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Accelerating Disappearance of Earth’s Species, Plants and Animals Is Threatening Survival of Humankind

May 29, 2013

Full Article at http://www.wakingtimes.com/2013/05/28/accelerating-disappearance-of-earths-species-plants-and-animals-is-threatening-survival-of-humankind/

By April McCarthy

The accelerating disappearance of Earth’s species of both wild and domesticated plants and animals constitutes a fundamental threat to the well-being and even the survival of humankind, warns the founding Chair of a new global organization created to narrow the gulf between leading international biodiversity scientists and national policy-makers.

Extinction is as old as life on Earth – about 3.5 billion years – but scientists calculate that we are losing species at a rate of somewhere between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural “background” rate of extinction. This means that technically we are going through a period of “mass extinction”, the sixth that we know about over the hundreds of millions of years of the fossil record.

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Dr. Zakri, a national of Malaysia who co-chaired 2005′s landmark Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and serves also as science advisor to his country’s prime minister, cited fast-growing evidence that “we are hurtling towards irreversible environmental tipping points that, once passed, would reduce the ability of ecosystems to provide essential goods and services to humankind.”

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Causes of genetic erosion in domestic animals are the lack of appreciation of the value of indigenous breeds and their importance in niche adaptation, incentives to introduce exotic and more uniform breeds from industrialised countries, and product-focused selection.

Among crops, meanwhile, about 75 percent of genetic diversity was lost in the last century as farmers worldwide switched to genetically uniform, high-yielding varieties and abandoned multiple local varieties. There are 30,000 edible plant species but only 30 crops account for 95% of human food energy, the bulk of which (60%) comes down to rice, wheat, maize, millet and sorghum.

Full Article at http://www.wakingtimes.com/2013/05/28/accelerating-disappearance-of-earths-species-plants-and-animals-is-threatening-survival-of-humankind/

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