Uncertainty and conservation risk assessments

An article I coauthored with Graeme Gillespie, Dale Roberts, Hal Cogger, Mike Mahony and Keith McDonald has just been published in the journal Biological Conservation.

We examined how uncertainty in biological and ecological information (expressed as variation and uncertainty in expert opinion) influences conservation risk assessments for threatened species, using the entire Australian frog fauna as a case study. We found that for many poorly known species, it was conceivable that current assessments of relative extinction risk are overly conservative, and that these species may in fact warrant much more research and conservation attention. Species with highly uncertain extinction risk also tended to be geographically clustered, meaning that current understanding of the conservation status of the anuran fauna of some regions may be overly optimistic.

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