The first continental Red List of Ecosystems assessment completed for the Americas
For this research, we considered six indicators that evaluate the spatial and functional symptoms of collapse, across three time frames (historical, present and future). Findings show that most forest types are threatened by declines in distribution (e.g. deforestation and land use change), but degradation and functional decline are equally or more relevant for 40% of them. Some American forest ecosystems are threatened by historical land uses that are no longer active, while a similar number are threatened by emerging changes in land use or climate. Others, including the Tropical Seasonally Dry Forests have a long and ongoing trajectory of decline driven by multiple threats.
This is the first systematic ecosystem risk assessment that integrates multiple threatening processes at continental scale, and the first to couple risk assessment with a scenario analysis to identify cost-effective options for conservation action to reduce the risks.
Based on our findings, the risk of collapse of forest in the Americas is widespread and affects all regions of the continent. All countries are and will face important conservation challenges. Our approach provides the necessary tools for estimating optimal conservation strategies as a trade-off between potential benefits and costs.