More than 1,700 species on the brink of extinction due to human action | GBRI

Nile Lechwe

The ever increasing human population and human induced climate change – these two factors are wreaking havoc on global ecosystems and are driving over 1,700 species to extinction, researchers have warned.

Although most such warnings have been based on projections of economic growth, urban demand and climate change, U.S. researchers approached the challenge in a different way. They collected data on the geographic distributions of 19,400 species and combined this with four different projections of future changes in land use — a euphemism for scorched or felled forest, drained swamp, ploughed grassland and so on — in the next 50 years.

And they identified 1,700 species that, even with moderate changes in land use, will lose roughly a third to a half of their present habitat by 2070. This total includes 886 species of amphibian, 436 kinds of bird and 376 mammals. And this loss of living space accentuates the hazard to their lives and futures.

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