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Using the IUCN Red List to map threats to terrestrial vertebrates at global scale.

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Harfoot, Michael BJ  ORCID logo
Balmford, Andrew 
Burgess, Neil D 
Butchart, Stuart HM  ORCID logo


The Anthropocene is characterized by unparalleled human impact on other species, potentially ushering in the sixth mass extinction. Yet mitigation efforts remain hampered by limited information on the spatial patterns and intensity of the threats driving global biodiversity loss. Here we use expert-derived information from the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List on threats to 23,271 species, representing all terrestrial amphibians, birds and mammals, to generate global maps of the six major threats to these groups: agriculture, hunting and trapping, logging, pollution, invasive species, and climate change. Our results show that agriculture and logging are pervasive in the tropics and that hunting and trapping is the most geographically widespread threat to mammals and birds. Additionally, current representations of human pressure underestimate the overall pressure on biodiversity, due to the exclusion of threats such as hunting and climate change. Alarmingly, this is particularly the case in areas of the highest biodiversity importance.



Animals, Anthropogenic Effects, Conservation of Natural Resources, Endangered Species, Humans, Hunting, Vertebrates

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Nat Ecol Evol

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC


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European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) Marie Sk?odowska-Curie actions (706784)
We thank the 1000s of people who participate in the red list. We also thank Dr Simon Stuart for valuable input on the amphibian maps. We thank Prof. Nick Dulvy and Dr Simon Stuart for early input on the approach. This work is supported by the Cambridge Conservation Initiative collaborative grants programme (all), EUs Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie action (No 706784, JG), VILLUM FONDEN (VKR023371, JG), KR Foundation and Hempel Foundation (Designing a brighter future for biodiversity) NDB and MBJH.