Document Type

Article

Department or Administrative Unit

Library

Publication Date

Fall 2012

Abstract

Biodiversity, a contraction of the phrase "biological diversity," was first used by Walter G. Rosen during a planning meeting for the 1986 National Forum on BioDiversity held in Washington, DC, while the first appearance of the word in the print literature likely occurred with the 1988 publication of the proceedings of this conference (Hawksworth 1995). The term "biodiversity" first appeared in the Biodiversity Web Resources http://www.istl.org/12-fall/internet.html 1 of 15 3/11/14 11:26 AM BIOSIS database in 1988 with four references, but by April of 1994 the count of citations had increased to 888 (Hawksworth 1995).

Over the last decade scientists have noted that biodiversity loss is an irreversible process and a serious threat to our quality of life and that "we are on the verge of a major biodiversity crisis" (Loreau 2006). Nearly three decades after the founding of the discipline of biodiversity Barnosky et al. (2012), warns that the earth is quickly reaching a tipping point of climate change, extinctions, and ecological disruptions not seen since the retreat of Pleistocene glaciers 12,000 years ago. They write that "such planetary-scale critical transitions have occurred previously in the biosphere, albeit rarely, and that humans are now forcing another such transition, with the potential to transform Earth rapidly and irreversibly into a state unknown in human experience."

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