With human populations surging and people consuming more, animal and plant species are being killed off faster than ever before, says a United Nations report.
The report, which has been prepared using research from 120 nations, warns that the development of countries such as China, India and Brazil is contributing immensely to the environmental threats already generated by developed western nations, and that a third of species could face extinction this century.
And the extinction threat extends across all main ecosystems, affecting living things as diverse as tree frogs, coral reefs and river dolphins, says the report.
"It's a problem if we continue this unsustainable pattern of production and consumption. If the 9 billion people predicted to be with us by 2050 were to have the same lifestyle as Americans, we would need five planets," Times Online quoted Ahmed Djoghlaf, the UN's leading figure on biological diversity, as saying.
Djoghlaf said humans would suffer too because many threatened species were important for food and raw materials.