Biodiversity crisis

 

More and more desert lands. Seas getting hotter and more acidic. Perennial ice melting. No, it’s not a catastrophic film, but catastrophic reality.

 

The sixth great mass extinction

We are facing one of the greatest threats to humanity and the entire planet: the sixth great mass extinction. The cause? The human activities themselves.

The consumption of natural resources and pollution are leading to the rapid decline of ecosystems around the world and the loss of biodiversity.

It is estimated that the species extinction rate is between 100 and 1000 times higher than the normal natural extinction rate.

Precisely because ecosystems are strongly influenced by human activities, the sixth great extinction was christened Anthropocene extinction (the age of man)[1].

The current biodiversity crisis: the H.I.P.P.O. model

The famous scientist Edward O. Wilson, in 2002, coined the acronym H.I.P.P.O. to indicate the main causes that contribute most to the loss of biodiversity[2].

The acronym identifies the following man-made environmental threats: Habitat loss, Invasive species, Pollution, (Human) Population, Overharvesting.

The effects are before our eyes: from the collapse of tropical ecosystems[3] (such as the daily destruction of hectares of Amazonian forest[4]), to the stress of the seas[5] with serious consequences for ancient but delicate ecosystems such as the great coral reef[6] and mangroves[7].

Climate change

In addition to these factors, all of them of anthropogenic origin, we must not forget the climate change caused by an excess of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, also caused by the multiple intensive human activities.

The effects of climate change are shown as an increase in average temperatures on the planet, with consequences such as desertification and melting ice.

In Alaska, the melting of sea ice is affecting marine ecosystems[8]. Enclosed in the ice there are numerous life forms such as fungi, protozoa, algae, bacteria and even viruses that can have a negative impact on marine organisms (and not only) present in the water column below.

Safeguarding the Planet

It is up to each of us to ensure that human activities no longer have such a negative impact on our Planet. From the correct disposal of waste to the use of renewable energy sources are responsible choices for the good of all.

The cleaning of polluted sites is also an important activity in the restoration and protection of the environment.

 

River Cleaning, with its patented system, wants to actively participate in the protection of aquatic ecosystems and is looking for a partner willing to contribute to the preservation of a fundamental piece of the planet Earth.

 

Together we can make the difference, start to be part of the change.

 


[1] Padoa-Schioppa Emilio (2010), HIPPO. La convergenza dei fattori di perturbazione ambientale, Ecosphera 202-223.

[2]  Wilson Edward O. (2002), The Future of Life, Alfred A. Knopf.

[3] Filipe M. França, Cassandra E. Benkwitt, Guadalupe Peralta, James P. W. Robinson, Nicholas A. J. Graham, Jason M. Tylianakis, Erika Berenguer, Alexander C. Lees, Joice Ferreira, Júlio Louzada, Jos Barlow. Climatic and local stressor interactions threaten tropical forests and coral reefsPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2020; 375 (1794): 20190116 DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2019.0116

[4] Gregory S. Cooper, Simon Willcock & John A. Dearing. Regime shifts occur disproportionately faster in larger ecosystemsNature Communications, 2020 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-15029-x

[5] Carlos M. Duarte, Susana Agusti, Edward Barbier, Gregory L. Britten, Juan Carlos Castilla, Jean-Pierre Gattuso, Robinson W. Fulweiler, Terry P. Hughes, Nancy Knowlton, Catherine E. Lovelock, Heike K. Lotze, Milica Predragovic, Elvira Poloczanska, Callum Roberts, Boris Worm. Rebuilding marine lifeNature, 2020; 580 (7801): 39 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2146-7

[6] Cassandra E. Benkwitt, Shaun K. Wilson, Nicholas A. J. Graham. Biodiversity increases ecosystem functions despite multiple stressors on coral reefsNature Ecology & Evolution, 2020; DOI: 10.1038/s41559-020-1203-9

[7] N. Saintilan, N. S. Khan, E. Ashe, J. J. Kelleway, K. Rogers, C. D. Woodroffe, B. P. Horton. Thresholds of mangrove survival under rapid sea level riseScience, 2020; 368 (6495): 1118 DOI: 10.1126/science.aba2656

[8] Chelsea Wegner Koch, Lee W. Cooper, Catherine Lalande, Thomas A. Brown, Karen E. Frey, Jacqueline M. Grebmeier. Seasonal and latitudinal variations in sea ice algae deposition in the Northern Bering and Chukchi Seas determined by algal biomarkersPLOS ONE, 2020; 15 (4): e0231178 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0231178

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