Extinction rates under nonrandom patterns of habitat loss

Eric W. Seabloom, Andrew P. Dobson, David M. Stoms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


Most models that examine the effects of habitat conversion on species extinctions assume that habitat conversion occurs at random. This assumption allows predictions about extinction rates based on the species-area relationship. We show that the spatially aggregated nature of habitat conversion introduces a significant bias that may lead species-loss rates to exceed those predicted by species-area curves. Correlations between human activity and major compositional gradients, or species richness, also alter predicted species extinction rates. We illustrate the consequences of nonrandom patterns of habitat conversion by using a data set that combines the distribution of native vascular plants with human activity patterns in California.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11229-11234
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number17
StatePublished - Aug 20 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Biodiversity
  • California
  • Conservation
  • Habitat-conversion
  • Species-area


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