Climate change is an increasingly significant driver of that loss, according to a separate analysis
published in Science
in May. University of Connecticut ecologist Mark Urban, who reviewed 131 studies predicting the effects of warming on plants and animals, found that extinction risk accelerates with every degree of temperature rise, as habitats become uninhabitable. If greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, he says, by 2099, 1 in 6 species will face the prospect of extinction.
Living in a world with fewer species creates a human crisis as well as an ecological one, researchers warn. Biodiversity is essential for human health, economies, food production and cultures, notes Paul Ehrlich, co-author of the Science Advances study. “We’re sawing off the limb that we are sitting on.”