Biodiversity survey reveals that more species are threatened with extinction than previously thought

by Christopher Kelly, University of Minnesota
July 18, 2022

With millions of plant and animal species scattered across every biome on the planet, biodiversity is a complex topic. Experts from all over the world need to communicate across borders to bring the global challenges to biodiversity into focus. How can researchers share their findings to build a common understanding of the risks and opportunities for action?

A new survey published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment and led by Forest Isbell, an associate professor in the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota, attempts to fill some of the gaps in understanding by synthesizing the perspectives of thousands of biodiversity experts worldwide. The survey received 3,331 responses from scientists studying biodiversity in 187 countries, covering all major groups of species, habitats and ecosystems.

“While considering the types of species and ecosystems they know best, experts estimated that about 30% of species have been globally threatened or driven extinct since the year 1500. Experts also acknowledged substantial uncertainty around their estimates, with perhaps as few as 16% or as many as 50% of species threatened or driven extinct over this time.” said Isbell.

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