Anthropogenic disturbance in tropical forests can double biodiversity loss from deforestation

Jos Barlow, Gareth Lennox, Joice Ferreira, Erika Berenguer, Alexander Lees, Ralph MAC NALLY, Silvio Ferra, Julio Lazada, Victor Oliveira, Luke Parry, R de Castro Solar, Ima Vieira, Luiz Aragao, Rodrigo Begotti, Rodrigo Braga, Thiago Cardoso, Raimundo Junior, Carlos Junior, Nargila Moura, Samia Nunes & 6 others Renata Pardini, Juliana Silveira, Fernando Vaz-de-Mello, Ruan Veiga, Adriano Venturieri, Toby Gardner

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    212 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Concerted political attention has focused on reducing deforestation, and this remains the cornerstone of most biodiversity conservation strategies. However, maintaining forest cover may not reduce anthropogenic forest disturbances, which are rarely considered in conservation programmes. These disturbances occur both within forests, including selective logging and wildfires, and at the landscape level, through edge, area and isolation effects. Until now, the combined effect of anthropogenic disturbance on the conservation value of remnant primary forests has remained unknown, making it impossible to assess the relative importance of forest disturbance and forest loss. Here we address these knowledge gaps using a large data set of plants, birds and dung beetles (1,538, 460 and 156 species, respectively) sampled in 36 catchments in the Brazilian state of Pará. Catchments retaining more than 69-80% forest cover lost more conservation value from disturbance than from forest loss. For example, a 20% loss of primary forest, the maximum level of deforestation allowed on Amazonian properties under Brazil's Forest Code, resulted in a 39-54% loss of conservation value: 96-171% more than expected without considering disturbance effects. We extrapolated the disturbance-mediated loss of conservation value throughout Pará, which covers 25% of the Brazilian Amazon. Although disturbed forests retained considerable conservation value compared with deforested areas, the toll of disturbance outside Pará's strictly protected areas is equivalent to the loss of 92,000-139,000 km 2 of primary forest. Even this lowest estimate is greater than the area deforested across the entire Brazilian Amazon between 2006 and 2015 (ref. 10). Species distribution models showed that both landscape and within-forest disturbances contributed to biodiversity loss, with the greatest negative effects on species of high conservation and functional value. These results demonstrate an urgent need for policy interventions that go beyond the maintenance of forest cover to safeguard the hyper-diversity of tropical forest ecosystems.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)144-147
    Number of pages4
    JournalNature
    Volume535
    Issue number7610
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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    Deforestation
    Biodiversity
    Conservation
    Catchments
    Birds
    Ecosystems

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    Barlow, J., Lennox, G., Ferreira, J., Berenguer, E., Lees, A., MAC NALLY, R., ... Gardner, T. (2016). Anthropogenic disturbance in tropical forests can double biodiversity loss from deforestation. Nature, 535(7610), 144-147. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature18326
    Barlow, Jos ; Lennox, Gareth ; Ferreira, Joice ; Berenguer, Erika ; Lees, Alexander ; MAC NALLY, Ralph ; Ferra, Silvio ; Lazada, Julio ; Oliveira, Victor ; Parry, Luke ; de Castro Solar, R ; Vieira, Ima ; Aragao, Luiz ; Begotti, Rodrigo ; Braga, Rodrigo ; Cardoso, Thiago ; Junior, Raimundo ; Junior, Carlos ; Moura, Nargila ; Nunes, Samia ; Pardini, Renata ; Silveira, Juliana ; Vaz-de-Mello, Fernando ; Veiga, Ruan ; Venturieri, Adriano ; Gardner, Toby. / Anthropogenic disturbance in tropical forests can double biodiversity loss from deforestation. In: Nature. 2016 ; Vol. 535, No. 7610. pp. 144-147.
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    title = "Anthropogenic disturbance in tropical forests can double biodiversity loss from deforestation",
    abstract = "Concerted political attention has focused on reducing deforestation, and this remains the cornerstone of most biodiversity conservation strategies. However, maintaining forest cover may not reduce anthropogenic forest disturbances, which are rarely considered in conservation programmes. These disturbances occur both within forests, including selective logging and wildfires, and at the landscape level, through edge, area and isolation effects. Until now, the combined effect of anthropogenic disturbance on the conservation value of remnant primary forests has remained unknown, making it impossible to assess the relative importance of forest disturbance and forest loss. Here we address these knowledge gaps using a large data set of plants, birds and dung beetles (1,538, 460 and 156 species, respectively) sampled in 36 catchments in the Brazilian state of Par{\'a}. Catchments retaining more than 69-80{\%} forest cover lost more conservation value from disturbance than from forest loss. For example, a 20{\%} loss of primary forest, the maximum level of deforestation allowed on Amazonian properties under Brazil's Forest Code, resulted in a 39-54{\%} loss of conservation value: 96-171{\%} more than expected without considering disturbance effects. We extrapolated the disturbance-mediated loss of conservation value throughout Par{\'a}, which covers 25{\%} of the Brazilian Amazon. Although disturbed forests retained considerable conservation value compared with deforested areas, the toll of disturbance outside Par{\'a}'s strictly protected areas is equivalent to the loss of 92,000-139,000 km 2 of primary forest. Even this lowest estimate is greater than the area deforested across the entire Brazilian Amazon between 2006 and 2015 (ref. 10). Species distribution models showed that both landscape and within-forest disturbances contributed to biodiversity loss, with the greatest negative effects on species of high conservation and functional value. These results demonstrate an urgent need for policy interventions that go beyond the maintenance of forest cover to safeguard the hyper-diversity of tropical forest ecosystems.",
    author = "Jos Barlow and Gareth Lennox and Joice Ferreira and Erika Berenguer and Alexander Lees and {MAC NALLY}, Ralph and Silvio Ferra and Julio Lazada and Victor Oliveira and Luke Parry and {de Castro Solar}, R and Ima Vieira and Luiz Aragao and Rodrigo Begotti and Rodrigo Braga and Thiago Cardoso and Raimundo Junior and Carlos Junior and Nargila Moura and Samia Nunes and Renata Pardini and Juliana Silveira and Fernando Vaz-de-Mello and Ruan Veiga and Adriano Venturieri and Toby Gardner",
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    Barlow, J, Lennox, G, Ferreira, J, Berenguer, E, Lees, A, MAC NALLY, R, Ferra, S, Lazada, J, Oliveira, V, Parry, L, de Castro Solar, R, Vieira, I, Aragao, L, Begotti, R, Braga, R, Cardoso, T, Junior, R, Junior, C, Moura, N, Nunes, S, Pardini, R, Silveira, J, Vaz-de-Mello, F, Veiga, R, Venturieri, A & Gardner, T 2016, 'Anthropogenic disturbance in tropical forests can double biodiversity loss from deforestation', Nature, vol. 535, no. 7610, pp. 144-147. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature18326

    Anthropogenic disturbance in tropical forests can double biodiversity loss from deforestation. / Barlow, Jos; Lennox, Gareth; Ferreira, Joice; Berenguer, Erika; Lees, Alexander; MAC NALLY, Ralph; Ferra, Silvio; Lazada, Julio; Oliveira, Victor; Parry, Luke; de Castro Solar, R; Vieira, Ima; Aragao, Luiz; Begotti, Rodrigo; Braga, Rodrigo; Cardoso, Thiago; Junior, Raimundo; Junior, Carlos; Moura, Nargila; Nunes, Samia; Pardini, Renata; Silveira, Juliana; Vaz-de-Mello, Fernando; Veiga, Ruan; Venturieri, Adriano; Gardner, Toby.

    In: Nature, Vol. 535, No. 7610, 2016, p. 144-147.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    AU - Barlow, Jos

    AU - Lennox, Gareth

    AU - Ferreira, Joice

    AU - Berenguer, Erika

    AU - Lees, Alexander

    AU - MAC NALLY, Ralph

    AU - Ferra, Silvio

    AU - Lazada, Julio

    AU - Oliveira, Victor

    AU - Parry, Luke

    AU - de Castro Solar, R

    AU - Vieira, Ima

    AU - Aragao, Luiz

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    AU - Pardini, Renata

    AU - Silveira, Juliana

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