The Fruits of Civilization (73-6) Extinction continued


Extinctions are altering key processes important to the productivity and sustainability of Earth’s ecosystems. Further species loss will accelerate change in ecosystem processes. ~ David Hooper et al

Ecosystems are subject to self-organized criticality. As King penguins illustrate, population collapse can come suddenly.

Loss of certain life forms could substantially alter the structure and functioning of whole ecosystems. ~ American ecologist Bradley Cardinale et al

Closer to a tipping point an ecosystem becomes less resilient. ~ Chinese American biological physicist Lei Dai et al

Localized ecological systems are known to shift abruptly and irreversibly from one state to another when they are forced across critical thresholds. The global ecosystem as a whole can react in the same way and is approaching a planetary-scale critical transition as a result of human influence. ~ American paleontologist Anthony Barnosky et al

Animals fail to reproduce when their numbers thin beyond a certain threshold. As many plants rely upon animals for pollination and seed dispersal, the fates of all are interlinked.

Future loss of species has the potential to reduce plant production just as much as global warming and pollution. ~ American biologist David Harper

Owing to intricate interdependence, the demise of any one species can have severe domino effects.

Several scales of biodiversity affect ecosystem multifunctionality. ~ American environmental biologist Jae Pasari et al

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The living fabric of the world is slipping through our fingers without our showing much sign of caring. ~ Pontifical Academy of Sciences

As of 2015, 5% of the world’s species have gone extinct under modern man’s political-economic regime. By 2060 the tally will have risen to at least 50%.

Loss of biological diversity due to species extinction is going to have major impacts on our planet. ~ Bradley Cardinale

Some have optimistically (and idiotically) tried to minimize the ongoing extinctions, noting that planetary biodiversity has actually increased in the modern era, thanks to imported species from one locale to another, and rapid speciation from climate change. This is biodiversity as bean counting and ignores that mass extinction events typically occur over many thousands, even millions, of years. Comparatively, the pace of extinction now is mercurial, its toll guaranteed to be both inexorable and extensive. A major mass extinction event is well under way.