Concern about the decline of wild salmon has attracted the attention of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The IUCN applies quantitative criteria to assess risk of extinction and publishes its results on the Red List of Threatened Species. However, the focus is on the species level and thus may fail to show the risk to populations. The IUCN has adapted their criteria to apply to populations but there exist few examples of this type of assessment. We assessed the status of sockeye salmon Oncorhynchus nerka as a model for application of the IUCN population-level assessments and to provide the first global assessment of the status of an anadromous Pacific salmon.
We found from demographic data that the sockeye salmon species is not presently at risk of extinction. We identified 98 independent populations with varying levels of risk within the species' range. Of these, 5 (5%) are already extinct. We analyzed the risk for 62 out of 93 extant populations (67%) and found that 17 of these (27%) are at risk of extinction. The greatest number and concentration of extinct and threatened populations is in the southern part of the North American range, primarily due to overfishing, freshwater habitat loss, dams, hatcheries, and changing ocean conditions.
Although sockeye salmon are not at risk at the species-level, about one-third of the populations that we analyzed are at risk or already extinct. Without an understanding of risk to biodiversity at the level of populations, the biodiversity loss in salmon would be greatly underrepresented on the Red List. We urge government, conservation organizations, scientists and the public to recognize this limitation of the Red List. We also urge recognition that about one-third of sockeye salmon global population diversity is at risk of extinction or already extinct.
Understanding how animal populations have evolved in response to palaeoenvironmental conditions is essential for predicting the impact of future environmental change on current biodiversity. Analyses of ancient DNA provide a unique opportunity to track population responses to prehistoric environments. We explored the effects of palaeoenvironmental change on the colonial tuco-tuco (Ctenomys sociabilis), a highly endemic species of Patagonian rodent that is currently listed as threatened by the IUCN. By combining surveys of modern genetic variation from throughout this species' current geographic range with analyses of DNA samples from fossil material dating back to 10 000 ybp, we demonstrate a striking decline in genetic diversity that is concordant with environmental events in the study region. Our results highlight the importance of non-anthropogenic factors in loss of diversity, including reductions in smaller mammals such as rodents.
Ctenomys sociabilis; ancient DNA; phylochronology; climatic change; genetic variability; volcanism
The recent industrial boom along the Australian coastline has increased concerns about the long term conservation of snubfin dolphins along the Queensland coast. National assessment of the conservation status and management of the Australian snubfin dolphin is currently hindered by the lack of adequate biological and ecological information throughout most of its range. In response to the issue of determining the conservation status of species with broad ranges, the IUCN has provided a framework for assessing the threatened status of regional populations. In this study we assessed the conservation status of a small geographically isolated population of snubfin dolphins living in the Fitzroy River region, Queensland, Australia, against the IUCN criteria for regional populations. A review of all available sightings data and stranding information indicates that this is the southernmost resident population of snubfin dolphins in Australian waters. The Fitzroy River snubfin dolphin population is composed of less than 100 individuals, with a representative range and core area of less than 400 and 300 km2 respectively. The area most often used by snubfin dolphins within the representative range and core area was estimated to be about 292 and 191 km2, respectively. A decrease in representative range, core area and preferred habitat between 14 and 25% is projected to occur if a planned industrial port development were to occur. These results are robust to uncertainty and considering the low level of formal protection and future threats, a classification of this subpopulation under the IUCN Red List as “Endangered” is appropriate.
Morus boninensis, is an endemic plant of the Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands of Japan and is categorized as "critically endangered" in the Japanese red data book. However, little information is available about its ecological, evolutionary and genetic status, despite the urgent need for guidelines for the conservation of the species. Therefore, we adopted Moritz's MU concept, based on the species' current genetic structure, to define management units and to select mother tree candidates for seed orchards.
Nearly all individuals of the species were genotyped on the basis of seven microsatellite markers. Genetic diversity levels in putative natural populations were higher than in putative man-made populations with the exception of those on Otouto-jima Island. This is because a limited number of maternal trees are likely to have been used for seed collection to establish the man-made populations. A model-based clustering analysis clearly distinguished individuals into nine clusters, with a large difference in genetic composition between the population on Otouto-jima Island, the putative natural populations and the putative man-made populations. The Otouto-jima population appeared to be genetically differentiated from the others; a finding that was also supported by pairwise FST and RST analysis. Although multiple clusters were detected in the putative man-made populations, the pattern of genetic diversity was monotonous in comparison to the natural populations.
The genotyping by microsatellite markers revealed strong genetic structures. Typically, artificial propagation of this species has ignored the genetic structure, relying only on seeds from Otouto-jima for replanting on other islands, because of a problem with inter-specific hybridization on Chichi-jima and Haha-jima Islands. However, this study demonstrates that we should be taking into consideration the genetic structure of the species when designing a propagation program for the conservation of this species.
Parrotfishes and surgeonfishes perform important functional roles in the dynamics of coral reef systems. This is a consequence of their varied feeding behaviors ranging from targeted consumption of living plant material (primarily surgeonfishes) to feeding on detrital aggregates that are either scraped from the reef surface or excavated from the deeper reef substratum (primarily parrotfishes). Increased fishing pressure and widespread habitat destruction have led to population declines for several species of these two groups. Species-specific data on global distribution, population status, life history characteristics, and major threats were compiled for each of the 179 known species of parrotfishes and surgeonfishes to determine the likelihood of extinction of each species under the Categories and Criteria of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Due in part to the extensive distributions of most species and the life history traits exhibited in these two families, only three (1.7%) of the species are listed at an elevated risk of global extinction. The majority of the parrotfishes and surgeonfishes (86%) are listed as Least Concern, 10% are listed as Data Deficient and 1% are listed as Near Threatened. The risk of localized extinction, however, is higher in some areas, particularly in the Coral Triangle region. The relatively low proportion of species globally listed in threatened Categories is highly encouraging, and some conservation successes are attributed to concentrated conservation efforts. However, with the growing realization of man's profound impact on the planet, conservation actions such as improved marine reserve networks, more stringent fishing regulations, and continued monitoring of the population status at the species and community levels are imperative for the prevention of species loss in these groups of important and iconic coral reef fishes.
Red Lists of threatened species play a critical role in conservation science and practice. However, policy-making based on Red Lists ignores ecological and evolutionary consequences of losing biodiversity because these lists focus on species alone. To decide if relying on Red Lists alone can help to conserve communities’ functional (FD) and phylogenetic (PD) diversity, it is useful to evaluate whether Red List categories represent species with diverse ecological traits and evolutionary histories. Additionally, local scale analyses using regional Red Lists should represent more realistic pools of co-occurring species and thereby better capture eventual losses of FD and PD. Here, we used 21 life-history traits and a phylogeny for all Brazilian birds to determine whether species assigned under the IUCN global Red List, the Brazilian national, and regional Red Lists capture more FD and PD than expected by chance. We also built local Red Lists and analysed if they capture more FD and PD at the local scale. Further, we investigated whether individual threat categories have species with greater FD and PD than expected by chance. At any given scale, threat categories did not capture greater FD or PD than expected by chance. Indeed, mostly categories captured equal or less FD or PD than expected by chance. These findings would not have great consequences if Red Lists were not often considered as a major decision support tool for policy-making. Our results challenge the practice of investing conservation resources based only on species Red Lists because, from an ecological and evolutionary point of view, this would be the same as protecting similar or random sets of species. Thus, new prioritization methods, such as the EDGE of Existence initiative, should be developed and applied to conserve species’ ecological traits and evolutionary histories at different spatial scales.
The demand for projections of the future distribution of biodiversity has triggered an upsurge in modelling at the crossroads between ecology and evolution. Despite the enthusiasm around these so-called biodiversity models, most approaches are still criticized for not integrating key processes known to shape species ranges and community structure. Developing an integrative modelling framework for biodiversity distribution promises to improve the reliability of predictions and to give a better understanding of the eco-evolutionary dynamics of species and communities under changing environments. In this paper, we briefly review some eco-evolutionary processes and interplays among them which are essential to provide reliable projections of species distributions and community structure. We identify gaps in theory, quantitative knowledge and data availability hampering the development of an integrated modelling framework. We argue that model development relying on a strong theoretical foundation is essential to inspire new models, manage complexity and to maintain tractability. We support our argument with an example of a novel integrated model for species distribution modelling, derived from metapopulation theory, which accounts for abiotic constraints, dispersal, biotic interactions and evolution under changing environmental conditions. We hope such a perspective will motivate exciting and novel research, and challenge others to improve on our proposed approach.
species distribution; biotic interactions; metacommunity; rapid adaptation; hybrid modelling
Over 1,000 mammal species are red-listed by IUCN, as Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable. Conservation of many threatened mammal species, even inside protected areas, depends on costly active day-to-day defence against poaching, bushmeat hunting, invasive species and habitat encroachment. Many parks agencies worldwide now rely heavily on tourism for routine operational funding: >50% in some cases. This puts rare mammals at a new risk, from downturns in tourism driven by external socioeconomic factors. Using the survival of individual animals as a metric or currency of successful conservation, we calculate here what proportions of remaining populations of IUCN-redlisted mammal species are currently supported by funds from tourism. This proportion is ≥5% for over half of the species where relevant data exist, ≥15% for one fifth, and up to 66% in a few cases. Many of these species, especially the most endangered, survive only in one single remaining subpopulation. These proportions are not correlated either with global population sizes or recognition as wildlife tourism icons. Most of the more heavily tourism-dependent species, however, are medium sized (>7.5 kg) or larger. Historically, biological concern over the growth of tourism in protected areas has centered on direct disturbance to wildlife. These results show that conservation of threatened mammal species has become reliant on revenue from tourism to a previously unsuspected degree. On the one hand, this provides new opportunities for conservation funding; but on the other, dependence on such an uncertain source of funding is a new, large and growing threat to red-listed species.
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.
biodiversity; conservation action; conservation planning; conservation priority setting; International Union for Conservation of Nature; protected area
New Caledonia is a global biodiversity hotspot facing extreme environmental degradation. Given the urgent need for conservation prioritisation, we have made a first-pass quantitative assessment of the distribution of Narrow Endemic Species (NES) in the flora to identify species and sites that are potentially important for conservation action. We assessed the distributional status of all angiosperm and gymnosperm species using data from taxonomic descriptions and herbarium samples. We characterised species as being NES if they occurred in 3 or fewer locations. In total, 635 of the 2930 assessed species were classed as NES, of which only 150 have been subjected to the IUCN conservation assessment. As the distributional patterns of un-assessed species from one or two locations correspond well with assessed species which have been classified as Critically Endangered or Endangered respectively, we suggest that our distributional data can be used to prioritise species for IUCN assessment. We also used the distributional data to produce a map of “Hotspots of Plant Narrow Endemism” (HPNE). Combined, we used these data to evaluate the coincidence of NES with mining activities (a major source of threat on New Caledonia) and also areas of conservation protection. This is to identify species and locations in most urgent need of further conservation assessment and subsequent action. Finally, we grouped the NES based on the environments they occurred in and modelled the habitat distribution of these groups with a Maximum Entropy Species Distribution Model (MaxEnt). The NES were separable into three different groups based primarily on geological differences. The distribution of the habitat types for each group coincide partially with the HPNE described above and also indicates some areas which have high habitat suitability but few recorded NES. Some of these areas may represent under-sampled hotspots of narrow endemism and are priorities for further field work.
The Mediterranean Sea is a marine biodiversity hot spot. Here we combined an extensive literature analysis with expert opinions to update publicly available estimates of major taxa in this marine ecosystem and to revise and update several species lists. We also assessed overall spatial and temporal patterns of species diversity and identified major changes and threats. Our results listed approximately 17,000 marine species occurring in the Mediterranean Sea. However, our estimates of marine diversity are still incomplete as yet—undescribed species will be added in the future. Diversity for microbes is substantially underestimated, and the deep-sea areas and portions of the southern and eastern region are still poorly known. In addition, the invasion of alien species is a crucial factor that will continue to change the biodiversity of the Mediterranean, mainly in its eastern basin that can spread rapidly northwards and westwards due to the warming of the Mediterranean Sea. Spatial patterns showed a general decrease in biodiversity from northwestern to southeastern regions following a gradient of production, with some exceptions and caution due to gaps in our knowledge of the biota along the southern and eastern rims. Biodiversity was also generally higher in coastal areas and continental shelves, and decreases with depth. Temporal trends indicated that overexploitation and habitat loss have been the main human drivers of historical changes in biodiversity. At present, habitat loss and degradation, followed by fishing impacts, pollution, climate change, eutrophication, and the establishment of alien species are the most important threats and affect the greatest number of taxonomic groups. All these impacts are expected to grow in importance in the future, especially climate change and habitat degradation. The spatial identification of hot spots highlighted the ecological importance of most of the western Mediterranean shelves (and in particular, the Strait of Gibraltar and the adjacent Alboran Sea), western African coast, the Adriatic, and the Aegean Sea, which show high concentrations of endangered, threatened, or vulnerable species. The Levantine Basin, severely impacted by the invasion of species, is endangered as well.
This abstract has been translated to other languages (File S1).
Several recent papers evaluate the relationship between ecological characteristics and extinction risk in bats. These studies report that extinction risk is negatively related to geographic range size and positively related to habitat specialization. Here, we evaluate the hypothesis that extinction risk is also related to dietary specialization in insectivorous vespertilionid bats using both traditional and phylogenetically-controlled analysis of variance. We collected dietary data and The World Conservation Union (IUCN) rankings for 44 Australian, European, and North American bat species. Our results indicate that species of conservation concern (IUCN ranking near threatened or above) are more likely to have a specialized diet than are species of least concern. Additional analyses show that dietary breadth is not correlated to geographic range size or wing morphology, characteristics previously found to correlate with extinction risk. Therefore, there is likely a direct relationship between dietary specialization and extinction risk; however, the large variation in dietary breadth within species of least concern suggests that diet alone cannot explain extinction risk. Our results may have important implications for the development of predictive models of extinction risk and for the assignment of extinction risk to insectivorous bat species. Similar analyses should be conducted on additional bat families to assess the generality of this relationship between niche breadth and extinction risk.
A complete listing of the world's known plant species has long been considered desirable but has remained an elusive target for generations of botanists. The adoption of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation has reinforced the urgent need for a global plant checklist to support, facilitate and monitor the conservation and sustainable use of plant diversity worldwide. The increasing availability of large databases of biological information over the Internet has demonstrated that many of the obstacles to the collation and dissemination of vast, shared datasets can be overcome. We examine the challenges that still remain to be addressed if the botanical community is to achieve its ambitious objective of delivering a working list of all known plant species by 2010.
The World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List is widely recognized as the most authoritative and objective system for classifying species by their risk of extinction. Red List Indices (RLIs) illustrate the relative rate at which a particular set of species change in overall threat status (i.e. projected relative extinction-risk), based on population and range size and trends as quantified by Red List categories. RLIs can be calculated for any representative set of species that has been fully assessed at least twice. They are based on the number of species in each Red List category, and the number changing categories between assessments as a result of genuine improvement or deterioration in status. RLIs show a fairly coarse level of resolution, but for fully assessed taxonomic groups they are highly representative, being based on information from a high proportion of species worldwide. The RLI for the world's birds shows that that their overall threat status has deteriorated steadily during the years 1988–2004 in all biogeographic realms and ecosystems. A preliminary RLI for amphibians for 1980–2004 shows similar rates of decline. RLIs are in development for other groups. In addition, a sampled index is being developed, based on a stratified sample of species from all major taxonomic groups, realms and ecosystems. This will provide extinction-risk trends that are more representative of all biodiversity.
indicators; birds; amphibians; IUCN Red List; threatened species; extinction-risk
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.
IUCN Red List; extinction risk; threat category; conservation status; biodiversity indicators; conservation action
The amphibian decline and extinction crisis demands urgent action to prevent further large numbers of species extinctions. Lists of priority species for conservation, based on a combination of species’ threat status and unique contribution to phylogenetic diversity, are one tool for the direction and catalyzation of conservation action. We describe the construction of a near-complete species-level phylogeny of 5713 amphibian species, which we use to create a list of evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered species (EDGE list) for the entire class Amphibia. We present sensitivity analyses to test the robustness of our priority list to uncertainty in species’ phylogenetic position and threat status. We find that both sources of uncertainty have only minor impacts on our ‘top 100‘ list of priority species, indicating the robustness of the approach. By contrast, our analyses suggest that a large number of Data Deficient species are likely to be high priorities for conservation action from the perspective of their contribution to the evolutionary history.
Recent studies suggest that species' life histories and ecology can be used to forecast future extinction risk. Threatened species often share similar traits such that if a trait predisposing a species to decline or extinction is evolutionarily conserved, then close relatives of threatened species are themselves likely to be at risk. The phylogenetic distribution of current threat has been argued to provide insight into the species that could be threatened in the future when trait data are not available. Conservation criteria are typically based on multiple indices that capture different symptoms of threat including population trends and range contraction. However, there is no reason to assume consistent phylogenetic distributions of different symptoms. I construct a molecular phylogeny of 249 species of British birds (more than 93% of the breeding and wintering species) and use this to show that the species that are threatened due to population declines are phylogenetically more closely related than expected by chance alone. However, species that are listed for other reasons, including range contraction, are distributed randomly with respect to phylogeny. I suggest that while phylogeny can be informative with respect to identifying clades that are susceptible to some measures of extinction risk, such patterns are likely to be idiosyncratic with respect to symptom and taxa.
phylogeny; British birds; population decline; range contraction
DNA barcode is a new tool for taxon recognition and classification of biological organisms based on sequence of a fragment of
mitochondrial gene, cytochrome c oxidase I (COI). In view of the growing importance of the fish DNA barcoding for species
identification, molecular taxonomy and fish diversity conservation, we developed a Fish Barcode Information System (FBIS) for
Indian fishes, which will serve as a regional DNA barcode archival and analysis system. The database presently contains 2334
sequence records of COI gene for 472 aquatic species belonging to 39 orders and 136 families, collected from available published
data sources. Additionally, it contains information on phenotype, distribution and IUCN Red List status of fishes. The web version
of FBIS was designed using MySQL, Perl and PHP under Linux operating platform to (a) store and manage the acquisition (b)
analyze and explore DNA barcode records (c) identify species and estimate genetic divergence. FBIS has also been integrated with
appropriate tools for retrieving and viewing information about the database statistics and taxonomy. It is expected that FBIS would
be useful as a potent information system in fish molecular taxonomy, phylogeny and genomics.
The database is available for free at http://mail.nbfgr.res.in/fbis/
Genetic Divergence; Fish; LAMP; Phylogeny; Phylogeography; Taxonomy
Mangrove species are uniquely adapted to tropical and subtropical coasts, and although relatively low in number of species, mangrove forests provide at least US $1.6 billion each year in ecosystem services and support coastal livelihoods worldwide. Globally, mangrove areas are declining rapidly as they are cleared for coastal development and aquaculture and logged for timber and fuel production. Little is known about the effects of mangrove area loss on individual mangrove species and local or regional populations. To address this gap, species-specific information on global distribution, population status, life history traits, and major threats were compiled for each of the 70 known species of mangroves. Each species' probability of extinction was assessed under the Categories and Criteria of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Eleven of the 70 mangrove species (16%) are at elevated threat of extinction. Particular areas of geographical concern include the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Central America, where as many as 40% of mangroves species present are threatened with extinction. Across the globe, mangrove species found primarily in the high intertidal and upstream estuarine zones, which often have specific freshwater requirements and patchy distributions, are the most threatened because they are often the first cleared for development of aquaculture and agriculture. The loss of mangrove species will have devastating economic and environmental consequences for coastal communities, especially in those areas with low mangrove diversity and high mangrove area or species loss. Several species at high risk of extinction may disappear well before the next decade if existing protective measures are not enforced.
European bison, the largest mammal in Europe, after being exterminated in the wild and then restored during the 20th century is still listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN Red List of Threatened Species) as a species vulnerable to extinction. However, the increasing number of European bison, through creation of new and expansion of existing populations strongly increases the risk of human-bison conflict in the near future. We analyzed the depredation of farm crops by bison and the factors influencing the level of damage in the vicinity of two forest areas inhabited by bison in northeastern Poland. Between 2000 and 2010, the total cost of compensation was € 196,200. The level of damage and amount of compensation was increasing from year to year in both forests and correlated with the number of bison. The majority of damage (57 % of cases) was recorded in winter (December–March). Snow depth and temperature did not influence the frequency of damage. The incidences of damage increased with decreasing distance from the woodland patches, therefore, 69 % of cases in Białowieża Forest, and 80 % in Knyszyn Forest were recorded closer than 0.5 km from nearest woodland patch. The majority of the crops damaged by bison were cereals (61 %) but also hay (20 %) and rape (13 %). When compared to the availability of crops, bison strongly selected rape and rye in both regions. This study is the first addressing the increasing problem of human-bison conflict in re-introduced populations and analyzing long-term data on crop depredation. Such situations probably occur in the majority of growing and expanding bison populations, however, it has not yet to be monitored and is rather neglected in post-Soviet countries.
Białowieża Primeval Forest; Conservation management; Crop selection; Damage compensation; Seasonal migrations; Wildlife-human conflict
An understanding of risks to biodiversity is needed for planning action to slow current rates of decline and secure ecosystem services for future human use. Although the IUCN Red List criteria provide an effective assessment protocol for species, a standard global assessment of risks to higher levels of biodiversity is currently limited. In 2008, IUCN initiated development of risk assessment criteria to support a global Red List of ecosystems. We present a new conceptual model for ecosystem risk assessment founded on a synthesis of relevant ecological theories. To support the model, we review key elements of ecosystem definition and introduce the concept of ecosystem collapse, an analogue of species extinction. The model identifies four distributional and functional symptoms of ecosystem risk as a basis for assessment criteria: A) rates of decline in ecosystem distribution; B) restricted distributions with continuing declines or threats; C) rates of environmental (abiotic) degradation; and D) rates of disruption to biotic processes. A fifth criterion, E) quantitative estimates of the risk of ecosystem collapse, enables integrated assessment of multiple processes and provides a conceptual anchor for the other criteria. We present the theoretical rationale for the construction and interpretation of each criterion. The assessment protocol and threat categories mirror those of the IUCN Red List of species. A trial of the protocol on terrestrial, subterranean, freshwater and marine ecosystems from around the world shows that its concepts are workable and its outcomes are robust, that required data are available, and that results are consistent with assessments carried out by local experts and authorities. The new protocol provides a consistent, practical and theoretically grounded framework for establishing a systematic Red List of the world’s ecosystems. This will complement the Red List of species and strengthen global capacity to report on and monitor the status of biodiversity
The history of the Red List of Japanese vascular plants is briefly reviewed for editing and research. Especially on the results of recent monitoring, the present status of information and conservation activities on the endangered plants in Japan is discussed and the dynamics of the Japanese flora are taken up, in relation to basic research on plant biodiversity on the Japanese Archipelago. The figures of endangered plants are not very variable during the past quarter of a century, but we can surmise that the conservation of threatened species in Japan has been promoted to some extent. Based on the results of such a study, proposals are made to contribute to the sustainable use of plant biodiversity on the Japanese Archipelago under a global conspectus.
Japanese Society for Plant Systematics; Ministry of the Environment; NGOs; non-professional naturalists; Red List; sustainable use of biodiversity
Detailed large-scale information on mammal distribution has often been lacking, hindering conservation efforts. We used the information from the 2009 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as a baseline for developing habitat suitability models for 5027 out of 5330 known terrestrial mammal species, based on their habitat relationships. We focused on the following environmental variables: land cover, elevation and hydrological features. Models were developed at 300 m resolution and limited to within species' known geographical ranges. A subset of the models was validated using points of known species occurrence. We conducted a global, fine-scale analysis of patterns of species richness. The richness of mammal species estimated by the overlap of their suitable habitat is on average one-third less than that estimated by the overlap of their geographical ranges. The highest absolute difference is found in tropical and subtropical regions in South America, Africa and Southeast Asia that are not covered by dense forest. The proportion of suitable habitat within mammal geographical ranges correlates with the IUCN Red List category to which they have been assigned, decreasing monotonically from Least Concern to Endangered. These results demonstrate the importance of fine-resolution distribution data for the development of global conservation strategies for mammals.
conservation priority setting; Red List; geographical range; range model; species distribution model; species richness
Several recent studies have reviewed the extent of fungal biodiversity, and
have used these data as basis for revised estimates of species numbers based
on known numbers of plants and insects. None of these studies, however, have
focused on fungal biodiversity in South Africa. Coinciding with the 100th
anniversary of the National Collection of Fungi (PREM) in South Africa in
2005, it is thus timely to reflect on the taxonomic research that has been
conducted in South Africa over the past Century. Information is presented on
the extent of fungal collections preserved at PREM, and the associated
research publications that have largely resulted from this resource. These
data are placed in context of the known plant and insect biodiversity, and
used as basis to estimate the potential number of fungi that could be expected
in South Africa. The conservative estimate is of approximately 200 000 species
without taking into account those associated with a substantial insect
Biodiversity; conservation; National Collection of Fungi; numbers of fungi; undescribed species
Although the maintenance of diversity of living systems is critical for ecosystem functioning, the accelerating pace of global change is threatening its preservation. Standardized methods for biodiversity assessment and monitoring are needed. Species diversity is one of the most widely adopted metrics for assessing patterns and processes of biodiversity, at both ecological and biogeographic scales. However, those perspectives differ because of the types of data that can be feasibly collected, resulting in differences in the questions that can be addressed. Despite a theoretical consensus on diversity metrics, standardized methods for its measurement are lacking, especially at the scales needed to monitor biodiversity for conservation and management purposes. We review the conceptual framework for species diversity, examine common metrics, and explore their use for biodiversity conservation and management. Key differences in diversity measures at ecological and biogeographic scales are the completeness of species lists and the ability to include information on species abundances. We analyse the major pitfalls and problems with quantitative measurement of species diversity, look at the use of weighting measures by phylogenetic distance, discuss potential solutions and propose a research agenda to solve the major existing problems.
biodiversity assessment; biogeography; diversity measurement; ecology; spatial scale