THE SCIENCE IS CLEAR

Conservation experts around the world are sounding the alarm. The biodiversity crisis is here with grave implications for species and for people in the United States and beyond.​ (Sources)

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Ivory-billed Woodpecker, a species driven extinct - lost forever - because of habitat destruction from land-use change. Audubon painting, public domain.

Nature is in Decline

Here are the facts:

  • One million species at risk of extinction

  • 3/4 of the Earth's land surface and 2/3 of oceans significantly modified by people

  • The biomass of mammals has declined by 87%

  • The extent of coral reefs has declined by over 50%

  • Nearly 3 billion birds have been lost from North America since 1970

  • ...and many other signs of decline.

Five Major Threats

The decline of biodiversity and nature's benefits to people are driven by five major threats:

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Image by Esther Tuttle

We often take nature's benefits for granted, such as the solitude it offers for contemplation and spirituality.

Nature's Benefits to People

From wetlands filtering our waters to pollination of the food we eat, to the basic enjoyment of the outdoors, people depend on nature to provide a wide array of benefits. In North America, nature's benefit to people has been estimated at nearly $9 trillion per year, or about $25,000 per person per year. 

Land-use change like deforestation is the leading threat to biodiversity and nature's benefits to people.

We Need Transformative Change

While the data are clear that the biodiversity crisis is real and happening now, scientists agree that now is the time to act. We need transformative change to human systems - from transportation to food and more - to ensure sustainable development and biodiversity conservation.

Image by Pamela Heckel
 

Scientific Sources

The scale and scope of the biodiversity crisis is described by thousands of reports, scientific papers, and indigenous knowledge. Here we gather some of the key sources that inform the need for a National Biodiversity Strategy for the United States. You can also read the scientists' letter calling for the Strategy.