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科学家警告:第六次生物大灭绝正在到来

更新时间:2017-7-12 18:46:49 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Era of ‘Biological Annihilation’ Is Underway, Scientists Warn
科学家警告:第六次生物大灭绝正在到来

From the common barn swallow to the exotic giraffe, thousands of animal species are in precipitous decline, a sign that an irreversible era of mass extinction is underway, new research finds.

新的研究发现,从寻常家燕到异域的长颈鹿,数以千计的动物种群数量都在急剧减少,这是不可逆转的大规模灭绝时代到来的一个迹象。

The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, calls the current decline in animal populations a “global epidemic” and part of the “ongoing sixth mass extinction” caused in large measure by human destruction of animal habitats. The previous five extinctions were caused by natural phenomena.

本周一,这项研究发表在了美国国家科学院的院刊上,它称目前动物种群数量的减少是“全球性的流行病”,是人类破坏动物栖息地所造成的“第六次大规模灭绝”的一部分。以前的五次灭绝都是由自然现象造成的。

Gerardo Ceballos, a researcher at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City, acknowledged that the study is written in unusually alarming tones for an academic research paper. “It wouldn’t be ethical right now not to speak in this strong language to call attention to the severity of the problem,” he said.

赫拉尔多·塞瓦约斯(Gerardo Ceballos)是位于墨西哥城的墨西哥国立自治大学(Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)的研究员,他承认,作为一篇学术研究论文,它使用了非同寻常的令人担忧的语气。他说:“到了现在还不用这种强烈措辞来说话、让人注意到这个问题的严重性,那是不道德的。”

Ceballos emphasized that he and his co-authors, Paul R. Ehrlich and Rodolfo Dirzo, both professors at Stanford University, are not alarmists, but are using scientific data to back up their assertions that significant population decline and possible mass extinction of species all over the world may be imminent, and that both have been underestimated by many other scientists.

塞瓦约斯强调说,他和两位合著者——斯坦福大学的教授保罗·R·埃尔利希(Paul R. Ehrlich)和鲁道夫·德佐(Rodolfo Dirzo)——都不是杞人忧天之辈,只是在用科学数据支持他们的结论,即全球各地可能即将出现物种种群数量大幅减少和物种灭绝,其他很多科学家低估了这两种可能。

The study’s authors looked at reductions in a species’ range — a result of factors like habitat degradation, pollution and climate change, among others — and extrapolated from that how many populations have been lost or are in decline, a method that they said is used by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

这项研究的作者调查了一个物种范围内的成员数量减少——这是栖息地退化、污染和气候变化等因素造成的——并且根据减少的数量和趋势进行了推断。他们说国际自然保护联盟(International Union for Conservation of Nature,简称IUCN)采用的就是这个方法。

They found that about 30 percent of all land vertebrates — mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians — are experiencing declines and local population losses. In most parts of the world, mammal populations are losing 70 percent of their members because of habitat loss.

他们发现,大约30%的陆地脊椎动物——哺乳动物、鸟类、爬行动物和两栖动物——正在经历数量减少和地方种群的丧失。在世界大部分地区,由于栖息地丧失,哺乳动物种群的成员数量减少70%。

The authors of the paper suggest previous estimates of global extinction rates have been too low, in part because scientists have been too focused on complete extinction of a species. Two vertebrate species are estimated to go extinct every year, which the authors wrote “does not generate enough public concern,” and lends the impression that many species are not severely threatened.

这篇论文的作者表示,科学家之前对全球物种灭绝的速度估计过低,部分原因在于他们过度侧重在某个物种的完全灭绝上。作者写道,按照估计,全球每年都会两种脊椎动物灭绝,这“没有引起足够多的公众关注”,而且让人感觉并没有很多物种遭受到严重威胁。

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