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保全活動は、種がすでに絶滅の危機に瀕していると、受動的に行われることがよくありますが、 現在の生物学 既存のデータを使用して、どの種が絶滅の危機に瀕する可能性があるかを予測し、積極的な予防を可能にすることを提案しています。 筆頭著者のマルセル・カルディロと彼のチームは、気候変動、人口増加、土地利用の変化などの地球規模の変化要因を、種の固有の脆弱性と併せて調べました。 彼らは、2100 年までに陸上哺乳類の最大 20% が 2 つ以上の危険因子を持つようになると予測しており、サハラ以南のアフリカとオーストラリア南東部は危険因子の「完璧な嵐」に直面しています。 研究者たちは、人間と動物の共存を促進するためのモデルとしてオーストラリアの先住民族保護区を挙げ、保護活動において先住民族コミュニティを考慮する必要性を強調しています。

新しい研究は、保全データを使用して積極的に予測および防止することを示唆しています[{” attribute=””>species from becoming threatened, potentially benefiting up to 20% of land mammals by 2100. The research emphasizes the need for conservation approaches that respect Indigenous communities and foster human-animal coexistence.

Most conservation efforts are reactive. Typically, a species must reach threatened status before action is taken to prevent extinction, such as establishing protected areas. A new study published today (April 10) in the journal Current Biology shows that we can use existing conservation data to predict which currently unthreatened species could become threatened and take proactive action to prevent their decline before it is too late.

“Conservation funding is really limited,” says lead author Marcel Cardillo of Australian National University. “Ideally, what we need is some way of anticipating species that may not be threatened at the moment but have a high chance of becoming threatened in the future. Prevention is better than cure.”

To predict “over-the-horizon” extinction risk, Cardillo and colleagues looked at three aspects of global change—climate change, human population growth, and the rate of change in land use—together with intrinsic biological features that could make some species more vulnerable. The team predicts that up to 20% of land mammals will have a combination of two or more of these risk factors by the year 2100.

Concentrations of Terrestrial Mammal Species With Multiple Future Risk Factors

Concentrations of terrestrial mammal species with multiple future risk factors. Credit: Current Biology/Cardillo et al.

“Globally, the percentage of terrestrial mammal species that our models predict will have at least one of the four future risk factors by 2100 ranges from 40% under a middle-of-the-road emissions scenario with broad species dispersal to 58% under a fossil-fueled development scenario with no dispersal,” say the authors.

“There’s a congruence of multiple future risk factors in Sub-Saharan African and southeastern Australia: climate change (which is expected to be particularly severe in Africa), human population growth, and changes in land use,” says Cardillo. “And there are a lot of large mammal species that are likely to be more sensitive to these things. It’s pretty much the perfect storm.”

Larger mammals in particular, like elephants, rhinos, giraffes, and kangaroos, are often more susceptible to population decline since their reproductive patterns influence how quickly their populations can bounce back from disturbances. Compared to smaller mammals, such as rodents, which reproduce quickly and in larger numbers, bigger mammals, such as elephants, have long gestational periods and produce fewer offspring at a time.

“Traditionally, conservation has relied heavily on declaring protected areas,” says Cardillo. “The basic idea is that you remove or mitigate what is causing the species to become threatened.”

“But increasingly, it’s being recognized that that’s very much a Western view of conservation because it dictates separating people from nature,” says Cardillo. “It’s a sort of view of nature where humans don’t play a role, and that’s something that doesn’t sit well with a lot of cultures in many parts of the world.”

In preventing animal extinction, the researchers say we must also be aware of how conservation impacts Indigenous communities. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to many Indigenous populations, and Western ideas of conservation, although well-intended, may have negative impacts.

Australia has already begun tackling this issue by establishing Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs), which are owned by Indigenous peoples and operate with the help of rangers from local communities. In these regions, humans and animals can coexist, as established through collaboration between governments and private landowners outside of these protected areas.

“There’s an important part to play for broad-scale modeling studies because they can provide a broad framework and context for planning,” says Cardillo. “But science is only a very small part of the mix. We hope our model acts as a catalyst for bringing about some kind of change in the outlook for conservation.”

Reference: “Priorities for conserving the world’s terrestrial mammals based on over-the-horizon extinction risk” by Cardillo et al., 10 April 2023, Current Biology.
DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2023.02.063


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