Global priorities for mammal conservation

A study identifies high priority areas for mammal conservation based on three dimensions of biodiversity. Conservation plans designed to protect biodiversity are often based on taxonomic variables, including species distribution, endemism, and vulnerability. However, relying solely on taxonomic variables may result in underrepresentation of species with unique functional roles or evolutionary histories. Fernanda Brum and colleagues created global maps that identify priority regions for mammal conservation based on three biodiversity measures: taxonomy, phylogenies, and functional roles. The authors identified the 17% of terrestrial surfaces that are most important for mammal conservation according to each of the three dimensions of biodiversity, and found that of the three sets of conservation priorities only 4.6% of global land area overlapped. The authors also found that of the lands identified as high conservation priorities by all three biodiversity measures, only 1% is currently protected. The authors suggest that the currently protected areas are not advantageously placed for conserving mammal species, phylogenetic diversity, trait diversity, and threatened species. According to the authors, conservation planning using multiple dimensions of biodiversity could help maximize species preservation, evolutionary potential, and ecosystem function.

Article #17-06461: “Global priorities for conservation across multiple dimensions of mammalian diversity,” by Fernanda T. Brum et al.