Global extinctions of freshwater fishes follow peatland conversion in Sundaland

Authors

  • Xingli Giam,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
    2. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore, Singapore
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Lian Pin Koh,

    1. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore, Singapore
    2. Department of Environmental Sciences, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
    3. Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Heok Hui Tan,

    1. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore, Singapore
    2. Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jukka Miettinen,

    1. Centre for Remote Imaging, Sensing, and Processing, National University of Singapore, Singapore
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Hugh TW Tan,

    1. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore, Singapore
    2. Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Peter KL Ng

    1. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore, Singapore
    2. Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

The peat swamp forests (PSFs) of Sundaland, in Southeast Asia, support many endemic freshwater fish species. However, the future of these species is in doubt, owing to ongoing PSF deforestation. Here, we show that, if current rates of PSF conversion to a predominantly agricultural mosaic landscape continue through 2050, 16 fish species may become globally extinct. In the worst-case scenario, where the rate of conversion across the region matches that of the most rapidly deforested river basin, 77% (79 of 102 species) of the narrowly adapted (stenotopic) fish species are likely to become extinct, a figure that would more than double known extinctions of the world's freshwater fishes. As indicated by our analysis, the PSFs of Indonesia's Central Kalimantan region would be most severely impacted.

Ancillary