A novel way to reduce global extinction risk of mammals

A quarter of the world’s mammal species are currently threatened with extinction. Conservation managers have a limited budget to save them, so adopting an efficient conservation strategy is crucial.

Previous approaches to setting global conservation priorities have assumed all species to have an equal conservation value, or have focused on species with high extinction risk. Often these species may be hard and expensive to save. In this investigation, researchers tried something different. They identified priority species by optimizing the reduction in overall extinction risk of the world’s threatened terrestrial mammals. They used a novel approach which focussed on species having the greatest recovery opportunity using a new conservation-benefit metric: the Extinction risk Reduction Opportunity (ERO).

The researchers discover that 65–87% of all threatened and potentially recoverable species are overlooked by existing prioritization approaches. They used the ERO metric to prioritize threatened species, but the potential applications are broader; ERO has the potential to integrate with every strategy that aims to
maximize the likelihood of conservation success.


Di Marco M, M Cardillo, HP Possingham, KA Wilson, SP Blomberg, L Boitani & C Rondinini (2012). A novel approach for global mammal extinction risk reduction. Conservation Letters 0: 1–8. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2011.00219.x

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