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Global COVID-19 lockdown highlights humans as both threats and custodians of the environment


Bates, AE and Primack, RB and Biggar, BS and Bird, TJ and Clinton, M and Command, RJ and Richards, C and Shellard, M and Geraldi, NR and Vergara, V and Acevedo-Charry, O and Colon-Pineiro, Z and Ocampo, D and Ocampo-Penuela, N and Sanchez-Clavijo, LM and Adamescu, CM and Cheval, S and Racoviceanu, T and Adams, MD and Kalisa, E and Kuuire, VZ and Aditya, V and Anderwald, P and Wiesmann, S and Wipf, S and Badihi, G and Henderson, MG and Loetscher, H and Baerenfaller, K and Benedetti-Cecchi, L and Bulleri, F and Bertocci, I and Maggi, E and Rindi, L and Ravaglioli, C and Boerder, K and Bonnel, J and Mathias, D and Archambault, P and Chauvaud, L and Braun, CD and Thorrold, SR and Brownscombe, JW and Midwood, JD and Boston, CM and Brooks, JL and Cooke, SJ and China, V and Roll, U and Belmaker, J and Zvuloni, A and Coll, M and Ortega, M and Connors, B and Lacko, L and Jayathilake, DRM and Costello, MJ and Crimmins, TM and Barnett, L and Denny, EG and Gerst, KL and Marsh, RL and Posthumus, EE and Rodriguez, R and Rosemartin, A and Schaffer, SN and Switzer, JR and Wong, K and Cunningham, SJ and Sumasgutner, P and Amar, A and Thomson, RL and Stofberg, M and Hofmeyr, S and Suri, J and Stuart-Smith, RD and Day, PB and Edgar, GJ and Cooper, AT and De Leo, FC and Garner, G and Des Brisay, PG and Schrimpf, MB and Koper, N and Diamond, MS and Dwyer, RG and Baker, CJ and Franklin, CE and Efrat, R and Berger-Tal, O and Hatzofe, O and Eguiluz, VM and Rodriguez, JP and Fernandez-Gracia, J and Elustondo, D and Calatayud, V and English, PA and Archer, SK and Dudas, SE and Haggarty, DR and Gallagher, AJ and Shea, BD and Shipley, ON and Gilby, BL and Ballantyne, J and Olds, AD and Henderson, CJ and Schlacher, TA and Halliday, WD and Brown, NAW and Woods, MB and Balshine, S and Juanes, F and Rider, MJ and Albano, PS and Hammerschlag, N and Hays, GC and Esteban, N and Pan, Y and He, G and Tanaka, T and Hensel, MJS and Orth, RJ and Patrick, CJ and Hentati-Sundberg, J and Olsson, O and Hessing-Lewis, ML and Higgs, ND and Hindell, MA and McMahon, CR and Harcourt, R and Guinet, C and Hirsch, SE and Perrault, J and Hoover, SR and Reilly, JD and Hobaiter, C and Gruber, T and Huveneers, C and Udyawer, V and Clarke, TM and Kroesen, LP and Hik, DS and Cherry, SG and Belluz, JDB and Jackson, JM and Lai, S and Lamb, CT and LeClair, GD and Parmelee, J and Chatfield, MWH and Frederick, CA and Lee, S and Park, H and Choi, J and LeTourneux, F and Grandmont, T and De Broin, FD and Bety, J and Gauthier, G and Legagneux, P and Lewis, JS and Haight, J and Liu, Z and Lyon, JP and Hale, R and D'Silva, D and MacGregor-Fors, I and Arbelaez-Cortes, E and Estela, FA and Sanchez-Sarria, CE and Garcia-Arroyo, M and Aguirre-Samboni, GK and Morales, JCF and Malamud, S and Gavriel, T and Buba, Y and Salingre, S and Lazarus, M and Yahel, R and Ben Ari, Y and Miller, E and Sade, R and Lavian, G and Birman, Z and Gury, M and Baz, H and Baskin, I and Penn, A and Dolev, A and Licht, O and Karkom, T and Davidzon, S and Berkovitch, A and Yaakov, O and Manenti, R and Mori, E and Ficetola, GF and Lunghi, E and March, D and Godley, BJ and Martin, C and Mihaly, SF and Barclay, DR and Thomson, DJM and Dewey, R and Bedard, Je and Miller, A and Dearden, A and Chapman, J and Dares, L and Borden, L and Gibbs, D and Schultz, J and Sergeenko, N and Francis, F and Weltman, A and Moity, N and Ramirez-Gonzalez, J and Mucientes, G and Alonso-Fernandez, A and Namir, I and Bar-Massada, A and Chen, R and Yedvab, S and Okey, TA and Oppel, S and Arkumarev, V and Bakari, S and Dobrev, V and Saravia-Mullin, V and Bounas, A and Dobrev, D and Kret, E and Mengistu, S and Pourchier, C and Ruffo, A and Tesfaye, M and Wondafrash, M and Nikolov, SC and Palmer, C and Sileci, L and Rex, PT and Lowe, CG and Peters, F and Pine, MK and Radford, CA and Wilson, L and McWhinnie, L and Scuderi, A and Jeffs, AG and Prudic, KL and Larrivee, M and McFarland, KP and Solis, R and Hutchinson, RA and Queiroz, N and Furtado, MA and Sims, DW and Southall, E and Quesada-Rodriguez, CA and Diaz-Orozco, JP and Rodgers, KS and Severino, SJL and Graham, AT and Stefanak, MP and Madin, EMP and Ryan, PG and Maclean, K and Weideman, EA and Kittelberger, KD and Kusak, J and Seminoff, JA and Hanna, ME and Shimada, T and Meekan, MG and Smith, MKS and Mokhatla, MM and Soh, MCK and Pang, RYT and Ng, BXK and Lee, BPY-H and Loo, AHB and Er, KBH and Souza, GBG and Stallings, CD and Curtis, JS and Faletti, ME and Peake, JA and Schram, MJ and Wall, KR and Terry, C and Rothendler, M and Zipf, L and Ulloa, JS and Hernandez-Palma, A and Gomez-Valencia, B and Cruz-Rodriguez, C and Herrera-Varon, Y and Roa, M and Rodriguez-Buritica, S and Ochoa-Quintero, JM and Vardi, R and Vazquez, V and Requena-Mesa, C and Warrington, MH and Taylor, ME and Woodall, LC and Stefanoudis, PV and Zhang, X and Yang, Q and Zukerman, Y and Sigal, Z and Ayali, A and Clua, EG and Carzon, P and Seguine, C and Corradini, A and Pedrotti, L and Foley, CM and Gagnon, C and Panipakoochoo, E and Milanes, CB and Botero, CM and Velazquez, YR and Milchakova, NA and Morley, SA and Martin, SM and Nanni, V and Otero, T and Wakeling, J and Abarro, S and Piou, C and Sobral, AFL and Soto, EH and Weigel, EG and Bernal-Ibanez, A and Gestoso, I and Cacabelos, E and Cagnacci, F and Devassy, RP and Loretto, M-C and Moraga, P and Rutz, C and Duarte, CM, Global COVID-19 lockdown highlights humans as both threats and custodians of the environment, Biological Conservation, 263 Article 109175. ISSN 0006-3207 (2021) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2021 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2021.109175


The global lockdown to mitigate COVID-19 pandemic health risks has altered human interactions with nature. Here, we report immediate impacts of changes in human activities on wildlife and environmental threats during the early lockdown months of 2020, based on 877 qualitative reports and 332 quantitative assessments from 89 different studies. Hundreds of reports of unusual species observations from around the world suggest that animals quickly responded to the reductions in human presence. However, negative effects of lockdown on conservation also emerged, as confinement resulted in some park officials being unable to perform conservation, restoration and enforcement tasks, resulting in local increases in illegal activities such as hunting. Overall, there is a complex mixture of positive and negative effects of the pandemic lockdown on nature, all of which have the potential to lead to cascading responses which in turn impact wildlife and nature conservation. While the net effect of the lockdown will need to be assessed over years as data becomes available and persistent effects emerge, immediate responses were detected across the world. Thus, initial qualitative and quantitative data arising from this serendipitous global quasi-experimental perturbation highlights the dual role that humans play in threatening and protecting species and ecosystems. Pathways to favorably tilt this delicate balance include reducing impacts and increasing conservation effectiveness.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:pandemic, biodiversity, restoration, global monitoring
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Coastal and estuarine systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems
UTAS Author:Stuart-Smith, RD (Dr Rick Stuart-Smith)
UTAS Author:Edgar, GJ (Professor Graham Edgar)
UTAS Author:Cooper, AT (Miss Antonia Cooper)
UTAS Author:Hindell, MA (Professor Mark Hindell)
ID Code:150037
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:32
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2022-05-13
Last Modified:2022-10-03

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