offer their projections for the future of biodiversity given the pace of environmental alteration by human activities. Collectively, the chapters in this book synthesize recent scientific information and ideas about the abundance and threats to biodiversity in the past, present, and projected future.
The current extinction crisis is of human making, and any favorable resolution of that biodiversity crisis—among the most dire in the 4-billion-year history of the Earth—will have to be initiated by mankind. Little time remains for the public, corporations, and governments to awaken to the magnitude of what is at stake. Preserving biodiversity is undeniably in humanity’s enlightened self-interest, but the tragic irony is that a majority of humanity is not yet enlightened to this fact. It is hoped that the information and sentiments in this book will assist that critical educational mission.
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Front Matter ."
In the Light of Evolution, Volume II: Biodiversity and Extinction . Washington, DC: The National Academies Press,
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