Current mass extinction event first since age of the dinosaurs

Scientists say Earth is undergoing its first mass extinction event, the first in 65 million years, and could be considered only the sixth in the last half-a-billion years.

The Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) will soon unveil a study aimed at gauging the planet’s health in terms of animal and plant species.

Here’s a depressing rundown of already available biodiversity information from the WWF Living Planet Report, IUCN Red List, PLOS Biology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity and United Nations Environment Program:

The planet’s 3,706 monitored vertebrates – amphibians, birds, fish, mammals and reptiles – decreased 60 percent from 1970 to 2012. There are an estimated 8.7 million plant and animal species on our planet. Eighty-six percent of land species and 91 percent of sea species remain undiscovered.

25,821 species of 91,523 on the “Red List” are now classified as threatened. Of the total, 11,783 are threatened, 8,455 are endangered and 5,583 are critically endangered.

Estimated deforestation and forest degradation could be as high as $4.5 trillion in economic loss.

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