Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • Southeast Asia faces extinction catastrophe


Two fifths of Southeast Asia's plants and animals may disappear within the next century, according to new research.

Barry Brook from Kyoto University, Japan, and colleagues have found that between 34 and 87 per cent of butterflies, fish, birds and mammals have been lost from Singapore over the past 183 years. This has coincided with a 95 per cent reduction in the habitats of land and freshwater species.

Looking to the future, the researchers predict that up to 42 per cent of regional populations in Southeast Asia will be lost in the next 100 years. At least half of these losses are likely to be global extinctions.

The current, unprecedented rate of habitat destruction is to blame, the researchers say. "Large-scale conservation efforts need to be implemented if these regional rates of extinction are to be abated," they write in this week's Nature.

Link to research paper by Brook et al in Nature

Reference: Nature 424, 420 (2003)

We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.