WCS 3-Sentence Science

February 7, 2020


Each year, Wildlife Conservation Society scientists publish more than 300 peer-reviewed studies and papers. “WCS 3-Sentence Science” is a regular tip-sheet — in bite sized helpings — of some of this published work.

Here we present work by WCS’s James Watson on the inadequate protection of wildlife habitat in Southeast Asia’s Sundaland region.

  1. Researchers assessed the magnitude and extent of recent change within protected areas, key biodiversity areas, and the habitat range of 308 lowland forest specialist birds in Sundaland, a global hotspot of biodiversity in Southeast Asia, finding an exceptionally high human footprint — a further deepening of the biodiversity crisis across the region.
  2. Using the most recent human footprint dataset, they found that 70 percent of Sundaland has been heavily modified by humans, representing a 55 percent increase in areas under intense human pressure since 1993, with areas under intense human pressure covering on average 50 percent of the extent of key biodiversity areas, 78 percent of each protected area, and 38 percent of the range of lowland forest specialist birds.
  3. The results imply that the actual level of protection by protected areas is only one‐third to half of that on paper once human footprint is accounted for, with those protected areas managed strictly for biodiversity conservation presented the largest increases in human pressures.

Study and Journal: “Severe human pressures in the Sundaland biodiversity hotspot” from Conservation Science and Practice
WCS Co-Author(s): James Watson, Director, Science and Research Initiative

For more information, contact: Stephen Sautner, 718–220–3682, ssautner@wcs.org.

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