Mapping threats to species: Method matters

Ashlea Ostwald, Vivitskaia J.D. Tulloch, Peter M. Kyne, Nicholas J. Bax, Piers K. Dunstan, Luciana C. Ferreira, Michele Thums, Judy Upston, Vanessa M. Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Mapping the various anthropogenic threats to species is a key tool to support and guide effective decisions for management of these threats. While there are a range of approaches to mapping threats, the extent to which these provide consistent or differing results has not been investigated. The overall aim of this study was to address this gap by explicitly testing how threat mapping methods vary. To achieve this, we examined the extent to which conservation management priorities change depending on the method used to map threats. This includes methods with increasing levels of spatial and species-specific information: (1) cumulative threats; (2) cumulative threats restricted to species distributions; (3) threat-species hotspots; and, (4) cumulative impacts. We used Australia's North Marine Region as a case study and focused on 16 species deemed the highest priority for threat management due to their heightened vulnerability to these threats. Visual and tabulated comparisons of these four maps reveal how refining the underlying detail transforms the spatial footprint of each map and therefore, the management implications. Across all four methods there was consistent identification of the coastal zone as the area with highest threats. We found that the cumulative impact method required the greatest data inputs, but in return provided the greatest level of detail in terms of where to act and which threats to manage for vulnerable species.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104614
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalMarine Policy
Volume131
Early online date4 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

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