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The first study on the contributions of ecosystems to humanity reflects that the ability of nature to meet the needs of people is declining.
The report ensures that within 30 years, more than 5 billion people - 7.6 billion currently live - will suffer from food insecurity, water pollution and increased coastal storms.
Nature provides many basic needs to human beings, such as ecosystem services, which ensure clean water or food. However, the growing global impact on the environment has led to a decline in these systems.
For this reason, the Intergovernmental Platform for Scientific Policies on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has produced a report to determine how important nature is to human beings and who is most at risk if they stop caring for it.
The results confirm that over the next 30 years, more than 5 billion people may have to contend with water pollution, increased coastal storms and food insecurity.
Rebecca Chaplin-Kramer, a researcher at Stanford University (USA) and lead author of the study, explains that developing countries in Africa and South Asia will be the most affected by these impacts.
Global scale analysis
To carry out the research, a high-resolution, global-scale model was developed, which uniquely captures both the 'supply side' (nature's contributions to people) and the 'demand side' ( people's needs).
The scientists evaluated trends in water quality, crop pollination, and shoreline protection in three possible future scenarios.
Thus they concluded that in the future we will suffer from food insecurity related to poor pollination of crops, a shortage of clean water and an increase in severe coastal storms caused by erosion and floods.
Furthermore, the results show that where people need nature most, its ability to meet those needs is declining.
It is the first global modeling of the contributions that nature makes to people and its conclusions are decisive. "This article offers a unique and deeply worrying image of the social burdens that the loss of nature will bear," writes Patricia Balcanera inPerspective. The report has been launched to raise awareness of the magnitude of the problem.
Rebecca Chaplin-Kramer et al. “Global modeling of nature’s contributions to people”. Sciences. October 10, 2019. DOI: