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Scientists pinpoint the location of biodiversity threats

The Earth faces an ongoing extinction crisis. Understanding the threats to biodiversity over the globe can be complicated. Scientists just published a new model revealing the location and threats to biodiversity over the planet in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution

The scientists created six maps elucidating the main threats to amphibians, birds and mammals – logging, agriculture, hunting & trapping, pollution, invasive species and climate change. 

Agriculture and logging are common threats in the tropics, while hunting & trapping are the most widespread threat to mammals and birds. 50% of land birds are threatened by hunting & trapping and 73% of land mammals are. Agriculture is the most dangerous threat to amphibians, with amphibians on 44% of global land area being threatened.  

Beyond identifying which threats are most prevalent, the research also identified the most vulnerable regions. The study revealed that wildlife in Southeast Asia is particularly threatened, especially in Sumatra and Borneo. Madagascar is another island with vulnerable animals. 

The scientists hope this data could provide necessary knowledge for conservation planning now and in the future. 

“We are facing a global nature crisis, and the next ten years is a crucial window for taking decisive action to tackle biodiversity loss. Our results reveal the location and intensity of human-caused threats to nature,” explained Dr. Mike Harfoot, one of the lead co-authors of the paper, UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC).

“This information can support decision-makers at a range of levels in identifying where action to reduce these threats could yield the best results for people and planet. With further work, we will improve this information in terms of accuracy and the breadth of nature considered.”

With the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Kunming, China coming up next year, this research will have a chance to play an important role in global planning and ideally help save some species. 

By Zach Fitzner, Staff Writer

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