Implications of zero-deforestation commitments: forest quality and hunting pressure limit mammal persistence in fragmented tropical landscapes

Nicolas John Deere, Gurutzeta Guillera-Arroita, Philip John Platts, Simon Mitchell, Esther Baking, Henry Bernard, Jessica Haysom, Glen Reynolds, Dave Seaman, Zoe G. Davies, Matthew J. Struebig

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Zero-deforestation commitments seek to decouple agricultural production and forest loss to improve prospects for biodiversity. However, the effectiveness of methods designed to meet these commitments is poorly understood. In a highly-fragmented tropical landscape dominated by oil palm, we tested the capacity for the High Carbon Stock (HCS) Approach to prioritise forest remnants that sustain mammal diversity. Patches afforded High Priority by HCS protocols (100 ha core area) provided important refuges for IUCN-threatened species and megafauna. However, patch-scale HCS area recommendations conserved only 35% of the mammal community. At least 3,000 ha would be required to retain intact mammal assemblages, with nearly ten times this area needed if hunting pressure was high. While current HCS protocols will safeguard patches capable of sustaining biodiversity, highly-fragmented tropical landscapes typical of zero-deforestation pledges will require thinking beyond the patch, towards strategically configured forest remnants at the landscape-level and enforcing strict controls on hunting.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12701
Number of pages11
JournalConservation Letters
Early online date19 Jan 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jan 2020

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