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Integrated terrestrial-freshwater planning doubles conservation of tropical aquatic species

Leal, Cecília G and Lennox, Gareth D and Ferraz, Silvio FB and Ferreira, Joice and Gardner, Toby A and Thomson, James R and Berenguer, Erika and Lees, Alexander and Hughes, Robert M and Mac Nally, Ralph and Aragão, Luiz EOC and Brito, Janaina G de and Castello, Leandro and Garrett, Rachael D and Hamada, Neusa and Juen, Leandro and Leitão, Rafael P and Louzada, Julio and Morello, Thiago F and Moura, Nárgila G and Nessimian, Jorge L and Oliveira-Junior, José Max B and Oliveira, Victor Hugo F and Oliveira, Vívian C de and Parry, Luke and Pompeu, Paulo S and Solar, Ricardo RC and Zuanon, Jansen and Barlow, Jos (2020) Integrated terrestrial-freshwater planning doubles conservation of tropical aquatic species. Science, 370 (6512). pp. 117-121. ISSN 0036-8075

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Abstract

Conservation initiatives overwhelmingly focus on terrestrial biodiversity, and little is known about the freshwater cobenefits of terrestrial conservation actions. We sampled more than 1500 terrestrial and freshwater species in the Amazon and simulated conservation for species from both realms. Prioritizations based on terrestrial species yielded on average just 22% of the freshwater benefits achieved through freshwater-focused conservation. However, by using integrated cross-realm planning, freshwater benefits could be increased by up to 600% for a 1% reduction in terrestrial benefits. Where freshwater biodiversity data are unavailable but aquatic connectivity is accounted for, freshwater benefits could still be doubled for negligible losses of terrestrial coverage. Conservation actions are urgently needed to improve the status of freshwater species globally. Our results suggest that such gains can be achieved without compromising terrestrial conservation goals.

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