"Our projections indicate that, by 2100, up to 14 percent of all bird species may be extinct and that as many as one out of four may be functionally extinct-that is, critically endangered or extinct in the wild," said researcher Cagan H. Sekercioglu of the Stanford Center for Conservation Biology (CCB) and lead author of the PNAS study. "Important ecosystem processes, particularly decomposition, pollination and seed dispersal, will likely decline as a result."
These findings come on the heels of the November 2004 Global Species Assessment by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), which found that 12 percent of all bird species are already threatened with extinction, along with nearly one-fourth of the world's mammals, one-third of the amphibians and 42 percent of all turtles and tortoises.
"Even though only 1.3 percent of bird species have gone extinct since 1500, the global number of individual birds is estimated to have experienced a 20 to 25 percent reduction during the same period," wrote Sekercioglu and CCB co-authors Gretchen C. Daily and Paul R. Ehrlich. "Given the momentum of climate change, widespread habitat loss and increasing numbers of invasive species, avian declines and extinctions are predicted to continue unabated in the near future."
The study was based on a painstaking analysis of all 9,787 living and 129 extinct bird species. Eight researchers spent a year collecting data on the conservation, distribution, e
Contact: Mark Shwartz