The Sixth Great Extinction: A Status Report
Humanity is moving toward a massive extinction event, uniquely caused by the activities of a single species. The “Extinction Status Report” by the Earth Policy Institute provides a marvelous overview to these issues; as well as justification for the existence of Forests.org's network, and its commitment to ecological science based forest conservation advocacy in defense of the Earth and all its life.
Each year the earth's forest cover shrinks by 16 million hectares (40 million acres), with most of the loss occurring in tropical forests, where levels of biodiversity are high. The average extinction rate is now some 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than the rate that prevailed over the past 60 million years. The greatest threat to the world's living creatures is the degradation and destruction of habitat, affecting 9 out of 10 threatened species. Humans have transformed nearly half of the planet's ice-free land areas, seriously impacting the rest of nature.
Healthy ecosystems make human and all life possible – including supplying air, filtering drinking water, and providing humanity with food, medicine, and shelter. When ecosystems lose biological richness, they become less resilient and more susceptible to the effects of climate change, invasions of alien species, and other disturbances.
Habitat destruction must be halted, widespread ecological restoration initiated and climate change slowed it order to stop and reverse weakening of the life-support systems we all depend on. The quest for environmental sustainability is the challenge of our time. Let us all recommit to growing and increasing the effectiveness of our movement.