by Seth Borenstein
WASHINGTON — Earth is losing plants, animals and clean water at a dramatic rate, according to four new United Nations scientific reports that provide the most comprehensive and localized look at the state of biodiversity.
Scientists meeting in Colombia issued four regional reports Friday on how well animal and plants are doing in the Americas; Europe and Central Asia; Africa; and the Asia-Pacific area.
Their conclusion after three years of study : Nowhere is doing well.
The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem was about more than just critters, said study team chairman Robert Watson. It is about keeping Earth livable for humans, because we rely on biodiversity for food, clean water and public health, the prominent British and U.S. scientist said.
“This is undermining well-being across the planet, threatening us long-term on food and water,” Watson said in an interview.
Crucial habitat has been cut apart, alien species have invaded places, chemicals have hurt plants and animals, wetlands and mangroves that clean up pollution are disappearing, and the world’s waters are overfished, he said.
Man-made climate change is getting worse, and global warming will soon hurt biodiversity as much as all the other problems combined, Watson said.