One million species under threat of extinction

One million of the world’s species are now under threat of extinction, according to a recent report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

According to the IPBES, nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history and the rate of species extinction is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world. The top drivers of these changes as described by the IPBES are changes in land and sea use, direct exploitation of organisms, climate change, pollution and invasive alien species.

Some key points as outlined by the IPBES in their media release are given below:

The average abundance of native species in most major land-based habitats has fallen by at least 20%, mostly since 1900.
More than 40% of amphibian species, almost 33% of reef-forming corals and more than a third of all marine mammals are threatened.
The picture is less clear for insect species, but available evidence supports a tentative estimate of 10% being threatened.
At least 680 vertebrate species had been driven to extinction since the 16th century and more than 9% of all domesticated breeds of mammals used for food and agriculture had become extinct by 2016, with at least 1,000 more breeds still threatened.
The IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services is the most comprehensive of its kind ever completed, and has outlined “overwhelming evidence” on how we are “eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide,” according to IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson.

“The Report also tells us that it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global,” he also said.

Established in 2012, the IPBES is an independent intergovernmental body of 130 member governments and is similar to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) but for biodiversity. The body was established to provide policymakers with objective scientific assessments of the state of knowledge regarding the planet’s biodiversity and ecosystems. This recent Assessment was compiled by 145 expert authors from 50 countries over the past three years, with inputs from another 310 contributing authors, reporting on changes over the past five decades.

View the full IPBES media release on their website here:

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