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An ecosystem risk assessment of temperate and tropical forests of the Americas with an outlook on future conservation strategies

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      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 Some American forest ecosystems are threatened by historical land uses that are no longer active, while a similar number are threatened by emerging changes in land use or climate.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.

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      Most cited references 31

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      Very high resolution interpolated climate surfaces for global land areas

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        High-resolution global maps of 21st-century forest cover change.

        Quantification of global forest change has been lacking despite the recognized importance of forest ecosystem services. In this study, Earth observation satellite data were used to map global forest loss (2.3 million square kilometers) and gain (0.8 million square kilometers) from 2000 to 2012 at a spatial resolution of 30 meters. The tropics were the only climate domain to exhibit a trend, with forest loss increasing by 2101 square kilometers per year. Brazil's well-documented reduction in deforestation was offset by increasing forest loss in Indonesia, Malaysia, Paraguay, Bolivia, Zambia, Angola, and elsewhere. Intensive forestry practiced within subtropical forests resulted in the highest rates of forest change globally. Boreal forest loss due largely to fire and forestry was second to that in the tropics in absolute and proportional terms. These results depict a globally consistent and locally relevant record of forest change.
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          Defaunation in the Anthropocene.

          We live amid a global wave of anthropogenically driven biodiversity loss: species and population extirpations and, critically, declines in local species abundance. Particularly, human impacts on animal biodiversity are an under-recognized form of global environmental change. Among terrestrial vertebrates, 322 species have become extinct since 1500, and populations of the remaining species show 25% average decline in abundance. Invertebrate patterns are equally dire: 67% of monitored populations show 45% mean abundance decline. Such animal declines will cascade onto ecosystem functioning and human well-being. Much remains unknown about this "Anthropocene defaunation"; these knowledge gaps hinder our capacity to predict and limit defaunation impacts. Clearly, however, defaunation is both a pervasive component of the planet's sixth mass extinction and also a major driver of global ecological change. Copyright © 2014, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

            Author and article information

            [1 ]Centro de Estudios Botánicos y Agroforestales; Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas; Maracaibo Venezuela
            [2 ]Provita; Caracas Venezuela
            [3 ]IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management; Gland Switzerland
            [4 ]Centre for Ecosystem Science; University of New South Wales; Sydney New South Wales Australia
            [5 ]GTSA de la Amazonia Wataniba; sede Caracas Venezuela
            [6 ]IUCN Species Survival Commission; Gland Switzerland
            [7 ]Centro de Ecología; Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas; Caracas Venezuela
            [8 ]NatureServe; Arlington Virginia
            [9 ]Fundación EcoCiencia; Quito Ecuador
            [10 ]EcoHealth Alliance; New York USA
            [11 ]IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management; Nairobi Kenya
            Conservation Letters
            January 15 2019
            : e12623
            © 2019




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