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Conservation Biology for All$
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Navjot S. Sodhi and Paul R. Ehrlich

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199554232

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199554232.001.0001

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Extinctions and the practice of preventing them

Extinctions and the practice of preventing them

Chapter:
(p.181) Chapter 10 Extinctions and the practice of preventing them
Source:
Conservation Biology for All
Author(s):

Stuart L. Pimm

Clinton N. Jenkins

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199554232.003.0011

Stuart L. Pimm and Clinton N. Jenkins explore why extinctions are the critical issue for conservation science. Extinctions are irreversible, unlike many other environmental threats that we can reverse. Current and recent rates of extinction are 100 times faster than the background rate, while future rates may be 1000 times faster. Species most likely to face extinction are rare; rare either because they have very small geographic ranges or have a low population density with a larger range. Small‐ranged terrestrial vertebrate species tend to be concentrated in a few areas that often do not hold the greatest number of species. Similar patterns apply to plants and many marine groups. Extinctions occur most often when human impacts collide with the places having many rare species. While habitat loss is the leading cause of extinctions, global warming is expected to cause extinctions that are additive to those caused by habitat loss.

Keywords:   conservation, extinction rate, extinctions, geographic ranges, rare species

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