| Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Dec 20;102(51):18497-501. Epub 2005 Dec 12. Related Articles, Links |
Pinpointing and preventing imminent extinctions.
Ricketts TH, Dinerstein E, Boucher T, Brooks TM, Butchart SH, Hoffmann M, Lamoreux JF, Morrison J, Parr M, Pilgrim JD, Rodrigues AS, Sechrest W, Wallace GE, Berlin K, Bielby J, Burgess ND, Church DR, Cox N, Knox D, Loucks C, Luck GW, Master LL, Moore R, Naidoo R, Ridgely R, Schatz GE, Shire G, Strand H, Wettengel W, Wikramanayake E.
Conservation Science Program, World Wildlife Fund, Washington, DC 20037, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
PMID: 16344485 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]