Sustaining Life: How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity, Eric Chivian and Aaron Bernstein (editors), 2008, New York: Oxford University Press, 542 pp, ISBN: 978-0-19-517509-7
The rate of species loss today is approaching catastrophic levels. Scientists project that over the next two decades, more than one million species of plants and animals will become extinct. E.O. Wilson has estimated, “The rate of loss may exceed 50,000 a year, 137 a day…this rate, while horrendous, is actually the minimal estimate, based on the species/area relationship alone….” (Kellert and Wilson, 1993, p. 16). Over-exploitation of species, habitat fragmentation and destruction, and exotic species introduction have been the most important factors of biodiversity loss; we refer to them as the “Evil Trio.” More recently, three other factors have proven devastating to populations and ecosystems, adding to the list: pathogen pollution, global toxification, and global environmental change linked to climate; we...
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