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There are major challenges affecting our terrestrial (land) ecosystems. Deforestation, desertification, and degradation are all major issues that need to be addressed to make the impact of our societies more sustainable. To prevent these three major issues, we need greater protection of our environment, efforts towards the restoration of damaged locations, and the sustainable use of our land-based resources. Ideally, we should start putting capital towards the development of technologies that will aid in planting trees, providing irrigation, and preventing pollution.
To combat deforestation, governments need to regulate and monitor the forestry industry while implementing projects to reforest vital areas. Every year, the number of forest cover decreases (from 4.1 billion hectares in 2000 to 4 billion hectares in 2015). Adequate incentives should be provided to developing nations to encourage the conservation of forested areas and prevent the loss of tree cover. For example, desertification can be slowed through projects like Africa’s ‘Great Green Wall’ project that aims to create a buffer zone of vegetation to prevent the spread of the Sahara desert. Projects like these require significant cooperation between global parties.
Likewise, the loss of biodiversity on the planet has reached unprecedented levels and the impacts from this are immeasurable. The extinction of species has reached levels similar to those seen during prehistoric mass extinctions. The World Wildlife Foundation really conveys how bad the situation has gotten. The Washington Post reports that 1 million plant and animal species are currently on the verge of extinction. To prevent the loss of biodiversity, global support needs to be given towards habitat protection and combating illegal activities that harm animals such as poaching or trafficking. There are almost 7,000 species still being illegally traded around the world.
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