Review: Plant diversity change across scales during the Anthropocene ($)

AnnRevPlantBiolWe’re living in the Anthropocene, a term that reflects the profound impact of human activities on Earth’s geology and ecology. A hallmark of the Anthropocene is  a decrease in biodiversity due to an increase in the rate of extinctions. Vellend et al. examine the plant diversity has been affected during the Anthropocene. This wide-ranging review starts with an introduction to basic concepts and methods used in the study of biodiversity. The authors then summarize numerous case-studies and meta-analyses spanning local, regional, and global scales. Although they find that globally the rate of extinction has been largely offset by the creation of new species as a consequence of plant migrations, at the local level they observe widespread decreases in biodiversity due to habitat loss and fragmentation (due to urbanization and agriculture). The long-term implications for plant diversity remain highly uncertain. This is a very accessible and useful review for teaching. Annu. Rev. Plant Biol. 10.1146/annurev-arplant-042916-040949

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