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Prioritizing islands for the eradication of invasive predators: Which islands in the Western Indian Ocean should be protected first
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Biology Education Centre.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 30 credits / 45 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Islands, constituting merely 5% of our planet’s land area, hold more than 20% of all existing terrestrial plant and vertebrate species. Dauntingly, islands are also among the places most severely affected by the extinction crisis we are facing today. Next to habitat destruction, the greatest threat to island biodiversity is invasive predators and the most effective way to deal with them is their removal. Crucially, eradication is an absolutely essential prerequisite for any subsequent restoration to be successful. In an aspiration to add to the gradually emerging efforts of channelling limited resources to the islands in most urgent need of protection, this study informs about island priorities in the Western Indian Ocean for the eradication of rats (Rattus spp.), cats (Felis catus) and mice (Mus musculus). Considering 318 islands within the region and using 77 affected bird species as surrogates for an island’s total conservation value, the overall strategy of the approach is one of return on investment, i.e. of conservation gain divided by conservation cost. The method strives to be complex and flexible enough to be adjustable to the specific goals of any conservation practitioner in the region, while, at the same time, simple and transparent enough, to be repeatable anywhere in the world. Novel is the inclusion of two variables increasing along probability curves, and measuring an island’s inundation and reinvasion risk. The result of the triage is a set of robust lists presenting the most important islands for immediate conservation actions. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 29 p.
National Category
Other Biological Topics Ecology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-240726OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-240726DiVA: diva2:777009
Educational program
Master Programme in Biology
Available from: 2015-01-15 Created: 2015-01-08 Last updated: 2015-01-15Bibliographically approved

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Kohout, Manuel
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Biology Education Centre
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