Biodiversity is diminishing as humans continue to convert land to their own use, introduce species and exploit wild resources. So what changes can we expect in the biosphere by 2050?
In this article, Martin Jenkins of the United Nations Environment Programme’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre says that a ‘business as usual’ approach will leave the natural world a very different place. If current predictions for population and climate change hold, we will see far less tropical forest, oceans almost devoid of large predators, and many more extinct species.
Should we worry? Jenkins points out that for the last 50,000 years, humans have killed off most large land animals, yet various ecosystems show little evidence of terminal crisis. Any catastrophes that do happen will more likely be the result of abrupt climate shifts, he says — although this is no reason for complacency.
Reference: Science 302, 1175 (2003)