, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 248–255 | Cite as

Habitat Loss, the Dynamics of Biodiversity, and a Perspective on Conservation

  • Ilkka Hanski


Habitat loss has been, and still is, the greatest threat to biodiversity (Brooks et al. 2002; Hanski 2005; Groom et al. 2006). According to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005), more than half of several biomes, including the Mediterranean and temperate forests and tropical and sub-tropical dry broadleaf forests, had been converted by 1990; in Western Europe, only 2–3% of original forests remain in natural or natural-like condition (WWF Report 2001). Zooming into more detailed classifications of habitat does not change the picture. As an example, a recent in-depth assessment of changes in the quality and quantity of 368 habitat types in Finland (Raunio et al. 2008) classified the vast majority either as threatened (189 habitat types) or near threatened (105), while only 74 habitat types were considered to be of least concern. The conversion of natural habitats to agricultural land, pastures, plantations, built areas and infrastructure continues, propelled by...


Protected Area Forest Cover Habitat Loss Deleterious Mutation Fragmented Landscape 
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.



I thank Renata Pardini for advice on the occurrence of small mammals in the Brazilian Atlantic forest region, Sami Ojanen for preparing the figures, and Anni Arponen, Mar Cabeza, Heini Kujala, Russ Lande, Joona Lehtomäki, Laura Meller, Reed Noss, Otso Ovaskainen, Renata Pardini, and Eeva Primmer for comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiosciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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