The developed world’s insatiable appetite for products like coffee and timber is threatening the survival of one in three vulnerable animal species in poor countries, according to an Australian study. The study showed that in countries like Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka and Honduras, 50 to 60 percent of biodiversity loss was linked to exports, mostly to meet demand from richer countries.
It cited the example of spider monkeys threatened by habitat loss because of strong demand for coffee and an increase in cocoa plantations in Mexico and Central America.
In Papua New Guinea, it said 171 species, including the black-spotted cuscus and eastern long-beaked echidna, were threatened by export industries including mining and timber to a few large trading partners, including Australia.
Sixty of these species alone in PNG were under threat from logging to satisfy Japanese residential construction, the authors said, adding that agricultural exports from
Indonesia affected 294 species, including tigers.
“There is increasing awareness that developed countries’ consumption of imported products can cause a biodiversity footprint that is larger abroad than at home,” the study said.