Scientists are just beginning to understand the importance biodiversity plays in contributing to the world’s economy. Biodiversity, which implies all life forms inhabiting a given ecosystem, provide as much as $33 trillion annually to the global market, according to the 2007 “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity Report.” In the United States, economists and environmental scientists estimate that native ecosystems and wildlife supply the country’s GDP with $300 billion every year.
Many different plant and animal species play a vital role in maintaining healthy ecosystems. Wildlife contributions to the human economy include soil fertility, land arability, watershed protection, flood prevention and more.
But scientists predict that climate change will be a leading cause in the extinction of many already imperiled species. In some regions, up to 60% of wildlife and plants could face extinction due to climate change. The effects of global warming on ecosystems and the wildlife and plants that inhabit them are already being recorded across the world: rising sea levels, melting glaciers and shifting weather patterns.
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