This research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Prof Ron Milo at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, has been reported in The Guardian (21st May 2018).
Image with thanks to http://www.mammal.org.uk
According to Milo, the 7.6 billion people on earth represent just 0.01% of all life forms, yet have caused the loss of 83% of all wild mammals and half of all plants. The data was derived by calculating the total biomass of each group. Thus,
All life on earth is made up of:
82% Plants; 13% Bacteria and 5% of everything else (including the 0.01% of humans).
86% of life is found on land and 1% in the oceans. Of all the mammals on earth, 96% are livestock and humans (60% livestock, 36% humans, 4% wild mammals). Even more surprising is that 70% of birds on the planet are poultry and 30% wild birds. Further statistics and graphics are available in The Guardian.
The original article can be found at: http://www.pnas.org/content/115/25/6506
The article argues that humans have been extremely efficient in utilising the resources available on the planet. However, I would not describe this as efficient, if it has led to the loss of much of the diverse life on the planet. Humans have plundered the planet but not sustainably.
Another article from The Mammal Society (www.mammal.org.uk), states that almost one in five British mammals face a high risk of extinction. These include:
the red squirrel; the wildcat; the grey long-eared bat, the hedgehog and the water vole.
Another article in The Guardian, cites Chris Packham (a BBC Springwatch presenter) as having warned of ‘an ecological apocalypse’ in Britain and that Britain is becoming “a green and unpleasant land”.
Packham is also reported to have said: “We need a peaceful public uprising. We need people to say we’ve had enough. We do that every time there’s a terror attack. We need a similar movement for nature. We need people to stand up and say we want action now. We have the ability to fix our countryside.”
He is urging people to join him next month on a10-day “bioblitz”, visiting road verges, farmland, parks, allotments and community nature reserves across the country to record what wildlife remains – from butterflies to bryophytes, linnets to lichens.