Mediterranean's biodiversity threatened by human activity

According to analysis of 47,000 species in 91 countries

14 September, 18:14

    ROME - The biodiversity of the Mediterranean and tropical areas is most seriously threatened by human activity and climate change. In tropical regions, moreover, a drop in the number of species is expected between 10 and 13% for each additional degree.

    The analysis of over 47,000 species of animals, plants and mushrooms in sites from 91 countries has led to the conclusion of the research, which was published by the magazine Nature Ecology & Evolution. The research was coordinated by Tim Newbold of University College London.

    ''We have discovered that the same areas must deal with the highest number of threats to biodiversity due to climate change and the use of soil'', said Newbold. This, he added, ''is even more concerning as these two pressures can interact to make environments even less hospitable''. The results, continued the expert, suggest that ''the decline of global biodiversity could be worse than expected. Urgent action is necessary to prevent the loss of biodiversity and extinction, in particular in tropical and Mediterranean areas which have some of the planet's richest ecological communities''.

    Researchers have analyzed data on 47,044 species of animals, plants and mushrooms in 91 countries to measure the number of species that live in environments most disturbed by humans like cities and intensive agricultural areas. Moreover, to predict the response to climate change, researchers have compared data with climate models. What emerged is that biodiversity is threatened in particular in Mediterranean and tropical areas where species most at risk include land turtles (in the Mediterranean) and the eastern gorilla (in Africa), both threatened by the loss of their habitats. According to experts, the species from these areas where seasonal changes are less pronounced are more vulnerable to climate change because they have not adapted to experiment wide intervals of temperatures between seasons. As a consequence, they are most likely to suffer if temperatures rise.

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