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Trends Ecol Evol. 2008 Jan;23(1):14-9. Epub 2007 Nov 26.

Commonness, population depletion and conservation biology.

Author information

1
Biodiversity and Macroecology Group, Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK. k.j.gaston@sheffield.ac.uk <k.j.gaston@sheffield.ac.uk>

Abstract

Species conservation practice, as opposed to principle, generally emphasizes species at risk of imminent extinction. This results in priority lists principally of those with small populations and/or geographical ranges. However, recent work emphasizes the importance of common species to ecosystems. Even relatively small proportional declines in their abundance can result in large absolute losses of individuals and biomass, occurrences significantly disrupting ecosystem structure, function and services. Here, we argue that combined with evidence of dramatic declines in once common species, this suggests the need to pay more attention to such depletions. Complementing the focus on extinction risk, we highlight important implications for conservation, including the need to identify, monitor and alleviate significant depletion events.

PMID:
18037531
DOI:
10.1016/j.tree.2007.11.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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