Earth’s ecosystems are stressed, and people are suffering the consequences. Experts say that conserving what’s left of the natural world is not good enough; we must also restore it — and the clock is ticking. Last week marked the launch of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration led by the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The goal: to prevent, halt and reverse ecosystem degradation worldwide. A new report released alongside the decade launch presents evidence on the state of global ecosystem destruction and explains why restoration is critical for the economy, food security, clean water, health, climate change mitigation, security, and biodiversity. “Degradation is already affecting the well-being of an estimated 3.2 billion people — that is 40 percent of the world’s population,” UNEP executive director Inger Andersen and FAO director-general Qu Dongyu, wrote in the forward to the report. “Every single year we lose ecosystem services worth more than 10 percent of our global economic output.” A felled baobab tree in Kirindy Forest in western Madagascar. The Majority of Madagascar’s forests have been cleared. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay. Over the past five years, the world lost roughly 10 million hectares (25 million acres) of forests per year, an area about three and a half times as big as Belgium. During the last century, 64-71% of all wetlands were destroyed. An estimated one-third of global fisheries are overfished, threatening 60 million fishers around the world. Agriculture alone has cleared an estimated 70%…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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