Ten percent of all bird species are likely to disappear by the year 2100, and another 15 percent could be on the brink of extinction, according to a new study by Stanford University biologists. This dramatic loss is expected to have a negative impact on forest ecosystems and agriculture worldwide and may even encourage the spread of human diseases, according to the study published in the Online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in December.
"Our projections indicate that, by 2100, up to 14 percent of all bird species may be extinct and that as many as one out of four may be functionally extinct-that is, critically endangered or extinct in the wild," said researcher Cagan H. Sekercioglu of the Stanford Center for Conservation Biology (CCB) and lead author of the PNAS study. "Important ecosystem processes, particularly decomposition, pollination and seed dispersal, will likely decline as a result."
These findings come on the heels of the November 2004 Global Species Assessment by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), which found that 12 percent of all bird species are already threatened with extinction, along with nearly one-fourth of the worlds mammals, one-third of the amphibians and 42 percent of all turtles and tortoises.
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