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Humanities 2013, 2(2), 147-159; doi:10.3390/h2020147

Biodiversity, Extinction, and Humanity’s Future: The Ecological and Evolutionary Consequences of Human Population and Resource Use

School of Biological Sciences, Louisiana Tech University, P.O. Box 3179, Ruston, Louisiana 71272, USA
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Received: 29 November 2012 / Revised: 19 March 2013 / Accepted: 21 March 2013 / Published: 2 April 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humanity’s Future)
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Abstract

Human actions have altered global environments and reduced biodiversity by causing extinctions and reducing the population sizes of surviving species. Increasing human population size and per capita resource use will continue to have direct and indirect ecological and evolutionary consequences. As a result, future generations will inhabit a planet with significantly less wildlife, reduced evolutionary potential, diminished ecosystem services, and an increased likelihood of contracting infectious disease. The magnitude of these effects will depend on the rate at which global human population and/or per capita resource use decline to sustainable levels and the degree to which population reductions result from increased death rates rather than decreased birth rates.
Keywords: biodiversity; extinction; ecology; evolution; population ecology; human population; human carrying capacity; resource use; infectious disease biodiversity; extinction; ecology; evolution; population ecology; human population; human carrying capacity; resource use; infectious disease
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Yule, J.V.; Fournier, R.J.; Hindmarsh, P.L. Biodiversity, Extinction, and Humanity’s Future: The Ecological and Evolutionary Consequences of Human Population and Resource Use. Humanities 2013, 2, 147-159.

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