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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Apr 12;113(15):4033-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1521179113. Epub 2016 Mar 21.

Invasive mammal eradication on islands results in substantial conservation gains.

Author information

1
Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115; Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability, and Energy, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115; hjones@niu.edu.
2
Island Conservation, Santa Cruz, CA 95060;
3
BirdLife International, Cambridge CB2 3QZ, United Kingdom;
4
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department, Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95060;
5
Oregon Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331;
6
Zoology & Ecology, University College Cork, Corcaigh, Ireland;
7
Grupo de Ecología y Conservación de Islas, A.C., Ensenada, C.P. 22800, Baja California, Mexico;
8
Wildlife Ecology Group, Institute of Natural Resources, Massey University, Palmerston North 4474, New Zealand;
9
Laboratory of Ecology Systematics and Evolution, University Paris-Sud, Orsay 91405, France;
10
Private address, Floreat, WA 6014, Australia;
11
Island Conservation, Santa Cruz, CA 95060; School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia;
12
Landcare Research, Lincoln 7608, New Zealand;
13
Centre for Conservation Science, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Cambridge CB2 3QZ, United Kingdom; Wildlife Conservation Society, Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea;
14
Alaska National Maritime Wildlife Refuge, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Homer, AK 99603;
15
Institute for Environmental Protection and Research, I-00144 Rome, Italy; Invasive Species Specialist Group, Species Survival Commission, International Union for the Conservation of Nature, I-00144 Rome, Italy;
16
Seabird Restoration Program, National Audubon Society, Ithaca, NY 14850;
17
Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington 6011, New Zealand;
18
Centre for Conservation Science, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Cambridge CB2 3QZ, United Kingdom;
19
South Georgia Surveys, Beaver Island LandCare, Stanley, FIQQ IZZ, Falkland Islands;
20
Geography Department, Laney College, Oakland, CA 94607;
21
Island Biodiversity and Conservation Center, University of Seychelles, Anse Royale, Seychelles; Island Conservation Society, Pointe Larue, Mahé, Seychelles;
22
School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland 1142, New Zealand; Department of Statistics, University of Auckland, Auckland 1142, New Zealand;
23
Department of Zoology, University of Otago, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand;
24
Island Conservation, Santa Cruz, CA 95060; Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department, Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95060;
25
Science and Capability Group, Department of Conservation, Auckland 1145, New Zealand; Institute for Applied Ecology, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland 1142, New Zealand.

Abstract

More than US$21 billion is spent annually on biodiversity conservation. Despite their importance for preventing or slowing extinctions and preserving biodiversity, conservation interventions are rarely assessed systematically for their global impact. Islands house a disproportionately higher amount of biodiversity compared with mainlands, much of which is highly threatened with extinction. Indeed, island species make up nearly two-thirds of recent extinctions. Islands therefore are critical targets of conservation. We used an extensive literature and database review paired with expert interviews to estimate the global benefits of an increasingly used conservation action to stem biodiversity loss: eradication of invasive mammals on islands. We found 236 native terrestrial insular faunal species (596 populations) that benefitted through positive demographic and/or distributional responses from 251 eradications of invasive mammals on 181 islands. Seven native species (eight populations) were negatively impacted by invasive mammal eradication. Four threatened species had their International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List extinction-risk categories reduced as a direct result of invasive mammal eradication, and no species moved to a higher extinction-risk category. We predict that 107 highly threatened birds, mammals, and reptiles on the IUCN Red List-6% of all these highly threatened species-likely have benefitted from invasive mammal eradications on islands. Because monitoring of eradication outcomes is sporadic and limited, the impacts of global eradications are likely greater than we report here. Our results highlight the importance of invasive mammal eradication on islands for protecting the world's most imperiled fauna.

KEYWORDS:

conservation; eradication; invasive species; island; restoration

PMID:
27001852
PMCID:
PMC4839448
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1521179113
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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