ah, just something to think about
Cyronwode at aol.com
Cyronwode at aol.com
Wed Nov 15 02:52:26 EST 1995
forwarded from elsewhere on the net. just something to think about...we all
know the sad melody, but here are the lyrics to a few more verses.
Human beings have been obliterating other species for centuries, but a
new United Nations report tries to quantify the destruction and estimates
that more than 30,000 plant and animal species now face possible extinction.
The 1,140-page report makes several attempts at estimating the human
impact on other species. It says mammal extinctions this century are 40
times what fossil records show they were millions of years ago.The rate of
species extinctions since humans first walked the Earth maybe 1,000 times
what would have been on the planet without human intervention.
In the last four centuries, 484 animal and 654 recorded plant species
have become extinct, according to the report. Nearly three times as many
bird and animal species have disappeared since l810 than in the previous two
Threatened species include 533 mammals, 862 birds, 257 reptiles, 133
amphibians, 934 fishes, 2,647 insects and other invertebrates and 26, 106
plants, the study found.
In addition to the increase in endangered species, the report decries
the loss of genes, habitats and ecosystems. The assessment funded by the
Global Environmental Facility for the UN Environment Program, is the result
of work by about 1,500 scientists.
It cites several reasons for the decline in species, including:
*Human population growth and economic development that depletes biological
*Human failure to consider the long-term consequences of actions that destry
habitat, exploit natural resources and introduce non-native species.
*Failure of economic markets to recognize the true value of maintaining the
variety of species.
*Increased human migration, travel and international trade.
*The spread of water and air pollution
An example cited in the report of the possible benefits of maintaining
seemingly unimportant species is the day-flying moth, Urania fulgens.
The moth, found in South America and Mexico, metamorphoses from a
caterpillar that feeds exclusively on a particular variety of trees and
vines known as Omphalea.
The heavy defoliation brought about by the caterpillar causes the trees
to produce a protective chemical, making them unpalatable to the moths. The
toxic plant compounds have been shown to be effective against the AIDS virus
in test-tube experiements. The toxin produced only from the interaction of a
large population of moths and plants."
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