September 28th, 2010
The world’s rivers are in a crisis of unprecedented proportion, according to a new global analysis to be published Sept.30 in the journal Nature.
The report claims to be the first to simultaneously account for the effects of such things as pollution, dam building, agricultural runoff, the conversion of wetlands and the introduction of exotic species.
According to the scientists who produced it, the portrait that emerges is grim: Nearly 80 percent of the world’s human population lives in areas where river waters are highly jeopardized, posing a major threat to human water security and resulting in aquatic environments where thousands of species of plants and animals are at risk of extinction.
“Rivers around the world really are in a crisis state,” says Peter B. McIntyre, a senior author of the study and a professor of zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Limnology.