Leading threats to biodiversity: what's imperiling U.S. species [Chapter 8]
Document Type: Book Chapter
Author(s): D. S. Wilcove; D. Rothstein; D. Dubow; A. Phillips; E. Losos
Editor(s): B. A. Stein; L. S. Kutner; J. S. Adams
Publication Year: 2000

Cataloging Information

  • agriculture
  • conservation
  • fire adaptations
  • fire dependent species
  • fire exclusion
  • fire regimes
  • fire suppression
  • grazing
  • habitat conversion
  • introduced species
  • invasive species
  • land use
  • livestock
  • logging
  • natural resource legislation
  • population ecology
  • private lands
  • recreation
  • suppression
  • threatened and endangered species (animals)
  • threatened and endangered species (plants)
  • trapping
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: July 26, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 39990
Tall Timbers Record Number: 14722
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


From the text (p. 247)...'Alteration of ecosystem processes is increasingly being recognized as a significant threat to biodiversity. Disruption of fire regimes, for example, affects 14% of listed species. About half of these species are threatened by fire suppression, and the others are vulnerable to controlled or uncontrolled fires. (p. 253) Finally, our analysis of biodiversity threats underscores the serious management challenges that conservationists face in their efforts to save imperiled species. A high proportion of imperiled species is threatened either by fire suppression within their fire-maintained habitats or by the spread of invasive alien species. Both types of threats must be addressed through hands-on management of the habitat, such as pulling up invasive plants and trapping alien animals or using prescribed fire to regenerate early successional habitats. Although the Endangered Species Act prohibits actions that directly harm listed animals and, to a lesser extent, listed plants, it does not require landowners to take affirmative actions to maintain or restore habitats for listed species. Thus, a landowner is not obliged to control alien species, undertake a program of prescribed burning, or do any of the other things that may be absolutely necessary for the long-term survival of a majority of our endangered species. In fact, it may be possible for a landowner to rid himself of an endangered species 'problem' by literally doing nothing and waiting until the habitat is no longer suitable for the species in question.'

Wilcove, D. S., D. Rothstein, D. Dubow, A. Phillips, and E. Losos. 2000. Leading threats to biodiversity: what's imperiling U.S. species [Chapter 8], in BA Stein, LS Kutner, and JS Adams eds., Precious heritage: the status of biodiversity in the United States. New York, Oxford University Press, p. 239-254.