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Strassburg B.B.N.,International Institute for Sustainability IIS | Strassburg B.B.N.,University of East Anglia | Rodrigues A.S.L.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Gusti M.,International Institute For Applied Systems Analysis | And 8 more authors.
Nature Climate Change

Deforestation is a major source of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, and the greatest single driver of species extinctions. The reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) has been formally recognized as a climate change mitigation option. REDD might have important co-benefits for biodiversity conservation, yet the extent of these benefits will depend on as-yet untested associations between fine-scale spatial patterns of deforestation, species distributions and carbon stocks. Here we combine a global land-use model and spatial data on species distributions to explore scenarios of future deforestation within REDD-eligible countries, to quantify and map the potential impacts on species extinctions as increased by forest loss and decreased by carbon conservation. We found that the continuation of historical deforestation rates is likely to result in large numbers of species extinctions, but that an adequately funded REDD programme could substantially reduce these losses. Under our deforestation scenarios, the projected benefits of REDD were remarkably consistent across the four methods used to estimate extinctions, but spatially variable, and highly dependent on the level of carbon payments. Our results indicate that, if well designed, adequately funded and broadly implemented, carbon-based forest conservation could play a major role in biodiversity conservation as well as climate change mitigation. © 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved. Source

Turner W.R.,Division at Conservation International | Brooks T.M.,NatureServe | Gibbs H.K.,National Fish and Wildlife Foundation | Lawrence K.S.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | And 2 more authors.

Poverty and biodiversity loss are two of the world's dire challenges. Claims of conservation's contribution to poverty alleviation, however, remain controversial. Here, we assess the flows of ecosystem services provided to people by priority habitats for terrestrial conservation, considering the global distributions of biodiversity, physical factors, and socioeconomic context. We estimate the value of these habitats to the poor, both through direct benefits and through payments for ecosystem services to those stewarding natural habitats. The global potential for biodiversity conservation to support poor communities is high: The top 25% of conservation priority areas could provide 56%57% of benefits. The aggregate benefits are valued at three times the estimated opportunity costs and exceed1 per person per day for 331 million of the world's poorest people. Although trade-offs remain, these results show winwin synergies between conservation and poverty alleviation, indicate that effective financial mechanisms can enhance these synergies, and suggest biodiversity conservation as a fundamental component of sustainable economic development. © 2012 by American Institute of Biological Sciences. All rights reserved. Source

Young B.E.,NatureServe | Zook J.R.,Apdo. 182 4200
Revista de Biologia Tropical

Although the Eastern Tropical Pacific is well known for its diverse fauna, the seabirds occurring off Costa Rica’s Pacific coast have received little scientific attention. With seabirds now the fastest declining avian group, a better understanding of seabird diversity and abundance in this region is urgently needed. We report on observations of Costa Rica’s Pacific seabirds made during 19 days of observations on 11 offshore trips from 2006-2010. We provide, for the first time, spatially and seasonally explicit information on the distribution of 41 species of seabirds (nine families). Species diversity is higher during the dry-wet season (36 species) and wet-dry season transitions (36 species) than during the dry season (19 species). The fauna included three threatened species (Pterodroma phaeopygia, Procellaria parkinsoni, and Puffinus creatopus) and two near-threatened species (Psueudobulweria rostrata and Thalasseus elegans), highlighting the importance of Costa Rican waters for the conservation of seabirds. © 2016, Universidad de Costa Rica. All rights reserved. Source

Anderson M.G.,The Nature Conservancy | Comer P.J.,NatureServe | Beier P.,Northern Arizona University | Lawler J.J.,University of Washington | And 4 more authors.
Conservation Biology

Geodiversity has been used as a surrogate for biodiversity when species locations are unknown, and this utility can be extended to situations where species locations are in flux. Recently, scientists have designed conservation networks that aim to explicitly represent the range of geophysical environments, identifying a network of physical stages that could sustain biodiversity while allowing for change in species composition in response to climate change. Because there is no standard approach to designing such networks, we compiled 8 case studies illustrating a variety of ways scientists have approached the challenge. These studies show how geodiversity has been partitioned and used to develop site portfolios and connectivity designs; how geodiversity-based portfolios compare with those derived from species and communities; and how the selection and combination of variables influences the results. Collectively, they suggest 4 key steps when using geodiversity to augment traditional biodiversity-based conservation planning: create land units from species-relevant variables combined in an ecologically meaningful way; represent land units in a logical spatial configuration and integrate with species locations when possible, apply selection criteria to individual sites to ensure they are appropriate for conservation; and develop connectivity among sites to maintain movements and processes. With these considerations, conservationists can design more effective site portfolios to ensure the lasting conservation of biodiversity under a changing climate. © 2015 Society for Conservation Biology. Source

Pearson R.G.,University College London | Pearson R.G.,American Museum of Natural History | Stanton J.C.,State University of New York at Stony Brook | Shoemaker K.T.,State University of New York at Stony Brook | And 8 more authors.
Nature Climate Change

There is an urgent need to develop effective vulnerability assessments for evaluating the conservation status of species in a changing climate. Several new assessment approaches have been proposed for evaluating the vulnerability of species to climate change based on the expectation that established assessments such as the IUCN Red List need revising or superseding in light of the threat that climate change brings. However, although previous studies have identified ecological and life history attributes that characterize declining species or those listed as threatened, no study so far has undertaken a quantitative analysis of the attributes that cause species to be at high risk of extinction specifically due to climate change. We developed a simulation approach based on generic life history types to show here that extinction risk due to climate change can be predicted using a mixture of spatial and demographic variables that can be measured in the present day without the need for complex forecasting models. Most of the variables we found to be important for predicting extinction risk, including occupied area and population size, are already used in species conservation assessments, indicating that present systems may be better able to identify species vulnerable to climate change than previously thought. Therefore, although climate change brings many new conservation challenges, we find that it may not be fundamentally different from other threats in terms of assessing extinction risks. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Source

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