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, 14 (3), e0212128
eCollection

Globally Important Islands Where Eradicating Invasive Mammals Will Benefit Highly Threatened Vertebrates

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Globally Important Islands Where Eradicating Invasive Mammals Will Benefit Highly Threatened Vertebrates

Nick D Holmes et al. PLoS One.

Abstract

Invasive alien species are a major threat to native insular species. Eradicating invasive mammals from islands is a feasible and proven approach to prevent biodiversity loss. We developed a conceptual framework to identify globally important islands for invasive mammal eradications to prevent imminent extinctions of highly threatened species using biogeographic and technical factors, plus a novel approach to consider socio-political feasibility. We applied this framework using a comprehensive dataset describing the distribution of 1,184 highly threatened native vertebrate species (i.e. those listed as Critically Endangered or Endangered on the IUCN Red List) and 184 non-native mammals on 1,279 islands worldwide. Based on extinction risk, irreplaceability, severity of impact from invasive species, and technical feasibility of eradication, we identified and ranked 292 of the most important islands where eradicating invasive mammals would benefit highly threatened vertebrates. When socio-political feasibility was considered, we identified 169 of these islands where eradication planning or operation could be initiated by 2020 or 2030 and would improve the survival prospects of 9.4% of the Earth's most highly threatened terrestrial insular vertebrates (111 of 1,184 species). Of these, 107 islands were in 34 countries and territories and could have eradication projects initiated by 2020. Concentrating efforts to eradicate invasive mammals on these 107 islands would benefit 151 populations of 80 highly threatened vertebrates and make a major contribution towards achieving global conservation targets adopted by the world's nations.

Conflict of interest statement

Jakob Fric is employed at, holds shares at and is a member of the board at the Nature Conservation Consultancy Ltd. The data provided in the present manuscript has been collected though past and ongoing LIFE-Nature projects cofunded by the European Commission through LIFE financial instrument. Jakob Fric is a member at the Hellenic Ornithological Society (BirdLife Greece), Hellenic Zoological Society and ANIMA - Hellenic Wildlife Care Association (Greece). Paolo Sposimo is employed by NEMO Srl. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the opinions or policies of the funders; mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute their endorsement. There are no patents, products in development or marketed products to declare. This does not alter our adherence to all the PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials, as detailed online in the guide for authors.

Figures

Fig 1
Fig 1. The location of the 169 highest-ranked islands where eradication of invasive mammals could feasibly be initiated by 2020 or 2030 to benefit highly threatened vertebrates.
Fig 2
Fig 2. The number of highly threatened reptile, seabird, landbird, mammal and amphibian species and populations on islands where eradication of invasive mammals could feasibly be initiated by 2020 or 2030.

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Publication types

Grant support

The underlying data from the Threatened Island Biodiversity database used in the manuscript was collected through research funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation (https://www.packard.org); National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (http://www.nfwf.org/); and, Island Conservation (https://www.islandconservation.org/). Nick Holmes and Dena Spatz received salaries from these same sources. These funding sources financially supported the data collection and writing of this report but did not have any other involvement in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Nature Conservation Consultants Ltd. provided support in the form of salaries for author Jakob Fric, and contributed data collected through past and ongoing European Union’s LIFE-Nature projects, co-funded by the European Commission, but did not have any additional role in the study design, analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. NEMO Srl provided support in the form of salaries for authors Paolo Sposimo but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. All other authors received support from their affiliated organizations. The specific roles of these authors are articulated in the ‘author contributions’ section.
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