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Words in the News
 
Friday 25 July 2003
 
Asia: species loss
 
Monkey Deforestation could lead to the disappearance of up to a fifth of South East Asia's plant and animal life within the next century. According to new research rapid and large scale loss of natural habitats has already affected biodiversity in the area and urgent conservation efforts are now needed. This report from Ania Lichtarowicz.
 
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The humid tropics of South East Asia are one of the Earth's major reservoirs of animal and plant species. But this rich biodiversity is under threat because of continuing habitat-loss. Vast areas are being cleared through deforestation either for agriculture or urban development and if habitats continue to disappear at their present rate, then between thirteen and forty two per cent of wildlife will become extinct. These predictions have been calculated by scientists from Singapore, Australia and Japan, who looked at species loss in Singapore over the last one hundred and eighty years. Here habitats of terrestrial and freshwater species have shrunk by ninety five per cent, and forest reserves - which cover only a quarter of a per cent of Singapore's land area, now harbour more than fifty per cent of flora and fauna. By comparing this data to the rest of the region the scientists calculated these huge losses. The authors say that major conservation efforts need to be put in place otherwise many species will be lost forever.
BBC, Ania Lichtarowicz
 
 
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major reservoirs
 
biggest sources
 
biodiversity
 
wide variety of plants and animals
 
deforestation
 
cutting down trees
 
urban development
 
building towns or cities
 
at their present rate
 
at the speed it is happening now
 
become extinct
 
die out so no more of a species is left
 
terrestrial and freshwater species
 
plants and animals that live on land or in freshwater (rivers and lakes)
 
harbour
 
give protection to
 
flora and fauna
 
animal and plant life
 
major conservation efforts
 
big projects which protect the environment
 
 
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