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Trends Ecol Evol. 1998 Jan 1;13(1):27-30.

The role of natural history collections in documenting species declines.

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Center for Population Biology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Efforts to document the decline of extant populations require a historical record of previous occurrences. Natural history museums contain such information for most regions of the world, at least at a coarse spatial scale. Museum collections have been successfully used to analyse declines in a wide range of plants and animals, at spatial scales ranging from single localities to large biotic and political regions. Natural history museum collections, when properly analysed, can be an invaluable tool in documenting changes in biodiversity during the past century.


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