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Nature. 2012 Feb 22;482(7386):E4-5; author reply E5-6. doi: 10.1038/nature10858.

Extinction and climate change.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD, UK.


Arising from F. He & S. P. Hubbell 473, 368-371 (2011). Statistical relationships between habitat area and the number of species observed (species-area relationships, SARs) are sometimes used to assess extinction risks following habitat destruction or loss of climatic suitability. He and Hubbell argue that the numbers of species confined to-rather than observed in-different areas (endemics-area relationships, EARs) should be used instead of SARs, and that SAR-based extinction estimates in the literature are too high. We suggest that He and Hubbell's SAR estimates are biased, that the empirical data they use are not appropriate to calculate extinction risks, and that their statements about extinction risks from climate change do not take into account non-SAR-based estimates or recent observations. Species have already responded to climate change in a manner consistent with high future extinction risks.

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