Maps Reveal How Human Consumption Hurts Endangered Species

Posted: Jan 7 2017, 2:57pm CST | by , Updated: Jan 7 2017, 3:02pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

 
Maps Reveal How Human Consumption Hurts Endangered Species
Threat hotspots driven by US consumption. Credit: Daniel Moran and Keiichiro Kanemoto

Researchers create a series of world maps that illustrate species threat hotspots across the globe for individual countries

Biodiversity all over the world is threatened by high demands of global consumers and this global supply chains is having a negative effect on wildlife worldwide including endangered species. To understand which regions are most affected by which global consumer, researchers have created a series of global hotspot maps.

Daniel Moran, an industrial ecologist from the Norwegian University and his colleague Keiichiro Kanemoto from Shinshu University in Japan have developed a new approach to identify exactly which consumer countries are threatening biodiversity all over world.

The concept of global trade has changed considerably over the years. Earlier, the majority of the goods were purchased by the people of same country where they were made. Today, people from a country can have an access to products from other countries thanks to shipping and a string of international retailers. That makes production of goods for export purposes a major driver of dwindling biodiversity.

When researchers calculated the percentage of threat to a species in one country due to consumption of goods in another, with a focus on 6,803 species of vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered marine and terrestrial animals as defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), they were able to track species threat hotspots across the globe for each country.

For instance, U.S. consumption is particularly threatening land species from parts of Southeast Asia and Madagascar, as well as southern Europe, the Sahel region of Africa, coastal Mexico, Central America and Central Asia.

Researchers suggest that at least one-third of world biodiversity is threatened by global trade.

“Human induced biodiversity threats, such as from deforestation, overfishing, overhunting and climate change, often arise from incursion into natural ecosystems in search of food and resources.” Authors wrote in the study.

“Previous work has linked consumption and supply chains to biodiversity impacts, but only at the country level.”

Locating biodiversity threat hotspots caused by global supply chain can help conservationists, consumers, companies and governments to take better target conservation actions.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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