Due to humans, extinction risk for 1,700 animal species to increase by 2070

March 4, 2019, Yale University
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

As humans continue to expand our use of land across the planet, we leave other species little ground to stand on. By 2070, increased human land-use is expected to put 1,700 species of amphibians, birds, and mammals at greater extinction risk by shrinking their natural habitats, according to a study by Yale ecologists published in Nature Climate Change.

To make this prediction, the ecologists combined information on the current geographic distributions of about 19,400 worldwide with changes to the land cover projected under four different trajectories for the world scientists have agreed on as likely. These potential paths represent reasonable expectations about future developments in global society, demographics, and economics.

"Our findings link these plausible futures with their implications for biodiversity," said Walter Jetz, co-author and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and of forestry and environmental studies at Yale. "Our analyses allow us to track how political and economic decisions—through their associated changes to the global land cover—are expected to cause habitat range declines in species worldwide."

The study shows that under a middle-of-the-road scenario of moderate changes in human land-use about 1,700 species will likely experience marked increases in their extinction risk over the next 50 years: They will lose roughly 30-50% of their present habitat ranges by 2070. These species of concern include 886 species of amphibians, 436 species of birds, and 376 species of mammals—all of which are predicted to have a high increase in their risk of extinction.

Among them are species whose fates will be particularly dire, such as the Lombok cross frog (Indonesia), the Nile lechwe (South Sudan), the pale-browed treehunter (Brazil) and the curve-billed reedhaunter (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay) which are all predicted to lose around half of their present day geographic range in the next five decades. These projections and all other analyzed species can be examined at the Map of Life website.

"The integration of our analyses with the Map of Life can support anyone keen to assess how species may suffer under specific future land-use scenarios and help prevent or mitigate these effects," said Ryan P. Powers, co-author and former postdoctoral fellow in the Jetz Lab at Yale.

Species living in Central and East Africa, Mesoamerica, South America, and Southeast Asia will suffer the greatest habitat loss and increased extinction risk. But Jetz cautioned the global public against assuming that the losses are only the problem of the countries within whose borders they occur.

"Losses in species populations can irreversibly hamper the functioning of ecosystems and human quality of life," said Jetz. "While biodiversity erosion in far-away parts of the planet may not seem to affect us directly, its consequences for human livelihood can reverberate globally. It is also often the far-away demand that drives these losses—think tropical hardwoods, palm oil, or soybeans—thus making us all co-responsible."

Explore further: Extinction threat due to habitat loss may be greater than believed

More information: Global habitat loss and extinction risk of terrestrial vertebrates under land-use-change scenarios, Nature Climate Change (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41558-019-0406-z , https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0406-z

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3 / 5 (2) Mar 04, 2019
Due to human overpopulation, wonder where that is coming from?
5 / 5 (1) Mar 04, 2019
From elsewhere:

"Ecologists, conservation biologists and managers widely believe that invasions by non-native species are a leading cause of recent species extinctions..."

-Humans have eliminated the natural isolation that evolution has always depended upon to function properly. Invasive species, genetic dilution, and pandemics are now critical global threats and there may be no solution.

Otherworld colonies provide the only option to restore the state of isolation. Mars not only offers isolation from earth, but with a surface that cannot support life it can effectively separate colonies from one another. Travel and commerce can be regulated to limit outbreaks and cross-contamination.

This ability was forever lost on earth once ships began providing unlimited vectors for biota to travel wherever and whenever.

This is perhaps the main reason why otherworld colonies are absolutely essential to continued human survival.
1 / 5 (1) Mar 04, 2019
But population rates are slowing as humans continue to become more civilized. Projections now say the population will flatten out to around 12-14 billion.

So this is not as dire we once thought.
not rated yet Mar 04, 2019
Otto - I found your comment interesting. If we are to depend on other world colonies - would that not mean construction of enclosed spaces - due to the lack of any close cosmological bodies with an atmosphere. So then would it not be easier to construct such closed spaces here on earth? Greater chance of success?

Just musing.
Thorium Boy
1 / 5 (3) Mar 05, 2019
Stop blaming everyone for the actions of Asia and the 3rd world.
4 / 5 (4) Mar 05, 2019
Stop blaming everyone for the actions of Asia and the 3rd world.

What are you talking about? The main culprits in AGW are the USA and Europe.

Asia only started producing CO2 at 1912 USA levels in 1990 and Africa isn't even in the picture.
1 / 5 (1) Mar 05, 2019
Otto - I found your comment interesting. If we are to depend on other world colonies - would that not mean construction of enclosed spaces - due to the lack of any close cosmological bodies with an atmosphere. So then would it not be easier to construct such closed spaces here on earth? Greater chance of success?

Just musing
No youre just baiting as usual. You know I think that terraforming is a waste of time. Ruins a perfectly good planet. Unlimited space can be created underground in discrete cities which can be completely isolated as needed.

Isolation is essential for continued survival.

There is the chance that this was realized decades ago and underground colonies were created on this planet with plowshare nukes and nuke tunnelers. Much circumstantial evidence for instance under the denver airport, military bases, interconnected with tunnels etc.
5 / 5 (2) Mar 05, 2019
No youre just baiting as usual
Stop projecting - we're not all sick like you are. It was a genuine response. So if you don't terraform - then you propose underground cities. Not really sure that is a meaningful distinction - like one way or another you are building a colony - on a planet that does not have an atmosphere. So why not do that on earth - if the intent is to create opportunity for genetic isolation. Would seem to be much more cost effective. No Otto - not baiting. But if you think that is what I am doing - sure best to ignore me - right?
1 / 5 (1) Mar 06, 2019
we're not all sick like you are
-so stop projecting. How often do you wash your hands anyways? OCDs a bitch.
It was a genuine response. So if you don't terraform - then you propose underground cities
Like I've said, millions of people will be living underground on mars for many gens before terraforming becomes possible. Terraforming - all that muck and mud and floods and wind storms and such - will critically endanger their infrastructure.

Machines love mars much more than earth. Rovers designed for 90 days can last 15yrs and more. Terraforming would ruin Martian machines.

YOU think those millions of martians should spend the extra time and effort and money hardening their infrastructure against the possibility that some day they'll have salt water and ice and mold and tornados to deal with. I know they're not going to DO that.

Those millions of martians are not going to let earther carpetbaggers destroy their homes and screw up their planet.
not rated yet Mar 06, 2019
So why not do that on earth
Not possible unless done in secret. Which I think is entirely possible.

Inca priests built macchu Picchu some 60 years before the euro invasion. Why? Because I think they knew what was coming, because they had been sent there centuries earlier to prepare those civilizations for conquest.

This enclave was designed to be completely isolated and self-sufficient which was essential given that euros would be using bio warfare which quickly killed 90% of the population.

Humans have many examples of such enclaves... forbidden cities, monasteries, underground redoubts.

"Around A.D. 1250, seeking refuge from some unknown threat, the Anasazi migrated from open villages to nearly inaccessible dwellings."

-More priestly refugees from the coming euro conquests?

The dangers posed to the species became apparent at about the time technologies became available to build vast underground enclaves. They should be there.
not rated yet Mar 06, 2019
Damn I wish I wish I could edit posts on this android widget.

To be clear I think there was a flurry of worldwide diplomacy which would explain the sudden, near simultaneous rise of the great civilizations. The message was clear - we share your problems and we know how to solve them.

Chronic overpopulation had always plagued the species. With each technological advance, more people would survive to propagate. Conflict and ruination always followed. A great swath from the Sahara to the gobi stripped, deforested, desertified, uninhabitable.

But Leaders had found a Solution. They understood that the people were the true enemies of rulers everywhere, and they knew the best way of defeating them was to turn them against one another in controlled and constructive ways.

Eurasian leaders had known about the americas for millenia. They sent emissaries who taught local rulers how to Manage their people. Bloodthirsty religions, great public works, and ritual warfare ensued.

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