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There is a clear need to refocus the way we prioritize conservation actions at a global scale to incorporate human systems. Anthromes have been suggested as one tool for integrating anthropogenic effects on ecosystems, but spatially explicit comparisons of biodiversity patterns are limited at a global extent. To address this gap, we used global data sets of anthromes and terrestrial vertebrate richness. We ranked anthromes by richness to all and threatened species at a global scale, temperate and tropical extents, and within major geographic regions. We tested for correlations between overall richness and count of threatened species, between taxonomic groups (birds, mammals, amphibians), and between taxa and conservation actions. At the global scale, there is high variation in vertebrate species richness by anthrome with low species richness in wildlands and higher richness in villages, rangelands, and woodlands. Threatened species distribution follows a similar pattern with high numbers of threatened species in village and remote seminatural woodland anthromes. Analyzes at temperate and tropical extents suggests unique opportunities in different regions, for example when considering the value of land sparing or sharing. There is clear heterogeneity across geographic regions. Richness in anthromes and hotspots are spatially aligned across all taxa but not for threatened taxa. Protection was negatively correlated with threatened bird richness. Human modified ecosystems provide opportunities for conservation and global and regional ranking of anthromes helps identify priorities that can complement biome and ecoregion-based prioritization. Currently, much of conservation research and prioritization is in wildlands or perceived natural landscapes, however this data shows a clear need to focus conservation efforts on seminatural, managed, and residential lands. These data would be helpful for global conservation organizations as an updated framework that can be used to prioritize global resource allocation while considering both ecological and social systems.
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Biology, Environmental Studies
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Quinn, John E.; Cook, Emma K.; and Gauthier, Nicolas, "Patterns of Vertebrate Richness Across Global Anthromes: Prioritizing Conservation Beyond Biomes and Ecoregions" (2021). Open Access Fund Publications. 16.