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In April 2019, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) released its recovery plan for the jaguar Panthera onca after several decades of discussion, litigation and controversy about the status of the species in the USA. The USFWS estimated that potential habitat, south of the Interstate-10 highway in Arizona and New Mexico, had a carrying capacity of c. six jaguars, and so focused its recovery programme on areas south of the USA–Mexico border. Here we present a systematic review of the modelling and assessment efforts over the last 25 years, with a focus on areas north of Interstate-10 in Arizona and New Mexico, outside the recovery unit considered by the USFWS. Despite differences in data inputs, methods, and analytical extent, the nine previous studies found support for potential suitable jaguar habitat in the central mountain ranges of Arizona and New Mexico. Applying slightly modified versions of the USFWS model and recalculating an Arizona-focused model over both states provided additional confirmation. Extending the area of consideration also substantially raised the carrying capacity of habitats in Arizona and New Mexico, from six to 90 or 151 adult jaguars, using the modified USFWS models. This review demonstrates the crucial ways in which choosing the extent of analysis influences the conclusions of a conservation plan. More importantly, it opens a new opportunity for jaguar conservation in North America that could help address threats from habitat losses, climate change and border infrastructure.
We report a range-wide status assessment of a key Neotropical ecosystem architect, the white-lipped peccary Tayassu pecari, categorized as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List, using published information and unpublished data from 41 scientists in 15 range countries. We estimate that the white-lipped peccary has been extirpated in 21% of its historical range over the last 100 years, with reduced abundance and a low to medium probability of long-term survival in another 48% of its current range. We found major range declines in Argentina, Paraguay, southern Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, north-east Brazil, Mexico and Costa Rica. This species is particularly at risk in more xeric ecosystems, especially the caatinga, cerrado and pampas. Hunting and habitat destruction are the most severe threats, although there are also unexplained sudden die-offs suggestive of disease. We evaluate our results in light of this species’ important interspecific interactions and its role as an ecosystem architect. One of our recommendations is that conservation efforts should focus on landscape conservation of large, continuous and ecologically intact areas containing a mosaic of different habitat types.
The Landscape Species Approach is a framework developed by the Wildlife Conservation Society for planning landscape-scale conservation based on a suite of focal species. The approach has so far been implemented at 12 terrestrial and two marine sites. We demonstrate the approach using two sites, the Adirondack Park, USA, and San Guillermo-Laguna Brava Landscape, Argentina. We describe the spatially explicit components, including steps to map the attainable (Biological Landscape), current, and future distribution of Landscape Species, human activities (Human Landscapes) and their impacts on Landscape Species, the possible impacts of conservation actions (Conservation Landscapes), and a procedure to set spatial conservation priorities. We discuss advantages and innovations of the approach, including how it incorporates both vulnerability of biodiversity and possible recovery. Finally, we discuss improvements that can be made to the approach, costs, and implications for conservation at the two sites.
In this paper we provide an empirically-based way to address the general question of the broad-scale spatial relationship between poverty occurrence and areas of interest to those seeking conservation of large wild areas. We address the question of the spatial relationship between poor people and areas less impacted by human activity by asking three questions about the global spatial relationship between poor people and ecological intactness and how it varies by major biome and geographical region. We use infant mortality rate as a proxy for poverty and the Human Footprint as a proxy for ecological intactness, comparing global terrestrial maps of both. The analysis shows that the vast majority of the world's poor people live in extremely urban and very transformed (peri-transformed) areas. Only a small percentage of the world's most poor are found in areas that are somewhat or extremely wild: about 0.25% of the world's population. This fact has implications for the calls being made for conservation organizations to undertake poverty alleviation, suggesting that at a global scale those groups with interest in conserving wild areas would be able to contribute little to globally significant poverty alleviation efforts. However, these conservation groups are well positioned to develop new partnerships for delivery of benefits to some of the least accessible poor people in the wildest places of the world.
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