A novel approach for global mammal extinction risk reduction

Moreno Di Marco, Marcel Cardillo, Hugh P. Possingham, Kerrie A. Wilson, Simon P. Blomberg, Luigi Boitani, Carlo Rondinini. 2012. A novel approach for global mammal extinction risk reduction. Conservation Letters. DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2011.00219.x


With one-fourth of the world’s mammals threatened with extinction and limited budget to save them, adopting an efficient conservation strategy is crucial. Previous approaches to setting global conservation priorities have assumed all species to have equal conservation value, or have focused on species with high extinction risk, species that may be hard to save. Here, we identify priority species for optimizing the reduction in overall extinction risk of the world’s threatened terrestrial mammals. We take a novel approach and focus on species having the greatest recovery opportunity using a new conservation benefit metric: the Extinction risk Reduction Opportunity (ERO). We discover that 65–87% of all threatened and potentially recoverable species are overlooked by existing prioritization approaches. We use the ERO metric to prioritize threatened species, but the potential applications are broader; ERO has the potential to integrate with every strategy that aims to maximize the likelihood of conservation success.

Figure 3. Top priority areas detected for conserving threatened species. Priority areas include the highest ranked 5% of cells. (a) Priority areas for CR species (IUCN 2010); (b) priority areas for top-rank ERO species. Scale-bar and colors are the same in both maps, cell size is 100 km2 (Antarctica was excluded from analysis).

Prioritizing conservation investments for mammal species globally

Kerrie A. WilsonMegan C. EvansMoreno Di Marco, David C. Green, Luigi Boitani, Hugh P. Possingham, Federica Chiozza and Carlo Rondinini

Prioritizing conservation investments for mammal species globally. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 366:2670-2680. doi:10.1098/rstb.2011.0108


We need to set priorities for conservation because we cannot do everything, everywhere, at the same time. We determined priority areas for investment in threat abatement actions, in both a cost-effective and spatially and temporally explicit way, for the threatened mammals of the world. Our analysis presents the first fine-resolution prioritization analysis for mammals at a global scale that accounts for the risk of habitat loss, the actions required to abate this risk, the costs of these actions and the likelihood of investment success. We evaluated the likelihood of success of investments using information on the past frequency and duration of legislative effectiveness at a country scale. The establishment of new protected areas was the action receiving the greatest investment, while restoration was never chosen. The resolution of the analysis and the incorporation of likelihood of success made little difference to this result, but affected the spatial location of these investments.

Figure 1. Spatial distribution of conservation funds through time at (a) 5, (b) 10, (c) 15 and (d) 20 years for all conservation actions, and (e) the average change in land use through time. Restoration received no investment after 20 years. Black solid line, protected areas; grey line, reduced impact logging; black dashed line, forestry; black dotted line, unallocated; grey dashed-dotted line, agriculture.