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The current biodiversity crisis, often called the 6th mass extinction, is one of the critical challenges we face in the 21st century. Numerous species are threatened with extinction, mostly as a direct or indirect consequence of human impact.

Habitat destruction, climate change, overexploitation, pollution and invasive species are among the main causes for Earth’s biota to decline rapidly.

  •  While already the extinction rate during the 5th mass extinction was considerably higher than previously believed for freshwater biota, it is drastically overshadowed by the predicted future extinction rate of the current 6th mass extinction event.

  •  On average the predicted rate was three orders of magnitudes higher than during the time the dinosaurs went extinct.

  •  Already by 2120 a third of the living freshwater species may have vanished.

  •  The pace at which we lose species today is unprecedented and has not even been reached during major extinction crises in the past. Losing species entails changes in species communities and, in the long run, this affects entire ecosystems.

  •  Even if the impact on the world’s biota stops today, the extinction rate will likely stay high for an extended period of time. Considering that the current biodiversity crisis advances much faster than the mass extinction event 66 million years ago, the recovery period may be even longer.
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