Unsustainable hunting threat to over 1,300 wild mammal species globally: Report
Representational image Credit: Representational image

New Delhi: Around 12 per cent of tree species in the wild and 1,341 wild mammal species globally are threatened by unsustainable logging and hunting, according to a new report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

The Convention on Biological Diversity defines ‘sustainable use’ as “the use of components of biological diversity in a way and at a rate that does not lead to the long-term decline of biological diversity, thereby maintaining its potential to meet the needs and aspirations of present and future generations.”

The IPBES report also said that bycatch, which refers to incidental capture and mortality of non-target marine animals during fishing, has led to a steep decline in the number of sharks and ray species since the 1970s.

“Around 34 per cent of marine wild fish stocks in the world are overfished. Nearly all (99%) shark and ray species are officially declared to be taken unintentionally but are valuable and are retained for food… 449 species have been classified as threatened (37.5 per cent of the 1,199 species recently assessed), mostly due to unsustainable fishing,” it said.

The report stated the survival of an estimated 12 per cent of tree species in the wild is threatened by unsustainable logging. Also, unsustainable hunting has been identified as a threat to 1,341 wild mammal species.

It assessed that changes in climate, sea and landscapes, pollution and invasive alien species impact the abundance and distribution of wild species. This can also cause stress and pose challenges to humans.

Noting that 2.4 billion people worldwide rely on wood for cooking and 880 million, particularly in developing countries, log firewood or produce charcoal, the report said logging for energy accounts for 50 per cent of all wood consumed globally, and 90 per cent of timber harvested in Africa.

Even though the use of wood for fuel is declining in most regions, it is increasing in sub-Saharan Africa, the IPBES said.

“Fuelwood demand can be met at a global and national scale when comparing supply-demand balances but localised fuel wood shortage and associated forest and woodland degradation occur in areas where people have few alternatives for cooking and heating,” it said.

“Seventy per cent of the world’s poor are directly dependent on wild species. One in five rely on wild plants, algae and fungi for their food and income; 2.4 billion rely on fuel wood for cooking and about 90 per cent of the 120 million people working in capture fisheries are supported by small-scale fishing,” said Dr Marla R Emery who co-chaired the assessment with Dr Jean-Marc Fromentin and Prof. John Donaldson.

Prof. Donaldson said overexploitation is one of the main threats to the survival of many land and aquatic species in the wild.

“Addressing the causes of unsustainable use and, wherever possible, reversing these trends will result in better outcomes for wild species and the people who depend on them,” the report stated.

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