Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tomorrow’s endangered species: Act now to protect species not yet under threat

07.03.2006


Conservationists should be acting now to protect mammals such as North American reindeer which risk extinction in the future as the human population grows, according to research published today.



The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals areas with the potential to lose species that are not presently in danger. Species in these ’hotspots’ have a latent risk of extinction; that is, they are currently less threatened than their biology would suggest, usually because they inhabit regions or habitats still comparatively unmodified by human activity.

The new research shows that over the next few decades, many species currently deemed safe could leapfrog those deemed high risk to become highly threatened. The comprehensive Red List, prepared by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural resources, classifies species according to categories of threat running from ’extinct’ to ’least concern’.


Among the species with the highest latent extinction risk according to the new study are the North American reindeer, the musk ox, the Seychelles flying fox, and the brown lemur.

Dr Marcel Cardillo, from the Division of Biology at Imperial College London and lead author of the research, said: "We can see this leapfrogging happening now, for example with the Guatemalan howler monkey, which was classified as being on the ’least concern’ list in 2000 but which moved to the ’endangered’ list in 2004 as it lost much of its forest habitat. We hope conservationists will use our findings to pre-empt future species losses rather than concentrating solely on those species already under threat."

The researchers identified species with the highest latent risks by comparing their current extinction risk and the risk predicted from their biological traits. Particular biological indicators of elevated risk in a species were large body mass, a low rate of reproduction and geographical restriction to a small part of the world.

The research reveals the top twenty hotspots for latent extinction risk in mammals, which include New Guinea, with the greatest latent risk; the Indian Ocean islands; Borneo; and Northern Canada and Alaska (For full list see Notes to Editors). The hotspots combine relatively low human impact with a mammal fauna made up of species which are inherently sensitive to disturbance. The research takes into account the projected human population growth in these areas up to 2015.

Professor Andy Purvis, also from Imperial’s Division of Biology and a co-author of the research, added: "Most conservation resources are spent in regions where the conflict between people and the natural system is entrenched. That’s understandable, because we can see the damage that we are doing and we want to put it right, but repairing damage tends to be very expensive.

"Latent risk hotspots might provide cost-effective options for conservation; they’re places that are relatively intact, and preventing damage is likely to be cheaper and more effective than trying to repair it," he said.

Latent risk is particularly low in many parts of the world already modified by human activity, such as Europe, Japan and New Zealand. Here, human impact has already been felt meaning that there are comparatively few surviving species with high latent risk.

Laura Gallagher | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.imperial.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Bioinvasion on the rise
15.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht Litter Levels in the Depths of the Arctic are On the Rise
10.02.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>