A new survey of 3,331 scientists studying biodiversity across 187 countries has revealed that more species are threatened with extinction than previously thought. According to survey results, as many as 50% of species have been threatened with extinction or driven to extinction since 1500.
The survey, published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, was conducted to help fill in gaps in information on biodiversity around the globe. The survey received 3,331 responses from scientists focused on all major species, habitats, and ecosystems on Earth.
Biodiversity experts estimated that about 30% (uncertainty range: 16–50%) of species have been globally threatened or driven extinct since the year 1500. Estimates of past biodiversity loss were highest among experts who study freshwater ecosystems, amphibians, mammals, and freshwater plants. Many tropical habitats (e.g., tropical and subtropical rivers, wetlands, and forests) were estimated to have the greatest percentage of species threatened or driven extinct since 1500.
In summary from this study:
- Biodiversity experts estimated that about 30% (uncertainty range: 16–50%) of species have been globally threatened or driven to extinction since the year 1500.
- There was an overwhelming consensus that global biodiversity loss will likely decrease ecosystem functioning and nature’s contributions to people.
- Global biodiversity loss and its impacts may be greater than previously thought due to higher estimates provided for understudied taxa and by underrepresented experts.
- Experts estimated that greatly increasing conservation investments and efforts now could remove the threat of extinction for one in three species that may otherwise be threatened or extinct by the year 2100.
See below, from this study, the threats to biodiversity by ecosystem categories in the chart below.
Below is a map of the severity of biodiversity lost since the year 1500 and today in terms of terrestrial and marine – relative to the geographic locations on the Earth. In the second set of maps on the bottom of the chart are the same data projected into the year 2100.
Has a global biodiversity crisis arrived? Certainly, this study suggests this – but there have been others seemingly saying the same thing. See below an interesting video that discusses biodiversity and solutions.
There is a myth in the political sphere that says that most politically right-leaning conservative voters could care less about the environment they live in. No, they don’t want to live downstream from a factory dumping toxic waste into their drinking water, nor do they want to mow down every forest just for the sake of making a dollar.
The problem today is that everything has become far too political. There has been a lack of balance between economic development and protecting the environment.
Too often, scare reports are promoted to launch government spending programs that are mere redistribution of wealth social programs to line someone’s pocket. Very often, solutions do not really solve problems and are not based on common sense science. To drive the point home, many on the left-leaning side of the spectrum are all too quick to censor any real debate on causes and solutions to our environmental issues.
See more Chart of the Day posts.
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