Up to 2 million plant and animal species worldwide are in danger of extinction, a new analysis suggests.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List reports that 19% of European threatened species are at risk of extinction, doubling the United Nations' 2019 estimateof 1 million threatened animal and plant species.
Scientists for the IUCN studied over 14,000 European threatened species, including mammals, reptiles, butterflies, snails, trees, and ferns, and found that the biodiversity decline is attributed to agricultural changes, habitat loss, overharvesting, and pollution.
“This comprehensive analysis of 14,669 continental Red List assessments for European animal and plant species suggests that 2 million plant and animal species are threatened with extinction. This result doubles the latest IPBES assumption of 1 million threatened species,” researchers said in a press release.
Of those species that face the threat of extinction, 27% are plants, 24% are invertebrates, and 18% are vertebrates. The species listed on the Red List in Europe make up almost 10% of the continent's total biodiversity, the report states.
The researchers suggest more action and investment in efforts to protect biodiversity is needed, pointing out that biodiversity is crucial for food, wealth, and the well-being of people in Europe and across the world.
"While the measurement and assessment of biodiversity trends is crucial to guide policy, it is even more important to implement necessary conservation action in a timely manner. We already have enough evidence at hand to act—what we are missing is action," the researchers said.
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