Biodiversity loss is a major global challenge and minimizing extinction rates is the goal of several multilateral environmental agreements. Policy decisions require comprehensive, spatially explicit information on species’ distributions and threats. We present an analysis of the conservation status of 14,669 European terrestrial, freshwater and marine species (ca. 10% of the continental fauna and flora), including all vertebrates and selected groups of invertebrates and plants. Our results reveal that 19% of European species are threatened with extinction, with higher extinction risks for plants (27%) and invertebrates (24%) compared to vertebrates (18%). These numbers exceed recent IPBES (Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) assumptions of extinction risk. Changes in agricultural practices and associated habitat loss, overharvesting, pollution and development are major threats to biodiversity. Maintaining and restoring sustainable land and water use practices is crucial to minimize future biodiversity declines.

Public Library of Science (PLoS)

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Staff publications

Hochkirch, Axel, Bilz, Melanie, Ferreira, Catarina C., Danielczak, Anja, Allen, David, Nieto, Ana, … Zuna-Kratky, Thomas. (2023). A multi-taxon analysis of European Red Lists reveals major threats to biodiversity. PLOS ONE, 18(11), e0293083–e0293083. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0293083