Scientific article
Open access

Preventing extinction in an age of species migration and planetary change

Published inConservation biology, e14270
Publication date2024-04-17
First online date2024-04-17

International and national conservation policies almost exclusively focus on conserving species in their historic native ranges, thus excluding species that have been introduced by people and some of those that have extended their ranges on their own accord. Given that many of such migrants are threatened in their native ranges, conservation goals that explicitly exclude these populations may overlook opportunities to prevent extinctions and respond dynamically to rapidly changing environmental and climatic conditions. Focusing on terrestrial mammals, we quantified the number of threatened mammals that have established new populations through assisted migration (i.e., introduction). We devised 4 alternative scenarios for the inclusion of assisted‐migrant populations in mainstream conservation policy with the aim of preventing global species extinctions. We then used spatial prioritization algorithms to simulate how these scenarios could change global spatial conservation priorities. We found that 22% (70 species out of 265) of all identified assisted‐migrant mammals were threatened in their native ranges, mirroring the 25% of all mammals that are threatened. Reassessing global threat statuses by combining native and migrant ranges reduced the threat status of 23 species (∼33% of threatened assisted migrants). Thus, including migrant populations in threat assessments provides a more accurate assessment of actual global extinction risk among species. Spatial prioritization simulations showed that reimagining the role of assisted‐migrant populations in preventing species extinction could increase the importance of overlooked landscapes, particularly in central Australia, Europe, and the southwestern United States. Our results indicated that these various and nonexhaustive ways to consider assisted‐migrant populations, with due consideration of potential conservation conflicts with resident taxa, may provide unprecedented opportunities to prevent species extinctions.

  • Cambio climático
  • Climate change
  • Ecosistema novedoso
  • Especie introducida
  • Extinción
  • Extinction
  • Introduced species
  • Invasion
  • Invasión
  • Migración de especies
  • Novel ecosystems
  • Species migration
Research group
Citation (ISO format)
LUNDGREN, Erick J. et al. Preventing extinction in an age of species migration and planetary change. In: Conservation biology, 2024, p. e14270. doi: 10.1111/cobi.14270
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0888-8892

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