Expert perspectives on global biodiversity loss and its drivers and impacts on people

Forest Isbell, Patricia Balvanera, Akira S. Mori, Jin Sheng He, James M. Bullock, Ganga Ram Regmi, Eric Seabloom, Simon Ferrier, Osvaldo E. Sala, Nathaly R. Guerrero-Ramírez, Julia Tavella, Daniel J Larkin, Bernhard Schmid, Charlotte L. Outhwaite, Pairot Pramual, Elizabeth T. Borer, Michel Loreau, Taiwo Crossby Omotoriogun, David O. Obura, Maggie AndersonCristina Portales-Reyes, Kevin Kirkman, Pablo M. Vergara, Adam Thomas Clark, Kimberly J. Komatsu, Owen L. Petchey, Sarah R. Weiskopf, Laura J Williams, Scott L. Collins, Nico Eisenhauer, Christopher H. Trisos, Delphine Renard, Alexandra J. Wright, Poonam Tripathi, Jane C Ditmer, Jarrett E.K. Byrnes, Peter B Reich, Andy Purvis, Zati Sharip, Mary I. O’Connor, Clare E. Kazanski, Nick M. Haddad, Eulogio H. Soto, Laura E Dee, Sandra Díaz, Chad R Zirbel, Meghan L. Avolio, Shaopeng Wang, Zhiyuan Ma, Jingjing Liang, Hanan C. Farah, Justin A Johnson, Brian W. Miller, Yann Hautier, Melinda D. Smith, Johannes M.H. Knops, Bonnie J.E. Myers, Zuzana V. Harmáčková, Jorge Cortés, Michael B.J. Harfoot, Andrew Gonzalez, Tim Newbold, Jacqueline Oehri, Marina Mazón, Cynnamon Dobbs, Meredith S Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Despite substantial progress in understanding global biodiversity loss, major taxonomic and geographic knowledge gaps remain. Decision makers often rely on expert judgement to fill knowledge gaps, but are rarely able to engage with sufficiently large and diverse groups of specialists. To improve understanding of the perspectives of thousands of biodiversity experts worldwide, we conducted a survey and asked experts to focus on the taxa and freshwater, terrestrial, or marine ecosystem with which they are most familiar. We found several points of overwhelming consensus (for instance, multiple drivers of biodiversity loss interact synergistically) and important demographic and geographic differences in specialists’ perspectives and estimates. Experts from groups that are underrepresented in biodiversity science, including women and those from the Global South, recommended different priorities for conservation solutions, with less emphasis on acquiring new protected areas, and provided higher estimates of biodiversity loss and its impacts. This may in part be because they disproportionately study the most highly threatened taxa and habitats. Front Ecol Environ 2022;.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-103
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank all biodiversity experts who responded to our survey. Funding was provided by the US National Science Foundation (DEB‐1545288, DEB‐1845334, DBI‐2021898). NE gratefully acknowledges the support of the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle‐Jena‐Leipzig funded by the German Research Foundation (FZT 118, 202548816) as well as the Jena Experiment (DFG; FOR 5000). FI conceived the project, created the first draft of the survey, analyzed the data, and wrote the paper, with substantial input from all coauthors. An international team with expertise in all major taxonomic groups and ecosystem types, and who represent multiple career stages, genders, and regions of the world, provided feedback on multiple drafts of the survey, including: MA, MLA, PB, JMB, JEKB, ATC, SLC, JCow, JCor, LED, NE, AG, NRG‐R, NMH, YH, CEK, KK, KJK, DJL, JL, ML, ASM, TN, MIO, MSP, OLP, PP, CP‐R, PBR, DR, OES, BS, EWS, MDS, CHT, LJW, AJW, and CRZ. To encourage survey responses from parts of the world where English is not the primary language, PB, ASM, and J‐SH translated the survey invitation into other languages (Spanish, Japanese, Chinese), and PB, ASM, J‐SH, and JMB helped disseminate the survey to ecological societies. To promote geographic and gender diversity of coauthors, and to avoid “helicopter science” ( ), multiple experts, including those identifying as women, were invited as coauthors from each habitable continent. To promote equity in author order, coauthors were randomly, rather than alphabetically, ordered into two groups, with PB, ASM, J‐SH, and JMB contributing the most. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the US Government. Author contributions:

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of The Ecological Society of America.


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