Letter | Published:

Global habitat loss and extinction risk of terrestrial vertebrates under future land-use-change scenarios

Nature Climate Change (2019) | Download Citation

Abstract

Habitat transformations caused by human land-use change are considered major drivers of ongoing biodiversity loss1,2,3, and their impact on biodiversity is expected to increase further this century4,5,6. Here, we used global decadal land-use projections to year 2070 for a range of shared socioeconomic pathways, which are linked to particular representative concentration pathways, to evaluate potential losses in range-wide suitable habitat and extinction risks for approximately 19,400 species of amphibians, birds and mammals. Substantial declines in suitable habitat are identified for species worldwide, with approximately 1,700 species expected to become imperilled due to land-use change alone. National stewardship for species highlights certain South American, Southeast Asian and African countries that are in particular need of proactive conservation planning. These geographically explicit projections and model workflows embedded in the Map of Life infrastructure are provided to facilitate the scrutiny, improvements and future updates needed for an ongoing and readily updated assessment of changing biodiversity. These forward-looking assessments and informatics tools are intended to support national conservation action and policies for addressing climate change and land-use change impacts on biodiversity.

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Data availability

The data supporting the findings of this study are available in the Supplementary information and at the Map of Life website (https://mol.org).

Additional information

Journal peer review information: Nature Climate Change thanks Richard Corlett and other anonymous reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to A. Ranipeta and J. Malczyk for support on Google Earth Engine analytics, informatics workflows and web visualizations. We also thank R. Alkemade, J. Hilbers, M.E. Andrew, T. Brichieri-Colombi, V. Lukasik and members of the Jetz Lab at Yale for sharing data, input and feedback. This research was supported by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada grant to R.P.P. and grants no. NSF DEB 1441737, DBI 1262600, DEB 1558568, NASA NNX11AP72G to W.J. Both authors acknowledge support from the Yale Center for Biodiversity and Global Change.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA

    • Ryan P. Powers
    •  & Walter Jetz

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Contributions

W.J. and R.P.P. conceived the study. R.P.P. performed the analysis. W.J. analysed the results. W.J. and R.P.P. wrote the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Walter Jetz.

Supplementary information

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    Supplementary Tables 1–6

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-019-0406-z