Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Extinction rates of plants are higher than previously thought

27.08.2002


Extinction rates of native California plants have been studied by three researchers who found that previously designed mathematical and computer models were biased because they left out the human element in their predictions, according to an article published in the August 20 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They conclude with the key concern that "understanding the relationship between habitat loss and loss of biodiversity is central to the development of sound conservation policy."



The authors are: Eric Seabloom, a postdoctoral fellow at UC Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS); Andy Dobson, professor in the Department of Ecology at Princeton; and David M. Stoms, researcher at the Institute for Computational Earth System UC Santa Barbara. The researchers used a public data set that lists the native plant species in 93 regions of California.

These data are particularly interesting, because of the high plant diversity in California. According to the article, California contains more than 20 percent of all the vascular plant species in the U.S. and 4 percent of the worldwide total. Mathematical and computer models are important tools to study potential extinctions and find ways – such as reserves – to preserve biodiversity. Typically, these assume that development in California is random.


"The random model of species loss is overly optimistic," explained Seabloom. "It doesn’t take into account the fact that urban and agricultural development are concentrated in specific types of areas and can wipe out whole species. When there is contiguous human development of the land, the likelihood of losing whole species is greater."

Water is one magnet for development by humans. The article states that "humans have clear habitat preference for coastal or other low-lying lands with adequate supplies of water." It goes on to say that the rate of habitat conversion (the most important cause of extinction) is significantly faster in these areas than in areas less suitable for agriculture."

The authors point out that in spite of attempts to conserve global biological diversity, habitat conversion rates are accelerating, particularly in tropical countries. They caution that policies for the preservation of global biodiversity must be based on accurate predictions of "the effects of habitat conversion on species distributions."

They conclude with the concern that, "The biggest challenge now facing conservation biology is to conserve the 90 percent of biodiversity now residing on low-lying lands that are often privately owned. It is here that rates of habitat loss are increasing most rapidly."

Gail Gallessich | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucsb.edu/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Why we need erasable MRI scans

New technology could allow an MRI contrast agent to 'blink off,' helping doctors diagnose disease

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

European particle-accelerator community publishes the first industry compendium

26.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Multifunctional bacterial microswimmer able to deliver cargo and destroy itself

26.04.2018 | Life Sciences

Why we need erasable MRI scans

26.04.2018 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>