Since about 1600, 486 animal species have been recorded extinct. This represents about 0.04 of all animal species so far described. In the same period, 600 plant species are known to have disappeared, about 0.25 of the total. These figures are much smaller than those of the Permian/Triassic and Cretaceous/Tertiary mass extinctions. One might therefore conclude that at present life on earth is at comparatively little risk of extinction. However, there is a growing body of data to show that the converse is true.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Our results show that any further infrastructure development will put the remaining European population of wild mountain reindeer at great risk, as further habitat fragmentation will make the remaining undisturbed patches too small for holding viable populations. We discuss the importance of controlling piecemeal development in infrastructure for conservation of wildlife and argue that minimizing infrastructure development is likely one of the largest challenges in wildlife conservation ahead.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Datasets Available from UNEP-WCMC: Excluding WDPA
Access to UNEP-WCMC datasets is provided on the understanding that you read and consent to be bound by the Terms and Conditions attached. For the purposes of this Agreement the “Data” comprise any of the spatial data and associated attribute data downloadable from the UNEP-WCMC website, excluding the World Database on Protected Areas.
To provide a global context for a discussion of mountain forests, it is first necessary to define the locations and types of mountain forests, and this in turn requires a definition of mountains or mountain areas. Altitude and slope and the environmental gradients they generate are key components of such a definition, but their combination is problematic. Simple altitude thresholds both exclude older and lower mountain systems and include areas of relatively high elevation that have little topographic relief and few environmental gradients. Using slope as a criterion on its own or in combination with altitude can resolve the latter problem, but not the former. The mountains dataset shows the location of mountain land estimated from a digital elevation model using criteria based on elevation alone (the upper three classes: > 2 500 metres) and at lower elevation, on a combination of elevation, slope and local elevation range. This is an update of the Mountain's of the World 2000 and was produced for the UNEP-WCMC publication Mountain Watch, 2002.
The mountains dataset has been overlayed with a global data set on percent tree cover taken from MODIS 1-km resolution percent tree cover data, courtesy of University of Maryland Global Land Cover Facility. Species richness, density and forest height tend to reduce with increasing altitude; the boundary between forest vegetation and more open ground cover at higher elevation 'the treeline' is an ecological marker signifying the transition to more extreme climatic conditions.Resource Type: Spatial Data / Maps
The Great Apes, including the chimpanzee, gorilla and orangutan, are threatened with extinction. All species are rapidly declining in abundance, even within protected areas.The main factors responsible for this decline are loss and degradation of habitat, and hunting. Construction of roads in forest areas is particularly damaging, as such development facilitates hunting and other activities which lead to habitat destruction.
This report assesses the impact of infrastructural development on great ape populations, using the GLOBIO modelling approach. GLOBIO is a multivariable spatial model, which estimates the extent of land area with reduced abundance and diversity of living organisms, as a result of infrastructural development. The model can also be used to develop scenarios of possible future impacts, based on the current rates of infrastructural development.Resource Type: Reports
Nineteen different areas in south-west Saudi Arabia from which mountain gazelle Gazella gazella cora were reported between 1988 and 1992 were visited during a field survey conducted between August 1992 and February 1993. Evidence of the continued presence of gazelle was found at 11 of these locations. All populations were small: estimated population sizes ranged from 5 to 50. In the remaining eight areas it appeared that gazelle had become locally extinct since the last report. Thus gazelle populations appear to be becoming extinct at an alarming rate (eight out of 19, or 42, in five years). The major cause of extinctions and threat to existing populations is illegal hunting. Traditional conservation measures will take time to implement, and may be too late to save most gazelle populations. Instead, protection enforced by a system of auxiliary rangers, recruited from among the local population and working in cooperation with the forces of the local civilian administration, is recommended.Resource Type: Journal Papers
The Last Stand of the Orangutan was prepared by a Rapid Response Team at UNEP/GRID-Arendal and UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre as a broad collaborative effort, involving contributors from the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Forestry, Indonesia, and partners of the Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP).Resource Type: Reports
Geographical range is considered a good predictor of the levels of isozyme variation in plants. Widespread species, often consisting of historically larger and more continuous populations, maintain higher polymorphism and are less affected by drift, which tends to erode genetic variation in more geographically restricted species. However, widespread species occurring in small and disjunct populations may not fit this pattern. In this study we examined genetic variation in Pilgerodendron uviferum, a conifer endemic to temperate forests of southern South America.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Growing deterministic and stochastic threats to many wild populations of large vertebrates have focused attention on the conservation significance of captive breeding and subsequent reintroduction. However, work on both gorillas and black rhinos questions this shift in emphasis. In these species, field-based conservation can be effective if properly supported and, although this is not cheap, per capita costs may still be considerably lower than for ex situ propagation in captivity. Here we attempt to broaden the scope of this debate by contrasting the breeding success and costs of in situ and captive programmes for a range of threatened mammals.Resource Type: Journal Papers
There is an urgent need to evaluate the status of groups of species for conservation purposes. A species' status is indicated by both its distribution and abundance, and the rate at which these components are changing. This information is scarce for many tropical forest species. We produced four measures of status based on locality and habitat data for 25 partridges and pheasants of Southeast Asia.Resource Type: Journal Papers
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