Ecology article of the week: Measuring Terrestrial Area of Habitat (AOH) and Its Utility for the IUCN Red List

Sorry this is a bit late! Also I’ve decided to expand beyond just open access articles from the journal Ecology, so this week’s article is from the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution. As in the past, this was the first open access article that I came across. I decided to do this rather than picking someone that I personally found interesting, just so we can have as wide of a range of ecology articles as possible.

You can find the open access link here: https://www.cell.com/trends/ecology-evolution/fulltext/S0169-5347(19)30189-2?dgcid=raven_jbs_etoc_email

Please feel free to discuss this article in the comments below if you like. Questions, comments, or anything remotely relevant is fair game!



Abstract:

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species assesses the extinction risk of nearly 100 000 species, including documentation of a range map, habitat, and elevation data for each species. Numerous recent studies have matched these habitat and elevation data with remotely sensed land cover and elevation datasets to map AOH (also known as extent of suitable habitat) within the range of each species. AOH differs from the two spatial metrics used in the IUCN Red List criteria for extinction risk assessment: EOO (minimum convex polygon around all present native occurrences of a species); and AOO (area actually occupied by a species). AOH can be of value in locating target areas for species-specific field surveys, assessing the proportion of a species’ habitat within protected areas, and monitoring habitat loss and fragmentation.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species includes assessment of extinction risk for 98 512 species, plus documentation of their range, habitat, elevation, and other factors. These range, habitat and elevation data can be matched with terrestrial land cover and elevation datasets to map the species’ area of habitat (AOH; also known as extent of suitable habitat; ESH). This differs from the two spatial metrics used for assessing extinction risk in the IUCN Red List criteria: extent of occurrence (EOO) and area of occupancy (AOO). AOH can guide conservation, for example, through targeting areas for field surveys, assessing proportions of species’ habitat within protected areas, and monitoring habitat loss and fragmentation. We recommend that IUCN Red List assessments document AOH wherever practical.

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