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Mapping out how to save species

Posted on June 28, 2013
This world map shows the combined species richness of amphibians, birds and mammals for the world as an overlay on a topographic map. Credit: Data from Clinton Jenkins, BirdLife, and IUCN. Illustration design by Félix Pharand-Deschênes (Globaïa).

This world map shows the combined species richness of amphibians, birds and mammals for the world as an overlay on a topographic map. Credit: Data from Clinton Jenkins, BirdLife, and IUCN. Illustration design by Félix Pharand-Deschênes (Globaïa).

In stunning color, new biodiversity research from North Carolina State University maps out priority areas worldwide that hold the key to protecting vulnerable species and focusing conservation efforts.

The research, published online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, pinpoints the highest global concentrations of mammals, amphibians and birds on a scale that’s 100 times finer than previous assessments. The findings can be used to make the most of available conservation resources, said Dr. Clinton Jenkins, lead author and research scholar at NC State University.

“We must know where individual species live, which ones are vulnerable, and where human actions threaten them,” Jenkins said. “We have better data than in the past—and better analytical methods. Now we have married them for conservation purposes.”

To assess how well the bright-red priority areas are being protected, researchers calculated the percentage of priority areas that fell within existing protected zones. They produced colorful maps that offer a snapshot of worldwide efforts to protect vertebrate species and preserve biodiversity.

Read more at: Phys.org

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