, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 259-269

Anthropogenic, ecological and genetic factors in extinction and conservation

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Anthropogenic factors constitute the primary deterministic causes of species declines, endangerment and extinction: land development, overexploitation, species translocations and introductions, and pollution. The primary anthropogenic factors produce ecological and genetic effects contributing to extinction risk. Ecological factors include environmental stochasticity, random catastrophes, and metapopulation dynamics (local extinction and colonization) that are intensified by habitat destruction and fragmentation. Genetic factors include hybridization with nonadapted gene pools, and selective breeding and harvesting. In small populations stochastic factors are especially important, including the ecological factors of Allee effect, edge effects, and demographic stochasticity, and the genetic factors of inbreeding depression, loss of genetic variability, and fixation of new deleterious mutations. All factors affecting extinction risk are expressed, and can be evaluated, through their operation on population dynamics.