- Ecologists' warnings of an ongoing mass extinction are being challenged by skeptics and largely ignore by politicians
- According to Robert M. May, University of Oxford zoologist served as chief scientific adviser to the British government, has said that the latest rough estimate, the extinction rate-the pace at which species vanish-accelerated during the past 100 years to roughly 1,000 times what it was before humans showed up.
- There are also troubling questions raised about the high-priority "hotspots" that environmental groups are scrambling to identify and preserve
- May's claim that humans appear to be causing a cataclysm of extinctions more severe than any since the one that erased the dinosaurs 65 million years ago may shock those who haven't followed the biodiversity issue.
- Harvard University biologist E.O. Wilson cites current estimates that between 1 and 10 percent of species are extinguished every decade, at least 27,000 a year
- Reviewing that claim, the best model Lomborg suggests, project an extinction rate of 0.15 percent of species per decade,"not a catastrophe but a problem-one of many that mankind still needs to solve"
- How sever is the extinction crisis is dependent on how many species there all together. The greater the number, the more species will die out every year from natural causes and the more new ones will appear
- Species of plants, mammals, insects, marine invertebrates and other groups all exist for about the same time. In fact, the typical survival time appears to vary among groups by a factor of 10 or more, with mammal species among the least durable
- Another problem is finding an average life span when they should have a median but also have to account for animals who tend to have long life spans
- Over the past 200 years, Regan figures, the rate of loss among mammal species has been some 120 times higher than natural
- Taxonomists have named approximately 1.8 million species, but biologists know almost nothing about most of them, especially the insects, nematodes and crustaceans that dominate the animal kingdom.
- Generally speaking, as the area of habitat falls, the number of species living in it drops proportionally by the third root to the sixth root.
- When you eliminate 90 percent of the habitat, the number of species fall by half
- The species-area theory predicts that a 50 percent reduction should knock out 16 percent of the endemic species
- The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization recently estimated that from 1990 to 2000 the world's forest cover dropped at an average annual rate of 0.2 percent
- We may have more time than we fear to prevent future catastrophes in areas where humans have been part of the ecosystem for a while-and less time than we hope to avoid them in what little wilderness remains pristine
- There are still a few large areas where natural selection alone determines which species succeed and which fail
- In Bolivia, Rice reports, "we conserved an area the size of Rhode Island for half the price of a house in my neighborhood," and the Nature Conservancy was able to have a swath of rain forest as big as Yellowstone National Park set aside for a mere $1.5 million
Ecologists' are warning everyone on the dangers and challenges if there is indeed a mass extinction upon us and why ignoring the issue can be bad. With humans walking on the planet, the extinction rate pace has accelerated during the past 100 years to roughly 1,000 times which heavy increase in danger. There is also the question of the hotspots that the environmental groups are scrambling to identify and preserve, with researchers believing that humans will lead the same fate of the dinosaurs if it gets too severe. Believing that there is indeed a typical survival time appears to vary among groups by a factor of 10 or more with mammal species among the least durable. Although there is indeed 1.8 million species identified but there is still plenty yet to be discovered and learn so much about with a majority of them insects, crustaceans and etc. The rate of animal loss among the animal species has been 120 times higher than natural which is hurting the rate of extinction. Species-Area theory predicts that a 50% reduction should knock out 16% of the endemic species. Effort is being put into helping preserve the animals and the environments that they rely on to live in as it impacts us as well.
After reading about this I hadn't realized how critical the presence of humans had been on the environment and the amount of damage that we've already done on it. I realized we made a difference onto the environment but I had not realized it was this severe to the point where the rate of extinction has increased onto the animals. Initiative needs to be taken onto preserving these natural environments and not be so selfish or reckless as those innocent animals rely on those places to go on with their daily lives. Knowing that we've destroyed so many areas and most likely have killed a species of animals that we didn't know existed and will never makes me feel terrible inside to know. The animals rely on us and we rely on them but basing off what I read now, I can see we are not doing our part as humans to help them out making the human race guilty of these crimes. Although some processes like natural selection causes the extinction of certain species in an area, it is still important to try and keep species going on as much as possible. We need to do our part and help out as much as possible as we don't want them to disappear forever because of our mistakes.