Massive mismanagement and growing human needs for water are causing freshwater ecosystems to collapse, making freshwater species the most threatened on Earth with extinction rates 4 to 6 times higher than their terrestrial and marine cousins, according to conference experts.
Klement Tockner of the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Berlin, says that while freshwater ecosystems cover only 0.8% of the earth's surface, they contain roughly 10% of all animals, including more than 35% of all vertebrates.
"There is clear and growing scientific evidence that we are on the verge of a major freshwater biodiversity crisis," says Prof. Tockner. "However, few are aware of the catastrophic decline in freshwater biodiversity at both local and global scale. Threats to freshwater biodiversity have now grown to a global scale."
The human implications of this trend are "immense," he adds, because freshwater species in rivers, lakes, ground waters, and wetlands provide a diverse array of vital natural services - more than any other ecosystem type.
Makes sense. Pollution is less dilute in freshwater and also humans are nearer to freshwater and intervene more in lakes and streams.
The human footprint on the Earth has reached a critical mass where we can't ignore our effects on the ecosystem.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2009 October 11 08:06 PM Trends Extinction|