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Causes of Biodiversity Loss

A recent review of natural science studies—those published since 2005—has sought to identify the top drivers of biodiversity loss. The systematic review was part of the global assessment report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Most of the studies reviewed did not cover impacts before 1970, with 1983 being the median start year. Here are some of the research team’s key findings:

Biodiversity Loss Causes
  1. The number one cause of global biodiversity loss was “land/sea use change,” also known as converting natural forests and grasslands to intensive agriculture and livestock usage.

  2. Coming in a close second was “direct exploitation” of wildlife via fishing, hunting, trade, and logging.

  3. Loss due to pollution was ranked in third place.

  4. In fourth place and “significantly” below the top three was climate change.

  5. Coming in fifth was biodiversity loss caused by invasive species.



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