A main feature of the Anthropocene is the unprecedentedly high rates of change in many ecosystem processes in the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. In Amazonia, environments are changing much faster than their species and ecosystems can adapt. These rapid changes at regional and global scales are driving profound ecosystem alterations, endangering Amazonia’s vast biodiversity and globally-important ecosystem services. The Science Panel for the Amazon (SPA) assessment report documents these epoch-scale transformations in processes governing the formation and maintenance of Amazonian biodiversity and ecosystems.
As a means to assess the impact of these changes on individual species, the IUCN Red List provides conservation assessments using objective and rigorous criteria. Although the IUCN Red List is the “gold standard” for conservation assessments, they are time and resource consuming, and limited by data-deficient species. Therefore, many species remain classified as “data deficient” and can be rarely re-assessed to inform on temporal trends.
To compare the existing IUCN Red List assessments for selected Neotropical flora and fauna with new assessments obtained from three readily accessible data types that may serve as proxies for extinction risk: geographic range, elevation, and proximity to areas with a rapidly changing human footprint (e.g., habitat loss). We will use these geographic and taxonomic datasets to generate preliminary conservation assessments for species lacking IUCN assessments and identify potentially threatened species and those of least concern, i.e., regions with many data-deficient and range-restricted species in several higher taxa.
Given that substantial efforts are needed to complete a comprehensive Red List, the rate and scale of environmental deterioration challenges the conservation community to develop rapid methods for risk assessment and monitoring. This symposium will showcase studies that use collection data from museum, publication records, and metadata repositories as proxies to assess species extinction risk in multiple Neotropical taxa. We used recently developed algorithms to extract museum collections from large repositories and literature data, then analyzed the cleaned data against a near complete set of RedListing criteria.
The two greatest threats to Amazonia are land-use and climate change, both of which directly threaten Amazonian species and regional to global ecosystem services. The methods proposed as part of this symposium will allow the global conservation community to assess the use of species records from biological collections to rapidly assess species extinction risk. These results will serve as a basis for identifying the geographic areas and/or habitat types that deserve highest conservation priority.
Amazonia, IUCN Red List; conservation assessment; multi-taxa; conservation priority.