Welcome to the Anthropocene

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Ever-increasing numbers of people, climate change, and transformation of half of the planet’s land to serve humans are among the many pressures that are hallmarks of  the unique time in which we now  live, the Anthropocene.   My current work focuses on  understanding how  to guide  biological systems such that they maintain vibrancy in the face of  unusually rapid human-caused global changes . 

A key problem is the extinction crisis.  Human impacts have killed  half of the world’s vertebrate wildlife in the past forty years. Not since the dinosaur extinction 66 million years ago have extinction rates been so high, and if they persist a similarly severe mass extinction of life  is inevitable within just a few human lifetimes—maybe sooner.   Especially in peril are most of the world’s largest animals. For instance, if the current pace of poaching continues,  there will be no more wild elephants in Africa within 20 years.  Dealing with the extinction crisis requires slowing climate change, more efficient production and distribution of food to avoid taking over other species habitats to feed a growing human population, and from the economic perspective using nature as an investment account where we live off the interest, rather than our current approach of regarding it as bottomless debit account.

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© 2018 Anthony D. Barnosky  |  Email   |  650 851-6814  |  Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5020 I  Package Delivery Address: 4001 Sand Hill Road, Woodside, CA 94062