Standard Article

Extinction Rates, Estimation Of

Ecological Statistics

  1. Fangliang He

Published Online: 15 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9780470057339.vnn145

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

How to Cite

He, F. 2013. Extinction Rates, Estimation Of. Encyclopedia of Environmetrics. 2.

Author Information

  1. University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JAN 2013


The currently available estimation methods for extinction rates vary widely in data requirement, reported rates, and their accuracy. The methods include: (i) the taxonomic survivorship curve for estimating background extinction rates; (ii) the species–area relationship for estimating extinction caused by habitat loss (this is by far the most widely used method for estimating future extinction rates due to habitat loss but has recently been shown to be technically incorrect); (iii) methods based on the change in threat status of species on the IUCN Red Lists; and (iv) population viability analysis designed to quantify extinction probability of local species populations. Problems common to these methods include the associated uncertainties in their estimates and lack of reliable data to verify the estimated extinctions.


  • background extinction rates;
  • endemics-area relationship;
  • extinction debt;
  • habitat loss;
  • IUCN Red List;
  • population viability analysis;
  • species-area relationship;
  • taxonomic survivorship curve