Estimating the global conservation status of more than 15,000 Amazonian tree species

Hans Ter Steege*, Nigel C.A. Pitman, Timothy J. Killeen, William F. Laurance, Carlos A. Peres, Juan Ernesto Guevara, Rafael P. Salomão, Carolina V. Castilho, Iêda Leão Amaral, Francisca Dionízia De Almeida Matos, Luiz De Souza Coelho, William E. Magnusson, Oliver L. Phillips, Diogenes De Andrade Lima Filho, Marcelo De Jesus Veiga Carim, Mariana Victória Irume, Maria Pires Martins, Jean François Molino, Daniel Sabatier, Florian WittmannDairon Cárdenas López, José Renan Da Silva Guimarães, Abel Monteagudo Mendoza, Percy Núñez Vargas, Angelo Gilberto Manzatto, Neidiane Farias Costa Reis, John Terborgh, Katia Regina Casula, Juan Carlos Montero, Ted R. Feldpausch, Euridice N.Honorio Coronado, Alvaro Javier Duque Montoya, Charles Eugene Zartman, Bonifacio Mostacedo, Rodolfo Vasquez, Rafael L. Assis, Marcelo Brilhante Medeiros, Marcelo Fragomeni Simon, Ana Andrade, José Luís Camargo, Susan G.W. Laurance, Henrique Eduardo Mendonça Nascimento, Beatriz S. Marimon, Ben Hur Marimon, Flávia Costa, Natalia Targhetta, Ima Célia Guimarães Vieira, Roel Brienen, Hernán Castellanos, Bruce Hoffman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


Estimates of extinction risk for Amazonian plant and animal species are rare and not often incorporated into land-use policy and conservation planning. We overlay spatial distribution models with historical and projected deforestation to show that at least 36% and up to 57% of all Amazonian tree species are likely to qualify as globally threatened under International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List criteria. If confirmed, these results would increase the number of threatened plant species on Earth by 22%. We show that the trends observed in Amazonia apply to trees throughout the tropics, and we predict that most of the world's >40,000 tropical tree species now qualify as globally threatened. A gap analysis suggests that existing Amazonian protected areas and indigenous territories will protect viable populations of most threatened species if these areas suffer no further degradation, highlighting the key roles that protected areas, indigenous peoples, and improved governance can play in preventing large-scale extinctions in the tropics in this century.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1500936
JournalScience Advances
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


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