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New study reveals large scale conservation essential
Date:6/9/2008

(Arlington, VA) June 10, 2008 -- Scientists were surprised with findings of a recent study that reveals many animal species believed to persist in small contained areas actually need broad, landscape level conservation to survive.

With more species at risk of extinction today than any other time in human history, the findings of the study published in the debut issue of Conservation Letters provides new insight into how to improve protection for many species worldwide. Scientists from organizations including Conservation International (CI) and BirdLife International identified appropriate scales of conservation efforts for 4,239 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians included on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

"The biggest surprise was the frogs," said Claude Gascon, executive vice president for programs and science at CI, and co-chair of the IUCN Amphibian Specialist Group. "Amphibians are small animals, and many have tiny ranges restricted to a single forest or a mountain stream. But astonishingly many species -- like the Critically Endangered Lake Titicaca Giant Frog (Telmatobius culeus) from Peru -- are greatly impacted by ecological processes at the landscape scale."

Many freshwater species, such as frogs and other amphibians, are threatened by environmental changes to watersheds or river basins impacted by pollution, deforestation or dams. The study found that 20 percent of threatened amphibians, and no less than 40 percent of threatened freshwater turtles, depend on broad-scale conservation action to address changes in freshwater processes.

"It's not that these animals themselves need a huge area per se, but rather that comprehensive and successful strategies must include various scales of action from sites to landscapes" Gascon added. "But we have to think about how we impact the quality and flow of freshwater across entire landscapes. And remember that people need those flows of clea
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Contact: Lisa S. Bowen
lbowen@conservation.org
703-341-2601
Conservation International
Source:Eurekalert

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