Combined impacts of deforestation and wildlife trade on tropical biodiversity are severely underestimated

W.S. Symes, D.P. Edwards, J. Miettinen, F.E. Rheindt, L.R. Carrasco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Tropical forest diversity is simultaneously threatened by habitat loss and exploitation for wildlife trade. Quantitative conservation assessments have previously considered these threats separately, yet their impacts frequently act together. We integrate forest extent maps in 2000 and 2015 with a method of quantifying exploitation pressure based upon a species’ commercial value and forest accessibility. We do so for 308 forest-dependent bird species, of which 77 are commercially traded, in the Southeast Asian biodiversity hotspot of Sundaland. We find 89% (274) of species experienced average habitat losses of 16% and estimate exploitation led to mean population declines of 37%. Assessing the combined impacts of deforestation and exploitation indicates the average losses of exploited species are much higher (54%), nearly doubling the regionally endemic species (from 27 to 51) threatened with extinction that should be IUCN Red Listed. Combined assessment of major threats is vital to accurately quantify biodiversity loss.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4052
JournalNature Communications
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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