Edited by: Edward T. LaRoeGaye S. FarrisCatherine E. PuckettPeter D. Doran, and Michael J. Mac



Turtles have existed virtually unchanged for the last 200 million years. Unfortunately, some of the same traits that allowed them to survive the ages often predispose them to endangerment. Delayed maturity and low and variable annual reproductive success make turtles unusually susceptible to increased mortality through exploitation and habitat modifications (Brooks et al. 1991; Congdon et al. 1993). 

In general, turtles are overlooked by wildlife managers in spite of their ecological significance and importance to humans. Turtles are, however, important as scavengers, herbivores, and carnivores, and often contribute significant biomass to ecosystems. In addition, they are an important link in ecosystems, providing dispersal mechanisms for plants, contributing to environmental diversity, and fostering symbiotic associations with a diverse array of organisms. Adults and eggs of many turtles have been used as a food resource by humans for centuries (Brooks et al. 1988; Lovich 1994). As use pressures and habitat destruction increase, management that considers the life-history traits of turtles will be needed.

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Turtles
Year Published 1995
Language English
Publisher National Biological Service
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description 4 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Our living resources: A report to the nation on the distribution, abundance, and health of U.S. plants, animals, and ecosystems
First page 118
Last page 121
Country United States
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