Throughout the world, and particularly in densely populated countries like Britain, human activities exert a dominant influence on the abundance of both plants and animals. The commonness and rarity of plants in Britain has been plausibly linked to human land use. In Western Europe the identity of increasing and decreasing plants appears to depend on human population density, which is itself a crude measure of human impact on the landscape. The publication of new data on the changing distributions of scarce British plants allowed us to investigate the relationship between loss of scarce plants and human population density in Britain. Our results confirm that a direct effect of human population density on local plant extinctions can be detected at the regional scale in Britain. Although intensive agriculture is conventionally regarded as the greatest threat to British wildlife, our analysis suggests that urbanization may be at least as significant a danger.
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Feb 1, 1999
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