Posted 21 декабря 2022, 10:29
Published 21 декабря 2022, 10:29
Modified 24 декабря 2022, 22:38
Updated 24 декабря 2022, 22:38
A new study shows that by the year 2100, the Earth is in danger of a mass extinction event that could wipe out more than a quarter of the world's biodiversity. This is with reference to a publication in the journal ScienceAdvanced reports Daily Mail . In its history, the Earth has experienced five mass extinctions, and right now, the authors of the study say, we are witnessing another one. This is the first extinction since the time of the dinosaurs, and the cause of it is insatiable consumption and the senseless destruction of all living things, committed by the hands of people.
“Children born today and living into their 70s should be prepared to witness the extinction of literally thousands of plant and animal species, from tiny orchids and tiny insects to iconic animals like the elephant and koala,” said one of the study’s authors, Cory Bradshaw. from Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia.
Together with his co-author, European Commission member Giovanni Strona, Bradshaw created a supercomputer diagram of our planet, entangled in more than 15,000 food webs. Existing species were linked in a who-eats-whom fashion and then subjected to ongoing changes in climate and land use.
This helped predict the fate of related species: according to the authors, previous studies were flawed because they did not take into account joint extinction. If climate change is one of the primary drivers, then co-extinction is now recognized as the main driver of global biodiversity loss.
“Imagine a predator losing its prey to climate change,” explains Bradshaw. “The loss of a prey species is a primary extinction because it suffered from a proximate cause. But, since he has nothing to eat, the predator will also die out. Or imagine a parasite losing its host due to deforestation, or a flowering plant losing its pollinators because it gets too warm. Each species depends on the others in some way.”
The authors tested several plausible climate scenarios presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Thus, under a relatively favorable SSP2 scenario, global biodiversity loss will amount to 6% by 2050, and 13% by 2100. However, under the worst-case SSP5 scenario, the figure will rise to 10% by 2050 and 27% by 2100.
Overall, co-extinction by the end of the century will increase the overall extinction rate of the most vulnerable species to 184%. These results suggest a much larger loss than previously predicted. "The next few decades will be decisive for the future of global biodiversity," the authors say.