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(an area the size of Peru or Chad) of intact primary ecosys- tems to completely transformed areas with no original species remaining, in less than a decade (Alkemade et al., 2009).





Global Mean Species Abundance (MSA), a measure used to project both the species diversity and the abundance, is project- ed to decrease from about 0.70 in 2000, to about 0.63 by 2050 (Alkemade et al., 2009). To put these figures in context, 0.01 of global MSA is equivalent to completely converting 1.3 million km2


Or in other words – a projected decline of 0.07 in Mean Spe- cies Abundance by 2050 is equivalent to eradicating all origi- nal plant and wildlife species in an area of 9.1 million km2


roughly the size of the United States of America or China – in less than 40 years (Alkemade et al., 2009).


Correspondingly, the abundance of farmland birds in Europe (as well as in many other parts of the world), many of which are migratory, have already experienced a dramatic decline in the last decades, by around 50 per cent (Fig. 6).


Nearly one-third of the world’s land area has been converted to cropland and pastures, and an additional one-third is al- ready heavily fragmented, with devastating impacts on wildlife (UNEP, 2001; Alkemade et al., 2009; Pereira et al., 2011).


Wetlands and resting sites have declined by over 50 per cent in the last century, and many of these are critical to the long migrations of birdlife (UNEP, 2010a). Coastal development is increasing rapidly and is projected to have an impact on 91 per cent of all temperate and tropical coastlines by 2050 and will contribute to more than 80 per cent of all marine pollu-


22


Figure 6: Change in abundance of birdlife in Europe during the last 30 years (UNEP, 2009; RSPB, European Bird Census Coun- cil (EBCC) and the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (PECBMS)).


tion (UNEP, 2008). This will have severe impacts on migratory birdlife. The development is particularly critical between 60 degrees north and south latitude.


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