International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 293–299 | Cite as

Estimating human effects on global extinction

  • D. H. Wright


A quantitative technique for estimating extinctions due to clearing of natural ecosystems is described. Applied on a global scale, the method yields preliminary figures on extinctions of flowering plants, butterflies, land birds and land mammals ranging from 5.4 to 15.3% for the period from the beginning of agriculture until the year 1980. Actual numbers of extinctions of mammals and birds to date are much lower, possibly in part due to a tendency for the technique to overestimate species loss at the global scale. However, delayed extinctions of species whose populations have been reduced but not exterminated by habitat destruction are likely, suggesting that human impacts may be more serious than they currently appear.


Plant Physiology Global Scale Actual Number Flowering Plant Human Impact 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Swets & Zeitlinger B.V. 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. H. Wright
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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