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Nature's backbone at risk
Date:10/26/2010

study represents only a minimum estimate of the true impact of conservation, highlighting that some 9% of threatened species have increasing populations. Their results show that conservation works, given resources and commitment. They also show that global responses will need to be substantially scaled up, because the current level of conservation action is outweighed by the magnitude of threat. In this light, policy-makers at the CBD meeting in Nagoya have been calling for a very significant increase in resources from extremely low current levels - to make the objectives of the Convention achievable.

"This is clear evidence for why we absolutely must emerge from Nagoya with a strategic plan of action to direct our efforts for biodiversity in the coming decade" said Julia Marton-Lefvre, Director General of IUCN. "It is a clarion call for all of us governments, businesses, citizens to mobilize resources and drive the action required. Conservation does work -- but it needs our support, and it needs it fast!"

The paper highlights that the percentage of species threatened among vertebrates ranges from 13% of birds to 41% of amphibians. Although the study focused on vertebrates, it also reports on the levels of threat among several other groups assessed for the IUCN Red List, including14% of seagrasses, 32% of freshwater crayfish, and 33% of reef-building corals.

The level of threat among cycads is extremely critical, with 63% threatened with extinction. Cycads, the most ancient group of seed plants alive today, are subject to extremely high levels of illegal harvesting and trade, and are in danger of going the same way as the dinosaurs.

Recently, a UN-sponsored study called The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) calculated the cost of losing nature at $2-5 trillion per year, predominantly in poorer parts of the world. A recent study found one-fifth of more than 5,000 freshwater species in Africa are threatened, putti
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Contact: Lynne Labanne
lynne.labanne@iucn.org
IUCN
Source:Eurekalert

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