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Loss of Forest Intactness Increases Extinction Risk in Birds

Fragmentation within intact forests has a higher impact on vertebrate biodiversity than equivalent losses in already degraded landscapes, but the relationship between forest ‘intactness’ and extinction risk has not been quantified. In a new Animal Conservation study, researchers assessed the threat to forest-dependent birds (about 23 percent of all the world’s birds) in relation to the proportion of forest within their distributions that remains intact.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018 12:01 am EST
"Our results add weight to recent suggestions that intact forest landscapes have an environmental importance that is disproportional to their area, and indicate that restoring intactness to forests is likely to make a significant contribution to reducing global extinction risk"

Fragmentation within intact forests has a higher impact on vertebrate biodiversity than equivalent losses in already degraded landscapes, but the relationship between forest ‘intactness’ and extinction risk has not been quantified. In a new Animal Conservation study, researchers assessed the threat to forest-dependent birds (about 23 percent of all the world’s birds) in relation to the proportion of forest within their distributions that remains intact.

The investigators found a remarkably strong positive relationship between global extinction risk of forest birds and the loss of forest intactness within their distributions. Furthermore, most global hotspots of restricted ranges for forest birds now fall in areas of degraded and disturbed (non-intact) forests.

“Our results add weight to recent suggestions that intact forest landscapes have an environmental importance that is disproportional to their area, and indicate that restoring intactness to forests is likely to make a significant contribution to reducing global extinction risk,” said lead author Dr. Paul F. Donald, of BirdLife International, in the UK.

Additional Information

Link to Study: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/acv.12469  

About Journal 

Animal Conservation provides a forum for rapid publication of novel, peer-reviewed research into the conservation of animal species and their habitats. The focus is on rigorous quantitative studies of an empirical or theoretical nature, which may relate to populations, species or communities and their conservation. The journal publishes single-species papers only when they have clear broader implications for conservation of other species or systems. A central theme is to publish important new ideas of broad interest and with findings that advance the scientific basis of conservation. Subjects covered include population biology, epidemiology, evolutionary ecology, population genetics, biodiversity, biogeography, palaeobiology and conservation economics.

About Wiley

Wiley is a global leader in research and education. Our online scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, and our digital learning, assessment, certification and student-lifecycle services and solutions help universities, academic societies, businesses, governments and individuals to achieve their academic and professional goals. For more than 200 years, we have delivered consistent performance to our stakeholders. The Company's website can be accessed at www.wiley.com.

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