Chapter 2. Extinction

  1. William J. Sutherland Professor of Biology
  1. Stuart L. Pimm

Published Online: 14 OCT 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444313499.ch2

Conservation Science and Action

Conservation Science and Action

How to Cite

Pimm, S. L. (1998) Extinction, in Conservation Science and Action (ed W. J. Sutherland), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444313499.ch2

Editor Information

  1. School of Biological Sciences, University of East, Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK

Author Information

  1. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 OCT 2009
  2. Published Print: 19 FEB 1998

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780865427624

Online ISBN: 9781444313499



  • human future and extinctions - crisis or conspiracy;
  • extinctions - a part of Earth's history;
  • background rate of extinction;
  • extinction rates and freshwater molluscs;
  • habitat loss - predominant cause of extinction;
  • simple models of extinction;
  • ‘cookie cutter’ model and known mechanisms of extinction;
  • estimating future species losses from habitat loss;
  • future of biological diversity;
  • geographical patterns of species richness data


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • The human future and extinctions: crisis or conspiracy?

  • How many species are there?

  • Background extinction rates

  • The past as a guide to the future

  • Predicting future rates of extinction from species currently threatened

  • The future of biological diversity