Plants Can Survive Without Humans, But Humans Cannot Survive Without Plants

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Plants Can Survive Without Humans, But Humans Cannot Survive Without Plants
Graphic: © herbs-info.com. Image source – Pixabay (PD).

Although humans are the most dominant species on earth, we are not the most important. Regardless of our position on the “pecking order” of species, we are the most destructive. In fact, a recent study appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that humans have destroyed over 80% of wild animals – despite accounting for a meager 0.01% of all life. [1]

If we don’t work towards the sustainability and preservation of our ecological systems, we might end up being the architects of our own downfall. To put this into perspective, let’s highlight what would happen if all the trees suddenly disappeared.

⦁ Considering habitat loss is one of the drivers of extinction, the lack of trees would wreak havoc on biodiversity. We would witness a global mass extinction of different species (fungi, animals, plants, etc.) that directly and indirectly rely on trees.

⦁ Trees act as biological pumps in our planet’s water cycle and contribute to precipitation. Their destruction would drastically alter the global climate.

⦁ Local temperatures would continually rise since trees perform various cooling services – including regulating soil temperature, absorbing heat, and evapotranspiration.

⦁ Over 1.6 billion people who depend on forests for livelihood would descend into poverty or even death. [2]

References:

[1] The biomass distribution on Earth https://www.pnas.org/content/115/25/6506.

[2] Forests and poverty reduction http://www.fao.org/forestry/livelihoods/en/.

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