Scientists are underestimating many species’ risk of extinction

The Extinction Chronicles

“We were extremely surprised by how much the IUCN ranges overestimated what we deem the true ranges to be,” said researcher Don Melnick.
By Brooks Hays   |   April 26, 2017
Researchers found the geographical range of the Nilgiri flycatcher, Eumyias albicaudatus, is 65 percent smaller than estimates used by IUCN scientists. Photo by Adesh Shivkar/Columbia University

April 26 (UPI) — The extinction risks of many species are greatly underestimated, according to new research by ecologists at Columbia University.

The underestimation can be explained by overestimation, the new study — published in the journal Biological Conservation — shows. Researchers have been systematically overestimating the geographical range in which vulnerable species can thrive, the new study argues, suggesting extinction risk for many species is far greater than thought.

Maps featuring overly generous geological ranges are used by conservation organizations like the International Union for Conservation of Nature to determine a…

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