Mammal and bird species ranges overlap with armed conflicts and associated conservation threats

Jun 7, 2021 | Studies

By Uttara Mendiratta, Anand M. Osuri, Sarthak J. Shetty & Abishek Harihar


Armed conflicts are a pervasive global threat, but their implications for wildlife conservation remain unclear. Using a 30-year spatial dataset of armed conflicts in conjunction with species range maps, we found that conflicts during 1989–2018 occurred within at least 4291 (78%) and 9056 (85%) terrestrial mammal and bird species ranges, respectively. For 4% overall and 5–7% of threatened species, conflicts within ranges have been both widespread (≥50% of range) and frequent (≥15 years). Further, an examination of International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List assessments revealed that ranges overlap with armed conflicts is associated with declining population trends of threatened species and distinct species threat portfolios in which hunting and habitat loss and degradation are more prominent. Our findings call for greater recognition and understanding of direct and indirect threats from armed conflicts in species conservation assessments and underscore the importance of addressing conflict resiliency in conservation plans for a wide suite of species. 

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