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Population Diversity: Its Extent and Extinction

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Science  24 Oct 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5338, pp. 689-692
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5338.689

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Abstract

Genetically distinct populations are an important component of biodiversity. This work estimates the number of populations per area of a sample of species from literature on population differentiation and the average range area of a species from a sample of distribution maps. This yields an estimate of about 220 populations per species, or 1.1 to 6.6 billion populations globally. Assuming that population extinction is a linear function of habitat loss, approximately 1800 populations per hour (16 million annually) are being destroyed in tropical forests alone.

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