Because biodiversity is such a broad and complicated topic, it’s impossible to know for sure, but certainly a great deal. Biodiversity refers to the number of species in the world, plant and animal, as well as the relationships between them. Naturally it’s quite an amporhous subject. What we do know is that biodiversity has decreased dramatically in the past 100 years. We are today losing species at 1,000 times the rate of natural progression, and this is almost certainly due to human industrial activity. Loss of diversity has been occurring steadily with the rise of industrial processes since the early 19th century as a result of the factors summarized in the acronym “HIPPO”: Habitat destruction, Invasive species, Pollution, over-Population, and Over-harvesting. All of these processes have accelerated as world economies have become more industrialized. Famous examples of species loss in the 19th and early 20th century, such as the now-extinct passenger pigeon, illustrate the tremendous effects these factors can have. How much loss? I don’t think anyone can say, but that staggering losses have occurred, and will continue to occur if we don’t do something about it, seems undeniable.
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