We have destroyed 60{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} of the Earth’s natural habitats over the last 50 years, with serious socio-economic repercussions amounting, in terms of service costs for lost eco-systems, to approximately 50 billion euro a year. Italy, one of Europe’s most important centres of biodiversity, heads two European rankings: on one hand it is home to around 67,500 species of plants and animals (approximately 43{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} of those described in Europe and 4{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} of those of the planet as a whole), on the other, it is the country with the largest number of plants and animals under threat of extinction (35{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} are in the Mediterranean area).

This is the picture to emerge from the Legambiente Biodiversity at Risk Report; together with a snapshot of biodiversity in Italy and worldwide, the report offers two interesting articles on wetlands and onthe Abruzzo region. Previewed for World Biodiversity Day, marked today around the world, the dossier puts the spotlight on biodiversity, the natural heritage of the Earth and a fundamental resource for development and economic prosperity.

Polar Bears Eisbaeren

To celebrate World Biodiversity Day, Greenpeace has chosen a selection of images portraying the wonders of water, starting with the sponges and corals of Sicily threatened by oil drills, to the coral barrier reef of Indonesia, a paradise on Earth where the Greenpeace “Rainbow Warrior” has just completed a tour.

The Legambiente report presents the natural beauty and critical elements of Italy, a country with an enormous variety of natural environments and 130 habitats identified by European Directive Habitat 92/43. Italy’s fauna represents more than one third of all European fauna with 57,468 species, and 6,711 vascular plants.

spugna_sicilia

According to the data collected in the National Red List of threatened species (processed by the Italian Committee of the IUCN), in Italy 28{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} of vertebrates – 138 land animals and 23 marine animals – are under threat of extinction, on a total of 672 species (576 land and 96 marine). Of these, six have already become extinct in the last few years and, overall, the Italian population of vertebrates, especially in marine environments, is declining. A similar pattern can be seen in the partial Red List of Italian flora, with two endemic species already extinct and others only present in botanic gardens.

Clearly there is an emergency and efforts must be intensified to protect biodiversity, and turn it into a lever for economic growth and social well-being.

Take a look at our project to protect and valorise seabeds