Effect of Protected Areas and human pressure on range change of terrestrial mammals across biomes

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


Over the last decades, global change has impacted the distribution of mammals worldwide, triggering spatial responses driven by both intrinsic (e.g. body size, reproductive rates) and extrinsic factors (e.g. climate change, habitat loss). Many species experienced significant reductions in the extent and suitability of their habitats, associated with growing human development and population density. As a consequence, Protected Areas (PAs) are becoming increasingly essential to preserve considerable portions of their ranges from disruption. Nonetheless, the
extent to which both PAs and human pressures have influenced distribution shifts has not been estimated yet globally. Here we compare trends of range change for a sample of 310 terrestrial mammal species, representative of
major taxonomic orders and biogeographical regions, between 1970 and 2015. We use matching methods to identify areas in the same biomes, with similar ecological attributes, differentiating for the degree of protection and human
impacts. By comparing past and current distributions, we assess how PAs and human pressures affected mammal range change across biomes. Preliminary analyses show that the majority of species in our sample suffered significant
range contraction (average 33%) due to loss of natural habitat, but only about 12% of contraction occurred in PAs.
We thus estimate that range contraction occurred mostly outside PAs, which reduced rates of loss especially in biomes characterized by high degrees of human development. As significant proportions of species’ distribution
ranges now fall within PAs as a result of decades of extensive range loss, ensuring appropriate protection targets and measures will be critical to halt the negative trend.
Period13 Dec 202117 Dec 2021
Event title30th International Congress for Conservation Biology
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionInternational