LIFE OF LAND

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Human activity has altered almost 75 percent of the earth’s surface, squeezing wildlife and nature into an ever-smaller corner of the planet and increasing risks of zoonotic diseases like COVID-19. Around 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihood, including 70 million indigenous people. Forests are home to more than 80 percent of all terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects. Between 2010 and 2015, the world lost 3.3 million hectares of forest areas. Poor rural women depend on common pool resources and are especially affected by their depletion. Currently, land degradation has reduced productivity in 23 percent of the global terrestrial area, and between $235 billion and $ 577 billion in annual global crop output is at risk as a result of pollinator loss. Arable land loss is estimated at 30 to 35 times the historical rate

74 per cent of the poor are directly affected by land degradation globally. Habitat loss and deterioration, largely caused by human actions, have reduced global terrestrial habitat integrity by 30 per cent relative to an unimpacted baseline. Over 80 per cent of the human diet is provided by plants. Only three cereal crops – rice, maize and wheat – provide 60 percent of energy intake.

Of the 8,300 animal breeds known, 8 per cent are extinct and 22 per cent are at risk of extinction. Of the over 80,000 tree species, less than 1 per cent have been studied for potential use.

Fish provide 20 percent of animal protein to about 3 billion people. Only ten species provide about 30 percent of marine capture fisheries and ten species provide about 50 per cent of aquaculture production.

While protected areas now cover 15 percent of terrestrial and freshwater environments and 7 per cent of the marine realm, they only partly cover important sites for biodiversity and are not yet fully ecologically representative and effectively or equitably managed.

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