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 Freshwater organisms at risk

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Tigris
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PostSubject: Freshwater organisms at risk   Mon Oct 12, 2009 1:22 pm

OSLO - CREATURES and plants living in rivers and lakes are the most threatened on Earth because their ecosystems are collapsing, scientists said on Sunday.

They urged the creation of a new partnership between governments and scientists to help stem extinctions caused by humans via pollution, a spread of cities and expanding farms to feed a rising population, climate change and invasive species.

'Massive mismanagement and growing human needs for water are causing freshwater ecosystems to collapse, making freshwater species the most threatened on Earth,' according to Diversitas, an international grouping of biodiversity experts.

Extinction rates for species living in freshwater were 'four to six times higher than their terrestrial and marine cousins'. Fish, frogs, crocodiles or turtles are among freshwater species.

World leaders agreed at a 2002 Earth Summit in Johannesburg to achieve by 2010 a 'significant reduction in the current rate of loss of biological diversity'. Governments globally had aimed to slow the losses of all species by 2010.

Dams, irrigation and climate change that is set to disrupt rainfall are all putting stresses on freshwater habitats. Canals allow plants, fish and other species and diseases to reach new regions. -- REUTERS
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