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Global Biodiversity Is Falling Fast, Imperiling Humanity. Can Better Policy Avert a Collapse?

Global Biodiversity Is Falling Fast, Imperiling Humanity. Can Better Policy Aver

Author: 

Rodolfo Dirzo - Stanford University, Frank Hawkins - IUCN North America Office, William Magnusson - Brazilian National Institute for Amazonian Research, Patrick Parenteau - Vermont Law School

Column: 

The Debate

Current Issue: 

Volume: 

36

Issue: 

3

At least half of global insect and phytoplankton biomass is now gone. The tropical rainforests, a storehouse of genetic information and serving as key components of the terrestrial biosphere, have been decimated. Meanwhile, the challenges mount as the seas rise, invading coastal ecosystems; ocean waters become more acidic and inhospitable to many marine denizens; and the land warms faster than nature can cope. The robust international legal regime to protect species and habitat is failing. Can improved policy save the global ecosystem?