The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) warned that Latin America registers the greatest loss of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish in almost five decades worldwide.
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On Thursday, the WWF released its "2020 Living Planet Report" (LPR) which highlights that animal populations have decreased by 68 percent between 1970 and 2016. In Latin America, however, the decrease reached 94 percent in the same period.
The LPR also highlights that 51.2 percent of the biodiversity loss in Latin America and the Caribbean is because of changes in land use, a category which includes habitat loss and degradation.
This process has involved the expansion of factors such as the conversion of pristine native habitats such as forests, grasslands, and mangroves into agricultural systems, while much of the oceans have been over-fished.
"The conclusion is clear: nature is being transformed and destroyed at an unprecedented speed in history, at a very high cost to the well-being of the planet and humanity," the WWF Director for Latin America Roberto Troya said.
The environmental NGO also warns of the growing risk of extinction of plant species, since it is estimated that one out of five species is currently in danger of extinction, mainly in tropical areas.
"We should understand that biodiversity is a strategic resource because it guarantees agriculture, livestock, fishing, aquaculture, medicines, and fibers ... all the resources we need to live," the WWF director in Ecuador Tarsicio Granizo explained.
The 2020 Living Planet Report concludes with a call for immediate action to reverse the trend by 2030, "ending the destruction of natural habitats and reforming our food system."