Renato A. F. de Lima, Gilles Dauby, André L. de Gasper, Eduardo P. Fernandez, Alexander C. Vibrans, Alexandre A. de Oliveira, Paulo I. Prado, Vinícius C. Souza, Marinez F. de Siqueira, Hans ter Steege

Comprehensive conservation assessments reveal high extinction risks across Atlantic Forest trees

  • Multidisciplinary

Biodiversity is declining globally, yet many biodiversity hotspots still lack comprehensive species conservation assessments. Using multiple International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List criteria to evaluate extinction risks and millions of herbarium and forest inventory records, we present automated conservation assessments for all tree species of the Atlantic Forest biodiversity hotspot, including ~1100 heretofore unassessed species. About 65% of all species and 82% of endemic species are classified as threatened. We rediscovered five species classified as Extinct on the IUCN Red List and identified 13 endemics as possibly extinct. Uncertainties in species information had little influence on the assessments, but using fewer Red List criteria severely underestimated threat levels. We suggest that the conservation status of tropical forests worldwide is worse than previously reported.

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