Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Good news, bad news (but mainly bad news)

On Tuesday the academic journal Science released an assessment of the survival chances of the world's vertebrates. 

Using data for 25,780 species categorized on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, we present an assessment of the status of the world’s vertebrates. One-fifth of species are classified as Threatened, and we show that this figure is increasing: On average, 52 species of mammals, birds and amphibians move one category closer to extinction each year. However, this overall pattern conceals the impact of conservation successes, and we show that the rate of deterioration would have been at least one-fifth as much again in the absence of these. Nonetheless, current conservation efforts remain insufficient to offset the main drivers of biodiversity loss in these groups: agricultural expansion, logging, overexploitation, and invasive alien species.

For some popular reports see:
Fifty species move closer to extinction every year, report says in the LA Times
Biodiversity study sounds an extinction alert (for things with spines) in the Christian Science Monitor
and Conservation offers hope for biodiversity decline at

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