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Biodiversity is under dire threat from global warming, habitat loss, pollution and over-exploitation, all largely the fault of humans, the head of world-renowned Kew Gardens said on Thursday.
"First-aiders always check the ABC -- Airway, Breathing and Circulation -- of a patient to see if anything needs immediate attention," Stephen Hopper said in an interview in his office overlooking the lush Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, west London.
"Biodiversity is the ABC of life on the planet -- and it is showing it is in deep trouble," he told Reuters.
World experts will gather in Germany next month to try to work out what to do to stop the dramatic increase in the rate of loss of plants, animals and insects in what many see as the start of the sixth great species wipe-out in the Earth's history.