Big data shows how what we buy affects endangered species globally

Maps show species threat ‘hotspots’ to make connection between consumers, impacts

January 4, 2017  ScienceDaily Norwegian University of Science and Technology

The things we consume, from iPhones to cars to IKEA furniture, have costs that go well beyond their purchase price. What if the soybeans used to make that tofu you ate last night were grown in fields that were hewn out of tropical rainforests? Or if that tee-shirt you bought came from an industrial area that had been carved out of high-value habitat in Malaysia?… [They] developed a technique that allows them to identify threats to wildlife caused by the global supply chains that fuel our consumption. They’ve used this technique to create a series of world maps that show the species threat hotspots across the globe for individual countries….

…For terrestrial species, the researchers found that US consumption caused species threat hotspots in Southeast Asia and Madagascar, but also in southern Europe, the Sahel, the east and west coasts of southern Mexico, throughout Central America and Central Asia and into southern Canada. Perhaps one of the biggest surprises was that US consumption also caused species threat hotspots in southern Spain and Portugal….

Daniel Moran and Keiichiro Kanemoto. Identifying species threat hotspots from global supply chains. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 04 January 2017 DOI: 10.1038/s41559-016-0023