Last updated October 10, 2018

Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines

  • Analyzes the numbers and degrees of range contraction using a sample of 27,600 vertebrate species, and on a more detailed analysis documenting the population extinctions between 1900 and 2015 in 177 mammal species
  • Finds that the rate of population loss in terrestrial vertebrates is extremely high—even in “species of low concern"
  • Finds that 32% of species sampled have decreased in population size and range
  • Results show that all 177 mammals for which the authors have detailed data have lost 30% or more of their geographic ranges
  • Data indicate that beyond global species extinctions Earth is experiencing a huge episode of population declines and extirpations, which will have negative cascading consequences on ecosystem functioning and services vital to sustaining civilization
  • Describes this as a “biological annihilation” to highlight the current magnitude of Earth’s ongoing sixth major extinction event