Identifying Extinction Threats: Global Analyses of the Distribution of Biodiversity and the Expansion of the Human Enterprise

  • Thomas D. Sisk
  • Alan E. Launer
  • Kathy R. Switky
  • Paul R. Ehrlich


Relatively pristine habitats around the world are being lost at unprecedented rates (Melillo et al. 1985, Skole and Tucker 1993) as an expanding human population converts them to agriculture, forestry, and urban centers (Hall 1978, Vitousek et al. 1986). As these habitats are altered, untold numbers of species are disappearing before they have been recognized, much less studied (Wilson 1989), and the functioning of entire ecosystems is threatened. This loss of biodiversity, at the very time when the value of biotic resources is becoming widely recognized (Malone 1992), has made it strikingly clear that current strategies for conservation are failing dismally (Ehrlich 1992, Ehrlich and Wilson 1991).


Habitat Loss Ecosystem Management Butterfly Species Forest Loss Continental Area 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bibby, C. J., N. J. Collar, M. J. Crosby, M. F. Heath, C. Imboden, T. H. Johnson, A. J. Lange, A. J. Sutterfield, and S. J. Thirgood. 1992. Putting Biodiversity on the Map: Priority Areas for Global Conservation. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, UK.Google Scholar
  2. Collar, N. J., and P. Andrew. 1988. Birds to Watch: The ICBP World Checklist of Endangered Birds. Technical Publication 8. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, UK.Google Scholar
  3. Collins, N. M., and M. G. Morris. 1985. Threatened Swallowtail Butterflies of the World: The IUCN Red Data Book. International Union for Nature and the Conservation of Natural Resources, Cambridge, UK.Google Scholar
  4. Curnutt, J., J. Lockwood, H. Luh, P. Nott, and G. Russell. 1994. Hotspots and species diversity. Nature 367: 326–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. D’Abrera, B. 1980. Butterflies of the Afrotropical Region. Lansdowne Editions, East Melbourne, Australia.Google Scholar
  6. D’Abrera, B. 1981. Butterflies of the Neotropical Region. Lansdowne Editions in association with E. W. Classey, Melbourne, Australia.Google Scholar
  7. D’Abrera, B. 1984. Butterflies of South America. Hill House, Victoria, Australia.Google Scholar
  8. D’Abrera, B. 1990. Butterflies of the Australian Region. 3rd ed. Hill House, Victoria, Australia.Google Scholar
  9. D’Abrera, B. 1991. Butterflies of the Holarctic Region. Hill House, Victoria, Australia.Google Scholar
  10. D’Abrera, B., and E. W. Classey. 1982. Butterflies of the Oriental Region. Hill House, Victoria, Australia.Google Scholar
  11. Diamond, J. M. 1987. Extant unless proven extinct? Or, extinct unless proven extant? Conserv. Biol. 1: 77–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dinerstein, D., and E. D. Wikramanayake. 1993. Beyond “hotspots”: how to prioritize investments to conserve biodiversity in the Indo-Pacific region. Conserv. Biol. 7: 53–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ehrlich, P. R. 1992. Population biology of checker-spot butterflies and the preservation of global diversity. Oikos 63: 6–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ehrlich, P. R. 1994. Energy use and biodiversity loss. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B. Biol. Sci. 344: 99–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ehrlich, P. R., and G. C. Daily. 1993. Population extinction and saving biodiversity. Ambio 22: 64–68.Google Scholar
  16. Ehrlich, P. R., and A. H. Ehrlich. 1991. Healing the Planet. Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., Reading, MA.Google Scholar
  17. Ehrlich, P. R., and J. Holdren. 1971. The impact of population growth. Science 171: 1212–1217.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ehrlich, P. R., and E. O. Wilson. 1991. Biodiversity studies: science and policy. Science 253: 758–762.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fearnside, P. M. 1987. Deforestation and international economic development projects in Brazilian Amazonia. Conserv. Biol. 1: 214–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fearnside, P. M., and E. Salati. 1985. Explosive deforestation in Rondonia, Brazil. Environ. Conserv. 12: 355–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 1981. Tropical Forest Resources Assessment Project. Technical Report 2 (four volumes). FAO, Rome, Italy.Google Scholar
  22. Hall, A. V. 1978. Endangered species in a rising tide of human population growth. Trans. R. Soc. S. Afr. 43: 37–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Honacki, J. H., K. E. Kinman, and J. W. Koeppl, eds. 1982. Mammal Species of the World. Allen Press and The Association of Systematics Collections, Lawrence, KS.Google Scholar
  24. Malone, T. F. 1992. The world after Rio. Am. Sci. 80: 530–532.Google Scholar
  25. May, R. M. 1988. How many species are there on Earth? Science 241: 1441–1449.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. McNeely, J. A., K. R. Miller, W. V. Reid, R. A. Mittermeier, and T. B. Werner. 1990. Conserving the World’s Biological Diversity. International Union for Nature and the Conservation of Natural Resources, World Resources Institute, Conservation International, World Wildlife Fund—United States, World Bank, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  27. Melillo, J. M., C. A. Palm, R. A. Houghton, G. M. Woodwell, and N. Myers. 1985. A comparison of two recent estimates of disturbance in tropical forests. Environ. Conserv. 12: 37–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Méndez, C, T. D. Sisk, and N. M. Haddad. 1994. Beyond birds: multitaxonomic monitoring provides broad measure of tropical biodiversity. Proceedings of the First International Congress of Wildlife Management, The Wildlife Society, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  29. Mittermeier, R. A. 1988. Primate diversity and the tropical forest: case studies from Brazil and Madagascar and the importance of the megadiversity countries. Pages 145–153 in E. O. Wilson, ed. Biodiversity, National Academy Press, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  30. Myers, N. 1980. Conversion of Tropical Moist Forests. National Academy of Science, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  31. Myers, N. 1988. Threatened biota: hot-spots in tropical forests. Environmentalist 8: 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Myers, N. 1989. Deforestation Rates in Tropical Forests and their Climatic Implications. Friends of the Earth, London, UK.Google Scholar
  33. Myers, N. 1990. The biodiversity challenge: expanded hot-spot analysis. Environmentalist 10: 243–256.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Myers, N. 1992. Tropical forests: the policy challenge. Environmentalist 12: 15–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Nowak, R. M., and J. L. Paradise 1983. Walker’s Mammals of the World. 4th ed. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD.Google Scholar
  36. Pimm, S. L. and J. L. Gittleman. 1992. Biodiversity: where is it? Science 255: 940.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Population Reference Bureau (PRB). 1992. World Population Data Sheet. Population Reference Bureau, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  38. Prendergast, J. R., R. M. Quinn, J. H. Lawton, B. C. Eversham, and D. W. Gibbons. 1993. Rare species, the coincidence of diversity hotspots and conservation strategies. Nature 365: 335–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Reid, W. V., and K. R. Miller. 1989. Keeping Options Alive: The Scientific Basis for Preserving Biodiversity. World Resources Institute, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  40. Sayer, J. A. and T. C. Whitmore. 1991. Tropical moist forests: destruction and species extinction. Biol. Conserv. 55: 199–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Skole, D., and C. Tucker. 1993. Tropical deforestation and habitat fragmentation in the Amazon: satellite data from 1978 to 1988. Science 260: 1905–1910.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Smith, F., R. May, R. Pellew, T. Johnson, and K. Walter. 1993. Estimating extinction rates. Nature 364: 494–496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Soulé, M. E. 1987. Viable Populations for Conservation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Vitousek, P. M., P. R. Ehrlich, A. H. Ehrlich, and P. A. Matson. 1986. Human appropriation of the products of photosynthesis. BioScience 36: 368–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wilson, E. O. 1989. Threats to biodiversity. Sci. Am. 261: 108–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wilson, E. O. 1992. The Diversity of Life. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  47. World Conservation Monitoring Center (WCMC). 1992. Global Biodiversity, Status of the Earth’s Living Resources. Chapman Hall, London, UK.Google Scholar
  48. World Resources Institute (WRI), United Nations Environment Programme, and United Nations Development Programme. 1990. World Resources, 1990–91. Oxford University Press, Oxford UK.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© American Institute of Biological Sciences 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas D. Sisk
  • Alan E. Launer
  • Kathy R. Switky
  • Paul R. Ehrlich

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations