Surviving the Anthropocene: A story of biological gains as well as losses

A lecture for the Oxford University Centre for Tropical Forests by Professor Chris D Thomas, Department of Biology, University of York, author of Inheritors of the Earth: How Nature Is Thriving in an Age of Extinction.

In this lecture, Dr. Thomas will argue that a majority of species are spreading into new areas (at least somewhere in their ranges) and that the diversity of species is growing in nearly all regions of the world as a consequence of the movement of species – biological invasions.

Dr. Thomas will also make the case that increasing numbers of species are adapting genetically to the human-modified world, and that new species are starting to form, usually stimulated by the transport of species around the world. Bizarre as it might seem, the speciation rate on Earth (on land) during the Anthropocene could possibly be higher than ever before, and the evolution of humans could be initiating a Sixth Great Genesis – as well as a Mass Extinction.

Since gains are taking place, humans should not treat nature like an old master that requires restoration, but develop a conservation philosophy that accepts and promulgates change that is beneficial to current and future generations of humans.