He noted that deforestation, overfishing, pollution, and excessive carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from industrialization are the leading causes. But he also notes that, just as human beings are the cause of this latest extinction, there is much hope over the next couple of decades for humans to reverse this trend.
Pimm and his colleagues point to new technologies that allow scientists to pinpoint where the highest concentrations of endangered species live, as well the states of their habitats. He also noted that ordinary, non-scientists can play a significant role through crowd-sourcing, including through apps like iNaturalist.
Finally, he said that conservation groups can use this information more carefully to target isolated, fragmented forests and prioritize their restoration and connectivity to help many species-—especially the most at-risk species—-at once and for the smallest amount of limited conservation funding.
This is the kind of model used by Pimm’s conservation organization, SavingSpecies. Currently, SavingSpecies is helping to connect an isolated forest in the western Andes of Colombia to a large protected area that is home to hundreds of endangered, threatened, or endemic species. It is also home to the recently-discovered olinguito, and to countless rare orchids, hummingbirds and frogs.