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The debate is over: Earth's sixth great extinction has arrived

Limiting climate change is just the start of what we need to do to forestall a runaway cascade of species extinctions, write Bill Laurance & Paul Ehrlich. We must also reverse the destruction and fragmentation of key wildlife habitats, constrain our over-consumption of natural resources, stabilise human numbers - and elect leaders determined to prioritise these issues.

18th November 2016

Life has existed on Earth for roughly 3.7 billion years. During that time we know of five mass extinction events - dramatic episodes when many, if not most, life forms vanished in a geological heartbeat.

The most recent of these was the global calamity that claimed the dinosaurs and myriad other species around 66 million years ago.

Growing numbers of scientists have asserted that our planet might soon see a sixth massive extinction - one driven by the escalating impacts of humanity. Others, such as the Swedish economist Bjørn Lomborg, have characterised such claims as ill-informed fearmongering.

We argue emphatically that the jury is in and the debate is over: Earth's sixth great extinction has arrived.

Collapse of biodiversity -more.....http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2988315/the_debate_is_over_earths_sixth_great_extinction_has_arrived.html

Mass extinctions involve a catastrophic loss of biodiversity, but what many people fail to appreciate is just what 'biodiversity' means. A shorthand way of talking about biodiversity is simply to count species. For instance, if a species goes extinct without being replaced, then we are losing biodiversity.

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