News & Views

Major Report on the Planet’s Biocultural Diversity Now Available

A seminal new report entitled “Biocultural Diversity: Threatened Species, Endangered Languages,” compares the status of and trends in biological and linguistic diversity around the world. Published by the WWF – Netherlands, the report measures global linguistic diversity and shows that of the world’s 7,000 languages, around 25 percent are threatened with extinction, a rate that very closely corresponds to the global extinction rates of plants and animals. The publication builds upon work its authors have done with Terralingua, a longtime partner of The Christensen Fund.

“This is one of the more systematic efforts to define and describe biocultural diversity – or more particularly language and biodiversity – that has ever been completed,” said Dr. Ken Wilson, Executive Director of The Christensen Fund. “It’s not just a careful and thorough description of how linguistic and biodiversity actually evolve and connect, but a presentation of fresh data on the different patterns in different regions that groups on the ground will find stimulating and useful in their own communications and strategic work.”

The report, written by David Harmon, Executive Director of the George Wright Society and Jonathan Loh, a biologist at the Zoological Society of London, is accompanied by a new Index of Linguistic Diversity.

In a New York Times editorial, the authors write:

“When we superimpose the global trend line of our new index upon that of the Living Planet Index, a well-respected measure of the rate at which biodiversity is declining, the result is astonishing: They track one another almost perfectly, with both falling about 30 percent between 1970 and 2009.”

Click below to download the full report: