South American flora at risk
Following up from earlier work, we’ve just published a piece on Journal for Nature Conservation entitled “Assessment of threats to South American flora and its implications for conservation”. Anthropogenic activities are not only leading to habitat detruction, ecosystem service degradation and climate change, but they are also one of the major drivers to species extinctions. We found ~80% of species in South America (for which we had data, I must say) to have one or more populations under threat due to human activities, and an scarying percent of roughly 15% of species with the majority of their populations under high risk of extinction.
Although conservation policies exist in the region, important policy prescriptions are given in the research piece, and various sites are identified that are critical for sustaining the one of the world’s most important ecosystem. We found that:
“The expansion, monitoring and strengthening of 24 existing protected areas holding up to 70% of South American plant diversity is suggested; as is the revision of 7 additional sites where up to 200 species not currently conserved are present. Critical areas to monitor, expand and strengthen are mainly located in the Ecuadorian and Colombian Andes, southern Paraguay, the Guyana shield, southern Brazil, and Bolivia”
Whether or not we will be able to achieve sustainability in all (or most of) the human activities while decreasing hunger and poverty and producing food to feed a growing global population remains to be answered, but here are a few hints on how we could do it.