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Generalized drivers in the mammalian endangerment process

Gonzalez-Suarez, M. ORCID: and Revilla, E. (2014) Generalized drivers in the mammalian endangerment process. PLoS ONE, 9 (2). e90292. ISSN 1932-6203

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0090292


An important challenge for conservation today is to understand the endangerment process and identify any generalized patterns in how threats occur and aggregate across taxa. Here we use a global database describing main current external threats in mammals to evaluate the prevalence of distinct threatening processes, primarily of anthropogenic origin, and to identify generalized drivers of extinction and their association with vulnerability status and intrinsic species' traits. We detect several primary threat combinations that are generally associated with distinct species. In particular, large and widely distributed mammals are affected by combinations of direct exploitation and threats associated with increasing landscape modification that go from logging to intense human land-use. Meanwhile, small, narrowly distributed species are affected by intensifying levels of landscape modification but are not directly exploited. In general more vulnerable species are affected by a greater number of threats, suggesting increased extinction risk is associated with the accumulation of external threats. Overall, our findings show that endangerment in mammals is strongly associated with increasing habitat loss and degradation caused by human land-use intensification. For large and widely distributed mammals there is the additional risk of being hunted.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:51703
Publisher:Public Library of Science


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