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Visconti P.,Microsoft | Visconti P.,World Conservation Monitoring Center | Bakkenes M.,Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency | Smith R.J.,University of Kent | And 2 more authors.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2015

Several global strategies for protected area (PA) expansion have been proposed to achieve the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Aichi target 11 as a means to stem biodiversity loss, as required by the Aichi target 12. However, habitat loss outside PAs will continue to affect habitats and species, and PAs may displace human activities into areas that might be even more important for species persistence. Here we measure the expected contribution of PA expansion strategies to Aichi target 12 by estimating the extent of suitable habitat available for all terrestrial mammals, with and without additional protection (the latter giving the counterfactual outcome), under different socio-economic scenarios and consequent land-use change to 2020. We found that expanding PAs to achieve representation targets for ecoregions under a Business-as-usual socio-economic scenario will result in a worse prognosis than doing nothing for more than 50% of the world’s terrestrial mammals. By contrast, targeting protection towards threatened species can increase the suitable habitat available to over 60% of terrestrial mammals. Even in the absence of additional protection, an alternative socio-economic scenario, adopting progressive changes in human consumption, leads to positive outcomes for mammals globally and to the largest improvements for wide-ranging species. © 2015 The Authors. Source

Lafortezza R.,University of Cambridge | Lafortezza R.,University of Bari | Coomes D.A.,University of Cambridge | Kapos V.,University of Cambridge | And 2 more authors.
Global Ecology and Biogeography | Year: 2010

Aim: Few studies have attempted to assess the overall impact of fragmentation at the landscape scale. We quantify the impacts of fragmentation on plant diversity by assessing patterns of community composition in relation to a range of fragmentation measures. Location: The investigation was undertaken in two regions of New Zealand - a relatively unfragmented area of lowland rain forest in south Westland and a highly fragmented montane forest on the eastern slopes of the Southern Alps. Methods: We calculated an index of community similarity (Bray-Curtis) between forest plots we regarded as potentially affected by fragmentation and control forest plots located deep inside continuous forest areas. Using a multiple nonlinear regression technique that incorporates spatial autocorrelation effects, we analysed plant community composition in relation to measures of fragmentation at the patch and landscape levels. From the resulting regression equation, we predicted community composition for every forest pixel on land-cover maps of the study areas and used these maps to calculate a landscape-level estimate of compositional change, which we term'BioFrag'. BioFrag has a value of one if fragmentation has no detectable effect on communities within a landscape, and tends towards zero if fragmentation has a strong effect. Results: We detected a weak, but significant, impact of fragmentation metrics operating at both the patch and landscape levels. Observed values of BioFrag ranged from 0.68 to 0.90, suggesting that patterns of fragmentation have medium to weak impacts on forest plant communities in NewZealand. BioFrag values varied in meaningful ways among landscapes and between the ground-cover and tree and shrub communities. Main conclusions: BioFrag advances methods that describe spatial patterns of forest cover by incorporating the exact spatial patterns of observed species responses to fragmentation operating at multiple spatial scales. BioFrag can be applied to any landscape and ecological community across the globe and represents a significant step towards developing a biologically relevant, landscape-scale index of habitat fragmentation. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source

Harvey C.A.,Center for Applied Biodiversity Science | Dickson B.,World Conservation Monitoring Center | Kormos C.,WILD Inc
Conservation Letters | Year: 2010

The United Nations climate negotiations on reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) provide a rare opportunity for conservation of tropical forests and biodiversity. Here, we explore the implications of REDD design and implementation options on biodiversity conservation and ways to link REDD with biodiversity conservation. From both a mitigation and biodiversity perspective, the most important immediate steps are to ensure that REDD is included in the new global climate agreement and maximizes the area of tropical forest conserved. It may also be possible to include guidelines or incentives within a REDD framework or in national implementation to channel funding to areas of high biodiversity. However, if the immediate steps above are not taken first, REDD will reach neither its mitigation nor its biodiversity conservation potential. ©2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.. Source

Phalan B.,University of Cambridge | Balmford A.,University of Cambridge | Green R.E.,University of Cambridge | Scharlemann J.P.W.,World Conservation Monitoring Center
Food Policy | Year: 2011

Should farming and conservation policies aim broadly to separate land for nature and land for production (land sparing) or integrate production and conservation on the same land (wildlife-friendly farming)? Most studies that try to address this question suffer from flaws in sampling design, inappropriate metrics, and/or failure to measure biodiversity baselines. We discuss how these failings can be addressed, and what existing information tells us about the key debates on this topic. The evidence available suggests that trade-offs between biodiversity and yield are prevalent. While there are some wildlife-friendly farming systems that support high species richness, a large proportion of wild species cannot survive in even the most benign farming systems. To conserve those species, protection of wild lands will remain essential. Sustainable intensification could help to facilitate sparing of such lands, provided that as much attention is given to protecting habitats as to raising yields. We discuss the general circumstances under which yield increases can facilitate land sparing, recognising that policies and social safeguards will need to be context-specific. In some situations, bringing degraded lands into production could help reduce pressure on wild lands, but much more information is needed on the biodiversity implications of using degraded lands. We conclude that restricting human requirements for land globally will be important in limiting the impacts on biodiversity of increasing food production. To achieve this, society will need to integrate explicit conservation objectives into local, regional and international policies affecting the food system. © 2010. Source

Adams W.M.,University of Cambridge | Sandbrook C.,World Conservation Monitoring Center
ORYX | Year: 2013

Abstract A growing literature argues for evidence-based conservation. This concept reflects a wider approach to policy-making and follows thinking in medicine, in which rigorous, objective analysis of evidence has contributed to widespread improvements in medical outcomes. Clearly, conservation decisions should be informed by the best information available. However, we identify issues relating to the type and sources of evidence commonly used and the way evidence-based conservation studies frame policy debate. In this paper we discuss two issues; firstly, we ask 'what counts as evidence?' (what is meant by evidence, and what kind of evidence is given credibility). We conclude that evidence-based conservation should adopt a broad definition of evidence to give meaningful space for qualitative data, and local and indigenous knowledge. Secondly, we ask 'how does evidence count?' (the relationship between evidence and the policy-making process). We conclude that there should be greater recognition that policy-making is a complex and messy process, and that the role of evidence in policy making can never be neutral. In the light of these issues we suggest some changes to build on developing practice under the title evidence-informed conservation. The change in terminology is subtle, yet it has profound implications in that it calls for a re-positioning and re-understanding of conservation science as one source of information among many for decision-makers. © 2013 Fauna & Flora International. Source

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