Published on 06/06/2011
First Update 17/03/2017
Biological extinction has been a natural phenomena in geological history but the rate of extinction was probably one species every thousand years. Evolution causes populations to adapt to the ecological changes brought about by changing climates and the environment but some species may not possess the genetic diversity to withstand such changes. The sabretoothed cats of the Pleistocene preyed only on mastodon mammoths. The extinction of the prey led to the extinction of the predator. Dinosaurs crumbled under their own heavy and odd bodies. Over recent times, the rate of extinctions is rising at an alarming pace.
Humanity today is on a rampage, changing natural habitats through development pursuits. The process is accelerating the rate of destruction of tropical ecosystems which are the richest in diversity. The human population is likely to exceed 10 billion by 2050. The demands on resources for commercial and subsistence purposes will reach unimaginable heights. With man increasingly parasitising on the net primary productivity of ecosystems, the amount of energy available to support the millions of other kinds of life forms on earth has been greatly reduced. This explains the extinction crisis – common sense does call for caution. One model based on the reduction of available energy suggests that if the current accelerating trends continue half of the earths species might disappear by 2050.
The ravaging of Bio diversity is the single most environmental peril facing civilisation. Biodiversity is a resource for which there is absolutely no substitution. Its loss is irreversible on any time scale of interest to society.