On World Environment Day, June 5, 2021 the United Nations called on its constituency to join the efforts to restore critical habitat and ecosystems around the globe. A "rallying cry" for radical healing of the planet, the UN Decade on Restoration is focused on preventing, halting and reversing the degradation of ecosystems worldwide. This new Decade proceeds the UN Decade on Biodiversity (2011-2020) that sought to bring conversations about and support the integration of biodiversity to the mainstream that all anthropogenic environments might live in harmony with nature.
2021-2030 UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration
How will you join the #GenerationRestoration movement? Check back frequently to learn about WNYEA involvement!
Read about what this new Decade means and how you can get involved from Common Dreams: UN Agencies Call for a Decade of Restoring Ecosystems to Confront Biodiversity and Climate Emergencies
Read more about the UN Decade on Restoration here: www.decadeonrestoration.org/
Frontiers in Environmental Science, Common Dreams publish news of assessment, hazards to soil invertebrates from pesticide application
Have you ever wondered about the link between pesticides and biodiversity? Did you read Rachel Carson's groundbreaking work, Silent Spring (1962) and ponder what progress has been made on regulating pesticide application in the nearly five-decades since its publication? Who are the culprits in the pesticide game, and what is its relevance to the climate crisis?
In a new analysis of nearly 400 research studies about the effects of pesticides on non-target soil invertebrates, Investigators from Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth US and University of Maryland, College Park, reviewed 275 unique soil organisms and 284 different ingredients/mixtures to identify and extract data regarding organism mortality, abundance, biomass, behavior, reproduction, biochemical biomarkers, growth, richness and diversity and structural change ("endpoints"). The result is more than 2,800 test combinations, "measured as a change in a specific endpoint following exposure of a specific organism to a specific pesticide."
70.5% of tests showed negative effects from pesticide exposure.
The study, "indicates that pesticides of all types pose a clear hazard to soil invertebrates...The prevalence of negative effects in [the] results underscores the need for soil organisms to be represented in any risk analysis of a pesticide that has the potential to contaminate soil, and for any significant risk to be mitigated in a way that will specifically reduce harm to soil organisms and to the many important ecosystem services they provide."
Read the journal article here: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fenvs.2021.643847/full
Read more about the study's findings and its implications in an article from Common Dreams:
Author: Jordan Davis
Published on EcoWatch - Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life.
A grim new assessment of the world's flora and fungi has found that two-fifths of its species are at risk of extinction as humans encroach on the natural world, as The Guardian reported. That puts the number of species at risk near 140,000.
The new report, State of the World's Plants and Fungi 2020, and an accompanying short video were published by Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, and depict an international effort from hundreds of scientists from 42 countries who analyzed the health of thousands of animal species. The researchers looked at how people are interacting with plants, how plants and fungi are being used, and what opportunities people are missing, as The Irish Times reported.
The report highlights that plants are crucial to sustaining life as they provide food, medicine, raw materials, fuel and food. And yet, the report notes, "Never before has the biosphere, the thin layer of life we call home, been under such intensive and urgent threat. Deforestation rates have soared as we have cleared land to feed ever-more people, global emissions are disrupting the climate system, new pathogens threaten our crops and our health, illegal trade has eradicated entire plant populations, and non-native species are outcompeting local floras. Biodiversity is being lost – locally, regionally and globally."
The report notes that scientists are racing against the clock to rescue plant and fungi species and they are also working to figure out how to leverage plants and fungi to combat the climate crisis and food insecurity, according to the BBC.
When Kew issued its first report in 2016, it found that 20 percent of plant species were at risk. That number has doubled in just four years. However, that does not mean that twice as many plant species are at risk. Instead, the huge jump in percentage is due to advances in assessments that now make a more accurate account for plants that were over- or underrepresented in the 2016 report, according to The Irish Times.
The fact that 40 percent of plant species are at risk paints "a very worrying picture of risk and urgent need for action," according to Alexandre Antonelli, director of science at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, as The Irish Times reported.
"We are also losing the race against time, species are probably disappearing faster than we can find and name, and many of them could hold important clues for solving many of the pressing challenges of medicine and perhaps even some of the emerging or current pandemics," he added.
The scientists involved in the research noted that more than 4,000 plant and fungi species were discovered last year. These plants are an untapped resource that holds tremendous promise as food, medicine and biofuels, according to the paper, as The Guardian reported. Some of the new species discovered include members of the onion family, plants similar to spinach, and relatives of the staple crop cassava.
Around the world, billions depend on plants as their primary source of medicine. The report noted that 723 species used as therapeutic treatments are threatened with extinction.
"We would not be able to survive without plants and fungi. All life depends on them, and it is really time to open the treasure chest," said Antonelli, as The Guardian reported. "Every time we lose a species, we lose an opportunity for humankind."
View the story and related content here: https://www.ecowatch.com/plants-biodiversity-extinction-2647868027.html?rebelltitem=1#rebelltitem1