Pollution might be a bigger threat to endangered species in Canada than we think
In Canada, the most obvious threats to plants and animals are loss of habitat to residential and commercial development, trampling and disturbance through recreation, and invasive species. Other threats — like pollution — are harder to see.
We quantified the potential for species at risk in Canada to be exposed to pollution. We mapped sources of pollution across Canada and found, on average, 57% of the area inhabited by species at risk also contained at least one source of pollution.
Read this open access paper on the FACETS website.
Canada’s most threatened species are concentrated in the south of the country, as are sources of pollution. This means that the species most impacted by habitat loss and other threats also experience the greatest exposure to pollution — including many chemicals whose effects are not well understood. We need more research into the impact of contaminants on species at risk in Canada to measure the degree to which pollution is adding to the problem.
Pollution in the form of invisible contaminants of the air, soil, and water could be kicking species when they are already down. Most of the thousands of chemicals released to the environment are not tracked, nor their impacts on plants and animals measured.
Read the full paper — Are we accurately estimating the potential role of pollution in the decline of species at risk in Canada? by Jenny L. McCune, Sheila R. Colla, Laura E. Coristine, Christina M. Davy, D.T. Tyler Flockhart,
Richard Schuster and Diane M. Orihel.