Food, energy, medicine... Humanity depends on 50,000 wild species for its survival

Food, energy, medicine… Humanity depends on 50,000 wild species for its survival

It’s a number that reminds us of how much our lives are connected to that of wild plants and animals – a relationship that is undoubtedly obvious but may seem distant, even abstract: on a planetary scale, some 50,000 non-domesticated species are used in the food, energy, medicine, materials and entertainment sectors. Global food security, in particular, depends heavily on these resources: one in five people depends on wild plants, algae and fungi for food and income, and 2.4 billion people need firewood for cooking. Altogether, the survival of 70% of the poor population is directly related to flora and fauna.

As the erosion of biodiversity continues to fester, threatening these uses and thus the well-being of a part of humanity, Intergovernmental science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem servicesIPBES) Unveils, Friday, July 8, a new assessment report on the sustainable use of wild species. Nicknamed the “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for Biodiversity”, in reference to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the body created in 2012 comprises 139 governments that agreed, during a plenary session in Bonn (Germany), to: Summary for decision makers. About thirty pages. The full study, by 85 experts from more than 50 countries, took four years to complete and is based on about 6,200 references.

“First Comprehensive Evaluation”

“This report is the first global assessment of our use of wildlife, Explains Jean-Marc Fromentin, research director at the French Research Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea (Ifremer), who co-led this assessment. So far we have only had a very fragmented view of the situation: we had some knowledge about hunting and logging… The end result shows how important this wild species is; I was surprised myself with the sheer number of types we use! » The number of living species on Earth is estimated at between 8 million and 10 million, of which just over 2 million have been described – insects represent three-quarters of the known animal species.

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Platform experts identify five broad categories of ” Exercise “ Related to the use of wild species: fishing, tree gathering, logging, “truncate” Wild animals for hunting or trade, and non-extractive activities such as nature observation. “The countries of the South are not the only ones that make abundant use of wild species, Forest specialist Marla Emery, co-director of the report, insists. From the fish we eat to medicines, cosmetics, decorations, and hobbies, this use is more widespread than most people realize. »

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