Earth System Trend
Terrestrial Biosphere Degradation
Thousands of species of animal, plant and microorganism are either extinct or dying out. Entire ecosystems are being destroyed. Some scientists say Earth is approaching mass extinction rates. In the past this has often been caused by a massive external event like the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time, one species is responsible: humans.
Graph Caption: Percentage loss of terrestrial mean species abundance relative to abundance in undisturbed ecosystems as an approximation for degradation of the terrestrial biosphere.
Source: R. Alkemade, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency: modelled mean species abundance using GLOBIO3 based on HYDE reconstructed historical land-use change estimates (until 1990) then IMAGE model estimates (Alkemade et al. 2009, www.globio.info, ten Brink et al., 2010).