This is an extensive new review of the distribution of species and biodiversity, and the threat from extinction.
However it also contains a new updated estimate for the current rate of extinction - approximately 1000 times the background rate of extinction. This updates an earlier estimate of 100-1000 times. The new estimate is at the upper end of the previous one as a consequence of a higher than previously estimated rate of current extinction, and an overestimate of the the background rate of extinction.
This statistic highlights the scale of the current extinction crisis (a 6th mass extinction?), but the main contribution the paper makes is in the analysis of how detailed biogeographic and ecological data can be used to inform effective conservation strategies.
There has been substantial recent progress in determining the distributions and identity of vulnerable species, and in understanding how (and where) human activity is leading to extinctions. Pimm et al. review the current state of knowledge and ask what the future rates of species extinction will be, how well protected areas will slow extinction rates, and how the remaining gaps in knowledge might be filled. (Editor's Summary)