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Conservation priority setting for Amazonian biodiversity

2012Conservation priority setting for Amazonian biodiversity.SKORIN Teuta (Croatia)
Organisation:University of East Anglia, Norwich (UK)Supervisor :Aldina Franco & Carlos Peres
Summary: Tropical forests provide many ecosystem services, climate regulation and erosion control being most important among them. Yet, the numerous threats are a cause of its current decline with the quarter of the ecosystem already lost, with predictions of losing its beneficial functions as well. Research in Amazon region that constitutes of 40% of remaining tropical forest showed that protected areas can reduce the negative impacts on biodiversity. But, the efficiency of protected areas depends on severity of threats and the amount of biodiversity captured in protected areas. The aim of this study was to revise the effectiveness of existing protected areas network in the wider Amazonian region (Amazonia sensu latissimo). This was achieved using ZONATION conservation prioritization software to investigate the relationship between current protected areas distribution, terrestrial vertebrate species distributions and present threats to biodiversity. The generated species diversity and richness map for the region was the basis for the gap analysis that identified how much biodiversity is actually captured inside the protected areas. Moreover, incorporating threats into analysis revealed which part of the landscape is unsuitable for reserves and which areas should be protected before threats cause the species loss. This study investigated only the biological value of the landscape. Next step in decision-making process is to analyze economic and social aspects of land-use management. Altogether it will enable decision makers need to make the best solutions in reconsidering current protected areas network by removing or restructuring existent protected areas as well as adding new reserves in, currently unprotected, areas with high species richness.