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Written on March 11, 2010, and categorized as Nanophilosophy.
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More than two animals and plants a year are becoming extinct in England and hundreds more are severely threatened, a report published today reveals.

Natural England, the government’s agency responsible for the countryside, said the biggest national study of threats to biodiversity found nearly 500 species that had died out in England, all but a dozen in the last two centuries.

The losses recorded compare with a natural rate of about one extinction every 20 years before humans dominated the planet, but are almost certainly an underestimate because of poor records of any but the “biggest, scariest” creatures before the 1800s.

The high rate at which species are being lost is set to continue. Almost 1,000 other species face “severe” threats from the same problems that drove their relatives extinct – hunting, pollution, development, poor land management, invasive species and, more recently, climate change – says the report, Lost life: England’s lost and threatened species. This represents about a quarter of all species in the best-studied groups, including every reptile, dolphin and whale species, two-thirds of amphibians and one-third of butterflies and bumblebees. In total, the report records 55,000 known species in England.

“Each species has a role and, like the rivets in an aeroplane, the overall structure of our environment is weakened each time a single species is lost,” said Helen Phillips, the agency’s chief executive. “We seem to have endless capacity to get engaged about rainforests but this reminds us conservation begins at home.”

(Juliette Jowit, The Guardian – read full article)

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