Habitat loss is devastating mammal species

By AG Staff 5 July 2017
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A large-scale study, the biggest of its kind, has measured the impact of habitat loss for more than 4000 land mammals.

A LARGE-SCALE study, the biggest of its kind, has endeavoured to measure habitat fragmentation for more than 4000 species of land mammals. 

Lead by the Colorado State University, with additional involvement from the University of Queensland (UQ), the study found that 27 per cent of mammals are currently threatened with extinction habitat loss being the primary culprit. 

High resolution suitability models were used to measure levels of land fragmentation, after which researchers examined the connection between habitat fragmentation and the risk of extinction. 

Researchers found that even when considering key predictors of risk including body size and geographic range, mammals experiencing habitat fragmentation were still more at risk of extinction. 

“Despite the critical threat it poses, habitat fragmentation and its relationship to extinction risk had not previously been quantified in a consistent way for an entire taxonomy group,” Moreno Di Marco, a researcher from UQ Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, said.

“The results of this work, in association with satellite-borne information on habitat loss, can greatly help refine the assessment of species’ extinction risk,” Marco added.

The researchers hope that the findings from the study will bolster efforts to conserve remaining patches of land, in addition to intensifying land restoration initiatives. 

The paper is published in the journal PNAS.