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Clearing land to feed a growing population pushes many species closer to extinction

Humankind’s growing need for space and resources is becoming a major issue for many species of animals whose homes are at risk.

By 2050, humans may need to clear an additional 3.35 million square kilometers of land for agriculture. About the equivalent to the size of India, converting these natural habitats would squeeze 17,000 vertebrate species from their lands.

Changing how, where, and what food is grown is the key to mitigating the impact of this imminent fate. Overhauling the global food system could nearly erase these biodiversity losses. Among the changes: improve crop yields, transition to more plant-based diets, halve food loss and waste and increase food imports for countries where agricultural expansion threatens the most species.

Achieving that may be politically unfeasible, but less aggressive changes could still have big impacts. The world needs to feed the growing population, but it can be done more sustainably.

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