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Editor’s note: Here’s an excerpt from an article in The BMJ. To read the piece in its entirety, click here.

The restoration and protection of natural habitats enhance biological diversity. (See: Biodiversity and ecosystems below.)

These two concepts (natural habitats and biodiversity) are interdependent because complex symbiotic interspecies relationships are the foundation of thriving natural habitats.

Nearly every aspect of our survival depends on exploiting natural resources — when land is converted for food production and housing, for example, or for the extraction of energy, raw materials and water. The unsustainable use of natural resources has led to short term improvements in human health characterized by increases in life expectancy and a global decline in poverty.

But these are matched by an unprecedented alteration of the natural world characterized by loss of primary forests, species extinction, concentration of greenhouse gases and ocean acidification, among others. This has perilous consequences to the planet and to human health in the long term.

Read the entire The BMJ article here.