Biodiversity Studies: Science and Policy

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Science  16 Aug 1991:
Vol. 253, Issue 5021, pp. 758-762
DOI: 10.1126/science.253.5021.758


Biodiversity studies comprise the systematic examination of the full array of different kinds of organisms together with the technology by which the diversity can be maintained and used for the benefit of humanity. Current basic research at the species level focuses on the process of species formation, the standing levels of species numbers in various higher taxonomic categories, and the phenomena of hyperdiversity and extinction proneness. The major practical concern is the massive extinction rate now caused by human activity, which threatens losses in the esthetic quality of the world, in economic opportunity, and in vital ecosystem services.

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