Unless radical steps are taken quickly, the world risks reaching tipping-points of biodiversity loss from which recovery could be impossible, a United Nations reported warned on Monday.

According to the third Global Biodiversity Outlook, the world has “failed” to meet its target and prevent further loss of biodiversity, or the depletion of varied life forms in a given eco-system.

“Massive further loss of biodiversity is becoming increasingly likely, and with it, a severe reduction of many essential services to human societies as several ‘tipping points’ are approached,” according to the report, produced by the Convention on Biological Diversity, which comes under the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP).

Once a tipping-point is reached, recovery can be “difficult or impossible,” said the report, which is published in intervals of four years.

Key areas of concern raised in the report include the Amazon forest and the collapsing coral reef ecosystems. Destructive fishing practices and pollution were among the causes blamed for the deterioration.

Economics also come into play, as countries rely on natural biodiversity for their prosperity.

“Many economies remain blind to the huge value of the diversity of animals, plants and other life-forms and their role in health and functioning ecosystems,” Achim Steiner, the head of UNEP said.

By retaining healthy biodiversity on the planet, the effects of climate change can also be mitigated, the report argues, saying it helps reduce the build up of green house gases and allows ecosystems to better adapt to “unavoidable climate change.” The U.N. has declared 2010 the “International Year of Biodiversity.” Major international meetings on the subject are scheduled for the second half of the year, including one at the General Assembly in September and a conference in Japan in October.