Biodiversity at a glance
Facts, figures and unsettling numbers
With forests covering about a third of the world’s land, 1.3 million square kilometers translates to losing the equivalent of 800 football fields an hour. Commercial agriculture is responsible for over 70% of deforestation because of unsustainable palm oil, soy, timber, and cattle demand. In fact, it is estimated that since we started cutting down forests, 46% of trees have been felled.
While the estimate is that we have discovered around 1.8 million different species, it is assumed that the total amount of both documented and undocumented species on the planet is closer to 8 million — with 75% of them being insects.
Water and trees
With the accessible water for agricultural, domestic, and environmental uses in cities sourced from forests (along with 75% of accessible freshwater sources), forests play an important role in providing clean water. By maintaining our production systems and ecosystems, forests contribute significantly to our water supply.
(Millenium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005)
However, tropical deforestation is making forests carbon emitters instead of carbon sinks, and by accounting for 10% of our GHG emissions, it makes forests the second largest source of CO2 emissions.
Seven countries, many species
Over half of global biodiversity loss can be attributed to just seven countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, China, India, Australia and the USA.
(Waldron et al., 2017)
The global scale for financing biodiversity conservation is about USD 124–143 billion per year, with 80–85% of funding derived from the public sector. This means our current conservation financing still produces a biodiversity financing gap of USD 598-824 billion per year by 2030.
(Deutz et al., 2020)
Biodiversity loss and malaria infestations
Biodiversity loss compromises the delivery of fundamental ecosystem services like pollination, and the global loss of all pollinator species would lead to a drop in annual agricultural output of an estimated USD 217 billion annually.
40% of the world’s population lives in malaria-infested regions. Unfortunately, heavily deforested areas can see up to a 300-fold increase in the risk of malaria infection compared with areas of intact forest.
(MacDonald and Mordecai, 2019)