Extinctions Overestimated by 160 Percent?
Method for calculating animal and plant die-offs flawed, study says.
In recent decades numerous studies have predicted that habitat destruction will doom some 20 to 50 percent of Earth's species within 500 years.
(See "By 2050 Warming to Doom Million Species, Study Says.")
It's true that many species are still dying off, but the decline is happening at a slower pace than generally feared, according to study co-author Stephen Hubbell, an ecologist at the University of California, Los Angeles.
"The good news is that we may have a little more time in terms of saving some species," Hubbell said.
The bad news, he stressed, is that surging extinctions driven by habitat loss remain the critical conservation problem of the 21st century.
There's no proven, direct method for verifying extinction rates,