National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity

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Home - Biodiversity - Knowledge and use - Why do we lose biodiversity?


18/5/09 - United Nations University interview with the distinguished Mexican Professor Jose Sarukhan Kermez - Institute of Ecology, National Autonomous University of mexico (UNAM).

A specialist in biological diversity, the interview focuses on the importance of biodiversity, climate change, food production, agricultural systems, and recommendations for the future.

There are four direct factors that have an impact on, and threaten species:

  • Destruction, deterioration and fragmentation of habitats generated by agriculture, livestock grazing, building of dams, urban development, highways, gas and oil pipelines, etc.;

  • Direct legal or illegal overexploitation (such as illegal traffic of species) and indirect overuse (such as bycatch);

  • Introduction of exotic species (voluntary or accidental). These foreign species compete with, prey on, transmit diseases to, or modify the habitats of native species in a way that threatens their survival, and;

  • Pollution generated by the use of fossils fuels and agrochemicals. Today, climate change generated by pollution is one of the main threats to the survival of the world’s flora and fauna.

All of these factors are due to human activities and their root causes are social, economic, and political.

For a large part of our history, human activities had small impacts on the planet. As our population and consumption patterns have grown in scale, they have reached the point where they affect the climate of the whole planet. Global change has become one of the main threats to biodiversity

In Mexico, a large number of endemic species of highly restricted distribution are susceptible to the impacts of the above mentioned factors.

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