Quantification of habitat fragmentation reveals extinction risk in terrestrial mammals

  1. Kevin R. Crooks et al


    Although habitat fragmentation is often assumed to be a primary driver of extinction, global patterns of fragmentation and its relationship to extinction risk have not been consistently quantified for any major animal taxon. We developed high-resolution habitat fragmentation models and used phylogenetic comparative methods to quantify the effects of habitat fragmentation on the world’s terrestrial mammals, including 4,018 species across 26 taxonomic Orders. Results demonstrate that species with more fragmentation are at greater risk of extinction, even after accounting for the effects of key macroecological predictors, such as body size and geographic range size. Species with higher fragmentation had smaller ranges and a lower proportion of high-suitability habitat within their range, and most high-suitability habitat occurred outside of protected areas, further elevating extinction risk. Our models provide a quantitative evaluation of extinction risk assessments for species, allow for identification of emerging threats in species not classified as threatened, and provide maps of global hotspots of fragmentation for the world’s terrestrial mammals. Quantification of habitat fragmentation will help guide threat assessment and strategic priorities for global mammal conservation.
“What can be said with assurance is that there is a unique and nearly ubiquitous  compound, with the empirical formula H(2960) O(1480) C(1480) N(16) P(1.8) S
called living matter. Its synthesis, on an oxidized and uncarboxylated earth, is the most intricate feat of chemical engineering ever performed – and the most delicate operation that people have ever tampered with.”

Edward S. Deevey, Jr. Mineral Cycles.
Scientific American, September 1970

2 thoughts on “Quantification of habitat fragmentation reveals extinction risk in terrestrial mammals

  1. To me that sounds like common sense, why would anyone spend time to validate this? Ah, maybe a so called wildlife organization that has been helping for decades to create fragmentation, in the name of conservation?! I guess that would qualify WWF.

    Liked by 1 person

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