Past, Present and Future Projection of Extinction Rate

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Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA)

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Past, Present and Future Projection of Extinction Rate

 

  • Over the past few hundred years, humans have increased the species extinction rate by as much as three orders of magnitude.
  • However, the most definite information, based on recorded extinctions of known species over the past 100 years, indicates extinction rates are around 100 times greater than rates characteristic of species in the fossil record.
  • Other less direct estimates, some of which model extinctions hundreds of years into the future, esti­mate extinction rates 1,000 to 10,000 times higher than rates recorded among fossil lineages.
  • The time frame and species groups involved differ among the “future” estimates, but in general refer to either future loss of species based on the level of threat that exists today, or current and future loss of species as a result of habitat changes taking place over the period of roughly 1970 to 2050. 

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