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Characterizing the spatio-temporal threats, conservation hotspots and conservation gaps for the most extinction-prone bird family (Aves: Rallidae)


Leveque, L and Buettel, JC and Carver, SS and Brook, BW, Characterizing the spatio-temporal threats, conservation hotspots and conservation gaps for the most extinction-prone bird family (Aves: Rallidae), Royal Society Open Science, 8, (9) Article 210262. ISSN 2054-5703 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

2021 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited

DOI: doi:10.1098/rsos.210262


With thousands of vertebrate species now threatened with extinction, there is an urgent need to understand and mitigate the causes of wildlife collapse. Rails (Aves: Rallidae), being the most extinction-prone bird family globally, and with one-third of extant rail species now threatened or near threatened, are an emphatic case in point. Here, we undertook a global synthesis of the temporal and spatial threat patterns for Rallidae and determined conservation priorities and gaps. We found two key pathways in the threat pattern for rails. One follows the same trajectory as extinct rails, where island endemic and flightless rails are most threatened, mainly due to invasive predators. The second, created by the diversification of anthropogenic activities, involves continental rails, threatened mainly by agriculture, natural system modifications, and residential and commercial development. Indonesia, the USA, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Cuba were the priority countries identified by our framework incorporating species' uniqueness and the level of endangerment, but also among the countries that lack conservation actions the most. Future efforts should predominantly target improvements in ecosystem protection and management, as well as ongoing research and monitoring. Forecasting the impacts of climate change on island endemic rails will be particularly valuable to protect rails.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:extinction risk, threat pattern, IUCN, conservation, island endemism, birds, extinction, bird ecology, vulnerability
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Other biological sciences
Research Field:Global change biology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Leveque, L (Ms Lucile Leveque)
UTAS Author:Buettel, JC (Dr Jessie Buettel)
UTAS Author:Carver, SS (Associate Professor Scott Carver)
UTAS Author:Brook, BW (Professor Barry Brook)
ID Code:149051
Year Published:2021
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (FL160100101)
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2022-03-03
Last Modified:2022-04-07
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