Where biodiversity is most at risk

Mar 4, 2022

A new mapping project provides the most detailed look yet at where biodiversity is threatened in the United States.

map showing biodiversity most at threat

Red areas reflect concentrations of imperiled biodiversity. Green areas reflect federal, state and local biodiversity protections. Source: The New York Times.

The work is a critical step toward protecting 30 percent of America’s land and water by 2030, known as “30×30.” To create the new maps, scientists at the nonprofit NatureServe partnered with The Nature Conservancy and the mapping platform Esri.

By highlighting which areas are most threatened with biodiversity loss, and which areas are currently protected from development, policymakers and scientists can make data-driven decisions about which areas need protection.

The map shows extreme risk in Southern California and the Gulf Coast, but also in unprotected biodiversity hotspots in the Rocky Mountains and Southwestern borderlands from Arizona through Texas.

In New Mexico, the map reveals a threat to seven species in the Lincoln National Forest, where a rabbit, bee, and several imperiled plants are at risk from logging, mining, and grazing.

The Interior Department is still accepting public comments about how to track biodiversity and conservation efforts in the upcoming Conservation and Stewardship Atlas. The comment period closes on Monday.

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Quote of the day

”In its 2022 financial guidance this week, PDC projected that its oil production in Colorado would dip by 7% in the first quarter and grow at an overall rate of zero to 5% for the next two years. PDC assured investors, however, that ‘under the company’s enhanced return of capital framework … cumulative shareholder returns in 2022 and 2023 are expected to exceed $1.7 billion.’”

——Chase Woodruff, Colorado Newsline

Picture this

young black bear looking directly at camera

This World Wildlife Day, let’s celebrate wild wonders that are vital to healthy ecosystems and a flourishing planet.
Designated by the United Nations to raise awareness about the importance of conserving wildlife and plants, this day resonates with who we are and what we do – does it do the same for you?
What’s your favorite wildlife or plant species and why? Bonus points if you include the scientific name.
Photo 1: Young black bear by Adam Jewell.
Photo 2: Purple gallinule by USFWS.
Photo 3: Paintbrush, (Castilleja sp.) by Peter Pearsall.
Photo 4: Eastern Indigo Snake by Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.

(New Mexico’s Lincoln National Forest, Wikimedia Commons)