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Forest Loss Has Driven Four Species Into Extinction In This Century.

Scientists have a better understanding of the number of stars and galaxies in the universe than the number of species currently on Earth. Science has only described a little more than 2.16 Million species and estimates of the total number of species on Earth range wildly between 3 and 100 million. Yet each year, this staggering amount of diversity takes a hit. Research suggests that Earth is currently experiencing its sixth mass extinction. The last extinction event took out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. The rate of loss today is estimated to be 1,000–10,000 times higher than the natural background rate. As humans move into more and more of the last wild places, they destroy and degrade habitats, which is a major cause of extinction. As forest loss continues, it brings with it the risk of extinction for hundreds of species that only need small pieces of forest to live. Since the start of the century, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has declared 665 species either completely extinct or extinct in the wild.

Losing species hurts not only biodiversity but also the way ecosystems work and the services they provide, which are important for human well-being. Some of the services that natural ecosystems provide are pollination, cleaning the water, keeping the climate stable, and keeping the soil healthy. When ecosystems lose species, it can lead to the loss of even more species and services.



Here are four forest-dependent species that have vanished due to habitat loss in the last 20 years. Formosan clouded leopard

The Formosan Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa brachyura) was a subspecies of the slightly bigger clouded leopard that lived all over Asia. It was only found on the island of Taiwan. It was declared extinct in 2013, making it the second big cat to go extinct in the 21st century after the Bali Tiger. Most likely, the leopard went extinct because lowland forests on the island were cut up and turned into farms, which forced the cat to live in ever smaller areas at higher elevations. According to Global Forest Watch (GFW) data, Taiwan lost 37,100 hectares of tree cover since the start of the century, with a large spike in 2009. Illegal logging and hunting of endangered tree species have always been a threat to the primary forests on the island.

Two unconfirmed clouded leopard sightings were reported in 2018. One group of rangers reportedly saw the cat darting out of the way of a scooter before running up a tree, and another group thought they saw one hunting goats on a cliffside. The last official sighting of the leopard was in 1983.

Spix's Macaw

The Spix's Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii) was a dusty blue bird native to the arid lowland forests in the interior and northeast of Brazil. It earned popular attention for inspiring the characters in the 2011 animated film, Rio. The Spix's Macaw is the rarest parrot species in the world and completely extinct in the wild. These macaws were indigenous to a type of forest known as "caatinga," which has a dry and spiny vegetation cover, and they only used one species of tree (Tabebuia caraiba) for nesting. Habitat loss due to agriculture, combined with illegal trapping for the pet trade, is theorized to have led to their decline. A 1990 search found only one site with conclusive evidence of Spix's Macaws living in the state of Bahia, and in 2018 they were declared extinct. It is estimated that between 60 and 80 individuals.



The Mount Glorious Torrent Frog:

The Mount Glorious Torrent Frog (Taudactylus diurnus) lived in the rainforests of Australia, especially in Queensland. This frog species was last seen in 1983 and was officially declared extinct in 1995. Its extinction is thought to have been caused by the loss of its habitat, diseases, and the spread of the chytrid fungus. The Mount Glorious Torrent Frog was a small, reddish-brown frog that lived near streams and waterfalls. It was an important part of the ecosystem, as it helped control insect populations and served as prey for larger animals.



The Cryptic Treehunter:

The Cryptic Treehunter (Cichlocolaptes mazarbarnetti) was a bird species that lived in Brazil's Atlantic Forest. This bird was first discovered in 1995 and was known from only two specimens. It was a small, brown bird that lived in the dense forest canopy, making it difficult to observe. Despite several expeditions to find the bird, no additional specimens were found, and the bird was declared extinct in 2019. The cause of its extinction is believed to be a combination of habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change, and the effects of introduced species.

The extinction of these and other animal species shows how important it is to keep and protect the diversity of life on Earth. These animals played important roles in their ecosystems, and their loss has far-reaching consequences. Governments, conservationists, and scientists are working to restore damaged ecosystems and stop further extinctions. It is crucial that we all work together to protect the natural world and ensure that future generations have the opportunity to experience and appreciate its beauty and diversity. 4 Species That Went Extinct This Century Because of Forest Loss | Data and Research | Global Forest Watch Blog. (2020, January 31). Global Forest Watch Content. https://www.globalforestwatch.org/blog/data-and-research/four-species-that-went-extinct-this-century-because-of-forest-loss

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