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Sci Adv. 2016 Apr 1;2(4):e1501675. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1501675. eCollection 2016 Apr.

Tracking changes and preventing loss in critical tiger habitat.

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Conservation Biology Program, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA.
Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions Program, RESOLVE, 1255 23rd St., NW, Washington, DC 20037, USA.
Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions Program, RESOLVE, 1255 23rd St., NW, Washington, DC 20037, USA.; Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Washington, DC 20013, USA.
University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA.
World Resources Institute, 10 G St., Washington, DC 20002, USA.


The global population of wild tigers remains dangerously low at fewer than 3500 individuals. Habitat loss, along with poaching, can undermine the international target recovery of doubling the number of wild tigers by 2022. Using a new satellite-based monitoring system, we analyzed 14 years of forest loss data within the 76 landscapes (ranging from 278 to 269,983 km(2)) that have been prioritized for conservation of wild tigers. Our analysis provides an update of the status of tiger habitat and describes new applications of technology to detect precisely where forest loss is occurring in order to curb future habitat loss. Across the 76 landscapes, forest loss was far less than anticipated (79,597 ± 22,629 km(2), 7.7% of remaining habitat) over the 14-year study period (2001-2014). Habitat loss was unevenly distributed within a subset of 29 landscapes deemed most critical for doubling wild tiger populations: 19 showed little change (1.5%), whereas 10 accounted for more than 98% (57,392 ± 16,316 km(2)) of habitat loss. Habitat loss in source population sites within 76 landscapes ranged from no loss to 435 ± 124 km(2) ([Formula: see text], SD = 89, total = 1676 ± 476 km(2)). Doubling the tiger population by 2022 requires moving beyond tracking annual changes in habitat. We highlight near-real-time forest monitoring technologies that provide alerts of forest loss at relevant spatial and temporal scales to prevent further erosion.


FORMA alerts.; GIS; Remote Sensing; forest loss; global forest change; global forest watch; habitat monitoring; spatial analysis; tiger conservation landscapes; tigers

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