recognition Market ... Trends and Forecast, 2016 - 2024". According to the ... at USD 11.60 billion in 2015 and is ... and reach USD 48.56 billion by 2024.  ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... , June 2, 2016 The ... has awarded the 44 million US Dollar project, for ... Embossed Vehicle Plates including Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure ... leader in the production and implementation of Identity Management Solutions. ... January, however Decatur was selected for ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... , May 20, 2016  VoiceIt is excited ... with VoicePass. By working together, VoiceIt ...  Because VoiceIt and VoicePass take slightly different approaches ... increases both security and usability. ... about this new partnership. "This marketing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... NC (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Researchers ... the most commonly-identified miRNAs in people with peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are ... to read it now. , Diagnostic biomarkers are signposts in the blood, lung ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... UAS LifeSciences, one of ... their brand, UP4™ Probiotics, into Target stores nationwide. The company, which has been ... Target to its list of well-respected retailers. This list includes such fine stores ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... TORONTO , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - ... Ontario biotechnology company, Propellon ... the development and commercialization of a portfolio of ... cancers. Epigenetic targets such as WDR5 represent an ... contribute significantly in precision medicine for cancer patients. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Houston ... with the Cy-Fair Sports Association to serve as ... the agreement, Houston Methodist Willowbrook will provide sponsorship ... and connectivity with association coaches, volunteers, athletes and ... with the Cy-Fair Sports Association and to bring ...
Breaking Biology Technology: