Invasive Alien Species: a major threat to native Insular Species
Invasive alien species are a major threat to native insular species. A huge global collaboration between 50 authors, co-led by institutions including Island Conservation and BirdLife International, has identified 169 islands where vertebrate eradication is technically and socially feasible.
If successful, these operations would help to prevent the extinction of 131 highly threatened species of birds, mammals, reptiles or amphibians and benefit 9.4% of the earth’s highly threatened island-dwelling vertebrates. That’s a huge proportion of species for such a small amount of space.
Read the full paper*, Globally important islands where eradicating invasive mammals will benefit highly threatened vertebrates, here.
*The paper was led by conservation biologists from Island Conservation, BirdLife International, the Coastal and Conservation Action Laboratory at the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC), and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC) Invasive Species Specialist Group.
Read also “Want to prevent 131 extinctions? Focus on these islands” by Jessica Law – 26 March 2019
See the “Message of Hope” from Island Conservation
Read more “New Research: Stemming the extinction crisis” Contact Sally Esposito (Island Conservation) – 26 march 2019
Invasive alien species are a major threat to native insular species. Eradicating invasive mammals from islands is a feasible and proven approach to prevent biodiversity loss.
We developed a conceptual framework to identify globally important islands for invasive mammal eradications to prevent imminent extinctions of highly threatened species using biogeographic and technical factors, plus a novel approach to consider socio-political feasibility.
We applied this framework using a comprehensive dataset describing the distribution of 1,184 highly threatened native vertebrate species (i.e. those listed as Critically Endangered or Endangered on the IUCN Red List) and 184 non-native mammals on 1,279 islands worldwide.
Based on extinction risk, irreplaceability, severity of impact from invasive species, and technical feasibility of eradication, we identified and ranked 292 of the most important islands where eradicating invasive mammals would benefit highly threatened vertebrates.
When socio-political feasibility was considered, we identified 169 of these islands where eradication planning or operation could be initiated by 2020 or 2030 and would improve the survival prospects of 9.4% of the Earth’s most highly threatened terrestrial insular vertebrates (111 of 1,184 species).
Of these, 107 islands were in 34 countries and territories and could have eradication projects initiated by 2020.
Concentrating efforts to eradicate invasive mammals on these 107 islands would benefit 151 populations of 80 highly threatened vertebrates and make a major contribution towards achieving global conservation targets adopted by the world’s nations.
Read the full infographic here: Prevent-island-extinctions_island-conservation_holmes-et_al-infographic-2019.pdf
DONATE – To help SOP Manu operations to restore six of this study’s top 169 islands at once, which will benefit four highly threatened bird species along with some rare dry forest habitats, click HERE.