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Minimum viable populations: Processes of Species Extinction

abstract1 (full description below): Pp. 19-34 in Soul
M. E. Gilpin and M.E. Soule. PDF/Acrobat file  

Introduction: The term "minimum viable population" has come into vogue, possibly because of an injunction from the Congress of the United States (National Forest Management Act of 1976) to the U.S. Forest Service to maintain "viable populations" of all native vertebrate species in each National Forest. The term implies that there is some threshold for the number of individuals, or some multivariate set of thresholds and limits, that will insure (at some acceptable level of risk) that a population will persist in a viable state for a given interval of time. This chapter introduces the term "population vulnerability analysis" (PVA) for analyses that estimate minimum viable populations (MVPs). That is, MVP is the product, and PVA the process.