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Extinction Risk and the Future

Front-line Application

The most obvious front-line application of this study is in the conceptualization of the relative needs of the respective species in connection with human efforts to prevent extinction, especially extinction that is directly attributable to human activity. The traditional approach to species conservation emphasizes the data establishing declining populations. That approach ignores species that are equally at risk by virtue of human activity. Therefore, continued reliance on that approach to defining acceptable human activity in sensitive habitats and to allocating conservation attention and resources does not adequately protect species that may be tremendously vulnerable to extinction within a relatively short period of habitat invasion by human activity.

Relevance to Course Issues

We learned (among other things) that natural habitats are the product of so many specific relationships, phenomena, and delicate balances that it can be extremely difficult to predict the way that human activity might disrupt those natural habitats.

We also learned that once a habitat is adversely affected by industrial activity, it can be damaged irreparably. It would seem that those realities and the impacts of this research study would suggest that it would make much more sense from a conservation perspective to use the principle demonstrated by this data to prevent habitat changes that could ultimately result in the destruction of delicate species before it occurs rather than waiting until those natural habitats are so damaged by human activity that they reveal themselves in harm to species that might by irreparable by the time they.

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