Today GMA Lab joined the Global Strike for Climate, by organising an open-air seminar on the impacts of climate change on biodiversity. The event took place in the courtyard of the Zoology Institute at Sapienza University, featuring presentations from Carlo Rondinini, Moreno Di Marco, Michela Pacifici (Michela was on video during maternity leave!), and Dino Biancolini.
The session started with a presentation on IPCC 1.5°C report, and continued with an overview of the predicted impact of global climate change on the extinction risk of mammals and plants, and the risk of spread of alien species. Many students and academics joined the event and engaged in discussions with the speakers, before heading off to the Students Ride for Climate event and other activities organised by Sapienza University.
On 10th December 2012, Moreno Di Marco will present some of the GMA current projects during a seminar at ZSL.
Mammal species decline: past trend, current challenge, and possible conservation strategies
One quarter of all mammal species are today threatened with extinction, with both recent trends and future predictions pointing toward an imminent increase of that proportion. We investigate mechanisms and processes behind this decline and describe: (i) past trends in species extinction risk, (ii) cost-efficient conservation priorities and (iii) methodological challenges in measuring human impact on species.
(i) Unlike birds or amphibians, little is known about the global extinction risk status of mammals before 1996. By collecting past information on the status of carnivores and ungulates, we calculated past trends in extinction risk for those species, and show spatial and temporal patterns in global species decline from the ’70s up to date. (ii) Current approaches at setting global conservation priorities generally focus on species with high extinction risk, species that may be hard to save. We took a different approach and detected terrestrial mammals that are currently threatened with extinction, but highly likely to recover (due to their biological traits). We show that many of them are excluded from existing conservation initiatives, while reducing human impact on those species represents a cost-effective conservation strategy. (iii) Threat quantification varies with methodology and the effect of this variability remains largely unexplored. We show how different methods, to quantify the human impact on mammals, result in values that differ largely among each other. This may lead to potentially mismatching interpretations for conservationists, and we discuss practical guidelines for application.
An understanding of the biological and anthropogenic factors affecting global mammal decline and a consideration of the existing methodological challenges, will help conservation strategies to invert the current trend in global mammal decline.
This year the European Congress on Conservation Biology was held in Glasgow, Scotland (28 August – 1 September). GMA lab members participated with enthusiasm, 9 people from the lab were present, all of them co-authoring one or more contributions.
A summary of all GMA lab contributions includes:
Additional conference outcomes also include:
Overall ECCB 2012 was a great occasion for us to present part of our recent work to the international conservation community; it gave us the opportunity to meet some of our collaborators and to expand our collaboration network, as well as to meet a lot of friends.
Piero Visconti presenting at ECCB 2012 Glasgow.
3rd European Congress of Conservation Biology
Glasgow 28 August – 1 Septemper 2012
Global biodiversity scenarios to inform environmental policies
Piero Visconti, Carlo Rondinini, Thomas Brooks, Beng-Gunnar Jonsson
The aim of this symposium is twofold: first, to introduce to SCB delegates the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES, also dubbed “the IPCC for biodiversity and ecosystem services”); second, to describe some of the current efforts to model and predict the effect of global policy change on biodiversity. The two aims are intertwined because the main goal of IBPES is to prioritize and collect the research needed to inform global decisions on biodiversity and ecosystem services-related policy. The goals and organization of IPBES will the topic of the first talk.