Conserving the World’s Megafauna and Biodiversity: The Fierce Urgency of Now



Ripple WJ, Chapron G, Lopez-Bao JV, Durant SM, Macdonald DW, Lindsey PA, Bennett EL, Beschta RL, Bruskotter JT, Campos-Arceiz A, Corlett RT, Darimont CT, Dickman AJ, Dirzo R & Maisels F (2017) Conserving the World’s Megafauna and Biodiversity: The Fierce Urgency of Now. Bioscience, 67 (3), pp. 197-200.

First paragraph: In our recent perspective article, we noted that most (approximately 60 percent) terrestrial large carnivore and large herbivore species are now threatened with extinction, and we offered a 13-point declaration designed to promote and guide actions to save these iconic mammalian megafauna (Ripple et al. 2016). Some may worry that a focus on saving megafauna might undermine efforts to conserve biodiversity more broadly. We believe that all dimensions of biodiversity are important and that efforts to conserve megafauna are not in themselves sufficient to halt the dispiriting trends of species and population losses in recent decades. From 1970 to 2012, a recent global analysis showed a 58 percent overall decline in vertebrate population abundance (WWF 2016). Bold and varied approaches are necessary to conserve what remains of Earth’s biodiversity, and our declaration in no way disputes the value of specific conservation initiatives targeting other taxa. Indeed, the evidence is clear that without massively scaling up conservation efforts for all species, we will fail to achieve internationally agreed-upon targets for biodiversity (Tittensor et al. 2014).

Additional co-authors: Holly T Dublin, James A Estes, Kristoffer T Everatt, Mauro Galetti, Varun R Goswami, Matt W Hayward, Simon Hedges, Michael Hoffmann, Luke TB Hunter, Graham IH Kerley, Mike Letnic, Taal Levi, John C Morrison, Michael Paul Nelson, Thomas M Newsome, Luke Painter, Robert M Pringle, Christopher J Sandom, John Terborgh, Adrian Treves, Blaire Van Valkenburgh, John A Vucetich, Aaron J Wirsing, Arian D Wallach, Christopher Wolf, Rosie Woodroffe, Hillary Young, And Li Zhang

Bioscience: Volume 67, Issue 3

Publication date31/03/2017
Publication date online13/01/2017
Date accepted by journal14/11/2016
PublisherOxford University Press

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Professor Fiona Maisels

Professor Fiona Maisels

Honorary Professor, Biological and Environmental Sciences