Even without human influences, the size of any wildlife population may be stable, increasing, decreasing, or even fluctuating. These population changes, combined with occasional natural perturbations, can and have driven some species and populations to extinction. Such natural extinction events generally occur at local scales, and are interspersed by long periods of little change, so that overall ecosystem stability is not compromised. Moreover, as explained by the intermediate disturbance hypothesis (e.g. Bongers et al., 2009), localised disturbances and subsequent local extinctions play an important role in maintaining regional biodiversity, as they increase opportunities for a greater variety of species to live in an area (Figure 9.1), at least until succession drives them out again. Some species that colonise the empty niches left by extinctions or extirpations may even evolve to become new species over time.