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1997 Humans and Other Catastrophes

To properly understand human involvement in extinction, we have to look at the past as well as the present and the future.  Today, population levels and patterns of consumption exert their own devastating effect, threatening not only species but entire ecosystems.  In order to make appropriate decisions to ensure the future of all species, we must meet the challenge of comprehending the mechanisms at work in extinctions, and determine the most effective course of action to maintain Earth’s biological diversity.  This symposium, which gathered scientists, journalists, policy makers, and interested members of the general public, focused on possible causes of past extinctions and how lessons from past extinctions could help us set policy for preventative action today.

The symposium was made possible by The Starr Foundation’s ongoing support of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation’s programs and publications.  Additional support for the symposium was provided by The Rockefeller Brothers Fund. 


AGENDA

DAY ONE: EXPLAINING PAST EXTINCTIONS AND THE EXTINCTION PROCESS

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS
Ross D. E. MacPhee, Curator and Chairman of Mammalogy, American Museum of Natural History
Michael J. Novacek, Senior Vice-President and Provost, American Museum of Natural History

SESSION I

PREHISTORIC OVERKILL: FOUR DECADES OF DISCOVERY AND DEBATE
Paul S. Martin, University of Arizona

THE INTERACTION OF HUMANS, MEGAHERBIVORES, AND HABITATS IN THE LATE PLEISTOCENE EXTINCTION EVENT
Norman Owen-Smith, University of Witwatersrand

REORGANIZATION OF LATE QUATERNARY MAMMAL FAUNAS AND CAUSES OF MASS EXTINCTION
John Alroy, Smithsonian Institution

THE ROLE OF HUMANS IN LATE PLEISTOCENE MEGAFAUNAL EXTINCTION, WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO NORTHERN EURASIA AND NORTH AMERICA
A.J. Stuart, Norfolk Museum Services/Castle Museum

THE POWER OF PLEISTOCENE HUNTER-GATHERERS: A FORWARD AND BACKWARD SEARCH FOR THE EVIDENCE ABOUT MAMMOTH EXTINCTION
Gary Haynes and B. Sunday Eiselt, University of Nevada

PLEISTOCENE EXTINCTIONS: CHRONOLOGY, NON-ANALOG COMMUNITIES, AND ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE
Russell W. Graham, Denver Museum of Natural History
Thomas W. Stafford, Jr., University of Colorado
Holmes A. Semken, Jr., University of Iowa

SESSION II

EMERGING PATTERNS IN AUSTRALASIAN QUATERNARY EXTINCTIONS
Tim F. Flannery, Australian Museum

DIFFERENTIAL VULNERABILITY IN THE NEW ZEALAND VERTEBRATE FAUNA
Richard N. Holdaway, Palaecol Research

VANISHING FROM FRESHWATER: SPECIES DECLINE AND THE MACHINERY OF EXTINCTION
Melanie L.J. Stiassny and Ian J. Harrison, AMNH

RATES, PATTERNS, AND PROCESSES OF LANDSCAPE TRANSFORMATION AND EXTINCTION: MADAGASCAR AS AN EXPERIMENT IN HUMAN ECOLOGY
David A. Burney, Fordham University

PREHISTORIC EXTINCTIONS IN HAWAII: THE SEARCH FOR CAUSES
Helen F. James, Smithsonian Institution
Douglas Siegel-Causey, National Science Foundation

LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE: BLITZKRIEG, HYPERDISEASE, AND GLOBAL EXPLANATIONS OF THE LATE QUATERNARY CATASTROPHIC EXTINCTIONS
Ross D.E. MacPhee, AMNH
Preston A. Marx, Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center

CRETACEOUS METEOR SHOWERS, THE HUMAN ECOLOGICAL "NICHE" AND THE SIXTH EXTINCTION
Niles Eldredge, AMNH

Plenary Address
EXTINCTIONS, GEOGRAPHIC RANGES, AND PATTERNS OF LOSS
Stuart L. Pimm, University of Tennessee 


DAY TWO: PREVENTING EXTINCTION: ADVANCES IN BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS
Ellen V. Futter, President, American Museum of Natural History
Francesca T. Grifo, Director, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation

EXPLAINING PAST EXTINCTIONS AND THE EXTINCTION PROCESS

THE TIMING, NATURE, AND AFTERSHOCK OF PLEISTOCENE EXTINCTIONS IN AUSTRALIA
Tim F. Flannery, Principal Research Scientist, Australian Museum

EXTINCTIONS IN DEEP TIME, NEAR TIME, AND FUTURE TIME: WHAT WE THINK WE KNOW
Ross D.E. MacPhee, Chairman and Curator, Department of Mammalogy, AMNH

THE ROLE OF SCIENCE

CONSERVATION BIOLOGY IN THE 21ST CENTURY
David Ehrenfeld, Professor of Biology, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources, Cook College, Rutgers University

MAPPING THE EBB AND FLOW OF LIFE
Michael J. Novacek, Senior Vice-President and Provost, AMNH

MANAGING NATURAL RESOURCES FOR DIVERSITY

INTEGRATING SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY AND BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION IN TROPICAL FORESTS
Gary Hartshorn, Executive Director, Organization for Tropical Studies

CENTRAL PARK'S WOODLANDS: A CASE STUDY IN RESTORING AND MANAGING AN URBAN NATURAL RESOURCE
Marianne Cramer, Central Park Planner, Central Park Conservancy

THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION

WINDOWS ON THE WILD: A NATIONAL BIODIVERSITY EDUCATION PROGRAM
Judy Braus, Director of Environmental Education, World Wildlife Fund

CHICAGO WILDERNESS: A REGIONAL BIODIVERSITY INITIATIVE OR AN OXYMORON?
Carol J. Fialkowski, Environmental Educator, Department of Environmental and Conservation Programs, The Field Museum

AMERICA'S PRIVATE LAND: A GEOGRAPHY OF HOPE
Paul W. Johnson, Chief, Natural Resources Conservation Service

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