Image for Global map reveals ‘unsafe levels’ of biodiversity across 58pc of Earth’s surface

Professor David Bowman of the University of Tasmania said the research is significant because it provided a global estimate and it harmonised with what conservation biologists were seeing in ecosystems.

The study was a very well done statistical analysis, he said, but it is indicative rather than predictive.

“The best available data in terms of mapping the biome and species abundance and richness is woefully inadequate given the magnitude of the extinction crisis,” Professor Bowman said.

“[The study] is a warning light saying there’s something pretty dramatic happening down there on planet Earth but more global studies, better data are needed to make sense of what’s going on.”

It is unclear, he added, how many species could be lost from an ecosystem before it becomes vulnerable.

“We don’t know what is happening with our ecosystems concerning the novel species that humans are spreading around.

“We don’t know if they’ll be able to step up and do the work of the old species that are being deleted. This is a huge question with ecological and evolutionary science.”

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