Jul 22, 2019 | Updated: 09:15 AM EDT

The World’s Primates at Risk of Extinction Due to Global Commodities Trade and Consumption

Jun 17, 2019 11:38 AM EDT

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The World’s Primates at Risk of Extinction Due to Global Commodities Trade and Consumption
(Photo : 2019 Estrada et al. Expanding global commodities trade and consumption place the world's primates at risk of extinction. http://peerj.com/articles/7068/)

According to a peer-reviewed journal, the economic benefits of commodity export for primate habitat countries has been limited relative to the extreme environmental costs of pollution, habitat degradation, loss of biodiversity, continued food insecurity, and the threat of emerging disease. This recent study was published in the Journal PeerJ - the Journal of Life and Environmental Science.

The distribution of the world's primate fauna in the Neotropics, Africa, and South and Southeast Asia represents an essential global component of the land-based biodiversity of the Earth. The activities and presence of primates support a range of tropical community-wide ecological functions and services that provide vital resources to natural ecosystems, including local human populations.

It is so alarming now that extinction threatens around 60 percent of primate species and 75 percent of them have declining populations as a result of escalating anthropogenic pressures resulting in deforestation, habitat degradation, and increased spatial conflict between an expanding human society and the natural range of primates.

Also, the research found out that growing market demands for food and non-food commodities from high-income nations and the global community at large are significant drivers of rapid and widespread primate habitat loss and degradation.

There is an expansion of the international market for agricultural products due to the global consumption of food and natural resources, along with an increasingly globalized economy. Also, such an increase is reflected in the growth of the area of deforestation that is community driven. The evidence available to the researchers indicates that between 2001 to 2015, 160 million hectares of forest were lost in the tropics due to human activities and that 50 percent or more of this loss was commodity driven. This is because the forest was converted to agricultural fields, cattle pastures, mines to extract minerals and metals, fossil fuel exploration, and urbanization.

The team suggest several measures to implement to avoid the impending extinction of the primates of the world including changing global consumer habits (such as using less oilseed, eating less meat), the creation of an international environmental improvement fund to mitigate the adverse effects of forest-risk commodities trade, and assigning responsibility for environmental damage to those global corporations that control production, export, and supply chains.

The authors of the study contended that primates and their habitats are a vital component of the world's natural heritage and culture and as the close living biological relatives to humans, nonhuman primates deserve our full attention, concern, and support for their conservation and survivorship.

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