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      Impact of forest size on parasite biodiversity: implications for conservation of hosts and parasites

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      Biodiversity and Conservation

      Springer Nature

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          Comparative losses of British butterflies, birds, and plants and the global extinction crisis.

          There is growing concern about increased population, regional, and global extinctions of species. A key question is whether extinction rates for one group of organisms are representative of other taxa. We present a comparison at the national scale of population and regional extinctions of birds, butterflies, and vascular plants from Britain in recent decades. Butterflies experienced the greatest net losses, disappearing on average from 13% of their previously occupied 10-kilometer squares. If insects elsewhere in the world are similarly sensitive, the known global extinction rates of vertebrate and plant species have an unrecorded parallel among the invertebrates, strengthening the hypothesis that the natural world is experiencing the sixth major extinction event in its history.
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            Biodiversity. Extinction by numbers.

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              Is a healthy ecosystem one that is rich in parasites?

              Historically, the role of parasites in ecosystem functioning has been considered trivial because a cursory examination reveals that their relative biomass is low compared with that of other trophic groups. However there is increasing evidence that parasite-mediated effects could be significant: they shape host population dynamics, alter interspecific competition, influence energy flow and appear to be important drivers of biodiversity. Indeed they influence a range of ecosystem functions and have a major effect on the structure of some food webs. Here, we consider the bottom-up and top-down processes of how parasitism influences ecosystem functioning and show that there is evidence that parasites are important for biodiversity and production; thus, we consider a healthy system to be one that is rich in parasite species.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Biodiversity and Conservation
                Biodivers Conserv
                Springer Nature
                0960-3115
                1572-9710
                June 2013
                April 11 2013
                : 22
                : 6-7
                : 1391-1404
                Article
                10.1007/s10531-013-0480-x
                © 2013
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