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Habitat loss poses the greatest threat khổng lồ species. The world"s forests, swamps, plains, lakes, & other habitats continue lớn disappear as they are harvested for human consumption và cleared khổng lồ make way for agriculture, housing, roads, pipelines và the other hallmarks of industrial development. Without a strong plan khổng lồ create terrestrial & marine protected areas important ecological habitats will continue to lớn be lost.

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Habitat loss is probably the greatest threat khổng lồ the variety of life on this planet today.It is identified as a main threat khổng lồ 85% of all species described in the IUCN"s Red menu (those species officially classified as "Threatened" và "Endangered").Increasing food production is a major agent for the conversion of natural habitat into agricultural land.Why is it happening?Forest loss & degradation is mostly caused by the expansion of agricultural land, intensive harvesting of timber, wood for fuel and other forest products, as well as overgrazing.High land conversion ratesThe net loss in global forest area during the 1990s was about 94 million ha (equivalent khổng lồ 2.4% of total forests). It is estimated that in the 1990s, almost 70% of deforested areas were converted to agricultural land.Around half of the world"s original forests have disappeared, & they are still being removed at a rate 10x higher than any possible level of regrowth. As tropical forests contain at least half the Earth"s species, the clearance of some 17 million hectares each year is a dramatic loss.Coastal & marine areasHuman impact on terrestrial and marine natural resources results in marine và coastal degradation. Population growth, urbanization, industrialization & tourism are all factors.In 1994, it was estimated that 37% of the global population lived within 60 km of the coast. Poverty, consumption và land-use patterns contribute to lớn the degradation of marine habitats & to the destruction of the species that rely on them khổng lồ survive.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Australia, is a network of fully protected areas within a larger protected area, designed lớn protect all habitats in the region.

Protected areas are one of the most effective tools for conserving species and natural habitats. They also contribute to lớn the livelihoods and well-being of local communities và society at large.For example, well-planned và well-managed protected areas can help khổng lồ safeguard freshwater và food supplies, reduce poverty, và reduce the impacts of natural disasters. 


Although recent government figures in Brazil show a reduction in the rate of deforestation this year in the Amazon, burning rainforest to lớn create pastureland for ranching & other agricultural activities continues. Amazon, Brazil.

Our planet now faces a global extinction crisis never witnessed by humankind. Scientists predict that more than 1 million species are on track for extinction in the coming decades.

But there’s still time to halt this crisis — and we need your help. By taking part in our Saving Life on Earth campaign, you can help build a coast-to-coast network to lớn ensure the United States is a leader in saving the world’s biodiversity.

You can alsoread our planto confront this emergency. It’s full of bold, life-changing initiatives including a gọi for a $100-billion investment in endangered species and protection of 30% of our lands and ocean waters by 2030 and một nửa by 2050.

Tell President Biden khổng lồ make the U.S. A leader in fighting extinction.

Why Is This So Important?

Each time a species goes extinct, the world around us unravels a bit. The consequences are profound, not just in those places & for those species but for all of us. These are tangible consequential losses, such as crop pollination and water purification, but also spiritual & cultural ones.

Although often obscured by the noise & rush of modern life, people retain deep emotional connections lớn the wild world. Wildlife and plants have inspired our histories, mythologies, languages & how we view the world. The presence of wildlife brings joy và enriches us all — và each extinction makes our trang chủ a lonelier và colder place for us và future generations.

The current extinction crisis is entirely of our own making. More than a century of habitat destruction, pollution, the spread of invasive species, overharvest from the wild, climate change, population growth and other human activities have pushed nature to the brink. Addressing the extinction crisis will require leadership — especially from the United States — alongside bold, courageous, far-reaching initiatives that attack this emergency at its root.

Among the most critical steps is the 30x30 campaign, which will protect wildlife places và wildlife habitat, including oceans, rivers, forests, deserts and swamps.

Specifically President Biden must support a plan that …

Declares the global extinction crisis to be a national emergency and commits $100 billion khổng lồ saving the diversity of life on Earth. Creates 175 parks, refuges và monuments khổng lồ build toward protecting 30% of lands & waters by 2030 and half by 2050, a campaign known as 30x30. Immediately provides $10 billion to save corals around the world, $10 billion khổng lồ save neotropical birds in the western hemisphere, và $10 billion to lớn combat the dangerous international wildlife trade. Restores the full power of the Endangered Species Act & quickly moves to protect all species that are endangered but not yet on the endangered species list. Makes dramatic cuts in pollution và plastics, increases efforts to stem wildlife exploitation & invasive species, & restores the U.S. Leadership role in developing a global strategy for addressing wildlife extinctions.

Unlike past mass extinctions, caused by events like asteroid strikes, volcanic eruptions, và natural climate shifts, the current crisis is almost entirely caused byus— humans. In fact, 99 percent of currently threatened species are at risk from human activities, primarily those driving habitat loss, introduction of exotic species, andglobal warming<3>. Because the rate of change in our biosphere is increasing, and because every species" extinction potentially leads khổng lồ the extinction of others bound khổng lồ that species in a complex ecological web, numbers of extinctions are likely to lớn snowball in the coming decades as ecosystems unravel.

Species diversity ensures ecosystem resilience, giving ecological communities the scope they need lớn withstand stress. Thus while conservationists often justifiably focus their efforts on species-rich ecosystems lượt thích rainforests andcoral reefs— which have a lot to thua — a comprehensive strategy for saving biodiversity must also include habitat types with fewer species, lượt thích grasslands, tundra, và polar seas — for which any loss could be irreversibly devastating. Và while much concern over extinction focuses on globally lost species, most of biodiversity"s benefits take place at a local level, and conserving local populations is the only way lớn ensure genetic diversity critical for a species" long-term survival.

In the past 500 years, we know of approximately 1,000 species that have gone extinct, from the woodland bison of West Virginia và Arizona"s Merriam"s elk to lớn the Rocky Mountain grasshopper,passenger pigeonand Puerto Rico"s Culebra parrot— but this doesn"t trương mục for thousands of species that disappeared before scientists had a chance to lớn describe them <4>. Nobody really knows how many species are in danger of becoming extinct. Noted conservation scientist David Wilcove estimates that there are 14,000 to 35,000 endangered species in the United States, which is 7 to 18 percent of U.S. Flora and fauna. The IUCN has assessed roughly 3 percent of described species và identified 16,928 species worldwide as being threatened with extinction, or roughly 38 percent of those assessed. In its latest four-year endangered species assessment, the IUCN reports that the world won"t meet a goal of reversing the extinction trend toward species depletion by 2010 <5>.

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What"s clear is that many thousands of species are at risk of disappearing forever in the coming decades.

Every Taxon Is in Trouble

AMPHIBIANS No group of animals has a higher rate of endangerment than amphibians. Scientists estimate that a third or more of all the roughly 6,300 known species of amphibians are at risk of extinction <6>. Frogs, toads, và salamanders are disappearing because of habitat loss, water và air pollution, climate change, ultraviolet light exposure, introduced exotic species, & disease. Because of their sensitivity khổng lồ environmental changes, vanishing amphibians should be viewed as the canary in the global coal mine, signaling subtle yet radical ecosystem changes that could ultimately claim many other species, including humans.
BIRDS Birds occur in nearly every habitat on the planet and are often the most visible và familiar wildlife lớn people across the globe. As such, they provide an important bellwether for tracking changes khổng lồ the biosphere. Declining bird populations across most to lớn all habitats confirm that profound changes are occurring on our planet in response to human activities. A 2009 report on the state of birds in the United States found that 251 (31 percent) of the 800 species in the country are of conservation concern <7>. Globally, Bird
Life International estimates that 12 percent of known 9,865 bird species are now considered threatened, with 192 species, or 2 percent, facing an “extremely high risk” of extinction in the wild — two more species than in 2008. Habitat loss & degradation have caused most of the bird declines, but the impacts of invasive species & capture by collectors play a big role, too.
FISH Increasing demand for water, the damming of rivers throughout the world, the dumping & accumulation of various pollutants, & invasive species make aquatic ecosystems some of the most threatened on the planet; thus, it"s not surprising that there are many fish species that are endangered in both freshwater and marine habitats. The American Fisheries Society identified 700 species of freshwater or anadromous fish in North America as being imperiled, amounting to 39 percent of all such fish on the continent <8>. In North American marine waters, at least 82 fish species are imperiled. Across the globe, 1,851 species of fish — 21 percent of all fish species evaluated — were deemed at risk of extinction by the IUCN in 2010, including more than a third of sharks và rays.
INVERTEBRATES Invertebrates, from butterflies to lớn mollusks to lớn earthworms to corals, are vastly diverse — and though no one knows just how many invertebrate species exist, they"re estimated to account for about 97 percent of the total species of animals on Earth <9>. Of the 1.3 million known invertebrate species, the IUCN has evaluated about 9,526 species, with about 30 percent of the species evaluated at risk of extinction. Freshwater invertebrates are severely threatened by water pollution, groundwater withdrawal, & water projects, while a large number of invertebrates of notable scientific significance have become either endangered or extinct due khổng lồ deforestation, especially because of the rapid destruction of tropical rainforests. In the ocean, reef-building corals are declining at an alarming rate: 2008"s first-ever comprehensive global assessment of these animals revealed that a third of reef-building corals are threatened.
MAMMALS Perhaps one of the most striking elements of the present extinction crisis is the fact that the majority of our closest relatives — the primates — are severely endangered. About 90 percent of primates — the group that contains monkeys, lemurs, lorids, galagos, tarsiers, và apes (as well as humans) — live in tropical forests, which are fast disappearing. The IUCN estimates that almost 50 percent of the world"s primate species are at risk of extinction. Overall, the IUCN estimates that half the globe"s 5,491 known mammals are declining in population and a fifth are clearly at risk of disappearing forever with no less than 1,131 mammals across the globe classified as endangered, threatened, or vulnerable. In addition to primates, marine mammals — including several species of whales, dolphins, và porpoises — are among those mammals slipping most quickly toward extinction.
PLANTSThrough photosynthesis, plants provide the oxygen we breathe và the food we eat & are thus the foundation of most life on Earth. They"re also the source of a majority of medicines in use today. Of the more than 300,000 known species of plants, the IUCN has evaluated only 12,914 species, finding that about 68 percent of evaluated plant species are threatened with extinction. Unlike animals, plants can"t readily move as their habitat is destroyed, making them particularly vulnerable khổng lồ extinction. Indeed, one study found that habitat destruction leads to lớn an “extinction debt,” whereby plants that appear dominant will disappear over time because they aren"t able khổng lồ disperse to lớn new habitat patches <10>. Global warming is likely to substantially exacerbate this problem. Already, scientists say, warming temperatures are causing quick and dramatic changes in the range và distribution of plants around the world. With plants making up the backbone of ecosystems and the base of the food chain, that"s very bad news for all species, which depend on plants for food, shelter, & survival.
REPTILES Globally, 21 percent of the total evaluated reptiles in the world are deemed endangered or vulnerable khổng lồ extinction by the IUCN — 594 species — while in the United States, 32 reptile species are at risk, about 9 percent of the total. Island reptile species have been dealt the hardest blow, with at least 28 island reptiles having died out since 1600. But scientists say that island-style extinctions are creeping onto the mainlands because human activities fragment continental habitats, creating “virtual islands” as they isolate species from one another, preventing interbreeding và hindering populations" health. The main threats khổng lồ reptiles are habitat destruction and the invasion of nonnative species, which prey on reptiles & compete with them for habitat và food.