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The Keystone-Species Concept in Ecology and Conservation

abstract1 (full description below): BioScience, Vol. 43, No. 4. (Apr., 1993), pp. 219-224.
The Keystone-Species Concept. PDF/Acrobat file     L.Scott Mills, Michael E. Soule, and Daniel F. Doak

Introduction Excerpt: Such policy recommendations imply that a clear operational definition exists for keystone species. In contrast, we argue that the term is broadly applied, poorly defined, and nonspecific in meaning. Furthermore, the type of community structure implied by the keystone-species concept is largely undemonstrated in nature, although it has fundamental implications for conservation and food-web theory. These ambiguities and uncertainties motivate this discussion of the implications of the keystone-species concept for ecology and conservation, as well as the dangers inherent in shaping conservation strategies around keystone species.