Human pressure on natural resources rising: Report

Populations of tropical species are declining while human pressure on natural resources is rising.

New Delhi: Populations of tropical species are declining over while human pressure on natural resources is rising as high as 50 percent more than the earth can sustain, says a new report.

The 2010 edition of World Wide Fund`s Living PlanetReport, produced in collaboration with the Zoological Society of London and the Global Footprint Network, used the global
Living Planet Index as a measure of the health of almost 8,000 populations of more than 2,500 species.

The global Index shows a decrease by 30 percent since 1970, with the tropics hardest hit showing a 60 percent decline in less than 40 years, according to the report released today.

"There is an alarming rate of biodiversity loss in low-income, often tropical countries while the developed world is living in a false paradise, fuelled by excessive consumption and high carbon emissions," Director General of WWF International, Jim Leape said in a statement here.

While the report shows some promising recovery by species` populations in temperate areas, thanks in part to greater conservation efforts and improvement in pollution and waste control, tracked populations of freshwater tropical species have fallen by nearly 70 percent - greater than any species` decline measured on land or in oceans.

"Species are the foundation of ecosystems," said Jonathan Baillie, Conservation Programme Director with the Zoological Society of London.

"Healthy ecosystems form the basis of all we have lose them and we destroy our life support system," he added.

The Ecological Footprint, one of the indicators used in the report, shows that our demand on natural resources has doubled since 1966 and we are using the equivalent of 1.5 planets to support our activities. If we continue living beyond the earth`s limits, by 2030 we`ll need the equivalent of two planets` productive capacity to meet our annual demands, it said.

"The report shows that continuing of the current consumption trends would lead us to the point of no return," Leape said, adding that "4.5 Earths would be required to support a global population living like an average resident of the UAE or the US."

Carbon is a major culprit in driving the planet to ecological overdraft. An alarming 11-fold increase in our carbon footprint over the last five decades means carbon now accounts for more than half the global Ecological Footprint, the report said.

The top 10 countries with the biggest Ecological Footprint per person are the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Denmark, Belgium, United States, Estonia, Canada, Australia, Kuwait and Ireland.

The report outlines solutions needed to ensure the earth can sustain a global population projected to pass nine billion in 2050, and points to choices in diet and energy consumption as critical to reducing footprint.


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