The overexploitation of wild species – terrestrial animals, fish, algae, fungi, plants and even trees – threatens the welfare of billions of people, a UN report on Friday revealed, providing opportunities for their use more sustainably and promoting knowledge. of indigenous peoples.
Billions of people around the world, in both developed and developing countries, “depend on and benefit from the use of wild species for food, medicine, energy, income and many more. Purposes”, notes the UN Biodiversity Experts, IPBES.
⚡️ #BREAKING⚡️ 50,000 wild species meet the need for billions worldwide, finds new @IPBES Assessment at … https://t.co/RdVHfE2IVG
—IPBES (@ipbes)January 8, 2022
In 2019, IPBES revealed that one million species were threatened with extinction, one of the main reasons being their exploitation of humans. In this new report, 85 social and science experts and local and indigenous knowledge holders reviewed 6,200 sources.
“About 50,000 wild species are used (…) through fishing, gathering, logging and gathering land animals globally”, including 7,500 species of fish and invertebrates, 7,400 species of trees or 7,500 species of amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. report.
“Cities in rich countries do not notice it, but wild plants are used in the composition of medicine or cosmetics, you eat wild fish, and there is a good chance that your furniture comes from wild trees,” explains AFP researcher Jean-Marc Fromentin.
Wild species are thus the most important source of wood worldwide, according to the report. “Wild species are a key issue for food security”, also stresses the Frenchman, co-author of the report, but “we will lose these resources if we over-exploit them, with a direct impact on human populations”.
Poor people are the most vulnerable. “70% of the world’s poor are directly dependent on wildlife,” with 2.4 billion people dependent on wood for cooking, said Marla Emery, co-author of the report, quoted in a statement.
Wild species are also important sources of income and employment, the report points out. Before Covid-19, tourism in protected areas generated $ 600 billion a year. However, overexploitation affects 34% of fish stocks, endangering 1,341 wild mammals, 12% of wild tree species and endangering sharks and rays.
There are solutions
Illegal wildlife trafficking is considered to be the third largest trafficking in human and drug trafficking in the world and is worth between $ 69 billion and $ 199 billion a year.
However, there are solutions. The report also carries “a message of hope,” assures Jean-Marc Fromentin, a researcher at Ifremer (French Institute for the Exploration of the Sea). “We can have a use of wild species that are sustainable and sustainable over time, for future generations,” he insists.
Wild species are better managed by indigenous peoples, according to the report, which emphasizes the importance of nature for them and their practices. “It often goes through fairly simple rules of reciprocity, respect for nature and animals and taboos, sacred areas that correspond to protected areas for us,” explains Jean-Marc Fromentin.
“Citizen of nature”
The report proposes reducing illegal fishing, eliminating harmful subsidies or even supporting small-scale fishing, creating logging certifications, having effective management systems and a fair redistribution of benefits and wildlife costs.
“The illusion that humanity could exist separately or by mastering the rest of nature (…) has led to major environmental crises, such as climate change and the decline of biodiversity,” states IPBES.
“Seeing humanity as part of nature, that is, one member or citizen of nature among others, would lay the foundation for a more respectful and lasting relationship,” concludes the researchers, referring to the example of indigenous peoples and the need for “transformative change”. “.
A COP on biodiversity
This report was validated by delegations from the 139 member countries of IPBES gathered in Bonn, Germany. It makes it possible to “show the state of knowledge, what the scientific community says and the summary for decision-makers approved in Bonn, summarizes what can be recognized by the states”, says Hélène Soubelet, from the Foundation for Biodiversity Research (FRB).
It appears a few days before another opus devoted to “values and assessment of nature”. These two reports will be part of the discussions on COP15 Biodiversity, considered crucial, to be held in Montreal in December, which will provide a framework for the protection of nature and its resources at global level by 2050.