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Abstract



Citation. Tilman, D.; Lehman, C. L. 1997. Habitat destruction and species extinctions. Pages 233-249 in, D. Tilman and P. Kareiva, eds., Spatial Ecology: The Role of Space in Population Dynamics and Interspecific Interactions. Princeton University Press, New Jersey.   [1593  LTER]

Introduction. The expansion of humans across the earth has caused a long string of species extinctions. Unfortunately, all of these past extinctions pale in comparison to the projected effects of recent and anticipated human habitat destruction. Human conversion of natural ecosystems into managed ecosystems or into roads, rights of way, housing, and industry continues at an astounding rate. Already, about 43% of earth's terrestrial ecosystem area is directly harnessed for human benefit with some ecosystem types, especially those with fertile soils or favorable climates, much more heavily exploited. For instance, less than 1% of the original tallgrass prairie and less than 0.2% of the original oak savanna of Minnesota still remains. In this paper we explore the potential effects of such habitat destruction by comparing and contrasting the predictions of spatially explicit models, spatially implicit models and extensions of island biogeographic theory.


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