An ecoregion-based approach to restoring the world's intact large mammal assemblages

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  • Carly Vynne
  • Joe Gosling
  • Calum Maney
  • Eric Dinerstein
  • Andy T. L. Lee
  • Burgess, Neil David
  • Néstor Fernández
  • Sanjiv Fernando
  • Harshini Jhala
  • Yadvendradev Jhala
  • Reed F. Noss
  • Michael F. Proctor
  • Jan Schipper
  • José F. González-Maya
  • Anup R. Joshi
  • David Olson
  • William J. Ripple
  • Jens-Christian Svenning

Assemblages of large mammal species play a disproportionate role in the structure and composition of natural habitats. Loss of these assemblages destabilizes natural systems, while their recovery can restore ecological integrity. Here we take an ecoregion-based approach to identify landscapes that retain their historically present large mammal assemblages, and map ecoregions where reintroduction of 1–3 species could restore intact assemblages. Intact mammal assemblages occur across more than one-third of the 730 terrestrial ecoregions where large mammals were historically present, and 22% of these ecoregions retain complete assemblages across > 20% of the ecoregion area. Twenty species, if reintroduced or allowed to recolonize through improved connectivity, can trigger restoration of complete assemblages over 54% of the terrestrial realm (11 116 000 km2). Each of these species have at least two large, intact habitat areas (> 10 000 km2) in a given ecoregion. Timely integration of recovery efforts for large mammals strengthens area-based targets being considered under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere06098
Issue number4
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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© 2022 The Authors. Ecography published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos

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