By looking at a series of maps focused on 23 different stress factors facing rivers — from livestock density to potential acidification, from river fragmentation to aquaculture pressure — the research team found that 65% of the world’s river habitats are in danger of losing biodiversity because of these stress factors, not to mention the problem of human access to sources of clean water and energy. There is a lack of data for issues such mining and pharmaceutical pollution, so the situation is likely even worse than observed.
Maps: Global threats to Human Water Security (HWS) | Global threats to River Biodiversity (BD)
Maps Credits: Rivers In Crisis
By instituting international protocols on water system protection, argues the team, we can avoid future fresh water conflicts, food crises, and species loss.
The research comes from The City College (CCNY) of The City University of New York (CUNY), University of Wisconsin and seven other institutions, and the findings along with graphics and an interactive map are found on the team’s website, Rivers in Crisis, as well as in Nature News.
Text Credits: Jaymi Heimbuch via TreeHugger.com