Oscar Venter

Oscar Venter
The University of Queensland | UQ · ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions

PhD Conservation Biology and Decision Analysis

About

160
Publications
100,275
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9,552
Citations
Additional affiliations
April 2010 - April 2014
James Cook University
Position
  • PostDoc Position
June 2007 - December 2010
The University of Queensland
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (160)
Article
Establishing Protected areas (PAs) could displace or cause ‘leakage’ of deforestation into adjacent areas. Such leakage would potentially offset PAs' conservation effort by jeopardizing forest conservation goals and impeding financial mechanisms such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation - REDD+. Here we investigate forest...
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Full-text available
Old-growth forests with complex structural attributes and large trees are rapidly transformed to more homogenous secondary forests through logging, reducing ecosystem services such as carbon storage, water provision and biodiversity. In British Columbia (BC), Canada, a century of logging resulted in strong pressures in the perceived dichotomy of co...
Article
Efforts are underway in Canada to set aside terrestrial lands for conservation, thereby protecting them from anthropogenic pressures. Here we produce the first Canadian human footprint map by combining 12 different anthropogenic pressures and identifying intact and modified lands and ecosystems across the country. Our results showed strong spatial...
Article
Full-text available
Habitat loss is the leading cause of the global decline in biodiversity, but the influence of human pressure within the matrix surrounding habitat fragments remains poorly understood. Here, we measure the relationship between fragmentation (the degree of fragmentation and the degree of patch isolation), matrix condition (measured as the extent of h...
Preprint
Old-growth forests with complex structural attributes and large trees are rapidly transformed to more homogenous secondary forests through logging, reducing ecosystem services such as carbon storage, water provision and biodiversity. In British Columbia (BC), Canada, a century of logging resulted in strong pressures in the perceived dichotomy of co...
Article
Full-text available
With the intention of securing industry-free land and seascapes, protecting 'wilderness' entered international policy as a formal target for the first time in the zero-draft of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework under the Convention on Biological Diversity. Given this increased prominence in international policy, it is timely to consider t...
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Full-text available
Management of the land-sea interface is considered essential for global conservation and sustainability objectives, as coastal regions maintain natural processes that support biodiversity and the livelihood of billions of people. However, assessments of coastal regions have focused on either strictly the terrestrial or marine realm, and as a conseq...
Article
James Watson and Oscar Venter introduce the concept of wilderness and its role in conservation efforts.
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Full-text available
Tropical forests are renowned for their astonishing diversity of life, but the fundamental question of how many species occur in tropical forests remains unanswered. Using geographic range maps and data on species habitat associations, we determined that tropical forests harbor 62% of global terrestrial vertebrate species, more than twice the numbe...
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Full-text available
Signatory countries to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) are formulating goals and indicators through 2050 under the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). Among the goals is increasing the integrity of ecosystems. The CBD is now seeking input toward a quantifiable definition of integrity and methods to track it globally. Here, w...
Preprint
Full-text available
Efforts are underway in Canada to set aside terrestrial lands for conservation, thereby protecting them from anthropogenic pressures. Here we produce the first Canadian human footprint map to identify intact and modified lands and ecosystems. Our results showed strong spatial variation in pressures across the country, with just 18% of Canada experi...
Preprint
Full-text available
Accelerated loss of Earth’s wilderness over the last five decades underscores the urgency for efforts to retain the conservation value of these areas. Assessing how wilderness areas are likely to be impacted by the future environmental change is fundamental to achieving global biodiversity conservation goals. Using scenarios of climate and land-use...
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Full-text available
In 2018, the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted a decision on protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs). It contains the definition of an OECM and related scientific and technical advice that has broadened the scope of governance authorities and areas that can be engaged and recognised...
Preprint
Full-text available
Management of the land-sea interface is considered essential for global conservation and sustainability objectives, as coastal regions maintain natural processes that support biodiversity and the livelihood of billions of people. However, assessments of coastal regions have focused on either strictly the terrestrial or marine realm, and as a conseq...
Article
Full-text available
Indigenous Peoples’ lands cover over one‐quarter of Earth's surface, a significant proportion of which is still free from industrial‐level human impacts. As a result, Indigenous Peoples and their lands are crucial for the long‐term persistence of Earth's biodiversity and ecosystem services. Yet, information on species composition on these lands glo...
Preprint
Full-text available
Habitat loss is the leading cause of global biodiversity decline, but the influence of human pressure within the matrix surrounding habitat fragments remains poorly understood. Here we measure the relationship between fragmentation, matrix condition (measured as the extent of high human footprint levels), and the change in extinction risk of 4,327...
Preprint
Full-text available
Signatory countries to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) are formulating indicators through 2030 under the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). These goals include increasing the integrity of natural ecosystems. However, the definition of integrity and methods for measuring it remain unspecified. Moreover, nations did not achie...
Preprint
Full-text available
Reducing deforestation underpins efforts to conserve global biodiversity. However, this focus on retaining forest cover overlooks the multitude of anthropogenic pressures that can degrade forest quality in ways that may imperil biodiversity. Here we use the latest remotely-sensed measures of forest structural condition and associated human pressure...
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Full-text available
A Correction to this paper has been published: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-20999-7.
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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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Many global environmental agendas, including halting biodiversity loss, reversing land degradation, and limiting climate change, depend upon retaining forests with high ecological integrity, yet the scale and degree of forest modification remain poorly quantified and mapped. By integrating data on observed and inferred human pressures and an index...
Article
Full-text available
Big data reveals new, stark pictures of the state of our environments. It also reveals ‘bright spots’ amongst the broad pattern of decline and—crucially—the key conditions for these cases. Big data analyses could benefit the planet if tightly coupled with ongoing sustainability efforts.
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Full-text available
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were designed to reconcile environmental protection with socioeconomic development. Here, we compare SDG indicators to a suite of external measures, showing that while most countries are progressing well towards environmental SDGs, this has little relationship with actual biodiversity conservation, and inste...
Article
Full-text available
Tropical forests vary in composition, structure and function such that not all forests have similar ecological value. This variability is caused by natural and anthropogenic disturbance regimes, which influence the ability of forests to support biodiversity, store carbon, mediate water yield and facilitate human well-being. While international envi...
Article
Full-text available
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 re...
Article
Humans have influenced the terrestrial biosphere for millennia, converting much of Earth’s surface to anthropogenic land uses. Nevertheless, there are still some ecosystems that remain free from significant direct human pressure (and as such, considered ‘‘intact’’), thereby providing crucial habitats for imperilled species and maintaining the ecosy...
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Full-text available
Land free of direct anthropogenic disturbance is considered essential for achieving biodiversity conservation outcomes but is rapidly eroding. In response, many nations are increasing their protected area (PA) estates, but little consideration is given to the context of the surrounding landscape. This is despite the fact that structural connectivit...
Article
Full-text available
The IPBES Global Assessment proposed five key interventions to tackle the drivers of nature deterioration. One of these proposals was to take pre-emptive and precautionary actions in regulatory and management institutions and businesses. Performance standards are tools that can be used to help achieve these interventions. The most influential stand...
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Full-text available
Leading up to the Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of the Parties 15, there is momentum around setting bold conservation targets. Yet, it remains unclear how much of Earth's land area remains without significant human influence and where this land is located. We compare four recent global maps of human influences across Earth's land, A...
Preprint
Our ability to map humanity's influence across Earth has evolved, thanks to powerful computing, a network of earth observing satellites, and new bottom-up census and crowd-sourced data. Here, we provide the latest temporally inter-comparable maps of the terrestrial Human Footprint, and assessment of change in human pressure at global, biome, and ec...
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Full-text available
Rapid biodiversity loss has prompted global action to prevent further declines, yet coordinated conservation action among nations remains elusive. As a result, species with ranges that span international borders—which include 53.8% of terrestrial birds, mammals and amphibians—are in increasing peril through uncoordinated management and artificial b...
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Full-text available
Most of the terrestrial world is experiencing high rates of land conversion despite growth of the global protected area (PA) network. There is a need to assess whether the current global protection targets are achievable across all major ecosystem types and to identify those that need urgent protection. Using recent rates of habitat conversion and...
Article
Degradation and loss of natural habitat is the major driver of the current global biodiversity crisis. Most habitat conservation efforts to date have targeted small areas of highly threatened habitat, but emerging debate suggests that retaining large intact natural systems may be just as important. We reconcile these perspectives by integrating fin...
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Full-text available
The United Nation's Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 calls for reducing species extinctions, as it is increasingly clear that human activities threaten to drive species to decline. Yet despite considerable scientific evidence pointing to the detrimental effects of interacting threats on biodiversity, many species lack information on their...
Preprint
Full-text available
Many global environmental agendas, including halting biodiversity loss, reversing land degradation, and limiting climate change, depend upon retaining forests with high ecological integrity, yet the scale and degree of forest modification remains poorly quantified and mapped. By integrating data on direct and indirect forest pressures and lost fore...
Article
Full-text available
Transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy is fundamental for halting anthropogenic climate change. However, renewable energy facilities can be land‐use intensive and impact conservation areas, and little attention has been given to whether the aggregated effect of energy transitions poses a substantial threat to global biodiversity. Here,...
Data
Supplementary materials: Intense human pressure is widespread across terrestrial vertebrate ranges. This file includes: Tables S1 to S4
Article
The conservation community must be able to track countries’ progress in protecting wetlands, reefs, forests and more, argue James Watson and colleagues. The conservation community must be able to track countries’ progress in protecting wetlands, reefs, forests and more, argue James Watson and colleagues.
Preprint
Full-text available
Land free of direct anthropogenic disturbance is considered essential for achieving biodiversity conservation outcomes but is rapidly eroding. In response, many nations are increasing their protected area estates but little consideration is given to the context of the surrounding landscape. This is despite the fact that connectivity between protect...
Article
Full-text available
We assess the magnitude and the extent of recent change of significant human footprint within protected areas, key biodiversity areas and the habitat range of 308 lowland forest specialist birds in Sundaland, a global hotspot of biodiversity in Southeast Asia. Using the most recent human footprint dataset, we find that 70% of Sundaland has been hea...
Preprint
Full-text available
Humanity will soon define a new era for nature – one that seeks to correct 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. But persistent shortfalls in ecological represe...
Article
Full-text available
[This corrects the article DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000158.].
Preprint
Full-text available
Indigenous Peoples’ lands cover over one-quarter of the Earth’s surface, a significant proportion of which is still free from industrial-level human impacts. As a result, Indigenous Peoples’ lands are crucial for the long-term persistence of Earth’s biodiversity and ecosystem services. Yet, information on species composition within Indigenous Peopl...
Article
Full-text available
As the defining force of the Anthropocene, human enterprise is reshaping Earth's surface and climate. As part of that process, growth‐inducing infrastructure, such as electrical transmission lines, export facilities, and roads, presents nonincremental changes in where and how natural resources are exploited. These projects open intact areas, induce...
Preprint
Degradation and loss of natural habitat is the major driver of the current global biodiversity crisis. Most habitat conservation efforts to date have targeted small areas of highly threatened habitat, but emerging debate suggests retaining large intact natural systems may be just as important. We reconcile these perspectives by integrating fine-res...
Preprint
Full-text available
More ambitious conservation efforts are needed to stop the global degradation of ecosystems and the extinction of the species that comprise them. Here, we estimate the minimum amount of land needed to secure known important sites for biodiversity, Earth's remaining wilderness, and the optimal locations for adequate representation of terrestrial spe...
Article
Full-text available
Human activities are altering natural areas worldwide. While our ability to map these activities at fine scales is improving, a simplistic binary characterization of habitat and non‐habitat with a focus on change in habitat extent has dominated conservation assessments across different spatial scales. Here, we provide a metric that captures both ha...
Article
Full-text available
Remotely sensed maps of global forest extent are widely used for conservation assessment and planning. Yet, there is increasing recognition that these efforts must now include elements of forest quality for biodiversity and ecosystem services. Such data are not yet available globally. Here we introduce two data products, the Forest Structural Condi...
Article
This is the openly published DATASET relating to the Nature Communications article: Runting, Rebecca, Ruslandi, Ruslandi, Griscom, Bronson, Struebig, Matthew J., Satar, Musnanda, Meijaard, Erik, Burivalova, Zuzuna, Cheyne, Susan M., Deere, Nicolas, Game, Edward, and others. (2019) Larger gains from improved management over sparing–sharing for trop...
Article
The Human Modification map differs in important ways from the map of the human footprint, such as its mapping of widespread direct modification of much of the world's polar regions. An extensive validation reveals large inaccuracies in the Human Modification map, and that the human footprint tends to better represent actual observable human pressur...
Article
Full-text available
Intact tropical forests, free from substantial anthropogenic influence, store and sequester large amounts of atmospheric carbon but are currently neglected in international climate policy. We show that between 2000 and 2013, direct clearance of intact tropical forest areas accounted for 3.2% of gross carbon emissions from all deforestation across t...
Article
Full-text available
With much of Earth's surface already heavily impacted by humans, there is a need to understand where restoration is required to achieve global conservation goals. Here, we show that at least 1.9 million km2 of land, spanning 190 (27%) terrestrial ecoregions and 114 countries, needs restoration to achieve the current 17% global protected area target...
Article
Full-text available
Author summary The biggest drivers of global biodiversity loss are hunting, harvesting, and the conversion of natural habitats for agriculture, urbanisation, and other industrial activity. However, our understanding of where these ‘threats’ actually impact sensitive species is extremely limited across Earth. Here, we map the distribution of threats...
Data
Impact hotspots of individual human pressures on all threatened terrestrial vertebrates (n = 5,457), mammals (n = 1,277), birds (n = 2,120), and amphibians (n = 2,060). Scale represents the number of species impacted by the threat in a grid cell. Hotspots of impact are in dark red. Maps use a 30 km × 30 km grid and a Mollweide equal area projection...
Data
Threatened species richness for all taxa (n = 5,457), mammals (n = 1,277), birds (n = 2,120), and amphibians (n = 2,060). Areas of high human richness are red. Maps use a 30 km × 30 km grid and a Mollweide equal area projection. The data underlying this figure are freely available [31] (doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.897391). (TIF)
Data
Major classes and subclasses of threats to biodiversity, as classified in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the corresponding spatially explicit human pressure variable from the updated Human Footprint dataset and a brief description of how it was created, along with justifications for linking spatially explicit pressures to threats. IUCN, I...
Data
The average number of species impacted by threats per grid cell, and unimpacted by threats per grid cell, in each of Earth’s ecoregions. (DOCX)
Data
Weights assigned to individual pressures in the Human Footprint and threshold scheme used to convert pressures into binary scores (present or absent) for impact analyses. (DOCX)
Data
The percentage of species in a grid cell impacted by a threat (and inversely, the number of unimpacted species for whom it is a refuge) for (A) birds (n = 2,120), (B) mammals (n = 1,277), and (C) amphibians (n = 2,060). Maps use a 30 km × 30 km grid and a Mollweide equal area projection. The data underlying this figure are freely available [31] (do...