Scientists say nature is in more trouble now than at any other time in human history, with extinction looming over 1 million species of plants and animals. That's the key finding of the United Nations' first comprehensive report on biodiversity, per the AP. The report, released Monday, says species are being lost at a rate tens or hundreds of times faster than in the past. More than half a million species on land lack sufficient habitats for long-term survival and are likely to go extinct, maybe within decades. The oceans aren't any better off. All in all, "grave impacts on people around the world are now likely," say the researchers, while adding that it's not too late to fix it.
"We have reconfigured dramatically life on the planet," said report co-chairman Eduardo Brondizio of Indiana University. Conservation scientists from around the world convened in Paris to issue the report, which exceeded 1,000 pages. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services included more than 450 researchers who used 15,000 scientific and government reports. The report's summary had to be approved by representatives of all 109 nations. The findings are not just about saving plants and animals, but about preserving a world that's becoming harder for humans to live in, says Robert Watson, a former top NASA and British scientist who headed the report. "We are indeed threatening the potential food security, water security, human health, and social fabric" of humanity, he says. (Read more nature stories.)