Arising from F. He & S. P. Hubbell 473, 368-371 (2011). He and Hubbell developed a sampling theory for the species-area relationship (SAR) and the endemics-area relationship (EAR). They argued that the number of extinctions after habitat loss is described by the EAR and that extinction rates in previous studies are overestimates because the EAR is always lower than the SAR. Here we show that their conclusion is not general and depends on the geometry of habitat destruction and the scale of the SAR. We also question their critique of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment estimates, as those estimates are not dependent on the SAR only, although important uncertainties remain due to other methodological issues.