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Global land use intensity and the endangerment status of mammal species

Authors

  • Burak K. Pekin,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA
    • Correspondence: Burak K. Pekin, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University, 195 Marsteller Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.

      E-mail: bpekin@purdue.edu

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  • Bryan C. Pijanowski

    1. Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA
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Abstract

Aim

Human land use activities are creating a biodiversity crisis. However, it is not clear how species respond to different intensities of land use at a global scale. We used spatial analyses to determine the relationships between human settlements, croplands, rangelands and forests of varying intensities and the endangerment status of mammal species across the globe. In doing so, we sought to assess the role of different land use and land management strategies in global biodiversity conservation.

Location

Global.

Methods

A GIS database with distribution ranges for 4734 Red-Listed and non-threatened terrestrial mammal species was obtained from the IUCN and combined with the global anthropogenic biomes dataset, which uses population density class (dense, residential, populated and remote) as a proxy for land use intensity. Ordered logistic regression was used to predict the effect of each land use intensity class on the probability of having a more endangered IUCN status for all mammal species together and for species within major mammal groups separately.

Results

The probability of having a more endangered status generally increased for mammal species as the proportion of urban settlements, mosaic and cropped ‘villages’, and residential and populated croplands within their distribution ranges increased. In contrast, endangerment probability of mammals decreased with proportion of irrigated, pastoral and rainfed ‘villages’, remote croplands and all rangeland classes. Endangerment probability also decreased with proportion of wildlands and remote forests, but increased with proportion of populated forests for several mammal groups.

Main conclusions

Urbanization and high-intensity crop production pose a significant threat to mammals worldwide. In contrast, rangelands, low-intensity croplands and certain low-intensity human settlements may in fact help maintain mammal diversity at global scales. While the area of wild habitat available to species is also highly important for biodiversity conservation, forested lands that are disturbed or over utilized by humans do not benefit and may even endanger species.

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