Single Large or Several Small (Sloss) Debate

The single large or several small (SLOSS) debate, which occurred in ecology, conservation biology, and biogeography from 1975 through the 1980s, dealt with the relevance of the dynamic equilibrium theory of island biogeography to the design of refuges or reserves for conservation. This entry describes the equilibrium theory of island biogeography, its application in “habitat islands,” and its use by conservationists seeking to design reserves or refuges for species preservation. It then describes a controversy ignited by the theory and evaluates its relevance today.

Equilibrium Theory of Island Biogeography

In the 1960s, Robert MacArthur of Princeton University and Edward O. Wilson of Harvard University proposed a new explanation for the distribution of animal and plant species on islands: the equilibrium theory of island biogeography. They envisioned the ...

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