(ORDO NEWS) — York University scientists have shown that the restoration of many mammal species and the breeding of new species have increased biodiversity in many European regions.
Despite habitat loss and local extinctions, Europe’s biodiversity has not declined over the past 8,000 years. Literally a few species have been lost.
Of the large mammals in Europe, only two species have become extinct in 8000 years: the tour and the donkey.
Europe’s mammal biodiversity is as rich today as it was 8,000 years ago, according to a new study .
Scientists at the University of York have shown that the recovery of species in many European regions, despite habitat loss, has led to the same biodiversity that developed after the Ice Age.
If mammals once banished from the forests and mountains of Europe, such as wolves, beavers and lynxes, are reintroduced into the wild, there is even the potential to increase diversity from levels seen 8,000 years ago in most regions, the researchers say .
Only two species that roamed the mainland 8,000 years ago have disappeared forever in the world – the aurochs (the wild ancestor of the cow) and the European wild ass.
Biodiversity conservation in Europe is good news
Dr Jack Hatfield of the Center for Anthropocene Biodiversity at the University of York said: “Although our study does not look at the increase and decrease in the number of animals within a species, it offers an encouraging vision for the future.
European mammals are still here, and if promises to give back more land to nature are kept, biodiversity levels could increase beyond what our ancestors saw.”
The study compared modern data with archaeological evidence identifying the presence of mammals 8,000 years ago, when there were only about five million people on the planet and early agriculture was just spreading across Europe.
The researchers chose this time period as a comparison, as the post-Ice Age climate (11,000 years ago) was relatively stable, making it possible to assess anthropogenic impacts on species.
For example, such species as woolly rhinoceros and mammoth, 8000 thousand years ago, have already disappeared in Europe.
The scientists warn that while their study paints a rather encouraging picture for Europe’s mammals, the condition may not be nearly as rosy in other parts of the world where rapid habitat destruction is taking place.
Contact us: [email protected]