UNITED NATIONS – Many of the world’s plants and animals — and the wild places that support them — are at risk of collapse, a U.N. report finds, despite a global goal set in 2002 for major improvement by this year.

Frogs and other amphibians are most at risk of extinction, coral reefs are the species deteriorating most rapidly and the survival of nearly a quarter of all plant species is threatened, the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity said Monday in a report issued every four years.

The outlook on the planet’s ecological diversity and health is produced under a 1993 treaty since joined by most of the world’s nations. It says the planet is falling short of its goal to achieve by this year “a significant reduction in the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national levels.”

Pollution, climate change, drought, deforestation, illegal poaching and overfishing are among the many culprits.

The U.N. had declared 2010 would be the “International Year of Biodiversity.” But the report provides extremely dire projections of the state of biodiversity globally, such as the loss of huge areas of the Amazon rainforest and many fresh water lakes.

The report is based on a survey of some 500 peer-reviewed scientific articles and intergovernmental assessments, and was financed by Canada, the European Union, Germany, Japan, Spain and Britain, along with the U.N. Environment Program.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.