Wild areas halve extinction risk for plants, invertebrates

Biologists have found that the lands around Coyote Gulch in Utah are a hotspot for pollinators.
©Lindsey Wilson

Plants and invertebrates are twice as likely to survive on undeveloped lands, according to a recent study in Nature. Dividing the earth’s land surface into square-kilometer grids, researchers found that, not counting Antarctica, 20 percent of the land mass consisted of lands undisturbed by human activities. After filling in the known ranges of 400,000 plants and invertebrates, they estimated the extinction risk for each. Species in undisturbed landscapes had a 2.1% chance of extinction within the next several decades, compared to a 5.6% chance for species on impacted lands. “That finding suggests wildlands do indeed serve as a buffer against extinction,” Science writes.

Read more here, or read the study in Nature.