Applying Landscape Ecology in Biological Conservation

pp 309-329

Effects of Landscape Change on Aquatic Biodiversity and Biointegrity

  • Robert M. Hughes
  • , Carolyn T. Hunsaker

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Linkages between land cover and aquatic biointegrity were reported by 19th-century scientists (Grove 1995). So why should we still be concerned about relating land use and land cover to biodiversity in aquatic ecosystems? World-wide, (1992) estimated that 1,800 species (20%) of freshwater fish have recently become extinct or are seriously declining. (1989) classified 364 fish taxa (31 %) in North America as endangered, threatened, or of special concern, and (1989) listed 43 taxa as recently extinct. (1990) reported that 65% of crayfish species and 73% of unionid mussel species in North America are recently extinct or at risk. Compared with terrestrial animals, aquatic species are at higher risk. (1999) estimated that extinction rates for the freshwater fauna of North America are five times those of terrestrial animals and comparable to rates in tropical rainforests. This concern extends to North American marine fish, among which 33 taxa are listed as vulnerable to extirpation as a result of habitat degradation (Musick et al. 2000).