Research Portfolio on the Future of Biodiversity


These images from the research below broadly confirm a spread from 33% overall extinction by 2100 to 66% under business as usual. These are thus realistic rule of thumb triage estimates. Aiming for 33% is a soft landing and achievable. Top left: Predicted loss of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I haplotypes for nine montane aquatic insect species in Europe under business as usual IPCC 2080 CO2 emission scenario (Bálint et al. 2011).  Top right: Comparison of recent and distant past extinction rates with rates at which species are “committed to extinction” during the 21st century (Pereira et al. 2010) has a a broader spread ranging from 15% up to 70. Bottom left: Map of expected change in biodiversity for the year 2100 under antagonistic interaction between drivers such as climate and habitat loss when the total biodiversity change equals the change resulting from the driver that is expected to have the largest effect and is calculated as the maximum of the effects of all the drivers (Sala et al. 2000).  All of the key tropical rainforest would be seriously affected. Bottom right: Estimated recent and future global biodiversity trends resulting from land-use change, with and without coordinated efforts to reverse trends (Leclère et al. 2020).  Habitat effects on their own contribute up to 20% loss in diversity (grey) unless adequate measures are taken (ochre). Mean extinction probability across studies making predictions of the future effects of climate change suggest a mean extinction probability of 10% across taxa and regions, whereas empirical evidence gave a mean probability of 14% (MacLean et al. 2011).


Below is my current Research Portfolio on the Future of Biodiversity. All the live-linked articles are password protected with the common password model so that you can access them for research purposes only. These are purely for research use and not to be distributed.


This resource is deemed essential for the group to be able to assess the actual risk significance of the impending mass extinction so you can decide for yourself (1) whether this action is warranted and (2) the best strategies to achieve it.


If we are attempting to take a position on the need for saving the diversity of life, we need to be clear about the scientific evidence. I have thus spent the last two days making a more detailed research reference set for the future of biodiversity.


The detailed list of articles confirms we need to protect 30-50% of the Earth to protect the diversity of life. Others note that mammal diversity will take millions of years to recover. Predictions to 2100 are extremely volatile, because different drivers such as climate and habitat loss do not have reliable modelling about how they interact, making long-term predictions to 2100 highly unstable. The cryptic loss article illustrates how climate alone will reduce adaptive genetic diversity within species


Biodiversity Futures to 2100


Nature's Dangerous Decline Unprecedented Species Extinction Rates Accelerating
Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity
with commentary from the BBC, Nature, Guardian, New York Times, Washington Post and CNN


COP15: Kunming-Montreal Global biodiversity framework decision 2023


Convention of Biological Diversity 2020



Research Articles


Greenspoon L et al. (2023) The global biomass of wild mammals PNAS 120/10 e2204892120 doi:10.1073/pnas.2204892120.

Le Page M (2018) Half the planet should be set aside for wildlife – to save ourselves New Scientist 13-9-2018

Baillie J & Zhang Y (2018) Space for nature Science DOI:10.1126/science.aau1397.

Lambert J (2020) How much space does nature need? 30 percent of the planet may not be enough Sci. News. 22-4-2020.

Bar-On Y, Phillips R & Milo R (2018) The biomass distribution on Earth PNAS doi:10.1073/pnas.1711842115.

Davis M, Faurby S & Senning J (2018) Mammal diversity will take millions of years to recover from the current biodiversity crisis PNAS   doi:10.1073/pnas.1804906115.

Dinerstein E et al. (2019) A Global Deal For Nature: Guiding principles, milestones, and targets PNAS

Bradshaw C et al. (2021) Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future Front. Conserv. Sci.

Burke K et al. (2018) Pliocene and Eocene provide best analogs for near-future climates PNAS doi/10.1073/pnas.1809600115.

Di Marco M  (2019) Wilderness areas halve the extinction risk of terrestrial biodiversity

Leclère D et al. (2020) Bending the curve of terrestrial biodiversity needs an integrated strategy Nature Res.

Sala O et al. (2000) Global Biodiversity Scenarios for the Year 2100 Science 287 1770-1774 doi:10.1126/science.287.5459.1770.

Ed. (2011) Biodiversity on the brink Nature Clim. Ch. 1

MacLean M & Wilson R (2011) Recent ecological responses to climate change support predictions of high extinction risk PNAS doi:10.1073/pnas.1017352108.

Collevatti R et al. (2011) Range shift and loss of genetic diversity under climate change in Caryocar brasiliense, a Neotropical tree species Tree Genetics & Genomes (2011) 7:1237–1247 DOI 10.1007/s11295-011-0409-z.

Rodolfo-Metalpa R et al. (2011) Coral and mollusc resistance to ocean acidification adversely affected by warming Nature Clim. Ch. DOI:10.1038/NCLIMATE1200.

Wilhelm S & Boyer G (2011) Healthy competition Nature Clim. Ch. 1 300.

Hill S et al. (2018) Worldwide impacts of past and projected future land-use change on local species richness and the Biodiversity Intactness Index bioRxiv doi:

Bálint M et al. (2011) Cryptic biodiversity loss linked to global climate change Nature Clim. Ch. DOI:10.1038/NCLIMATE1191

Cobben M et al. (2011) Projected climate change causes loss and redistribution of neutral genetic diversity in a model metapopulation of a medium-good disperser doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0587.2011.06713.x.

Beyer R & Manica A (2020) Historical and projected future range sizes of the world’s mammals, birds, and amphibians Nature Comms.

Linklater W (2017) Biodiversity conservation in 2100

Pereira H et al. (2010) Scenarios for Global Biodiversity in the 21st Century Science 330 1496

Rinnan S & Jetz W (2020) Terrestrial conservation opportunities and inequities revealed by global multi-scale prioritization bioRxiv


Major Works


Leakey Richard, Lewin Roger (1996) The Sixth Extinction: Patterns of Life and the Future of Mankind Anchor NY.

Kolbert E (2014) The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History Henry Holt & Co. NY.

Kolbert E (2021) Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future Crown NY.

Elizabeth Kolbert  Article1  Article2  Article3  Article4  Article5  Article6  Article7  Article8  Article9

Wilson E O (2016) Half-Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life W W Norton.