Global Trade Is Affecting Biodiversity
The current state of the economy isn't just hurting people; turns out animals are bearing the consequences as well. Nearly a third of the threats to animals in developing countries stem from the demands of developed countries.
The study, published in Nature in June 7, found that the demands for cocoa, sugar, and coffee have spurred on the process of habitat destruction. The United States, the European Union, and Japan are the three main driving forces behind the demand.
"Excluding invasive species, we found that 30 percent of species threats are due to international trade," said the study.The Australian study points out the importance of not only looking at local growers, but also at their foreign consumers.The study stresses that, "
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To combat biodiversity loss, policies aimed at producers, traders and consumers must be implemented in parallel," the authors wrote.
According to the World Wildlife organization, global biodiversity has declined by an average of 28 percent annually since 1970. In order to maintain current biodiversity, the world would have to be 50 percent larger in order to compensate for current carbon emissions.
The researchers looked at 25,000 animal species threats and 15,000 commodities produced in 187 countries.
"This is the first time, to our knowledge, that the important role of international trade and foreign consumption as a driver of threats to species has been comprehensively quantified," the study said.
Germany imports are linked to 395 species threats and Malaysian exports are linked to 276 species threats. The study emphasizes the reprecussions of an increasingly connected economy and its consequences.
"We think that widespread certification and labeling are a must," Barney Foran, a co-author of the study told Reuters.
"In a perfect world affluent consumers in all countries could be important players in halting biodiversity decline if they adopt a 'values' rather than a 'price' filter for most of their purchasing decisions."