One Million Animal And Plant Species Are At Risk For Extinction – Half-Earth

This podast originally aired on Science Friday on May 10, 2019

Walter Jetz, professor in ecology and evolutionary biology at Yale University, joins Ira to discuss why the damage we do to biodiversity in our lifetimes may never be undone.

SciFri · One Million Species Are At Risk For Extinction

According to a new UN report on global biodiversity, as many as one million species—both plants and animals—are now at risk of extinction, according to a new UN report on global biodiversity. That number includes 40% of all amphibian species, 33% of corals, and around 10% of insects.

One might assume that this type of devastating species loss could only come as a result of one thing—climate change. But in fact, as the report highlights illustrate, it’s deforestation, changes in land and sea use, hunting, poaching, pollution, invasive species—in short, human interventions—that are causing species to disappear at a rate tens to hundreds of times higher than what has been seen over the last 10 million years.

Plus, amphibians are sometimes thought of as the “canary in the coal mine” when it comes to a biodiversity crisis—they are affected by rising global temperatures, deforestation, and invasive fungal diseases. A new study by Dr. Jetz and his team published in Current Biology this week reports that over 1,000 amphibian species have been newly assessed as threatened or endangered.

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