Extinction rates are overestimated: study

Habitat loss does not play as great a role in extinction as thought

A new study published in the journal Nature shows that scientists are overestimating extinction rates and the role of habitat loss on species. While maintaining that habitat loss is still the primary threat to biodiversity, co-authors Professor Stephen Hubbell, from the University of California, and Professor Fangliang He, from Sun Yat-sen University in China, maintain that current measurement methods are flawed, and present figures overestimate extinction rates by up to 160 per cent. “The area that must be added to find individual of a species is, in general, much smaller than the area that must be removed to eliminate the last individual of a species,” Hubbell and Fangliang write. “Therefore, on average, it takes a much greater loss of area to cause the extinction of a species.”

BBC News