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Human Effects on Terrestrial Biodiversity

Human Effects on Terrestrial Biodiversity,Ian Hopping,Douglas Mackro,Lorene Delson

Human Effects on Terrestrial Biodiversity  
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Tens of thousands of species are becoming extinct each year as a result of human activities. The primary cause for the extinctions is habitat degradation in the wake of deforestation. The bulk of deforestation is occurring in areas that contain the highest concentrations of s pecies diversity, and thus, i s threatening biodiversity on a global scale. Scientists studying the magnitude of the situation are faced with a number of obstacles in their attempts to assess the situation and make plans for conservation. Aside from the difficulty of accessing remote areas or locating rare species, there is often a lag time between habitat loss and species extinctions which skew the accuracy of their data. Researchers have begun studying variables such as rate of habitat loss, minimum critical acreage, and historical trends within individual ecosystems. Ecosystems that have suffered deforestation have high extinction rates and tend to be speciated by a less diverse group of taxa, which is seen on newly formed islands. While some scientists are using extinction rates, other scientists are using trends such as the relationship of extinctions to the arrival of humans in their efforts to un derstand the problem. Regardless of the methods use d, the studies al l agree on a few basic facts. Deforestation by humans is the primary cause of habitat destruction and the leading threat to biodiversity. The current mass extinction, if left unchecked, will cause the elimination of many higher level taxonomic groups resulting in a species poor earth. Without immediate conservation actions, the loss of biodiversity is likely to cause irreversible damage to the global ecosystem.
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