Integrated terrestrial-freshwater planning doubles conservation of tropical aquatic species

Leal, C.G. and Lennox, G.D. and Ferraz, S.F.B. and Ferreira, J. and Gardner, T.A. and Thomson, J.R. and Berenguer, E. and Lees, A.C. and Hughes, R.M. and MacNally, R. and Aragão, L.E.O.C. and de Brito, J.G. and Castello, L. and Garrett, R.D. and Hamada, N. and Juen, L. and Leitão, R.P. and Louzada, J. and Morello, T.F. and Moura, N.G. and Nessimian, J.L. and Oliveira-Junior, J.M.B. and Oliveira, V.H.F. and de Oliveira, V.C. and Parry, L. and Pompeu, P.S. and Solar, R.R.C. and Zuanon, J. and Barlow, J. (2020) Integrated terrestrial-freshwater planning doubles conservation of tropical aquatic species. Science, 370 (6512): eaba7580. pp. 117-121. ISSN 1095-9203

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Conservation initiatives overwhelmingly focus on terrestrial biodiversity, and little is known about the freshwater cobenefits of terrestrial conservation actions. We sampled more than 1500 terrestrial and freshwater species in the Amazon and simulated conservation for species from both realms. Prioritizations based on terrestrial species yielded on average just 22% of the freshwater benefits achieved through freshwater-focused conservation. However, by using integrated cross-realm planning, freshwater benefits could be increased by up to 600% for a 1% reduction in terrestrial benefits. Where freshwater biodiversity data are unavailable but aquatic connectivity is accounted for, freshwater benefits could still be doubled for negligible losses of terrestrial coverage. Conservation actions are urgently needed to improve the status of freshwater species globally. Our results suggest that such gains can be achieved without compromising terrestrial conservation goals.

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03 Nov 2020 15:45
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15 Jul 2024 21:08