Climate change has transformed and degraded habitats and ecosystems — places where animals have spent millions of years adapting — and now, plant and animal species are disappearing faster than at any time in recorded historyEmaciated grizzly bears are starving as the salmon population withers, and a warming Arctic is to blame for a die-off of puffins. According to a UN report on biodiversity, one million animals and plants face extinction due to climate change.

In 2019, animals and plants in the U.S. faced a new and local challenge. Although the Endangered Species Act (passed in 1973) had been credited with saving more than 99% of species listed on it, the Trump administration finalized sweeping rollbacks that weakened protections dramatically. In response, 17 state attorneys general sued, , a bill was filed in the House to revoke the rollbacks, and activists delivered more than 500,000 petition signatures supporting the Endangered Species Act. The Trump Administration decided to add insult to injury and, on October 2019, passed an executive order to disband two federal advisory boards focused on protecting marine life and battling invasive species. In June 2021, under the Biden administration, plans changed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service moving to undo much of the Trump administration’s work that altered the ways habitats of plants and animals on the verge of extinction are kept from total collapse.


Where Walruses Go When Sea Ice Is Gone

By Carolyn Kormann 11/21/22
n 2018, in the Siberian Arctic, the filmmakers Evgenia Arbugaeva and Maxim Arbugaev, who are sister and brother, arrived on a strange beach. “The sand was of dark colour, full of bones, and smelled terrible,”…
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Major New Zealand salmon producer shuts farms as warming waters cause mass die-offs

By Tess McClure 05/26/22
New Zealand’s biggest king salmon farmer says it is shutting some of its farms after warming seas prompted mass die-offs of fish, warning that it is a “canary in the coalmine” for climate change.
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These whales are on the brink. Now comes climate change — and wind power.

By Dino Grandoni 04/21/22
About 17 nautical miles south of Nantucket, a half-dozen New England Aquarium researchers scrambled across this vessel’s icy deck. Clutching binoculars, clipboards and cameras, they strained to catch a glimpse and scribble notes about a…
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California conservationists and farmers unite to protect salmon

By Daniel Trotta and Nathan Frandino 02/10/22
In an experiment a decade in the making, biologists are releasing hatchery salmon onto flooded Northern California rice fields, seeking to replenish endangered fish species while simultaneously benefiting the farmers' business model.
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The Most Important Global Meeting You’ve Probably Never Heard Of Is Now

By Catrin Einhorn 10/14/21
As 20,000 government leaders, journalists, activists and celebrities from around the world prepare to descend on Glasgow for a crucial climate summit starting late this month, another high-level international environmental meeting got started this week.…
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Protected Too Late: U.S. Officials Report More Than 20 Extinctions

By Catrin Einhorn 10/04/21
The ivory-billed woodpecker, which birders have been seeking in the bayous of Arkansas, is gone forever, according to federal officials. So is the Bachman’s warbler, a yellow-breasted songbird that once migrated between the Southeastern United…
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Potential Consequence of Plant Extinction in the United States on the Current and Future Availability of Prescription Drug

By Norman R. Farnsworth And Djaja Doel Soejarto 09/23/21
All drugs used by humans are derived by synthesis, from inorganic chemicals, or from living organisms. Those obtained from living organisms are derived from plants, microorganisms, or animals. This paper addresses only drugs obtained from…
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Why Are Some Plants Rare?

Some plants are naturally rare, and the cause may be a mystery. These rare plants are not necessarily in danger of extinction. If their habitat is secure and they continue to reproduce in the wild,…
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Almost 600 plants have already gone extinct

New study from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Stockholm University looks at the plants that have been wiped from the planet in the last 250 years
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Philanthropists pledge $5 billion to save threatened species

By Steven Mufson 09/22/21
The Wyss Foundation and eight other philanthropic organizations pledged Wednesday to give $5 billion by 2030 to protect biodiversity around the planet, the largest-ever private gift for conservation.
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4 ways the climate crisis is causing animals to ‘shapeshift’

By Tara Yarlagadda 09/16/21
The climate crisis is taking an enormous toll not only on our species but also on our animal friends. Scientific evidence shows animals have adapted to the stressors of the climate crisis in various ways,…
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Nearly 30% of tree species in the wild are threatened with extinction, new report says

By Anmar Frangoul 09/01/21
Almost 30% of tree species in the wild are now at risk of extinction, with a wide range of factors responsible for their decline, according to analysis released Wednesday.Published by Botanic Gardens Conservation International, the…
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Biodiversity at Risk

A growing body of evidence has sounded the alarm that the biodiversity that supports and sustains life on Earth is at risk. Habitat destruction, resource exploitation, and climate change are among the many stressors that…

Manage Wildlife for Climate Change Resilience

Altered climate conditions have already been linked to changes in wildlife distribution, reproduction and behavior. As temperatures continue to warm and precipitation patterns shift, these fluctuations will continue. Enhancing connectivity and “conserving the stage” are…

Climate Change

Climate change is quickly becoming the biggest threat to the long-term survival of America’s wildlife. No longer is climate change something only facing future generations—changes to our climate are being documented all across the planet…

Combating Climate Change

Climate change is among the greatest threats to biodiversity on our planet. It is already having devastating effects on both human and natural communities. Extreme weather events like heat waves, intense storms and prolonged droughts…

The projected timing of abrupt ecological disruption from climate change

As anthropogenic climate change continues the risks to biodiversity will increase over time, with future projections indicating that a potentially catastrophic loss of global biodiversity is on the horizon1–3. However, our understanding of when and…

Global assessment Experts

Please scroll down to view the list of experts

What is mass extinction and are we facing a sixth one?

Human activity is killing nature at an unprecedented rate. We are now experiencing the consequences in the form of a possible sixth mass extinction.

Ecosystems, Biodiversity, and Ecosystem Services

Impacts of climate change on ecosystems reduce their ability to improve water quality and regulate water flows. Rapid changes to ecosystems may cause the displacement or loss of many species. Timing of critical biological events…


Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO) is the flagship publication of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). It is a periodic report that summarizes the latest data on the status and trends of biodiversity and draws conclusions…

Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines

The strong focus on species extinctions, a critical aspect of the contemporary pulse of biological extinction, leads to a common misimpression that Earth’s biota is not immediately threa

Living Planet Report 2020

Bending the curve of biodiversity loss.

Defenders of Wildlife

Defenders works on the ground, in the courts, and on Capitol Hill to protect and restore imperiled wildlife across North America and around the world. Together, we can ensure a future for the wildlife and…

National Wildlife Federation

The National Wildlife Federation, America's largest and most trusted conservation organization, works across the country to unite Americans from all walks of life in giving wildlife a voice. We've been on the front lines for…

Center for Biological Diversity

The Center for Biological Diversity (Center), based in Tucson, Arizona, is a nonprofit membership organization with approximately 1.1 million members and online activists, known for its work protecting endangered species through legal action, scientific petitions,…


North America has lost 3 billion birds in 50 years

By Karin Brulliard   09/19/19  
Slowly, steadily and almost imperceptibly, North America’s bird population is dwindling.
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Birds Are Vanishing From North America

By Carl Zimmer   09/19/19  
The number of birds in the United States and Canada has declined by 3 billion, or 29 percent, over the past half-century, scientists find.
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The Crisis for Birds Is a Crisis for Us All

By John W. Fitzpatrick and Peter P. Marra   09/19/19  
Nearly one-third of the wild birds in the United States and Canada have vanished since 1970, a staggering loss that suggests the very fabric of North America’s ecosystem is unraveling.
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USDA will resume honeybee survey suspended this summer

By Sam Fossum   09/13/19  
The US Department of Agriculture will resume data collection for its annual Honey Bee Colonies report on October 1 -- the start of a new fiscal year -- after suspending the survey earlier this summer…
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As the climate changes, so will the places birds need

Audubon scientists took advantage of 140 million observations, recorded by birders and scientists, to describe where 604 North American bird species live today—an area known as their “range.” They then used the latest climate models…
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Insect ‘apocalypse’ in U.S. driven by 50x increase in toxic pesticides

By Stephen Leahy   08/06/19  
America’s agricultural landscape is now 48 times more toxic to honeybees, and likely other insects, than it was 25 years ago, almost entirely due to widespread use of so-called neonicotinoid pesticides, according to a new…
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The animals that will survive climate change

By Christine Ro   08/05/19  
With one in every four species facing extinction, which animals are the best equipped to survive the climate crisis?
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Climate change will cause massive movement of wildlife, study says

By Jessica Meszaros   07/15/19  
A new study describes the future mass redistribution of plants and animals on Earth due to climate change...
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As wolverines battle to survive, warming poses a new threat

By Douglas H. Chadwick   07/11/19  
By the end of the century, the small, fierce carnivores of the north could lose most of their habitat south of Canada because of climate change.
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Iguanas spread in Florida as climate warms: ‘They’re a menace’

By Lori Rozsa   07/02/19  
The first time he saw iguanas on his roof last winter, Bob Lugari was enchanted. He had recently moved from California to South Florida, and the bright green lizards seemed to fit right into the…
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Scientists ‘thunderstruck’ after Arctic fox walks to Canada from Norway in 76 days

By Emma Snaith   07/02/19  
A young Arctic fox left researchers "thunderstruck" after it walked hundreds of miles across the ice from Norway’s Svalbard islands to northern Canada in a record 76 days.
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Mass Die-Off of Puffins Raises More Fears About Arctic’s Warming Climate

By Sabrina Shankman   05/29/19  
The story of the seabirds’ deaths likely starts at the bottom of the food chain, where warming water and climate change are changing the menu.
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Climate change is driving plankton towards the poles, study says

By Daisy Dunne   05/22/19  
Communities of zooplankton – microscopic drifting animals that underpin marine ecosystems – are migrating poleward in response to climate change, a study finds. By comparing ancient sediment cores to modern-day plankton distribution data, the research concludes…
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On Endangered Species Day — and Every Day — Here’s How to Save the Animals

By Maggie Dewane   05/20/19  
If you feel compelled to join the efforts but don’t know where to begin, you are not alone. Here’s how to get started.
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Life as We Know It

By the Editorial Board   05/11/19  
Plant and animal species are disappearing faster than at any time in recorded history. We know who is to blame.
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Life as We Know It

By The Editorial Board   05/11/19  
Our planet has suffered five mass extinctions, the last of which occurred about 66 million years ago, when a giant asteroid believed to have landed near the Yucatán Peninsula set off a chain reaction that…
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Humans Are Speeding Extinction and Altering the Natural World at an ‘Unprecedented’ Pace

By Brad Plumer   05/06/19  
Humans are transforming Earth’s natural landscapes so dramatically that as many as one million plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction, posing a dire threat to ecosystems that people all over the…
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Baby fish have started eating plastic. We haven’t yet seen the consequences

By Laura Parker   05/01/19  
Newborn fish are mistaking tiny bits of trash for food. If they die, there’ll be fewer big fish—and that could rattle the food chain.
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Trump administration sabotages major conservation effort, defying Congress

By Mallory Pickett   04/08/19  
Scientists and officials around the US have told the Guardian that the Trump administration has withdrawn funding for a large, successful conservation program – in direct contradiction of instructions from Congress.
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Why Endangered Species Matter

By Renee Cho   03/26/19  
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was established in 1973 to protect “imperiled species and the ecosystems upon which they depend” and help them recover. The Trump administration has put forth a number of proposals that…
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Human land use is going to threaten 1,700 species with extinction in the next half century

By Adele Peters   03/04/19  
886 amphibians, 436 birds, and 376 mammals could lose so much habitat that they would be at much higher risk of extinction.
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First mammal species recognized as extinct due to climate change

By Brian Clark Howard   02/20/19  
The humble Bramble Cay melomys has disappeared from its island in the Great Barrier Reef.
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Pesticides Are Harming Bees in Literally Every Possible Way

By Liza Gross   01/24/19  
While soybean farmers watched the drift-prone weed killer dicamba ravage millions of acres of crops over the last two years, Arkansas beekeeper Richard Coy noticed a parallel disaster unfolding among the weeds near those fields.
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Where Do Ocean Animals Spend the Holidays?

By Emily Brauner   12/04/18  
It’s the holiday season­—a hustle and bustle time of year spent traveling, visiting family, wishing good tidings, and of course, eating scrumptious food. But while we’re busy on land, there’s an entire world of animals…
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News Networks Fall Short on Climate Story as Dolphins Die on the Beach

By Jim Rutenberg   12/02/18  
Red tide has killed wildlife along the Gulf Coast for centuries. But the latest bloom has been unusually persistent. It arrived over a year ago, and its effects have been extreme.
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The Insect Apocalypse Is Here: What does it mean for the rest of life on Earth?

By Brooke Jarvis   11/27/18  
The current worldwide loss of biodiversity is popularly known as the sixth extinction: the sixth time in world history that a large number of species have disappeared in unusually rapid succession, caused this time not…
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What Is Arctic Browning? Dying Plants in the Region Could Make Climate Change Worse

By Aristos Georgiou   11/26/18  
The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the global average.
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Climate Change May Curtail Shorebirds’ Need to Fly North

By Tim Vernimmen   11/13/18  
Arctic predators have been eating twice as many shorebird eggs, threatening populations and potentially migration itself
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Global wildlife populations have fallen by 60% in the last 40 years

By Rob Picheta   10/30/18  
The World Wildlife Fund says in a new report identifying accelerating pollution, deforestation, climate change and other manmade factors as causes of the rapid population decline.
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California’s Underwater Forests Are Being Eaten by the ‘Cockroaches of the Ocean’

By Kendra Pierre-Louis   10/22/18  
Underwater forests — huge, sprawling tangles of brown seaweed — are in many ways just as important to the oceans as trees are to the land. Like trees, they absorb carbon emissions and they provide…
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Alaska Refuge Can’t Protect its Wildlife from Climate Change

By Samantha Yadron   09/06/18  
Plummeting Populations In A Huge Alaska Wildlife Refuge Might Be Caused By Climate Change And Plastics.
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Could symbiotic microbes help ecosystems survive global warming?

by Steve Gillman   08/01/18  
Studies of the relationships between microbes and the organisms they live on are revealing how plants and animals could adapt to climate change.
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Biological Annihilation and the Sixth Mass Extinction

By Gerardus Neve   10/15/17  
Human beings are now waging war against life itself as we continue to destroy not just individual lives, local populations and entire species in vast numbers but also the ecological systems that make life on…
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The culinary equivalent to the electric car

By Michelle Miller   05/19/17  
Bren Smith, a newly minted ocean farmer has an underwater crop of kelp (which eats carbon reducing acidification),below which are  mussels (filtering nitrogen out of the water), and below that oysters (1 oyster filters 50…
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