Research ArticleAPPLIED ECOLOGY

Spatial variation in biodiversity loss across China under multiple environmental stressors

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Science Advances  20 Nov 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 47, eabd0952
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd0952

Abstract

Biodiversity is essential for the maintenance of ecosystem health and delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals. However, the drivers of biodiversity loss and the spatial variation in their impacts are poorly understood. Here, we explore the spatial-temporal distributions of threatened and declining (“biodiversity-loss”) species and find that these species are affected by multiple stressors, with climate and human activities being the fundamental shaping forces. There has been large spatial variation in the distribution of threatened species over China’s provinces, with the biodiversity of Gansu, Guangdong, Hainan, and Shaanxi provinces severely reduced. With increasing urbanization and industrialization, the expansion of construction and worsening pollution has led to habitat retreat or degradation, and high proportions of amphibians, mammals, and reptiles are threatened. Because distributions of species and stressors vary widely across different climate zones and geographical areas, specific policies and measures are needed for preventing biodiversity loss in different regions.

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