Author(s): Dirzo R, Young HS, Galetti M, Ceballos G, Isaac NJ,
Abstract Share this page
Abstract We live amid a global wave of anthropogenically driven biodiversity loss: species and population extirpations and, critically, declines in local species abundance. Particularly, human impacts on animal biodiversity are an under-recognized form of global environmental change. Among terrestrial vertebrates, 322 species have become extinct since 1500, and populations of the remaining species show 25\% average decline in abundance. Invertebrate patterns are equally dire: 67\% of monitored populations show 45\% mean abundance decline. Such animal declines will cascade onto ecosystem functioning and human well-being. Much remains unknown about this "Anthropocene defaunation"; these knowledge gaps hinder our capacity to predict and limit defaunation impacts. Clearly, however, defaunation is both a pervasive component of the planet's sixth mass extinction and also a major driver of global ecological change. Copyright © 2014, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
This article was published in Science
and referenced in Journal of Geology & Geophysics