Pathanamthitta: Kerala lost 50 per cent of its forests between 1973 and 2016, according to the Living Planet Report of the World Wide Fund for Nature. This would be equal to a quarter of the state's area, or about 9 lakh hectares.
In India, 12 per cent of mammals, 3 per cent of birds and 19 per cent of amphibians, including frogs, are on the verge of extinction, the report says. The India section of the global report cites a study by the Indian Institute of Science. The declining number of beehives should also be taken seriously.
The largest decline since 1970 has been in the wetland habitat, with about 84 per cent of species estimated to have become extinct, the report says.
The extinction of animals from frogs to bees is a warning sign of food insecurity. Environmental damage and epidemics are also interrelated, the WWF warns.
The world's forest and wildlife resources have declined by 68 per cent in half a century, mainly due to deforestation, exploitation of nature and unsustainable agriculture. COVID has given us an opportunity to reclaim nature, said WWF chief Marco Lambertini.
“The frequent natural disasters and epidemics in many parts of the country, including Kerala, have aroused the environmental awareness of Indian people,” said Ravi Singh, CEO, WWF India. “Biodiversity is essential to ensure the health and food security,” he said.