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The location of and threats to biodiversity are distributed unevenly, so prioritization is essential to minimize biodiversity loss. To address this need, biodiversity conservation organizations have proposed nine templates of global priorities over the past decade. Here, we review the concepts, methods, results, impacts, and challenges of these prioritizations of conservation practice within the theoretical irreplaceability/vulnerability framework of systematic conservation planning. Most of the templates prioritize highly irreplaceable regions; some are reactive (prioritizing high vulnerability), and others are proactive (prioritizing low vulnerability). We hope this synthesis improves understanding of these prioritization approaches and that it results in more efficient allocation of geographically flexible conservation funding.
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Global Biodiversity
Conservation Priorities
T. M. Brooks,
1,2,3
*
R. A. Mittermeier,
1
G. A. B. da Fonseca,
1,4
J. Gerlach,
5,6
M. Hoffmann,
1
J. F. Lamoreux,
3
C. G. Mittermeier,
1
J. D. Pilgrim,
7
A. S. L. Rodrigues
5
The location of and threats to biodiversity are distributed unevenly, so prioritization is essential to
minimize biodiversity loss. To address this need, biodiversity conservation organizations have
proposed nine templates of global priorities over the past decade. Here, we review the concepts,
methods, results, impacts, and challenges of these prioritizations of conservation practice within
the theoretical irreplaceability/vulnerability framework of systematic conservation planning. Most
of the templates prioritize highly irreplaceable regions; some are reactive (prioritizing high
vulnerability), and others are proactive (prioritizing low vulnerability). We hope this synthesis
improves understanding of these prioritization approaches and that it results in more efficient
allocation of geographically flexible conservation funding.
H
uman actions are causing a biodiversity
crisis, with species extinction rates up
to 1000 times higher than background
(1). Moreover, the processes driving extinc-
tion are eroding the environmental services on
which humanity depends (2). People care most
about what is close to them, so most responses
to this crisis will be local or national (3). Thus,
approximately 90% of the $6 billion of annual
conservation funding originates in and is spent
within economically rich countries (4). How-
ever, this leaves globally flexible funding of
hundreds of millions of dollars annually from
multilateral agencies (such as the Global En-
vironment Facility), bilateral aid, and private
sources including environmentally focused cor-
porations, foundations, and individuals. These
resources are frequently the only ones available
where conservation is most needed, given that
biodiversity is unevenly distributed and the most
biodiverse places are often the most threatened
and poorest economically (5). Accordingly, geo-
graphically flexible resources exert dispropor-
tionate influence on conservation worldwide
and have a key role in the recently agreed-upon
intergovernmental 2010 target to reduce signif-
icantly the rate of biodiversity loss (6).
The development of strategies to best allo-
cate glob ally flexible conservation resources
has attracted considerable attention since the
pioneering work of Myers (7), resulting in
much progress as well as much controversy.
The wide variety of approaches has led to crit-
icism that there is duplication of effort and lack
of clarity (8). Although attempts have been
made to summarize conservation planning
strategies by scale (9), none has done so within
the framework of conservation planning (10).
We review the published concepts and methods
behind global biodiversity conservation priori-
tization, assess the remaining challenges, and
highlight how this synthesis can inform alloca-
tion of globally flexible resources.
Global Prioritization in Context
Nine major institutional templates of global bio-
diversity conservation prioritization have been
published over the past decade, each with
involvement from nongovernmental organiza-
tions (fig. S1). Conceptually, they all fit within
the framework of ‘ ‘irreplaceability’ relative to
‘vulnerability’ ’ (Fig. 1), which is central to con-
servation planning theory (10). However, they
map onto different portions of the framework:
Most of the templates prioritize high irreplace-
ability, but some prioritize high
vulnerability and others priori tize
low vulnerability. These differences
are key to understanding how and
why the nine prioritizations differ,
yielding priority maps that cover
from less than one-tenth to more
than a third of Earth’s land surface
(Fig. 2).
Six of the nine templates of
global conservation priority incor-
porate irreplaceability—measures
of spatial conservation options
(10). The most common measure
of irreplaceability is plant (11–14)
or bird (15) endemism, often sup-
ported by terrestrial vertebrate en-
demism overall (11, 13, 14). The
logic for this is that greater the
number of endemic species in a
region, the more biodiversity is lost if that
region is lost (although, in a strict sense, any
location with even one endemic species is
irreplaceable). In addition to the number of
endemic species, other aspects of irreplaceabil-
ity have been proposed, including taxonomic
uniqueness, unusual phenomena, and global
rarity of major habitat types (16), but these re-
main difficult to quantify. Although species rich-
ness within a given area is popularly assumed
to be important in prioritization, none of the
approaches relies on species richness alone.
This is because species richness is driven by
common, widespread species; thus, strategies
focused on species richness tend to miss exactly
those biodiversity features most in need of
conservation (17, 18). Three approaches do not
incorporate irreplaceability (19–21).
The choice of irreplaceability measures is to
some degree subjective, in that data limitations
currently preclude the measurement of overall
biodiversity. Furthermore, these data constraints
mean that, with the exception of endemic bird
areas (15), the measures of irreplaceability used
in global conservation prioritization have been
derived from the opinions of specialists. Sub-
sequent tests of plant endemism estimates (22)
have shown this expert opinion to be quite ac-
curate. However, reliance on specialist opinion
means that results cannot be replicated, raising
questions concerning the transparency of the
approaches (8). It also prevents a formal mea-
surement of irreplaceability, which requires the
identities of individual biodiversity features, such
as species names, rather than just estimates of
their magnitude expressed as a number (8, 23).
Five of the templates of global conservation
priority incorporate vulnerability—measures of
temporal conservation options (10). A recent
classification of vulnerability (24) recognizes
four types of measures: (i) environmental and
spatial variables, (ii) land tenure, (iii) threatened
species, and (iv) expert opinion. Of these,
environmental and spatial variables have been
REVIEW
1
Conservation International, 1919 M Street, NW , Washington,
DC 20036, USA.
2
World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Post
Office Box 35024, University of the Philippines, Los Ban
˜
os,
Laguna 4031, Philippines.
3
Department of Environmental
Sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904,
USA.
4
Departamento de Zoologia, Universidade Federal de
Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG 31270, Br azil.
5
Department
of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street,
Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK.
6
Nature Protection Trust of
Seychelles, Post Office Box 207, Victoria, Mahe´, Seychelles.
7
BirdLife International in Indochina, 4/209 Doi Can Street, Ba
Dinh, Hanoi, Vietnam.
*To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:
t.brooks@conservation.org
Vulnerability
B A
Irreplaceability
Proactive Reactive
CE
LW
FF
HBWA
EBA, CPD
MC, G200
BH
Proactive Reactive
Fig. 1. Global biodiversity conservation priority templates placed
within the conceptual framework of irreplaceability and vulner-
ability . T emplate names are spelled out in the Fig. 2 legend. (A)
Purely reactive (prioritizing low vulnerability) and purely pro-
active (prioritizing high vulnerability) approaches. (B)Approaches
that do not incorporate vulnerability as a criterion (all prioritize
high irreplaceability).
7 JULY 2006 VOL 313 SCIENCE www.sciencemag.org
58
used most frequently in global conservation
prioritization, measured as proportionate habitat
loss (11, 14, 20, 21). Species-area relationships
provide justification that habitat loss translates
into biodiversity loss (1). However, the use of
habitat loss as a measure of vulnerability has
several problems: It is difficult to assess with
the use of remote sensing for xeric and aquatic
systems, it does not incorporate threats such as
invasive species and hunting pressure, and it is
retrospective rather than predictive (24). The
frontier forests approach (19) uses absolute
forest cover as a measure.
In addition to habitat loss, land tenure—
measured as protected area coverage—has also
been incorporated into two approaches (16, 21).
Other possible surrogates not classified by
Wilson et al.(24) include human population
growth and density, which are widely thought to
be relevant (25–27) and were integral to two of
the systems (14, 20). None of the global con-
servation prioritization templates used threatened
species or expert opinion as measures of vul-
nerability. Political and institutional capacity
and governance (27) affect biodiversity indi-
rectly, but have not been incorporated to date.
This is true for climate change as well, which is
of concern given that its impact is likely to be
severe (28). Finally, although costs of conser-
vation generally increase as the threat increases,
no proposals for global biodiversity conserva-
tion priority have yet incorporated costs direct-
ly, despite the availabilit y of techniques to
do this at regional scales (29). Two of the tem-
plates of global conservation prioritization do
not incorporate vulnerability (12, 13), and the
remaining two incorporate it only peripherally
(15, 16).
The spatial units most commonly used in sys-
tematic conservation planning are equal-area
grids. However, data limitations have precluded
their use in the development of actual templates of
global biodiversity conservation priority to date.
Instead, all proposals, with the exception of mega-
diversity countries (13), are based on biogeo-
graphic units. Typically, these units are defined a
priori by specialist perception of the distribution of
biodiversity. For example, ‘ecoregions,’ ’ one of
the most commonly used such classifications, are
‘relatively large units of land containing a
characteristic set of natural communities that share
a large majority of their species, dynamics, and
environmental conditions’ (16). Only in the
endemic bird areas approach are biogeographic
units defined a posteriori by the distributions of
the species concerned (15). Relative to equal-
area grids, biogeographic units bring advantages
of ecological relevance, whereas megadiversity
countries (13) bring political relevance.
Reliance on biogeographic spatial units raises
several complications. Various competing biore-
gional classifications are in use (30), a nd the
choice of system has considerable repercussions
for resulting conservation priorities. Furthermore,
when unequally sized units are used, priority may
be biased toward large areas as a consequence of
species-area relationships. Therefore, assessment
of global conservation priorities should factor out
area, either by taking residuals about a best-fit
line to a plot of species against area (18)orby
rescaling numbers of endemic species with the
use of a power function (23). Nevertheless, the
use of a priori bioregional units for global
conservation prioritization will be essential until
data of sufficient resolution become available
to enable the use of grids.
In Fig. 3, we map the overlay of the global
biodiversity conservation priority systems into
geographic space from the conceptual frame-
work of Fig. 1. Figure 3A illustrates the large
degree of overlap between templates that pri-
oritize highly vulnerable regions of high ir-
replaceability: tropical islands and mountains
(including montane Mesoamerica, the Andes,
the Brazilian Atlantic forest, Madagascar, mon-
tane Africa, the Western Ghats of India, Ma-
laysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Hawaii),
Mediterranean-type systems (including Califor-
nia, central Chile, coastal South Africa, south-
west Australia, and the Mediterranean itself),
and a few temperate forests (the Caucasus, the
central Asian mountains, the Himalaya, and
southwest China). Highly vulnerable regions of
lower irreplaceability (generally, the rest of
the northern temperate regions) are priori-
tized by fewer approaches. Figure 3B shows a
large amount of overlap between templates
for regions of low vulnerability but high ir-
replaceability, in particular the three major
tropical rainforests of Amazonia, the Congo,
and New Guinea. Regions of simultaneously
lower vulnerability and irreplaceability, such as
Fig. 2. Maps of the nine global biodiversity conservation priorit y templates:
CE,crisisecoregions(21); BH, biodiversity hot spots [(11), updated by (39)];
EBA, endemic bird areas (15); CPD, centers of plant diversity (12); MC,
megadiversity countries (13);G200,global200ecoregions[(16), updated by
(54)]; HBWA, high-biodiversity wilderness areas (14); FF, frontier forests (19);
LW,lastofthewild(20).
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the boreal forests of Canada and Russia, and the
deserts of the western United States and central
Asia, are prioritized less often.
Two general observations are apparent. First,
most land (79%) is highlighted by at least one of
the prioritization systems. Second, despite this, a
noticeable pattern emerges from the overlay of
different approaches. There is significant overlap
among templates that prioritize irreplaceable re-
gions (11–16), among those that prioritize highly
vulnerable regions (11, 21), and among those that
prioritize regions of low vulnerability (14, 19, 20),
but not between approaches
across each of these three gen-
eral classes (table S1). This pro-
vides useful cross-verification of
priority regions (31).
These patterns of overlap
reflect two approaches to how
vulnerability is incorporated into
conservation in the broadest
sense: reactive (prioritizing areas
of high threat and high irreplace-
ability) and proactive (prioritiz-
ing areas of low threat but high
irreplaceability). The former are
considered the most urgent pri-
orities in conservation planning
theory (10) because unless im-
mediate conservation action is
taken within them, unique bio-
diversity will soon be lost. The
latter are often de facto prior-
ities, because the opportunities
for conservation in these are
considerable (32). Biodiversity
conservation clearly needs both
approaches, but the implemen-
tation of each may correspond
to different methods. On the
one hand, large-scale conserva-
tion initiatives may be possible
in wilderness areas, such as the
establishment of enormous pro-
tected areas (one example is the
3,800,000-ha Tumucumaque
National Park, created in the
Brazilian state of Amapa
´
in
2003). On the other hand, finely
tuned conservation will be es-
sential in regions of simulta-
neously high irreplaceability
and threat, where losing even
tiny patches of remnant habitat, such as the sites
identified by the Alliance for Zero Extinction
(33), would be tragic.
Impact of Global Prioritization
The appropriate measure of impact is the success
of prioritization in achieving its main goal: in-
fluencing globally flexible donors to invest in
regions where these funds can contribute most to
conservation. Precise data are unavailable for all
of the approaches (34), but hot spots alone have
mobilized at least $750 million of funding for
conservation in these regions (35). More specif-
ically, conservation funding mechanisms have
been established for several of the approaches,
such as the $100 million, 10-year Global
Conservation Fund focused on high-biodiversity
wilderness areas and hot spots, and the $125
million, 5-year Critical Ecosystem Partnership
Fund, aimed exclusively at hot spots. The Global
Environment Facility, the largest financial mech-
anism addressing biodiversity conservation, is
currently exploring a resource allocation
framework that builds on existing templates.
Both civil society and government organizations
often use the recognition given to regions as
global conservation priorities as justification
when applying for geographically flexible
funding. In addition, the global prioritization
systems must have had sizeable effects in the
cancellation, relocation, or mitigation of envi-
ronmentally harmful activities, even in the
absence of specific legislation. Unfortunately,
resources still fall an order of magnitude short of
required conservation funding (4). Nevertheless,
the dollar amounts are impressive, and represent
marked increases in conservation investment in
these regions.
Challenges Facing Global Prioritization
Limitations of data have thus far generally
restricted global conservation prioritization to
specialist estimates of irreplaceability, to habitat
loss as a measure of vulnerability, and to coarse
geographic units defined a priori. Over the past 5
years, spatial data sets have been compiled with the
potential to reduce these constraints, particularly for
mammals, birds, and amphibians (5). When these
maps are co m b i ned with assess-
ment of conservation status,
they enable the development of
threat metrics directly based on
threatened species (36). So far,
the main advances to global
prioritization enabled by these
new data are validation tests of
existing templates (31). Encour-
agingly, global gap analysis of
priorities for the representation
of terrestrial vertebrate species
in protected areas (36) and
initial regional assessment of
plants (37) yield results similar
to existing approaches (fig. S2).
Invertebrates represent the
bulk of eukaryotic diversity on
Earth with more than a million
known species and many more
yet to be described (5). The con-
servation status of only È3500
arthropods has been assessed
(5), so global conservation prior-
ity is far from being able to incor-
porate megadiverse invertebrate
taxa (8, 23). Although some re-
gional data shows little overlap
between priority areas for arthro-
pods and those for plant and
terrestrial vertebrate taxa (38),
preliminary global data for
groups such as tiger beetles and
termites suggest much higher
levels of congruence (39). Simi-
larly, pioneering techniques to
model overall irreplaceability by
combining point data for mega-
diverse taxa with environmental
data sets produce results com-
mensurate with existing conser-
vation priorities (40). These findings, although
encouraging, in no way preclude the need to use
primary invertebrate data in global conservation
prioritization as they become available.
Aquatic systems feature poorly in existing con-
servation templates. Only one conservation prior-
itization explicitly incorporates aquatic systems
(16). The most comprehensive study yet, albeit
restricted to tropical coral reef ecosystems, iden-
tified 10 priority regions based on endemism and
threat (41). Eight of these regions lie adjacent to
priority regions highlighted in Fig. 3, raising the
Fig. 3. Mapping the overlay of approac hes prioritizing reactive and proactive
conservation. (A) Reactive approac hes, corresponding to the right-hand side of Fig.
1A, which prioritize regions of high threat, and those that do not incorporate
vulnerability as a criterion (Fig. 1B); the latter are only mapped where they overlap
with the former. (B) Proactive approaches, corresponding to the left-hand side of
Fig. 1A, which prioritize regions of low threat, and those that do not incorporate
vulnerability as a criterion (Fig. 1B); again, the latter are only mapped where
they overlap with the former. Shading denotes the number of global biodiversity
conservation prioritization templates that prioritize the shaded region, in both
(A) and (B).
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60
possibility of correspondence between marine and
terrestrial priorities, despite the expectation that
surrogacy of conservation priorities will be low
between different environments (42). Efforts to
identify freshwater priorities lag further behind,
although initial studies reveal a highly uneven
distribution of freshwater fish endemism (39).
Most measurement of irreplaceability is species
based, raising the concern that phylogenetic di-
versity may slip through the net of global con-
servation priorities (8, 23, 43). However, analyses
for mammals (44) find that priority regions repre-
sent higher taxa and phylogenetic diversity better
than would be predicted by the degree to which
they represent species. Islands such as Madagas-
car and the Caribbean hold especially high con-
centrations of endemic genera and families (39).
A heterodox perspective argues that the terminal
tips of phylogenetic trees should be higher pri-
oritiesthandeeplineages(45). In any case, the
balance of work implies that even if phylogenetic
diversity is not explicitly targeted for conservation,
global prioritization based on species provides a
solid surrogate for evolutionary history.
That global conservation priority regions
capture phylogenetic history does not necessar-
ily mean that they represent evolutionary pro-
cess (8). For example, transition zones or
‘biogeographic crossroads,’ frequently over-
looked by conservation prioritization, could be
of particular importance in driving speciation
(46). On the other hand, there is evidence that
areas of greatest importance in generating bio-
diversity are those of long-term climatic sta-
bility, especially where they occur in tropical
mountains (47), which are incorporated in most
approaches to global conservation prioritiza-
tion. The development of metrics for the main-
tenance of evolutionary process is in its infancy
and represents an emerging research front.
A final dimension that will prove important to
assess in the context of global conservation priori-
tization concerns ecosystem services (43). Al-
though the processes threatening biodiversity and
ecosystem services are likely similar, the relation-
ship between biodiversity per se and ecosystem
services remains unresolved (48). Thus, while it is
important to establish distinct goals for these con-
servation objectives (49), identification of syner-
gies between them is strategically vital. This
research avenue has barely been explored, and
questions of how global biodiversity conservation
priorities overlap with priority regions for carbon
sequestration, climate stabilization, maintenance of
water quality, minimization of outbreaks of pests
and diseases, and fisheries, for example, remain un-
answered. However, the correspondence between
conservation priorities and human populations
(25, 26) and poverty (4, 5) is an indication that the
conservation of areas of high biodiversity priority
will deliver high local ecosystem service benefits.
From Global to Local Priorities
The establishment of global conservation prior-
ities has been extremely influential in directing
resources toward broad regions. However, a
number of authors have pointed out that global
conservation prioritization has had little success
in informing actual conservation implementa-
tion (8, 23). Separate processes are necessary to
identify actual conservation targets and priorities
at much finer scales, because even within a region
as uniformly important as, for example, Mada-
gascar, biodiversity and threats are not evenly
distributed. Bottom-up processes of identification
of priorities are therefore essential to ensure the
implementation of area-based conservation (50).
Indeed, numerous efforts are underway to
identify targets for conservation implementation.
Many focus on the site scale, drawing on two
decades of work across nearly 170 countries in
the designation of important bird areas (51).
There is an obvious need to expand such work to
incorporate other taxa (52) and to prioritize the
most threatened and irreplaceable sites (33).
Such initiatives have recently gained strong
political support under the Convention on
Biological Diversity, through the development
of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation
and the Programme of Work on Protected Areas.
Both mechanisms call for the identification,
recognition, and safeguarding of sites of bio-
diversity conservation importance. Meanwhile,
considerable attention is also targeted at the scale
of landscapes and seascapes to ensure not just
the representation of biodiversity but also of the
connectivity, spatial structure, and processes that
allow its persistence (53).
Global conservation planning is key for
strategic allocation of flexible resources. Despite
divergence in methods between the diffe rent
schemes, an overall picture is emerging in which
a few regions, particularly in the tropics and in
Mediterranean-type environments, are consist-
ently emphasized as priorities for biodiversity
conservation. It is crucial that the global donor
community channel sufficient resources to these
regions, at the very minimum. This focus will
continue to improve if the rigor and breadth of
biodiversity and threat data continue to be
consolidated, which is especially important given
the increased accountability demanded from
global donors. However, it is through the con-
servation of actual sites that biodiversity will
ultimately be preserved or lost, and thus drawing
the lessons of global conservation prioritization
down to a much finer scale is now the primary
concern for conservation planning.
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Supporting Online Material
www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/313/5783/58/DC1
Figs. S1 and S2
Table S1
References and Notes
10.1126/science.1127609
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www.sciencemag.org SCIENCE VOL 313 7 JULY 2006
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... Despite ambitious global targets to reduce biodiversity loss (Tittensor et al., 2014), pressure on biodiversity has increased notably (Butchart et al., 2010;Dröge et al., 2021) over the past four decades. Quantifying biological diversity is fundamental for setting priorities for conservation (Mittermeier et al., 1998;Brooks et al., 2006), especially in the current period of dramatic biodiversity loss (Brooks et al., 2006;Ceballos et al., 2015;Cifuentes et al., 2021). Traditionally, this has relied on detailed species inventories, which however often require an extensive, costly sampling effort, especially in high-biodiversity areas (Cifuentes et al., 2021). ...
... Despite ambitious global targets to reduce biodiversity loss (Tittensor et al., 2014), pressure on biodiversity has increased notably (Butchart et al., 2010;Dröge et al., 2021) over the past four decades. Quantifying biological diversity is fundamental for setting priorities for conservation (Mittermeier et al., 1998;Brooks et al., 2006), especially in the current period of dramatic biodiversity loss (Brooks et al., 2006;Ceballos et al., 2015;Cifuentes et al., 2021). Traditionally, this has relied on detailed species inventories, which however often require an extensive, costly sampling effort, especially in high-biodiversity areas (Cifuentes et al., 2021). ...
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In recent years, passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) has become increasingly popular. Many acoustic indices (AIs) have been proposed for rapid biodiversity assessment (RBA), however, most acoustic indices have been reported to be susceptible to abiotic sounds such as wind or rain noise when biotic sound is masked, which greatly limits the application of these acoustic indices. In this work, in order to take an insight into the influence mechanism of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) on acoustic indices, four most commonly used acoustic indices, i.e., the bioacoustic index (BIO), the acoustic diversity index (ADI), the acoustic evenness index (AEI), and the acoustic complexity index (ACI), were investigated using controlled computational experiments with field recordings collected in a suburban park in Xuzhou, China, in which bird vocalizations were employed as typical biotic sounds. In the experiments, different signal-to-noise ratio conditions were obtained by varying biotic sound intensities while keeping the background noise fixed. Experimental results showed that three indices (acoustic diversity index, acoustic complexity index, and bioacoustic index) decreased while the trend of acoustic evenness index was in the opposite direction as signal-to-noise ratio declined, which was owing to several factors summarized as follows. Firstly, as for acoustic diversity index and acoustic evenness index, the peak value in the spectrogram will no longer correspond to the biotic sounds of interest when signal-to-noise ratio decreases to a certain extent, leading to erroneous results of the proportion of sound occurring in each frequency band. Secondly, in bioacoustic index calculation, the accumulation of the difference between the sound level within each frequency band and the minimum sound level will drop dramatically with reduced biotic sound intensities. Finally, the acoustic complexity index calculation result relies on the ratio between total differences among all adjacent frames and the total sum of all frames within each temporal step and frequency bin in the spectrogram. With signal-to-noise ratio decreasing, the biotic components contribution in both the total differences and the total sum presents a complex impact on the final acoustic complexity index value. This work is helpful to more comprehensively interpret the values of the above acoustic indices in a real-world environment and promote the applications of passive acoustic monitoring in rapid biodiversity assessment.
... These tools are further useful to identify potential threats spatially and highlight important areas for conservation actions (Brooks et al., 2006;Romero-Muñoz et al., 2019;Doré et al., 2021;Swan et al., 2021;Feijó et al., 2022). One of the most assessed features when setting conservation priorities is the degree of vulnerability (Brooks et al., 2006). ...
... These tools are further useful to identify potential threats spatially and highlight important areas for conservation actions (Brooks et al., 2006;Romero-Muñoz et al., 2019;Doré et al., 2021;Swan et al., 2021;Feijó et al., 2022). One of the most assessed features when setting conservation priorities is the degree of vulnerability (Brooks et al., 2006). Areas facing high alteration rates often require immediate intervention (i.e., reactive action), while areas deemed as of high biological value but facing low threat can be managed proactively by applying measures that will prevent or reduce future impacts. ...
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Conservation of poorly known species is challenging as lack of knowledge on their specific requirements may hamper effective strategies. Here, by integrating biogeographical and landscape analyses, we show that informed actions can be delineated for species with limited presence-only data available. We combine species distribution and connectivity models with temporal land cover changes to define priority areas for conservation of the endemic Brazilian three-banded armadillo, one of the most threatened xenarthrans that was once considered extinct in the wild. We revealed that areas of savanna and grassland are the most suitable habitats for the species and that uplands in the Caatinga ecoregion have a greater likelihood for dispersal. The few remnant armadillo populations are spatially associated with core areas of natural vegetation remnants. Worrisomely, 76% of natural core areas were lost in the past 30 years, mirroring the species’ severe population decline. Preserving the remnant core natural areas should be a high priority to ensure the species’ survival. We highlight key areas for proactive and reactive conservation actions for the three-banded armadillo that will benefit other threatened sympatric species. Our integrative framework provides a set of valuable information for guided conservation management that can be replicated for other poorly known species.
... ex. pour les activités humaines ou les services écosystémiques) (Mace et al., 2006), ou bien en identifiant des lieux précieux pour la protection en fonction de la richesse, de l'endémisme des espèces et de la vulnérabilité (Brooks et al., 2006 ;Jenkins et al., 2013). Bien que la richesse en espèces ou encore l'endémisme soient des caractéristiques importantes pour identifier des priorités de conservation pour la biodiversité, ces mesures ne s'appuient que sur une seule dimension de la biodiversité : la diversité taxonomique. ...
... En raison de la nature irremplaçable des espèces endémiques, l'endémisme est un critère qui permet d'établir des priorités de conservation. Un exemple notable est celui des points chauds de biodiversité Brooks et al., 2006). Cette approche combine une mesure de la concentration de la biodiversité avec un simple indice de menace pour identifier des zones prioritaires. ...
Thesis
Les changements globaux, du fait de l’empreinte humaine, sont associés à de nombreux déclins de populations et de disparitions d'espèces, et ce, notamment au sein des systèmes insulaires. L'importante biodiversité abritée par de tels écosystèmes est particulièrement vulnérable aux pressions anthropiques en raison de diverses caractéristiques (p. ex. syndrome d’insularité, faible redondance fonctionnelle, isolement géographique des îles). En dépit de cette vulnérabilité accrue, peu d’études se sont jusqu'à lors intéressées à ces systèmes comme modèle d’étude pour évaluer les patrons de menaces sur les différentes facettes de la diversité (taxonomique, fonctionnelle, et phylogénétique). Pourtant, un tel travail permettrait d’améliorer notre compréhension des menaces qui pèsent au sein des îles. Dans ce sens, l’objectif de cette thèse est de décrire les patrons de diversité endémique insulaire dans le contexte actuel des changements globaux et dans un contexte futur de changements climatiques, en explorant les différentes facettes de la diversité. Une finalité de ce travail est de mettre en évidence des priorités éventuelles de conservation pour ces écosystèmes particulièrement vulnérables. Nous avons abordé l'ensemble de ce travail de thèse à une grande échelle à l’aide de deux bases données recensant les îles mondiales et les espèces qui y sont endémiques. Dans une première partie, nous avons caractérisé les menaces pesant sur les écosystèmes insulaires à l'échelle globale, et prospecté également leurs distributions au sein de différents groupes taxonomiques et régions insulaires. Dans une deuxième partie, nous avons analysé l'incidence des menaces sur la biodiversité endémique insulaire et en particulier sur la composante fonctionnelle. Dans une troisième partie, nous avons identifié les régions insulaires à forte représentativité de la biodiversité endémique menacée au travers de différentes facettes et prospecté leurs niveaux de protection via les aires protégées et les menaces les affectant. Dans une dernière partie, nous avons étudié la vulnérabilité future des îles et de la biodiversité endémique face au changement climatique à l’échéance 2050. À la lumière de nos résultats (identification de menaces majeures dont l'importance varie suivant les groupes taxonomiques, les régions insulaires et également les dimensions de biodiversité considérées), nous avons discuté de l’implication des changements globaux pour la biodiversité endémique insulaire dans un contexte de conservation. Cette thèse révèle l’importance d’intégrer de multiples menaces (et leurs associations) et dimensions de diversité pour les approches de changements globaux et de conservation.
... These reserves were identified and protected on the basis of their high bioquality scores. This approach led to the establishment of 29 forest reserves amounting to c. 2300 km 2 of forest reserves or 13% of the total forest network and their ex- (Brooks et al., 2006;IUCN, 2016a;Myers et al., 2000). There has been some work addressing how uncertainty in our knowledge of plant species' taxonomy and distribution manifests in lability of species' IUCN ratings over time (Goodwin et al., 2020;Lughadha et al., 2019;Rivers et al., 2011). ...
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At best, conservation decisions can only be made using the data available at the time. For plants and especially in the tropics, natural history collections remain the best available baseline information upon which to base conservation assessments, in spite of well-documented limitations in their taxonomic, geographic, and temporal coverage. We explore the extent to which changes to the plant biological record over 20 years have changed our conception of the conservation importance of 931 plant taxa, and 114 vegetation samples, recorded in forest reserves of the southwest Ghana biodiversity hotspot. 36% of species-level assessments changed as a result of new distribution data. 12% of species accepted in 2016 had no assessment in 1996: of those, 20% are new species publications, 60% are new records for SW Ghana, and 20% are taxonomic resolutions. Apparent species ranges have increased over time as new records are made, but new species publications are overwhelmingly of globally rare species, keeping the balance of perceived rarity in the flora constant over 20 years. Thus, in spite of considerable flux at the species record level, range size rarity scores calculated for 114 vegetation samples of the reserves in 1996 and 2016 are highly correlated with each other: r(112) = 0.84, p < .0005, and showed no difference in mean score over 20 years: paired t(113) = -0.482, p = .631. This consistency in results at the area level allows for worthwhile conservation priority setting over time, and we argue is the better course of action than taking no action at all.
... [29] Biological conservation should be adopted to protect the ecosystem and to maintain biodiversity at its optimal level. [30] Preservation of Biodiversity includes the following strategies  Economically important species of animals and plants in the natural habitat should be identified and conserved. Along with the protection of their natural habitat as well. ...
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Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth. Since humans are directly dependent on the products of biodiversity from which they are benefited commercially, socially and economically. However the impact of anthropogenic activities on biodiversity is increasing day by day .Thus effecting the stability of an ecosystem in turn reducing biodiversity. Therefore it is important to protect the existing biodiversity which is essential for the survival of human race.
... The effectiveness of a global network of protected areas depends upon the identification of areas that will both meet the needs of species and provide the greatest return on conservation investments. Yet most spatial planning efforts base decisions heavily upon the estimated ecological value of land (Brooks et al. 2006;CBD 2010CBD , 2020Venter et al. 2014) and carry the tacit, but often incorrect, assumption that protection will be enforced, effective, and permanent. However, there is strong evidence that protected areas are subject to risks associated with weak governance (e.g., political instability and corruption; Schulze et al. 2018), land use intensification (e.g., deforestation and degazetting of parks; Tesfaw et al. 2018), and climate change (e.g., extreme weather events; Maxwell et al. 2019). ...
Article
Protected areas are a key instrument for conservation. Despite this, they are vulnerable to risks associated with weak governance, land use intensification, and climate change. Using a novel hierarchical optimization approach, we identified priority areas for expanding the global protected area system to explicitly account for such risks whilst maximizing protection of all known terrestrial vertebrate species. We illustrate how reducing exposure to these risks requires expanding the area of the global protected area system by 1.6% while still meeting conservation targets. Incorporating risks from weak governance drove the greatest changes in spatial priorities for protection, while incorporating risks from climate change required the largest increase in global protected area. Conserving wide-ranging species required countries with relatively strong governance to protect more land when bordering nations with comparatively weak governance. Our results underscore the need for cross-jurisdictional coordination and demonstrate how risk can be efficiently incorporated into conservation planning. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... The biodiversity crisis began many years ago since human activities started to severely impact the global environment. The high rates of species extinction sped up the process of eroding the environment that human society depends on [1]. In the past 100 years, the crisis of losing genetic resources has been severe. ...
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Promoting neglected and underutilized crop species is a possible solution to deal with the complex challenges of global food security. Chayote is a Neglected and Underutilized Cucurbit Species (NUCuS), which is recognized as a fruit vegetable in Latin America and is widely grown in Asia and Africa. However, basic biological knowledge about the crop is insufficient in scientific sources, especially outside of its center of origin. In this study, limited observations on reproductive characters were conducted, differentiating accessions from Mexico, Japan, and Myanmar. Cytological evaluation among Mexican and Japanese accessions showed that the relative nuclear DNA content is 1.55 ± 0.05 pg, the estimated genome size is 1511 at 2C/Mbp, and the observed mitotic chromosomal number is 2n = 28. The genetic diversity of 21 chayote accessions was also examined using six microsatellite markers. A global low genetic heterozygosity (Ho = 0.286 and He = 0.408) and three genetic groups were detected. The results established the basis to provide insights into chayote arrival history in Asia by looking at the crop’s reproductive morphology, cytology, and genetic diversity status outside its origin center. This could help in developing sustainable utilization and conservation programs for chayote.
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Over one million species around the world are currently at risk of extinction. As this number continues to grow, conservation organizations are faced with the challenge of deciding where to invest their limited resources. Cost-effectiveness can be increased by leveraging funding opportunities and increasing collaborative partnerships towards shared conservation outcomes. We propose a structured decision-making framework to prioritize candidate species programs based on a cost-benefit analysis that takes collaborative opportunities into account in examining both national and global conservation return on investment. Conservation benefit is determined by modifying the novel International Union for the Conservation of Nature Green Status for Species to provide an efficient, high-level measure that is comparable among species, even with limited information and time constraints. We apply this prioritization approach to the Wilder Institute / Calgary Zoo, Canada, a not-for-profit organization looking to expand the number of species it assists with conservation translocations. We identify and prioritize additional species programs for the organization where conservation translocation expertise and actions could make the most impact. Estimating the likelihood of cost-sharing potential enabled total program cost to be distinguished from costs specific to the organization. Comparing a benefit-to-cost ratio on different geographic scales allowed decision-makers to weigh alternative options for investing in new species programs in a transparent and effective manner. Our innovative analysis aligns with general conservation planning frameworks and can be adapted for any organization. Article Impact statement: Conservation impact is maximized by leveraging cost-sharing and IUCN Green Status for strategic cost-benefit analyses. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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This study aimed to identify the main factors driving species richness and endemism patterns of Chinese wild Rhododendron as well as to assess the hotspots of species diversity and their conservation status. We initially mapped the species richness and endemism (expressed by weighted endemism) patterns of 546 wild Rhododendron in China in 100 × 100 km grids using 13,969 occurrence records. Subsequently, the effects of environmental variables on species richness and endemism patterns were assessed using regression models, and hotspots were identified based on the areas overlapping in 10% of the grids with the highest species richness and endemism. Finally, the conservation status of the hotspots was evaluated via gap analysis. The key environmental variables affecting species richness and endemism patterns differed. Species richness patterns were significantly influenced by moisture index, whereas endemism patterns were significantly influenced by elevation range. Moreover, the following five species diversity hotspots were identified: southern Xizang, Hengduan Mountains, south-central Sichuan, eastern Yungui Plateau, and central Gansu; however, these hotspots are not fully covered by the existing nature reserves. Our results indicate that the establishment of nature reserves should be actively promoted to effectively protect wild Rhododendron in hotspots with a conservation gap.
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Orchidaceae has the largest percentage of threatened genera and species in relation to other plant families. One of the largest neotropical genus in this family is Epidendrum, represented in Brazil by 130 species. In this study, we assessed the conservation status of 63 Brazilian endemic species of Epidendrum. We characterized the extinction risk following the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) assessment guide, using criterion B. We considered species with a minimum number of four samples with confirmed occurrence localities and we measured the decline in quality or absolute reduction in the geographical distribution area of the species due to vegetation suppression (conditions bi, bii and biii of criterion B) in the last 35 years, using data available in MAPBIOMAS. A total of 2,754 records belonging to 37 assessed species were gathered, other 24 species were classified as Data Deficient (DD), and two were not assessed. Among the assessed species, 10 were categorized as Endangered (EN), six as Vulnerable (VU), 10 as Near Threatened (NT) and 11 as Least Concern (LC). The results reveal that epiphytic species of the Atlantic Forest were more frequently assessed in some degree of threat (55%). E. strobilicaule Hágsater & Benelli had the largest reduction of distribution area in the last 35 years to the classes of human use that include economical activities, while E. paniculosum Barb.Rodr. showed the smallest reduction. The main threats of the last 35 years for the analyzed species were conversion of land to pastures, urbanization, and the conversion of land to a mosaic of agriculture and pasture. This study provides important information about the conservation status of Brazilian endemic species of Epidendrum, helping to fill an expressive gap of non-assessed species. Keywords Atlantic ForestEpiphytesExtinctionIUCNRisk Threats
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A global strategy to conserve biodiversity must aim to protect representative examples of all of the world's ecosystems, as well as those areas that contain exceptional concentrations of species and endemics. Although lacking the richness of tropical forests, deserts, tropical lakes, and subpolar seas all contain distinct species, communities, and ecological phenomena. We analyzed global patterns of biodiversity to identify a set of the Earth's terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecoregions that harbor exceptional biodiversity and are representative of its ecosystems. We placed each of the Earth's ecoregions within a system of 30 biomes and biogeographic realms to facilitate a representation analysis. Biodiversity features were compared among ecoregions to assess their irreplaceability or distinctiveness. These features included species richness, endemic species, unusual higher taxa, unusual ecological or evolutionary phenomena, and the global rarity of habitats. This process yielded 238 ecoregions—the Global 200—comprised of 142 terrestrial, 53 freshwater, and 43 marine priority ecoregions. Effective conservation in this set of ecoregions would help conserve the most outstanding and representative habitats for biodiversity on this planet.
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Site conservation is among the most effective means to reduce global biodiversity loss. Therefore, it is critical to identify those sites where unique biodiversity must be conserved immediately. To this end, the concept of key biodiversity areas (KBAs) has been developed, seeking to identify and, ultimately, ensure that networks of globally important sites are safeguarded. This methodology builds up from the identification of species conservation targets (through the IUCN Red List) and nests within larger-scale conservation approaches. Sites are selected using standardized, globally applicable, threshold-based criteria, driven by the distribution and population of species that require site-level conservation. The criteria address the two key issues for setting site conservation priorities: vulnerability and irreplaceability. We also propose quantitative thresholds for the identification of KBAs meeting each criterion, based on a review of existing approaches and ecological theory to date. However, these thresholds require extensive testing, especially in aquatic systems.
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Global conservation assessments require information on the distribution of biodiversity across the planet. Yet this information is often mapped at a very coarse spatial resolution relative to the scale of most land-use and management decisions. Furthermore, such mapping tends to focus selectively on better-known elements of biodiversity (e.g., vertebrates). We introduce a new approach to describing and mapping the global distribution of terrestrial biodiversity that may help to alleviate these problems. This approach focuses on estimating spatial pattern in emergent properties of biodiversity (richness and compositional turnover) rather than distributions of individual species, making it well suited to lesser-known, yet highly diverse, biological groups. We have developed a global biodiversity model linking these properties to mapped ecoregions and fine-scale environmental surfaces. The model is being calibrated progressively using extensive biological data sets for a wide variety of taxa. We also describe an analytical approach to applying our model in global conservation assessments, illustrated with a preliminary analysis of the representativeness of the world's protected-area system. Our approach is intended to complement, not compete with, assessments based on individual species of particular conservation concern.
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The ecological consequences of biodiversity loss have aroused considerable interest and controversy during the past decade. Major advances have been made in describing the relationship between species diversity and ecosystem processes, in identifying functionally important species, and in revealing underlying mechanisms. There is, however, uncertainty as to how results obtained in recent experiments scale up to landscape and regional levels and generalize across ecosystem types and processes. Larger numbers of species are probably needed to reduce temporal variability in ecosystem processes in changing environments. A major future challenge is to determine how biodiversity dynamics, ecosystem processes, and abiotic factors interact.
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World Wildlife Fund–United States ( WWF ) is promoting an ecoregional framework internationally as a new hierarchical approach to organizing and prioritizing conservation efforts. We assessed WWF ecoregions against existing frameworks: (1) the Dasmann-Udvardy ( World Conservation Union [IUCN] ) Biogeographical Representation Framework, (2) the Bailey Ecoregional Framework ( U.S. Forest Service), and (3) the hotspot approach, as exemplified by the BirdLife Endemic Bird Area Approach and the WWF–IUCN Centres of Plant Diversity Program. We examined the genealogy of the schemes from three perspectives: methodological explicitness, transparency and repeatability, and whether the WWF–ecoregions system improves on existing schemes. We considered Indonesia as a case study and assessed the efficacy of each system in the Indonesian context. The existing planning frameworks achieved their objective; in general had explicit, transparent, and repeatable methods; and, in the case of the Dasmann-Udvardy system, attained an institutional reality in Indonesia. The central purpose of the WWF–ecoregions framework is the same as the 25-year-old Dasmann-Udvardy system, and at the coarsest spatial scales it relies on similar spatial delineators ( biomes and faunal regions). The WWF methodology, however, employs a gestalt approach to defining ecoregion boundaries. In the Indonesian context the resulting map appears problematic both in terms of the underlying rationale of the ecoregion approach and in terms of apparent conflict with preexisting protected-area design. We suggest, insofar as refined planning frameworks are needed, that an alternative route that builds on rather than competes with existing approaches would be to combine at the mesoscale the landform delineators that characterize the Bailey ecoregion system with the existing macroscale ecoclimatic and biogeographic delineators of the Dasmann-Udvardy system. We question the investment in developing and promoting the WWF–ecoregion scheme in Indonesia when the existing Dasmann-Udvardy system, used in conjunction with hotspot studies, provides a seemingly adequate system and when the reserve system itself is under considerable pressure.
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The rapid loss of tropical forests throughout the world and the widely recognized "biodiversity crisis" have spurred various nongovernmental conservation organizations and international agencies to develop strategies for protecting natural habitats. But the scale of the crisis is so daunting that conservationists widely accept the need for some sort of triage, whereby limited funds go to the places where the greatest good can be done. Experts have explored various ways to set priorities, and almost without exception, rainforests get top billing. The reason is simple: These tropical ecosystems harbor more unique species than any other habitat or place. Identifying and protecting such "biodiversity hotspots" has thus become the reigning scientific paradigm among conservationists. Biodiversity hotspots are regions with unusually high concentrations of endemic species (species that are found nowhere else on Earth) that also have suffered severe habitat destruction. Norman Myers, an environmentalist affiliated with the University of Oxford, first coined this term in a scholarly paper he wrote in 1988. Now, virtually every textbook on conservation biology contains a map of the world's biodiversity hotspots. Although lush tropical rainforests first leap to mind, oceanic islands and Mediterranean ecosystems such as those found in California, South Africa and Australia are also considered hotspots because they, too, show exceptionally high rates of plant endemism. The hotspot concept has been extremely effective at directing international funding and philanthropy. Given this success, we think it worth pausing to examine the scientific foundation of this conservation strategy and to consider what the consequences of this concept may be for the huge expanses of the planet that it leaves out in the cold—places we might dub biodiversity "coldspots."