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Extinction study finds that truly intact natural areas even rarer than previously estimated

Last month, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) released a summary of its extensive research on threats to global biodiversity, finding that species are disappearing more quickly now that at any other point in human history. Some 1 million species of plants and animals are currently facing extinction, according to the report, and that has serious implications for the future of human well-being.

According to the IPBES report, the number of terrestrial species on Earth has declined by 20 percent, primarily over the past 120 years. A study published in the journal Frontiers In Forests And Global Change last week largely supports the conclusions of the IPBES report, determining that there is less intact habitat harboring its original community of life than has previously been estimated. And the authors of the study say their findings show that methods used to determine the most important areas for wildlife conservation using remote sensing and global datasets may not be accurately assessing faunal intactness.

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