Human land use will put 1,700 species at greater risk of extinction by 2070, say Yale University ecologists, as animal habitats shrink under human demand for natural resources.
In a new study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, scientists looked at the distribution of about 19,400 species worldwide and analyzed how their habitat would change under four likely land use scenarios, taking into account developments in global society, demographics, and economics.
The research shows about 1,700 species will lose roughly 30-50% of their present habitat over the next 50 years, increasing their likelihood of extinction. According to Quartz, familiar names like monarch butterflies, red-crowned cranes, bearcats, and Siamese crocodiles are among those likely to be lost.
Species in Central and East Africa, Mesoamerica, South America, and Southeast Asia will be the most affected, but the cause and effect of land use are closer to home than one might think.
“While biodiversity erosion in far-away parts of the planet may not seem to affect us directly, its consequences for human livelihood can reverberate globally,” said Walter Jetz, co-author of the study, in a statement. “It is also often the far-away demand that drives these losses—think tropical hardwoods, palm oil, or soybeans—thus making us all co-responsible.”
The study’s data was added to the interactive Map of Life, which allows users to see how a species’ habitat changes depending on different scenarios.
Other recent reports say humans are also hunting the world’s largest animals to extinction. Moreover, the effects of man-made climate change has already led to the extinction of at least one mammal: a small brown rat called the Bramble Cay melomys was determined to be the first mammalian victim of climate change just last month.