PARIS: Rampant exploitation of nature is a threat to the well-being of billions of people across the world who rely on wild species for food, energy and income, United Nations biodiversity experts said Friday.

From fishing and logging to the use of wild plants in medicines and perfumes, societies across the planet use species that have not been tamed or cultivated, with annual global legal and illegal trade in the hundreds of billions of dollars. But as humans drive alarming biodiversity loss — and climate change threatens to accelerate the destruction — the UN’s science advisory panel for biodiversity, IPBES, called for “transformative changes” in our relationship with wild species.

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IPBES, which has previously warned that a million species are at risk of extinction, said halting overexploitation was “critical to reverse the global trend in biodiversity decline” and hailed the crucial role of indigenous communities in protecting nature.

Its report, written by dozens of experts and indigenous advisers and approved by 139 member states, comes as the UN steers an international process to protect nature from human destruction in the coming decades.

“The use of wild species is absolutely crucial for humanity and nature,” the IPBES report co-chair Jean-Marc Fromentin told AFP, adding it was a “key issue for food security”.

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