Research ArticleCONSERVATION ECOLOGY

Cost-effective conservation of amphibian ecology and evolution

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Science Advances  21 Jun 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 6, e1602929
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1602929

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Abstract

Habitat loss is the most important threat to species survival, and the efficient selection of priority areas is fundamental for good systematic conservation planning. Using amphibians as a conservation target, we designed an innovative assessment strategy, showing that prioritization models focused on functional, phylogenetic, and taxonomic diversity can include cost-effectiveness–based assessments of land values. We report new key conservation sites within the Brazilian Atlantic Forest hot spot, revealing a congruence of ecological and evolutionary patterns. We suggest payment for ecosystem services through environmental set-asides on private land, establishing potential trade-offs for ecological and evolutionary processes. Our findings introduce additional effective area-based conservation parameters that set new priorities for biodiversity assessment in the Atlantic Forest, validating the usefulness of a novel approach to cost-effectiveness–based assessments of conservation value for other species-rich regions.

Keywords
  • Conservation planning
  • land cost-effective
  • biodiversity assessment
  • Atlantic Forest hotspot
  • Amphibians

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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