US Geological Survey



James W. Wiley

Date of this Version



U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1422, 255 p.


Published in Perry, M.C., ed.


Although indigenous Amerindian populations adversely affected the biota of their island environments, it was not until the arrival of Europeans that populations of many plant and animal species in the Caribbean Islands declined dramatically (Snyder and others, 1987). Island species are particularly vulnerable to changes in the environment, which, in the extreme, can lead to their extinction. The small populations of many species that occupy islands have limited gene pools and typically show extremes of specialization, characteristics that place those species at high risk for decline and extinction with rapid environmental change. The most important factor in the decline of most Caribbean Island species has been the rapid increase in human population and the environmental changes related to that growth (Snyder and others, 1987).