Th e decline in biodiversity, the amazing variety of plants, an-
imals, and microorganisms bound together in a web of life,
should be a major concern for anyone who inhabits planet
Earth. In addition to the aesthetic value and enjoyment of na-
ture’s diversity and beauty, a healthy and diverse environment
is also one of human survival. Biodiversity provides the natu-
ral services on which humans depend: pollination, medicine,
wood products, food, clean water and air, nutrient storage and
cycling, soil formation and protection, climate stability, and
recovery from unpredictable events.
A manifestation of biodiversity loss is the continuous decline
of species, and in some cases even species declared threatened
and endangered are losing ground. Elephants and rhinoceros
killed for their tusks and horns are only one example of how
overexploitation continues to destroy species, despite eff orts to
protect them. Amphibian, bat, and marine starfi sh populations
are in rapid decline from the spread of new diseases. Coral is
bleaching and dying from warming oceans. Agricultural prac-
tices, livestock farming, urban development, invasive species,
pollution, human disturbance, transportation, and fossil fuel
production continue to destroy habitats as human populations
grow. Global climate change is a threat that will only grow
larger in the future.
Th e loss in biodiversity has become so acute that scientists
propose we are in a new age of mass extinctions. Th e rapid
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