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Conservation priorities under global change : protected areas, threatened biodiversity and research trends


One of the most significant biodiversity threats is the combined effect of human driven land-use change and climate change. Understanding its consequences will be crucial for the protection of threatened biodiversity and maintenance of ecosystem services. This dissertation develops three main research areas to help meet this goal. In Chapter 1, I quantify the exposure of the global reserve network to projected global change and relate these threats to the conservation value and capacity of biogeographical and geopolitical regions. Shifts in future conservation battlegrounds reveal the need to consider future impacts during conservation planning. New reserves in target regions and a ǹorth-south' transfer of conservation resources are required to maximize biodiversity conservation while mitigating climate change. In Chapter 2, I assess the extent of projected environmental conditions and explicitly identify global shortfalls in protection. By 2100, the emergence of novel climatic conditions coupled with increasingly encroached and isolated reserves in select biogeographic regions poses serious landscape connectivity issues that may hamper species dispersal. In Chapter 3, I provide a pan- tropical assessment of the extent and pathways of reserve encroachment. I find an important interaction between conservation costs and effectiveness, implying that addressing social mechanisms of local-scale encroachment may be a viable strategy. I demonstrate the significance of remote sensing for reserve monitoring and for understanding the complex interplay among encroachment pressures. In Chapter 4, I evaluate core causes of global extinction risk in birds worldwide. I emphasize the need to consider the inter-relationships among the factors that structure extinction risk across species and space. I show that an integrative model combining intrinsic and extrinsic correlates allows successful prediction of geographic patterns of threat at the assemblage level. In Chapter 5, I examine the trends of conservation research themes and keywords. I find that research trends fluctuate and the structures of research keyword co-occurrences are dynamic over the last two decades, which may be affected by influential scientific reports and papers. I show that this method is useful in tracking evolving research fronts and gaps. Overall, my results outline opportunities for making biodiversity conservation more effective under global change

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