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Land-based bird populations are becoming confined to nature reserves in some parts of the world—raising the risk of global extinction—due to the loss of suitable habitat, according to a report led by UCL.
Researchers analysed biodiversity in the area known as Sundaland, which covers the peninsula of Thailand, Borneo, Malaysia, Sumatra, Java and Bali, one of the world's most biologically degraded regions.
Study - Today - Conservation - Letters - Birds
The study, published today in Conservation Letters, focuses on galliformes—heavy-bodied ground-feeding birds such as pheasants, grouse and quail—as their numbers are well-recorded and they are amongst the most threatened species in some parts of the world.
Scientists found that up to 13 populations (25 per cent of galliform populations in the area) have been extirpated (made locally extinct) in the region and no longer exist outside nature reserves (protected areas). The island of Sumatra has suffered the highest proportion of extirpations among the areas studied, having lost 50 percent of its galliform species in unprotected land.
Result - Species - Areas—raising - Questions - Goal
As a result, certain species are only found in protected areas—raising questions about the ultimate goal of conservation. The researchers argue that these areas were never intended to be a last resort for the existence of species and are also coming under increasing threat from human activity.
Professor Elizabeth Boakes (UCL Life Sciences) said: "Land outside of protected areas is increasingly being lost to agriculture and infrastructure, leading to species becoming confined to Sundaland's protected areas. Biodiversity in the unprotected landscape is required to maintain connectivity and ecosystem function.
Areas - Cent - Malaysia - Cent - Indonesia
"It is also critical that protected areas are managed effectively. However, nearly 20 per cent of Malaysia's and over 40 per cent of Indonesia's protected land is subject to intense human pressure.
"As one of the most biologically degraded areas, Sundaland offers a stark warning to the rest of the world should global rates of land conversion continue unabated. Conservation's...
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