By Walter V. Reid
E-book via Reid, Walter V., Miller, Kenton R.
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Additional info for Keeping Options Alive: The Scientific Basis for Conserving Biodiversity
Historically, extinction threatened mainly islanddwelling species and a handful of vulnerable continental species: some 74 percent of extinctions of birds and mammals were of islanddwelling species. ) Currently, though island species remain highly endangered, 66 percent of endangered and vulnerable terrestrial vertebrates are continental. ) In addition, habitat loss has become the main threat to species survival. Historically, species introductions and over-exploitation were equally important influences.
However, the population sizes of species at lower trophic levels may also be extremely small in a given habitat or region. Many tropical forest tree species, for instance, have very low population 46 densities and are thus threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation. Largest members of a guild. Whether or not a species is on the top trophic level, large species have high metabolic demands, require large habitats, and tend to occur in low densities. Thus, the largest species within a group of species sharing similar food sources (a guild) tend to be at high risk of extinction.
Many freshwater invertebrates and fishes are found only in individual lakes, rivers, or portions of rivers because waterfalls and other barriers have limited their ranges. Freshwater species are thus particularly threatened by habitat loss. Moreover, freshwater communities are extremely susceptible to 40 extinctions caused by the introduction of exotic species, since many of these communities have developed in the absence of various predators and parasites. Collectively, these threats can devastate freshwater faunas.
Keeping Options Alive: The Scientific Basis for Conserving Biodiversity by Walter V. Reid