It has been estimated that the current global species extinction rate is 100 extinctions per million species per year—1,000 times higher than the normal background rate (De Vos et al. 2014). Dr. Mark Rounsevell of Germany’s Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research and colleagues recently proposed in an article in Science a biodiversity protection goal of fewer than 20 species extinctions per year over the next 100 years for all major groups (fungi, plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates) across all ecosystem types (marine, freshwater, and terrestrial).
The simplicity of this goal makes it easy to communicate, understand, and measure. To be effective, the goal must trigger biodiversity targets and commitments by policymakers to reduce the drivers of extinction rates nationally (through better protection and management of biological resources) and internationally (via trade agreements, financial aid, and other strategies to reduce consumer demand for wildlife products).