California Tops NYTimes List as Most Biodiverse and Most Threatened

How Audubon California is protecting bird biodiversity in the golden state.

The New York Times recently reported which states in the United States are most likely to have plants and animals at high risk of global extinction. Top of their list? California.

They found that California has the most imperiled biodiversity of any state in the contiguous United States. California is designated a Global Biodiversity Hotspot, a distinction for only 36 bioregions across the planet. We have the highest number of species and the highest number of rare, imperiled, and endemic species. More than 30% of California’s species are threatened with extinction.

With its dramatic coastlines, ocean environments, lush forests, mountains, blooming valleys with grasslands and oak woodlands, rivers, wetlands, salt lakes, and vivid deserts, it's no surprise why California’s spectacular natural landscapes host the largest, most diverse concentration of 450 species of birds in the United States. 

California's Biodiversity Hotspot

California Biodiversity Hotspot Storymap

This means that the conservation we do locally matters on a global scale. To learn more about California’s Biodiversity Hotspot and how Audubon California is prioritizing conservation across diverse landscapes and bird species, enjoy our California Biodiversity Hotspot Storymap.

If you’d like to experience a flyover of the four landscapes Audubon works in: deserts, coast, central valley, and urban rivers, watch our California Biodiversity Hotspot webinar. We will reveal why we’ve chosen these landscapes as keys to protecting bird biodiversity in the golden state.

How to Protect 30% of California's Lands and Waters by 2030

30x30 in the Central Valley Storymap

In 2020, Governor Newsom signed a groundbreaking Executive Order to protect 30% of California’s lands and waters by 2030. This goal aims to protect biodiversity, build resilience to climate change, and ensure equitable access to nature for all Californians.

The Migratory Bird Conservation Partnership, including Audubon California, Point Blue Conservation Science, and The Nature Conservancy just released a new StoryMap to demonstrate why the Great Central Valley is key to 30x30 success. Explore the story map now. 

Important Bird Areas

Important Bird Areas (IBAs)

In addition, we have identified 177 marine and land-based Important Bird Areas that provide more than 19 million acres of essential habitat for breeding, wintering, and migrating birds. We must protect these sites to ensure the survival of our state’s rich array of birds.

To learn more about Important Bird Areas in California, explore our interactive map. This section of our website contains links to maps, site descriptions, and other information related to California’s Important Bird Areas. We encourage you to look around and learn more about our incredibly biodiverse state.

Join Audubon to help us protect California’s incredible biodiversity!

How you can help, right now