Stefan Dullinger, Head of the Department of Conservation Biology, Vegetation Ecology and Landscape Ecology at the of the University of Vienna, Austria, has been digging into our past to predict the future and all he can see is extinction debt.
According to extinction debt ‘endangered’ species are dying out not because of what we do to the environment today, but what we did in the past. In a recent study Dullinger found that the European countries with the most recent extinctions also put the most pressure on the environment way back in 1900. The relationship was there even when taking recent environmental effort into account.
Like Dullinger says himself in a New Scientist post:
“Biodiversity takes its time to respond to socio-economic pressures”
This means that we are not to blame for the endangered species of today, so relax, our time to feel bad won’t come in another 100 years. It could, however, mean that today’s endangered animals already have their fate sealed and have started a slow journey towards certain extinction.Back to index