Prioritizing global land protection for population persistence can double the efficiency of habitat protection for reducing mammal extinction risk

Elsevier, One Earth, Volume 6, 17 November 2023
Wolff N.H., Visconti P., Kujala H., Santini L., Hilbers J.P., Possingham H.P. et al.

Halting the alarming rate of species extinction, driven primarily by habitat destruction, motivated the international community to adopt the Global Biodiversity Framework (2022) and its targets aimed at reversing habitat and species loss. Because of urgency and resource constraints, a key challenge is meeting targets effectively and efficiently. Here we conduct a global prioritization linking 70,492 unique population maps and life history characteristics for 861 threatened terrestrial mammal species. Incorporating individual population data to identify priority areas for conservation nearly doubled the likely long-term persistence of species for the same amount of land compared with a typical approach based on species distributions alone. We map and rank global mammal persistence priority areas and assess how well the current protected area (PA) system captures these important regions. Our results offer a clearer, quantifiable link between conservation actions and global extinction risk than previously possible at a global scale.