Publications by authors named "Ana S L Rodrigues"

41 Publications

Mismatch between bird species sensitivity and the protection of intact habitats across the Americas.

Ecol Lett 2021 Aug 16. Epub 2021 Aug 16.

CEFE, Univ Montpellier, CNRS, EPHE, IRD, Montpellier, France.

Protected areas are highly heterogeneous in their effectiveness at buffering human pressure, which may hamper their ability to conserve species highly sensitive to human activities. Here, we use 60 million bird observations from eBird to estimate the sensitivity to human pressure of each bird species breeding in the Americas. Concerningly, we find that ecoregions hosting large proportions of high-sensitivity species, concentrated in tropical biomes, do not have more intact protected habitat. Moreover, 266 high-sensitivity species have little or no intact protected habitat within their distributions. Finally, we show that protected area intactness is decreasing faster where high-sensitivity species concentrate. Our results highlight a major mismatch between species conservation needs and the coverage of intact protected habitats, which likely hampers the long-term effectiveness of protected areas at retaining species. We highlight ecoregions where protection and management of intact habitats, complemented by restoration, is urgently needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ele.13859DOI Listing
August 2021

A metric for spatially explicit contributions to science-based species targets.

Nat Ecol Evol 2021 06 8;5(6):836-844. Epub 2021 Apr 8.

IUCN, Cambridge, UK.

The Convention on Biological Diversity's post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework will probably include a goal to stabilize and restore the status of species. Its delivery would be facilitated by making the actions required to halt and reverse species loss spatially explicit. Here, we develop a species threat abatement and restoration (STAR) metric that is scalable across species, threats and geographies. STAR quantifies the contributions that abating threats and restoring habitats in specific places offer towards reducing extinction risk. While every nation can contribute towards halting biodiversity loss, Indonesia, Colombia, Mexico, Madagascar and Brazil combined have stewardship over 31% of total STAR values for terrestrial amphibians, birds and mammals. Among actions, sustainable crop production and forestry dominate, contributing 41% of total STAR values for these taxonomic groups. Key Biodiversity Areas cover 9% of the terrestrial surface but capture 47% of STAR values. STAR could support governmental and non-state actors in quantifying their contributions to meeting science-based species targets within the framework.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41559-021-01432-0DOI Listing
June 2021

Author Correction: Area-based conservation in the twenty-first century.

Nature 2020 Dec;588(7837):E14

Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland, Australia.

An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2952-yDOI Listing
December 2020

The multifaceted challenge of evaluating protected area effectiveness.

Nat Commun 2020 10 13;11(1):5147. Epub 2020 Oct 13.

CEFE, Univ. Montpellier, CNRS, EPHE, IRD, Univ. Paul Valéry Montpellier 3, Montpellier, France.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18989-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7555541PMC
October 2020

Area-based conservation in the twenty-first century.

Nature 2020 10 7;586(7828):217-227. Epub 2020 Oct 7.

Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland, Australia.

Humanity will soon define a new era for nature-one that seeks to transform decades of underwhelming responses to the global biodiversity crisis. Area-based conservation efforts, which include both protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, are likely to extend and diversify. However, persistent shortfalls in ecological representation and management effectiveness diminish the potential role of area-based conservation in stemming biodiversity loss. Here we show how the expansion of protected areas by national governments since 2010 has had limited success in increasing the coverage across different elements of biodiversity (ecoregions, 12,056 threatened species, 'Key Biodiversity Areas' and wilderness areas) and ecosystem services (productive fisheries, and carbon services on land and sea). To be more successful after 2020, area-based conservation must contribute more effectively to meeting global biodiversity goals-ranging from preventing extinctions to retaining the most-intact ecosystems-and must better collaborate with the many Indigenous peoples, community groups and private initiatives that are central to the successful conservation of biodiversity. The long-term success of area-based conservation requires parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity to secure adequate financing, plan for climate change and make biodiversity conservation a far stronger part of land, water and sea management policies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2773-zDOI Listing
October 2020

Effectiveness of protected areas in conserving tropical forest birds.

Nat Commun 2020 09 14;11(1):4461. Epub 2020 Sep 14.

CEFE, Univ. Montpellier, CNRS, EPHE, IRD, Univ. Paul Valéry Montpellier 3, Montpellier, France.

Protected areas (PAs) are the cornerstones of global biodiversity conservation efforts, but to fulfil this role they must be effective at conserving the ecosystems and species that occur within their boundaries. Adequate monitoring datasets that allow comparing biodiversity between protected and unprotected sites are lacking in tropical regions. Here we use the largest citizen science biodiversity dataset - eBird - to quantify the extent to which protected areas in eight tropical forest biodiversity hotspots are effective at retaining bird diversity. We find generally positive effects of protection on the diversity of bird species that are forest-dependent, endemic to the hotspots, or threatened or Near Threatened, but not on overall bird species richness. Furthermore, we show that in most of the hotspots examined this benefit is driven by protected areas preventing both forest loss and degradation. Our results provide evidence that, on average, protected areas contribute measurably to conserving bird species in some of the world's most diverse and threatened terrestrial ecosystems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18230-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7490714PMC
September 2020

Author Correction: Simulation-based reconstruction of global bird migration over the past 50,000 years.

Nat Commun 2020 Mar 31;11(1):1700. Epub 2020 Mar 31.

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.

An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-15528-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7109048PMC
March 2020

Simulation-based reconstruction of global bird migration over the past 50,000 years.

Nat Commun 2020 02 18;11(1):801. Epub 2020 Feb 18.

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.

Migration is a widespread response of birds to seasonally varying climates. As seasonality is particularly pronounced during interglacial periods, this raises the question of the significance of bird migration during past periods with different patterns of seasonality. Here, we apply a mechanistic model to climate reconstructions to simulate the past 50,000 years of bird migration worldwide, a period encompassing the transition between the last glacial period and the current interglacial. Our results indicate that bird migration was also a prevalent phenomenon during the last ice age, almost as much as today, suggesting that it has been continually important throughout the glacial cycles of recent Earth history. We find however regional variations, with increasing migratory activity in the Americas, which is not mirrored in the Old World. These results highlight the strong flexibility of the global bird migration system and offer a baseline in the context of on-going anthropogenic climate change.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-14589-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7028998PMC
February 2020

Unshifting the baseline: a framework for documenting historical population changes and assessing long-term anthropogenic impacts.

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 2019 12 4;374(1788):20190220. Epub 2019 Nov 4.

Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regent's Park, London NW1 4RY, UK.

Ecological baselines-reference states of species' distributions and abundances-are key to the scientific arguments underpinning many conservation and management interventions, as well as to the public support to such interventions. Yet societal as well as scientific perceptions of these baselines are often based on ecosystems that have been deeply transformed by human actions. Despite increased awareness about the pervasiveness and implications of this shifting baseline syndrome, ongoing global assessments of the state of biodiversity do not take into account the long-term, cumulative, anthropogenic impacts on biodiversity. Here, we propose a new framework for documenting such impacts, by classifying populations according to the extent to which they deviate from a baseline in the absence of human actions. We apply this framework to the bowhead whale () to illustrate how it can be used to assess populations with different geographies and timelines of known or suspected impacts. Through other examples, we discuss how the framework can be applied to populations for which there is a wide diversity of existing knowledge, by making the best use of the available ecological, historical and archaeological data. Combined across multiple populations, this framework provides a standard for assessing cumulative anthropogenic impacts on biodiversity. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'The past is a foreign country: how much can the fossil record actually inform conservation?'
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2019.0220DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6863499PMC
December 2019

Assessing ecological function in the context of species recovery.

Conserv Biol 2020 06 29;34(3):561-571. Epub 2019 Nov 29.

Ecosystem Management Group, Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zurich, Zurich, 8092, Switzerland.

Species interactions matter to conservation. Setting an ambitious recovery target for a species requires considering the size, density, and demographic structure of its populations such that they fulfill the interactions, roles, and functions of the species in the ecosystems in which they are embedded. A recently proposed framework for an International Union for Conservation of Nature Green List of Species formalizes this requirement by defining a fully recovered species in terms of representation, viability, and functionality. Defining and quantifying ecological function from the viewpoint of species recovery is challenging in concept and application, but also an opportunity to insert ecological theory into conservation practice. We propose 2 complementary approaches to assessing a species' ecological functions: confirmation (listing interactions of the species, identifying ecological processes and other species involved in these interactions, and quantifying the extent to which the species contributes to the identified ecological process) and elimination (inferring functionality by ruling out symptoms of reduced functionality, analogous to the red-list approach that focuses on symptoms of reduced viability). Despite the challenges, incorporation of functionality into species recovery planning is possible in most cases and it is essential to a conservation vision that goes beyond preventing extinctions and aims to restore a species to levels beyond what is required for its viability. This vision focuses on conservation and recovery at the species level and sees species as embedded in ecosystems, influencing and being influenced by the processes in those ecosystems. Thus, it connects and integrates conservation at the species and ecosystem levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13425DOI Listing
June 2020

Forgotten Mediterranean calving grounds of grey and North Atlantic right whales: evidence from Roman archaeological records.

Proc Biol Sci 2018 07 11;285(1882). Epub 2018 Jul 11.

BioArCh, Department of Archaeology, University of York, York YO10 5DD, UK.

Right whales () were extirpated from the eastern North Atlantic by commercial whaling. Grey whales () disappeared from the entire North Atlantic in still-mysterious circumstances. Here, we test the hypotheses that both species previously occurred in the Mediterranean Sea, an area not currently considered part of their historical range. We used ancient DNA barcoding and collagen fingerprinting methods to taxonomically identify a rare set of 10 presumed whale bones from Roman and pre-Roman archaeological sites in the Strait of Gibraltar region, plus an additional bone from the Asturian coast. We identified three right whales, and three grey whales, demonstrating that the ranges of both of these species historically encompassed the Gibraltar region, probably including the Mediterranean Sea as calving grounds. Our results significantly extend the known range of the Atlantic grey whale, and suggest that 2000 years ago, right and grey whales were common when compared with other whale species. The disappearance of right and grey whales from the Mediterranean region is likely to have been accompanied by broader ecosystem impacts, including the disappearance of their predators (killer whales) and a reduction in marine primary productivity. The evidence that these two coastal and highly accessible species were present along the shores of the Roman Empire raises the hypothesis that they may have formed the basis of a forgotten whaling industry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2018.0961DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6053924PMC
July 2018

Energy efficiency drives the global seasonal distribution of birds.

Nat Ecol Evol 2018 06 7;2(6):962-969. Epub 2018 May 7.

Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

The uneven distribution of biodiversity on Earth is one of the most general and puzzling patterns in ecology. Many hypotheses have been proposed to explain it, based on evolutionary processes or on constraints related to geography and energy. However, previous studies investigating these hypotheses have been largely descriptive due to the logistical difficulties of conducting controlled experiments on such large geographical scales. Here, we use bird migration-the seasonal redistribution of approximately 15% of bird species across the world-as a natural experiment for testing the species-energy relationship, the hypothesis that animal diversity is driven by energetic constraints. We develop a mechanistic model of bird distributions across the world, and across seasons, based on simple ecological and energetic principles. Using this model, we show that bird species distributions optimize the balance between energy acquisition and energy expenditure while taking into account competition with other species. These findings support, and provide a mechanistic explanation for, the species-energy relationship. The findings also provide a general explanation of migration as a mechanism that allows birds to optimize their energy budget in the face of seasonality and competition. Finally, our mechanistic model provides a tool for predicting how ecosystems will respond to global anthropogenic change.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41559-018-0556-9DOI Listing
June 2018

Quantifying species recovery and conservation success to develop an IUCN Green List of Species.

Conserv Biol 2018 10 18;32(5):1128-1138. Epub 2018 Apr 18.

Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Trinity JE3 5BP, Jersey, Channel Islands, U.K.

Stopping declines in biodiversity is critically important, but it is only a first step toward achieving more ambitious conservation goals. The absence of an objective and practical definition of species recovery that is applicable across taxonomic groups leads to inconsistent targets in recovery plans and frustrates reporting and maximization of conservation impact. We devised a framework for comprehensively assessing species recovery and conservation success. We propose a definition of a fully recovered species that emphasizes viability, ecological functionality, and representation; and use counterfactual approaches to quantify degree of recovery. This allowed us to calculate a set of 4 conservation metrics that demonstrate impacts of conservation efforts to date (conservation legacy); identify dependence of a species on conservation actions (conservation dependence); quantify expected gains resulting from conservation action in the medium term (conservation gain); and specify requirements to achieve maximum plausible recovery over the long term (recovery potential). These metrics can incentivize the establishment and achievement of ambitious conservation targets. We illustrate their use by applying the framework to a vertebrate, an invertebrate, and a woody and an herbaceous plant. Our approach is a preliminary framework for an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Green List of Species, which was mandated by a resolution of IUCN members in 2012. Although there are several challenges in applying our proposed framework to a wide range of species, we believe its further development, implementation, and integration with the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species will help catalyze a positive and ambitious vision for conservation that will drive sustained conservation action.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13112DOI Listing
October 2018

Empirical phylogenies and species abundance distributions are consistent with preequilibrium dynamics of neutral community models with gene flow.

Evolution 2017 05 4;71(5):1149-1163. Epub 2017 May 4.

Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive CEFE UMR 5175, CNRS-Université de Montpellier-Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier-EPHE, 1919 route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier cedex 5, France.

Community characteristics reflect past ecological and evolutionary dynamics. Here, we investigate whether it is possible to obtain realistically shaped modeled communities-that is with phylogenetic trees and species abundance distributions shaped similarly to typical empirical bird and mammal communities-from neutral community models. To test the effect of gene flow, we contrasted two spatially explicit individual-based neutral models: one with protracted speciation, delayed by gene flow, and one with point mutation speciation, unaffected by gene flow. The former produced more realistic communities (shape of phylogenetic tree and species-abundance distribution), consistent with gene flow being a key process in macro-evolutionary dynamics. Earlier models struggled to capture the empirically observed branching tempo in phylogenetic trees, as measured by the gamma statistic. We show that the low gamma values typical of empirical trees can be obtained in models with protracted speciation, in preequilibrium communities developing from an initially abundant and widespread species. This was even more so in communities sampled incompletely, particularly if the unknown species are the youngest. Overall, our results demonstrate that the characteristics of empirical communities that we have studied can, to a large extent, be explained through a purely neutral model under preequilibrium conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/evo.13228DOI Listing
May 2017

The effects of archipelago spatial structure on island diversity and endemism: predictions from a spatially-structured neutral model.

Evolution 2016 11 13;70(11):2657-2666. Epub 2016 Oct 13.

Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, UMR 5175, Montpellier, France.

Islands are particularly suited to testing hypotheses about the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms underpinning community assembly. Yet the complex spatial arrangements of real island systems have received little attention from both empirical studies and theoretical models. Here, we investigate the extent to which the spatial structure of archipelagos affects species diversity and endemism. We start by proposing a new spatially structured neutral model that explicitly considers archipelago structure, and then investigate its predictions under a diversity of scenarios. Our results suggest that considering the spatial structure of archipelagos is crucial to understanding their diversity and endemism, with structured island systems acting both as "museums" and "cradles" of biodiversity. These dynamics of diversification may change the traditionally expected pattern of decrease in species richness with distance from the mainland, even potentially leading to increasing patterns for taxa with high speciation rates in archipelagos off species-poor continental areas. Our results also predict that, within spatially structured archipelagos, metapopulation dynamics and evolutionary processes can generate higher diversity on islands more centrally placed than at the periphery. We derive from our results a set of theoretical predictions, potentially testable with empirical data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/evo.13067DOI Listing
November 2016

Analysing biodiversity and conservation knowledge products to support regional environmental assessments.

Sci Data 2016 Feb 16;3:160007. Epub 2016 Feb 16.

NatureServe, Apdo. 358-1260, Plaza Colonial, San José, Costa Rica.

Two processes for regional environmental assessment are currently underway: the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) and Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Both face constraints of data, time, capacity, and resources. To support these assessments, we disaggregate three global knowledge products according to their regions and subregions. These products are: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Key Biodiversity Areas (specifically Important Bird &Biodiversity Areas [IBAs], and Alliance for Zero Extinction [AZE] sites), and Protected Planet. We present fourteen Data citations: numbers of species occurring and percentages threatened; numbers of endemics and percentages threatened; downscaled Red List Indices for mammals, birds, and amphibians; numbers, mean sizes, and percentage coverages of IBAs and AZE sites; percentage coverage of land and sea by protected areas; and trends in percentages of IBAs and AZE sites wholly covered by protected areas. These data will inform the regional/subregional assessment chapters on the status of biodiversity, drivers of its decline, and institutional responses, and greatly facilitate comparability and consistency between the different regional/subregional assessments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sdata.2016.7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4755129PMC
February 2016

A spatially explicit estimate of the prewhaling abundance of the endangered North Atlantic right whale.

Conserv Biol 2016 08 15;30(4):783-91. Epub 2016 Mar 15.

CEFE UMR 5175, CNRS - Université de Montpellier - Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier - EPHE - CNRS, 1919 route de Mende, 34293, Montpellier Cedex 5, France.

The North Atlantic right whale (NARW) (Eubalaena glacialis) is one of the world's most threatened whales. It came close to extinction after nearly a millennium of exploitation and currently persists as a population of only approximately 500 individuals. Setting appropriate conservation targets for this species requires an understanding of its historical population size, as a baseline for measuring levels of depletion and progress toward recovery. This is made difficult by the scarcity of records over this species' long whaling history. We sought to estimate the preexploitation population size of the North Atlantic right whale and understand how this species was distributed across its range. We used a spatially explicit data set on historical catches of North Pacific right whales (NPRWs) (Eubalaena japonica) to model the relationship between right whale relative density and the environment during the summer feeding season. Assuming the 2 right whale species select similar environments, we projected this model to the North Atlantic to predict how the relative abundance of NARWs varied across their range. We calibrated these relative abundances with estimates of the NPRW total prewhaling population size to obtain high and low estimates for the overall NARW population size prior to exploitation. The model predicted 9,075-21,328 right whales in the North Atlantic. The current NARW population is thus <6% of the historical North Atlantic carrying capacity and has enormous potential for recovery. According to the model, in June-September NARWs concentrated in 2 main feeding areas: east of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and in the Norwegian Sea. These 2 areas may become important in the future as feeding grounds and may already be used more regularly by this endangered species than is thought.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cobi.12664DOI Listing
August 2016

The difference conservation makes to extinction risk of the world's ungulates.

Conserv Biol 2015 Oct 27;29(5):1303-13. Epub 2015 Apr 27.

IUCN Species Survival Commission, International Union for Conservation of Nature, 28 rue Mauverney, CH-1196, Gland, Switzerland.

Previous studies show that conservation actions have prevented extinctions, recovered populations, and reduced declining trends in global biodiversity. However, all studies to date have substantially underestimated the difference conservation action makes because they failed to account fully for what would have happened in the absence thereof. We undertook a scenario-based thought experiment to better quantify the effect conservation actions have had on the extinction risk of the world's 235 recognized ungulate species. We did so by comparing species' observed conservation status in 2008 with their estimated status under counterfactual scenarios in which conservation efforts ceased in 1996. We estimated that without conservation at least 148 species would have deteriorated by one International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List category, including 6 species that now would be listed as extinct or extinct in the wild. The overall decline in the conservation status of ungulates would have been nearly 8 times worse than observed. This trend would have been greater still if not for conservation on private lands. While some species have benefited from highly targeted interventions, such as reintroduction, most benefited collaterally from conservation such as habitat protection. We found that the difference conservation action makes to the conservation status of the world's ungulate species is likely to be higher than previously estimated. Increased, and sustained, investment could help achieve further improvements.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cobi.12519DOI Listing
October 2015

Spatially explicit trends in the global conservation status of vertebrates.

PLoS One 2014 26;9(11):e113934. Epub 2014 Nov 26.

IUCN, 28 rue Mauverney, CH-1196, Gland, Switzerland; Conservation International, 2011 Crystal Drive Ste 500, Arlington, VA, 22202, United States of America; United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre, 219 Huntingdon Road, Cambridge, CB3 0DL, United Kingdom; Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Bath, Bath, BA2 7AY, United Kingdom; Al Ain Zoo, P.O. Box 45553, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The world's governments have committed to preventing the extinction of threatened species and improving their conservation status by 2020. However, biodiversity is not evenly distributed across space, and neither are the drivers of its decline, and so different regions face very different challenges. Here, we quantify the contribution of regions and countries towards recent global trends in vertebrate conservation status (as measured by the Red List Index), to guide action towards the 2020 target. We found that>50% of the global deterioration in the conservation status of birds, mammals and amphibians is concentrated in <1% of the surface area, 39/1098 ecoregions (4%) and eight/195 countries (4%) - Australia, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, and the United States. These countries hold a third of global diversity in these vertebrate groups, partially explaining why they concentrate most of the losses. Yet, other megadiverse countries - most notably Brazil (responsible for 10% of species but just 1% of deterioration), plus India and Madagascar - performed better in conserving their share of global vertebrate diversity. Very few countries, mostly island nations (e.g. Cook Islands, Fiji, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Tonga), have achieved net improvements. Per capita wealth does not explain these patterns, with two of the richest countries - United States and Australia - fairing conspicuously poorly. Different countries were affected by different combinations of threats. Reducing global rates of biodiversity loss will require investment in the regions and countries with the highest responsibility for the world's biodiversity, focusing on conserving those species and areas most in peril and on reducing the drivers with the highest impacts.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0113934PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4245261PMC
December 2015

Mapping global diversity patterns for migratory birds.

PLoS One 2013 7;8(8):e70907. Epub 2013 Aug 7.

Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Nearly one in five bird species has separate breeding and overwintering distributions, and the regular migrations of these species cause a substantial seasonal redistribution of avian diversity across the world. However, despite its ecological importance, bird migration has been largely ignored in studies of global avian biodiversity, with few studies having addressed it from a macroecological perspective. Here, we analyse a dataset on the global distribution of the world's birds in order to examine global spatial patterns in the diversity of migratory species, including: the seasonal variation in overall species diversity due to migration; the contribution of migratory birds to local bird diversity; and the distribution of narrow-range and threatened migratory birds. Our analyses reveal a striking asymmetry between the Northern and Southern hemispheres, evident in all of the patterns investigated. The highest migratory bird diversity was found in the Northern Hemisphere, with high inter-continental turnover in species composition between breeding and non-breeding seasons, and extensive regions (at high latitudes) where migratory birds constitute the majority of the local avifauna. Threatened migratory birds are concentrated mainly in Central and Southern Asia, whereas narrow-range migratory species are mainly found in Central America, the Himalayas and Patagonia. Overall, global patterns in the diversity of migratory birds indicate that bird migration is mainly a Northern Hemisphere phenomenon. The asymmetry between the Northern and Southern hemispheres could not have easily been predicted from the combined results of regional scale studies, highlighting the importance of a global perspective.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0070907PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3737225PMC
August 2014

Ecophylogenetics: advances and perspectives.

Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc 2012 Nov 20;87(4):769-85. Epub 2012 Mar 20.

Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution, UMR, CNRS, Université Montpellier, France.

Ecophylogenetics can be viewed as an emerging fusion of ecology, biogeography and macroevolution. This new and fast-growing field is promoting the incorporation of evolution and historical contingencies into the ecological research agenda through the widespread use of phylogenetic data. Including phylogeny into ecological thinking represents an opportunity for biologists from different fields to collaborate and has provided promising avenues of research in both theoretical and empirical ecology, towards a better understanding of the assembly of communities, the functioning of ecosystems and their responses to environmental changes. The time is ripe to assess critically the extent to which the integration of phylogeny into these different fields of ecology has delivered on its promise. Here we review how phylogenetic information has been used to identify better the key components of species interactions with their biotic and abiotic environments, to determine the relationships between diversity and ecosystem functioning and ultimately to establish good management practices to protect overall biodiversity in the face of global change. We evaluate the relevance of information provided by phylogenies to ecologists, highlighting current potential weaknesses and needs for future developments. We suggest that despite the strong progress that has been made, a consistent unified framework is still missing to link local ecological dynamics to macroevolution. This is a necessary step in order to interpret observed phylogenetic patterns in a wider ecological context. Beyond the fundamental question of how evolutionary history contributes to shape communities, ecophylogenetics will help ecology to become a better integrative and predictive science.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-185X.2012.00224.xDOI Listing
November 2012

Reconciling global mammal prioritization schemes into a strategy.

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 2011 Sep;366(1578):2722-8

Global Mammal Assessment programme, Department of Biology and Biotechnologies, Sapienza Università di Roma, Viale dell'Università 32, 00185 Rome, Italy.

The huge conservation interest that mammals attract and the large datasets that have been collected on them have propelled a diversity of global mammal prioritization schemes, but no comprehensive global mammal conservation strategy. We highlight some of the potential discrepancies between the schemes presented in this theme issue, including: conservation of species or areas, reactive and proactive conservation approaches, conservation knowledge and action, levels of aggregation of indicators of trend and scale issues. We propose that recently collected global mammal data and many of the mammal prioritization schemes now available could be incorporated into a comprehensive global strategy for the conservation of mammals. The task of developing such a strategy should be coordinated by a super-partes, authoritative institution (e.g. the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN). The strategy would facilitate funding agencies, conservation organizations and national institutions to rapidly identify a number of short-term and long-term global conservation priorities, and act complementarily to achieve them.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2011.0112DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3140733PMC
September 2011

Complete, accurate, mammalian phylogenies aid conservation planning, but not much.

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 2011 Sep;366(1578):2652-60

Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, CNRS UMR5175, 1919 Route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier, France.

In the face of unprecedented global biodiversity loss, conservation planning must balance between refining and deepening knowledge versus acting on current information to preserve species and communities. Phylogenetic diversity (PD), a biodiversity measure that takes into account the evolutionary relationships between species, is arguably a more meaningful measure of biodiversity than species diversity, but cannot yet be applied to conservation planning for the majority of taxa for which phylogenetic trees have not yet been developed. Here, we investigate how the quality of data on the taxonomy and/or phylogeny of species affects the results of spatial conservation planning in terms of the representation of overall mammalian PD. The results show that the better the quality of the biodiversity data the better they can serve as a basis for conservation planning. However, decisions based on incomplete data are remarkably robust across different levels of degrading quality concerning the description of new species and the availability of phylogenetic information. Thus, given the level of urgency and the need for action, conservation planning can safely make use of the best available systematic data, limited as these data may be.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2011.0104DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3140728PMC
September 2011

The changing fates of the world's mammals.

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 2011 Sep;366(1578):2598-610

IUCN Species Survival Commission, Rue Mauverney 28, 1196 Gland, Switzerland.

A recent complete assessment of the conservation status of 5487 mammal species demonstrated that at least one-fifth are at risk of extinction in the wild. We retrospectively identified genuine changes in extinction risk for mammals between 1996 and 2008 to calculate changes in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List Index (RLI). Species-level trends in the conservation status of mammalian diversity reveal that extinction risk in large-bodied species is increasing, and that the rate of deterioration has been most accelerated in the Indomalayan and Australasian realms. Expanding agriculture and hunting have been the main drivers of increased extinction risk in mammals. Site-based protection and management, legislation, and captive-breeding and reintroduction programmes have led to improvements in 24 species. We contextualize these changes, and explain why both deteriorations and improvements may be under-reported. Although this study highlights where conservation actions are leading to improvements, it fails to account for instances where conservation has prevented further deteriorations in the status of the world's mammals. The continued utility of the RLI is dependent on sustained investment to ensure repeated assessments of mammals over time and to facilitate future calculations of the RLI and measurement against global targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2011.0116DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3140737PMC
September 2011

The key elements of a comprehensive global mammal conservation strategy.

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 2011 Sep;366(1578):2591-7

Global Mammal Assessment programme, Department of Biology and Biotechnologies, Sapienza Università di Roma, Viale dell'Università 32, 00185 Rome, Italy.

A global strategy is necessary to achieve the level of coordination, synergy and therefore optimization of resources to achieve the broad goal of conserving mammals worldwide. Key elements for the development of such a strategy include: an institutional subject that owns the strategy; broad conservation goals, quantitative targets derived from them and appropriate indicators; data on the distribution of species, their threats, the cost-effectiveness of conservation actions; and a set of methods for the identification of conservation priorities. Previous global mammal research investigated phylogeny, extinction risk, and the species and areas that should be regarded as global conservation priorities. This theme issue presents new key elements: an updated Red List Index, a new list of evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered species, new high-resolution mammal distribution models, a global connectivity analysis and scenarios of future mammal distribution based on climate and land-cover change. Area prioritization schemes account for mammalian phylogeny, governance and cost-benefit of measures to abate habitat loss. Three discussion papers lay the foundations for the development of a global unifying mammal conservation strategy, which should not be further deterred by the knowledge gaps still existing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2011.0111DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3140732PMC
September 2011

The why, what, and how of global biodiversity indicators beyond the 2010 target.

Conserv Biol 2011 Jun 17;25(3):450-7. Epub 2010 Nov 17.

School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography, Bangor University, UK.

The 2010 biodiversity target agreed by signatories to the Convention on Biological Diversity directed the attention of conservation professionals toward the development of indicators with which to measure changes in biological diversity at the global scale. We considered why global biodiversity indicators are needed, what characteristics successful global indicators have, and how existing indicators perform. Because monitoring could absorb a large proportion of funds available for conservation, we believe indicators should be linked explicitly to monitoring objectives and decisions about which monitoring schemes deserve funding should be informed by predictions of the value of such schemes to decision making. We suggest that raising awareness among the public and policy makers, auditing management actions, and informing policy choices are the most important global monitoring objectives. Using four well-developed indicators of biological diversity (extent of forests, coverage of protected areas, Living Planet Index, Red List Index) as examples, we analyzed the characteristics needed for indicators to meet these objectives. We recommend that conservation professionals improve on existing indicators by eliminating spatial biases in data availability, fill gaps in information about ecosystems other than forests, and improve understanding of the way indicators respond to policy changes. Monitoring is not an end in itself, and we believe it is vital that the ultimate objectives of global monitoring of biological diversity inform development of new indicators.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2010.01605.xDOI Listing
June 2011

The impact of conservation on the status of the world's vertebrates.

Science 2010 Dec 26;330(6010):1503-9. Epub 2010 Oct 26.

IUCN SSC Species Survival Commission, c/o United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre, 219 Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0DL, UK.

Using data for 25,780 species categorized on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, we present an assessment of the status of the world's vertebrates. One-fifth of species are classified as Threatened, and we show that this figure is increasing: On average, 52 species of mammals, birds, and amphibians move one category closer to extinction each year. However, this overall pattern conceals the impact of conservation successes, and we show that the rate of deterioration would have been at least one-fifth again as much in the absence of these. Nonetheless, current conservation efforts remain insufficient to offset the main drivers of biodiversity loss in these groups: agricultural expansion, logging, overexploitation, and invasive alien species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1194442DOI Listing
December 2010

Boom-and-bust development patterns across the Amazon deforestation frontier.

Science 2009 Jun;324(5933):1435-7

Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK.

The Brazilian Amazon is globally important for biodiversity, climate, and geochemical cycles, but is also among the least developed regions in Brazil. Economic development is often pursued through forest conversion for cattle ranching and agriculture, mediated by logging. However, on the basis of an assessment of 286 municipalities in different stages of deforestation, we found a boom-and-bust pattern in levels of human development across the deforestation frontier. Relative standards of living, literacy, and life expectancy increase as deforestation begins but then decline as the frontier evolves, so that pre- and postfrontier levels of human development are similarly low. New financial incentives and policies are creating opportunities for a more sustained development trajectory that is not based on the depletion of nature and ecosystem services.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1174002DOI Listing
June 2009
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