Tropical turmoil: A biodiversity tragedy in progress

Corey J.A. Bradshaw, Nayjot S. Sodhi, Barry W. Brook

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

233 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

All is not well for biodiversity in the tropics. Despite recent debate over the extent of future tropical extinctions and the effectiveness of reserve systems, the continued disappearance of habitat, soaring human population, and loss of vital ecosystem services demand immediate action. This crisis is worrying, given that tropical regions support over two-thirds of all known species and are populated by some of the world's poorest people, who have little recourse to lower environmental-impact lifestyles. Recent evidence has shown that - in addition to unabated rates of forest loss - coastal development, overexploitation of wildlife, catchment modification, and habitat conversion are threatening human well-being. We argue that the recent technical debate about likely extinctions masks the real issue - that, to prevent further loss of irreplaceable tropical biodiversity, we must err on the side of caution. We need to avoid inadvertently supporting political agendas that assume low future extinction rates, because this will result in further destruction of tropical biodiversity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-87
Number of pages9
JournalFRONTIERS IN ECOLOGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes

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