1 Million Species Are At Risk Of Extinction — Here’s Why It Matters

Earth’s plants and animals are disappearing, and quickly.

At least 680 species with backbones have already gone extinct, and up to 1 million species are at risk of extinction — many of them within decades — according to a report released by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

The report, which is based on a review of 15,000 academic papers and government documents, warns that activities like farming, logging, poaching, fishing and mining are altering nature at a rate “unprecedented in human history.”

Over the past century, the average abundance of plant and animal life has fallen by 20% or more. And, the report says, unless nations undertake drastic conservation efforts, the rate of species extinction will only accelerate through 2050.

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Originally published May 17, 2019.

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