Biotic homogenization: a few winners replacing many losers in the next mass extinction

Trends Ecol Evol. 1999 Nov;14(11):450-453. doi: 10.1016/s0169-5347(99)01679-1.


Human activities are not random in their negative and positive impacts on biotas. Emerging evidence shows that most species are declining as a result of human activities ('losers') and are being replaced by a much smaller number of expanding species that thrive in human-altered environments ('winners'). The result will be a more homogenized biosphere with lower diversity at regional and global scales. Recent data also indicate that the many losers and few winners tend to be non-randomly distributed among higher taxa and ecological groups, enhancing homogenization.