New UN report reveals why saving the world’s wild food supply is crucial

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According to the United Nations Scientific Advisory Group on Biodiversity (IPBES), 50,000 wild species, including plants, trees and animals, provide basic needs like food, energy, medicine, income and building materials for at least half of the world’s population. Yet, he explained, overhunting has threatened 1,341 species of wild mammals with extinction. Other threats to the long-term survival of wildlife species as a whole include logging, climate change, overfishing and increased demand.

There is also a financial incentive for massive species conservation. The report warns that the exploitation of nature and its resources is currently and will continue to be particularly damaging to subsistence communities and developing countries that depend directly on wildlife for food and base a large part of their economies on nature-based tourism. The World Bank reports that in 2016, nature tourism accounted for 10.2% of Botswana’s total GDP: $7.6 trillion. Nature tourism also accounted for 10% of Tanzania’s GDP and 19% of all jobs in Namibia. As well as providing biological necessities, the report warns that wild species also fulfill existential needs. Nature is an integral part of the cultural identities and religious practices of many peoples and communities around the world.

It’s not just rural communities that are affected either. Report co-chair Jean-Marc Fromentin said: “City dwellers in rich countries might not notice it, but wild plants are used in medicine or cosmetics, you eat wild fish and there chances are your furniture comes from wild trees”. by France 24.

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