The journal 'Nature' has published
new research that shows the effect of human impact on biodiversity/ecosystems
will take at least ten million years to heal.
Anne Weil (Duke University) and
James Kirchner (UCal- Berkeley) have examined extinction and
ecosystem recovery in the fossil past while current indications
are that at least half of the species on Earth will become extinct
in the next 50 to 100 years. These extinctions are a part of the
'sixth wave' of human induced species extinctions on a global
By looking at the last five major
extinction events, as well as smaller die-offs, and by comparing
the 'lag' between the extinction and biodiversity recovery, the
researchers found a pattern that is consistent.
They looked for the point at which
entire ecosystems recover and discovered that the baseline
recovery time was ten million years. Humanity itself will be
extinct before the Earth recovers from the effects of our
generation. We, especially people of the developed nations, will
leave a biologically impoverished Earth for all species for,
effectively, all time.
However, the two urge optimism.
Kirchner said, 'This is not pre-ordained. Whether it happens or
not depends on the choices we make.'
The reality is that humanity has
caused the greatest extinction of life on Earth since the loss of
the dinosaurs, 65 million years ago. This extinction curve is
still reaching upward and nations such as Australia, by defying
global warming reductions, contribute to the loss of the richness
of life on Earth.