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The Oregon State University Sustainability Blog

Rain Forest Conservation and Wildlife on the Brink of Extinction

July 24th, 2017

Golden Conure. (Photo: David Ellis)

Last week, Nick Houtman wrote an article about the correlation between forest habitat loss and the increased risk of wildlife extinction. Matthew Betts, a College of Forestry professor at Oregon State University, and Christopher Wolf, an OSU Ph.D student in forest ecosystems and statistics, were two of the eight co-authors of the Nature article, “Global Forest Loss Disproportionately Erodes Biodiversity in Intact Landscapes”.

Forest data was collected by Matthew Hansen at the University of Maryland. The data showed that up to 371 million acres of forest areas are being destroyed per year. Almost half of the global forest loss occurs in South American rain forests. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists 19,432 vertebrate species that are at the risk of extinction.

Betts states that “it’s obvious that forest loss increases the risk of species being listed, but our work provides the first global quantitative link between forest loss and forest species decline.” Researchers are wondering if our conservation efforts should be focused on forests that are already destroyed or on those that are just beginning to be impacted.

It’s no secret that humans are one of the leading causes of deforestation, but evidence shows that humans can co-exist with nature only if we focus on wildlife and rain forest conservation, and reduce the use of natural resources, pollution, etc.

What other ways do you think we could implement in order to protect the environment? Let us know in the comments below!

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