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Science News: The state of biodiversity in 2020

– G.A., Senior Editor

The turn of a new decade provides us with an excellent opportunity to assess our current position and consider how we arrived where we are. However, rather than look at ourselves, let’s look at the state of the biodiversity within our world.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which manages the Red List of Threatened Species, a total of 467 species were declared extinct between 2010 and 2019. Furthermore, a global assessment conducted by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, reported that 1 million species are currently at risk of being lost to extinction, many within only a few decades. As we enter the 2020s, extinction of species from all classes of life, from mammals to plants, is occurring at a rate that greatly exceeds the average over the last 10 million years..

A report published by the World Wide Fund for Nature identified several important threats to the Earth’s biodiversity. For example, the report mentions changes in the use of land (for example, increasing conversion of forest for agricultural uses), climate change, and damage caused by invasive species.

While addressing all of the threats to biodiversity can feel like a daunting task, by identifying at-risk and the factors that threaten them, it becomes possible to take steps that can benefit not only individual species, but entire ecosystems and all the species that reside in them.

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