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Otterman speaks...

Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives

List of Categories : travel * museum * cycling * Singapore Naturalist * science * kakis * mangroves * movies * mac and the internet * meow * NUS * life in Singapore * lit * world *

Tue 13 Dec 2005

"Extinction alert for 800 species"

Category : science

"Extinction alert for 800 species." By Richard Black. BBC News website, 12 Dec 2005.

"Researchers have compiled a global map of sites where animals and plants face imminent extinction." 'The list covers 794 species mainly in the tropics, which they say will disappear soon unless urgent measures are taken.

The Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) drew up a list of 595 sites which contain at least one species classified as "endangered" or "critically endangered". Each is either the only place where that creature resides, or contains at least 95% of the known population.

Because not every organism on the planet has been studied or even identified, the 794 species include only birds, mammals, amphibians, conifers, and some groups of reptiles.

The majority of the key sites are in tropical regions of the world, and most in developing countries. On average they are in places where the human population density is high; a minority are fully protected.

Ricketts et al, 2005. "Pinpointing and preventing imminent extinctions." Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 10.1073/pnas.0509060102 (Open Access article)

Abstract - Slowing rates of global biodiversity loss requires preventing species extinctions. Here we pinpoint centers of imminent extinction, where highly threatened species are confined to single sites. Within five globally assessed taxa (i.e., mammals, birds, selected reptiles, amphibians, and conifers), we find 794 such species, three times the number recorded as having gone extinct since 1500.

These species occur in 595 sites, concentrated in tropical forests, on islands, and in mountainous areas. Their taxonomic and geographical distribution differs significantly from that of historical extinctions, indicating an expansion of the current extinction episode beyond sensitive species and places toward the planet's most biodiverse mainland regions. Only one-third of the sites are legally protected, and most are surrounded by intense human development. These sites represent clear opportunities for urgent conservation action to prevent species loss.

Posted at 5:29AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .