In terms of biodiversity, alerts are frequent about the disappearance of animal or plant species. But the scale of these extinctions, referenced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is vastly underestimated. In any case, this is the hypothesis of an international team of researchers, who estimate, in work published in the journal Biological Reviews and reported by Le Parisien, that “there would not be 0.4% of animal and plant species that have disappeared in the world since the year 1500, but between 7.5 and 13%”, if non-vertebrates were taken into account.
“Applied to all living beings, this represents around 150,000 to 260,000 extinct species”, explains the Natural History Museum, which presents the results of the study this week.
About 3% of known species diversity is made up of vertebrates
According to the researchers, work reporting the disappearance of species has so far relied “mostly on the state of bird and mammal populations”, even though “only about 3% of known species diversity is made up of vertebrates. Thus, the oceans are, for example, less affected than the mainland if land molluscs (snails, slugs, etc.) are taken into account. Last July, recalls Le Parisien, the IUCN also alarmed on the fact that 11% of terrestrial molluscs were endangered.
In recent years, the most dramatic remains the loss of marshes, swamps and wild rivers, which in particular leads to a decline in dragonflies on an international scale. These very precious ecosystems are disappearing three times faster than forests.