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Lomborg and the Litany of Biodiversity Crisis: What the Peer-Reviewed Literature Says

Authors

  • LUIS MAURICIO BINI,

    Corresponding author
    1. Departamento de Biologia Geral, ICB, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Caixa Postal 131, CEP: 74.001-970, Goiânia, GO, Brazil
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  • JOSÉ ALEXANDRE,

    1. Departamento de Biologia Geral, ICB, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Caixa Postal 131, CEP: 74.001-970, Goiânia, GO, Brazil
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  • FELIZOLA DINIZ-FILHO,

    1. Departamento de Biologia Geral, ICB, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Caixa Postal 131, CEP: 74.001-970, Goiânia, GO, Brazil
    2. Departamento de Biologia, MCAS/VPG, Universidade Católica de Goiás, Goiânia, GO, Brazil
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  • PRISCILLA CARVALHO,

    1. Departamento de Biologia Geral, ICB, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Caixa Postal 131, CEP: 74.001-970, Goiânia, GO, Brazil
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  • MIRIAM PLAZA PINTO,

    1. Departamento de Biologia Geral, ICB, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Caixa Postal 131, CEP: 74.001-970, Goiânia, GO, Brazil
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  • THIAGO FERNANDO L. V. B. RANGEL

    1. Departamento de Biologia Geral, ICB, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Caixa Postal 131, CEP: 74.001-970, Goiânia, GO, Brazil
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Abstract

Abstract:  Lomborg's (2001) book has generated passionate discussion about the state of the global environment. We performed a bibliometric evaluation of the peer-reviewed primary scientific literature to determine whether there is any consistent evidence that “things are getting better.” The global literature primarily reported negative impacts on biodiversity caused by human actions, although Europe appeared to be doing better than the rest of the world. These results cannot be explained by publication bias alone because rejection rates of papers indicating improvements in the environment would have to be unrealistically high to change our results. There were nonrandom distributions of papers showing environmental recovery in developed countries and for ecosystems not strongly subjected to conservation-development conflicts. Although the literature did not paint a picture of universal gloom, the empirical evidence clearly showed growing environmental crises.

Abstract

Resumen:  El libro de Lomborg (2001) ha generado una discusión apasionada sobre el estado del ambiente global. Hicimos una evaluación bibliométrica de la literatura científica primaria revisada por pares para determinar si hay evidencia consistente de que las “cosas están mejorando.” En primer lugar, la literatura global reportó impactos negativos sobre la biodiversidad a causa de acciones humanas, aunque parece que Europa está mejor que el resto del mundo. Estos resultados no pueden explicarse solo por sesgos de publicación porque las tasas de rechazo de artículos señalando mejoras en el ambiente tendrían que ser muy altas para cambiar nuestros resultados. Hubo distribuciones no aleatorias de artículos que muestran recuperación ambiental en países desarrollados y en ecosistemas no sujetos a conflictos conservación – desarrollo. Aunque la literatura no pintó un panorama de desesperanza universal, la evidencia empírica claramente mostró el crecimiento de la crisis ambiental.

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