Global plan to halt extinction criticized for failing to address species humans don’t like

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Credit: National Geographic

A global plan to halt the loss of nature is “weak” in one key area, say scientists.

The new 10-year strategy to stop extinction must aim to protect the gene pools of all life on earth, according to conservation experts.

The action agenda must explicitly refer to the genetic diversity of all species not just those regarded as of value to humans, they say.

New targets will be agreed at October’s Convention on Biological Diversity.

The first draft of the biodiversity plan, published in January, does not go far enough to protect the genetics of wild animals and plants, say 20 international researchers in a letter to the journal, Science.

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They say the goal suggested for genetic diversity is “weak” and does not explicitly state that minimising the loss of the gene pool is crucial for all species, not just a few.

Prof Michael Bruford of Cardiff University, UK, said the previous target only considered domestic animals and plants, their wild relatives, and certain other species considered of importance for cultural or economic reasons.

The year 2020 is considered a “super year for nature”, when plans to tackle biodiversity loss over the next decade will be agreed at the conference of the parties in Kunming, China.

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