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Journal article

The future of hyperdiverse tropical ecosystems

An international team warns that a failure to act quickly and decisively will risk unprecedented species loss in the most diverse parts of the planet.

Ancistrus steam fish

Ancistrus steam fish. Photo: Rafael Leitao.

Toby Gardner / Published on 25 July 2018

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Barlow, J., França, F., Gardner, T. A., Hicks, C. C., Lennox, G. D., Berenguer, E., Castello, L., Economo, E. P., Ferreira, J., Guénard, B., Leal, C. G., Isaac, V., Lees, A. C., Parr, C. L., Wilson, S. K., Young, P. J. and Graham, N. A. J. (2018). The future of hyperdiverse tropical ecosystems. Nature 559, 517–526 (2018).

The tropics contain the overwhelming majority of Earth’s biodiversity: their terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems hold more than three-quarters of all species, including almost all shallow-water corals and over 90% of terrestrial birds. However, tropical ecosystems are also subject to pervasive and interacting stressors, such as deforestation, overfishing and climate change, and they are set within a socio-economic context that includes growing pressure from an increasingly globalized world, larger and more affluent tropical populations, and weak governance and response capacities. Concerted local, national and international actions are urgently required to prevent a collapse of tropical biodiversity.

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Toby Gardner
Toby Gardner

Senior Research Fellow

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