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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2009

Extinction debt: a challenge for biodiversity conservation

Kuussaari, Mikko; Bommarco, Riccardo; Heikkinen, Risto K.; Helm, Aveliina; Krauss, Jochen; Lindborg, Regina; Ockinger, Erik; Partel, Meelis; Pino, Joan; Roda, Ferran; Stefanescu, Constanti; Teder, Tiit; Zobel, Martin; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf


Local extinction of species can occur with a substantial delay following habitat loss or degradation. Accumulating evidence suggests that such extinction debts pose a significant but often unrecognized challenge for biodiversity conservation across a wide range of taxa and ecosystems. Species with long generation times and populations near their extinction threshold are most likely to have an extinction debt. However, as long as a species that is predicted to become extinct still persists, there is time for conservation measures such as habitat restoration and landscape management. Standardized long-term monitoring, more high-quality empirical studies on different taxa and ecosystems and further development of analytical methods will help to better quantify extinction debt and protect biodiversity.

Published in

Trends in ecology & evolution
2009, Volume: 24, number: 10, pages: 564-571

    SLU Authors

    • Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG15 Life on land
      SDG13 Climate action

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Environmental Sciences

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