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Rhys E. Green

Bio: Rhys E. Green is an academic researcher from University of Cambridge. The author has contributed to research in topics: Population & Gyps. The author has an hindex of 78, co-authored 285 publications receiving 30428 citations. Previous affiliations of Rhys E. Green include University of Oxford & World Conservation Monitoring Centre.


Papers
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Journal ArticleDOI
08 Jan 2004-Nature
TL;DR: Estimates of extinction risks for sample regions that cover some 20% of the Earth's terrestrial surface show the importance of rapid implementation of technologies to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and strategies for carbon sequestration.
Abstract: Climate change over the past approximately 30 years has produced numerous shifts in the distributions and abundances of species and has been implicated in one species-level extinction. Using projections of species' distributions for future climate scenarios, we assess extinction risks for sample regions that cover some 20% of the Earth's terrestrial surface. Exploring three approaches in which the estimated probability of extinction shows a power-law relationship with geographical range size, we predict, on the basis of mid-range climate-warming scenarios for 2050, that 15-37% of species in our sample of regions and taxa will be 'committed to extinction'. When the average of the three methods and two dispersal scenarios is taken, minimal climate-warming scenarios produce lower projections of species committed to extinction ( approximately 18%) than mid-range ( approximately 24%) and maximum-change ( approximately 35%) scenarios. These estimates show the importance of rapid implementation of technologies to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and strategies for carbon sequestration.

7,089 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The results suggest that recent trends in agriculture have had deleterious and measurable effects on bird populations on a continental scale and predict that the introduction of EU agricultural policies into former communist countries hoping to accede to the EU in the near future will result in significant declines in the important bird populations there.
Abstract: The populations of farmland birds in Europe declined markedly during the last quarter of the 20th century, representing a severe threat to biodiversity. Here, we assess whether declines in the populations and ranges of farmland birds across Europe reflect differences in agricultural intensity, which arise largely through differences in political history. Population and range changes were modelled in terms of a number of indices of agricultural intensity. Population declines and range contractions were significantly greater in countries with more intensive agriculture, and significantly higher in the European Union (EU) than in former communist countries. Cereal yield alone explained over 30% of the variation in population trends. The results suggest that recent trends in agriculture have had deleterious and measurable effects on bird populations on a continental scale. We predict that the introduction of EU agricultural policies into former communist countries hoping to accede to the EU in the near future will result in significant declines in the important bird populations there.

1,836 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
28 Jan 2005-Science
TL;DR: It is shown that the best type of farming for species persistence depends on the demand for agricultural products and on how the population densities of different species on farmland change with agricultural yield, and that high-yield farming may allow more species to persist.
Abstract: World food demand is expected to more than double by 2050. Decisions about how to meet this challenge will have profound effects on wild species and habitats. We show that farming is already the greatest extinction threat to birds (the best known taxon), and its adverse impacts look set to increase, especially in developing countries. Two competing solutions have been proposed: wildlife-friendly farming (which boosts densities of wild populations on farmland but may decrease agricultural yields) and land sparing (which minimizes demand for farmland by increasing yield). We present a model that identifies how to resolve the trade-off between these approaches. This shows that the best type of farming for species persistence depends on the demand for agricultural products and on how the population densities of different species on farmland change with agricultural yield. Empirical data on such density-yield functions are sparse, but evidence from a range of taxa in developing countries suggests that high-yield farming may allow more species to persist.

1,760 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
09 Aug 2002-Science
TL;DR: It is estimated that the overall benefit:cost ratio of an effective global program for the conservation of remaining wild nature is at least 100:1.
Abstract: On the eve of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, it is timely to assess progress over the 10 years since its predecessor in Rio de Janeiro. Loss and degradation of remaining natural habitats has continued largely unabated. However, evidence has been accumulating that such systems generate marked economic benefits, which the available data suggest exceed those obtained from continued habitat conversion. We estimate that the overall benefit:cost ratio of an effective global program for the conservation of remaining wild nature is at least 100:1.

1,467 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
02 Sep 2011-Science
TL;DR: Compared crop yields and densities of bird and tree species across gradients of agricultural intensity in southwest Ghana and northern India, land sparing is a more promising strategy for minimizing negative impacts of food production, at both current and anticipated future levels of production.
Abstract: The question of how to meet rising food demand at the least cost to biodiversity requires the evaluation of two contrasting alternatives: land sharing, which integrates both objectives on the same land; and land sparing, in which high-yield farming is combined with protecting natural habitats from conversion to agriculture. To test these alternatives, we compared crop yields and densities of bird and tree species across gradients of agricultural intensity in southwest Ghana and northern India. More species were negatively affected by agriculture than benefited from it, particularly among species with small global ranges. For both taxa in both countries, land sparing is a more promising strategy for minimizing negative impacts of food production, at both current and anticipated future levels of production.

1,383 citations


Cited by
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the use of the maximum entropy method (Maxent) for modeling species geographic distributions with presence-only data was introduced, which is a general-purpose machine learning method with a simple and precise mathematical formulation.

13,120 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
12 Feb 2010-Science
TL;DR: A multifaceted and linked global strategy is needed to ensure sustainable and equitable food security, different components of which are explored here.
Abstract: Continuing population and consumption growth will mean that the global demand for food will increase for at least another 40 years. Growing competition for land, water, and energy, in addition to the overexploitation of fisheries, will affect our ability to produce food, as will the urgent requirement to reduce the impact of the food system on the environment. The effects of climate change are a further threat. But the world can produce more food and can ensure that it is used more efficiently and equitably. A multifaceted and linked global strategy is needed to ensure sustainable and equitable food security, different components of which are explored here.

9,125 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This work compared 16 modelling methods over 226 species from 6 regions of the world, creating the most comprehensive set of model comparisons to date and found that presence-only data were effective for modelling species' distributions for many species and regions.
Abstract: Prediction of species' distributions is central to diverse applications in ecology, evolution and conservation science. There is increasing electronic access to vast sets of occurrence records in museums and herbaria, yet little effective guidance on how best to use this information in the context of numerous approaches for modelling distributions. To meet this need, we compared 16 modelling methods over 226 species from 6 regions of the world, creating the most comprehensive set of model comparisons to date. We used presence-only data to fit models, and independent presence-absence data to evaluate the predictions. Along with well-established modelling methods such as generalised additive models and GARP and BIOCLIM, we explored methods that either have been developed recently or have rarely been applied to modelling species' distributions. These include machine-learning methods and community models, both of which have features that may make them particularly well suited to noisy or sparse information, as is typical of species' occurrence data. Presence-only data were effective for modelling species' distributions for many species and regions. The novel methods consistently outperformed more established methods. The results of our analysis are promising for the use of data from museums and herbaria, especially as methods suited to the noise inherent in such data improve.

7,589 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Understanding this complexity, while taking strong steps to minimize current losses of species, is necessary for responsible management of Earth's ecosystems and the diverse biota they contain.
Abstract: Humans are altering the composition of biological communities through a variety of activities that increase rates of species invasions and species extinctions, at all scales, from local to global. These changes in components of the Earth's biodiversity cause concern for ethical and aesthetic reasons, but they also have a strong potential to alter ecosystem properties and the goods and services they provide to humanity. Ecological experiments, observations, and theoretical developments show that ecosystem properties depend greatly on biodiversity in terms of the functional characteristics of organisms present in the ecosystem and the distribution and abundance of those organisms over space and time. Species effects act in concert with the effects of climate, resource availability, and disturbance regimes in influencing ecosystem properties. Human activities can modify all of the above factors; here we focus on modification of these biotic controls. The scientific community has come to a broad consensus on many aspects of the re- lationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, including many points relevant to management of ecosystems. Further progress will require integration of knowledge about biotic and abiotic controls on ecosystem properties, how ecological communities are struc- tured, and the forces driving species extinctions and invasions. To strengthen links to policy and management, we also need to integrate our ecological knowledge with understanding of the social and economic constraints of potential management practices. Understanding this complexity, while taking strong steps to minimize current losses of species, is necessary for responsible management of Earth's ecosystems and the diverse biota they contain.

6,891 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article explores the special features of freshwater habitats and the biodiversity they support that makes them especially vulnerable to human activities and advocates continuing attempts to check species loss but urges adoption of a compromise position of management for biodiversity conservation, ecosystem functioning and resilience, and human livelihoods.
Abstract: Freshwater biodiversity is the over-riding conservation priority during the International Decade for Action - 'Water for Life' - 2005 to 2015. Fresh water makes up only 0.01% of the World's water and approximately 0.8% of the Earth's surface, yet this tiny fraction of global water supports at least 100000 species out of approximately 1.8 million - almost 6% of all described species. Inland waters and freshwater biodiversity constitute a valuable natural resource, in economic, cultural, aesthetic, scientific and educational terms. Their conservation and management are critical to the interests of all humans, nations and governments. Yet this precious heritage is in crisis. Fresh waters are experiencing declines in biodiversity far greater than those in the most affected terrestrial ecosystems, and if trends in human demands for water remain unaltered and species losses continue at current rates, the opportunity to conserve much of the remaining biodiversity in fresh water will vanish before the 'Water for Life' decade ends in 2015. Why is this so, and what is being done about it? This article explores the special features of freshwater habitats and the biodiversity they support that makes them especially vulnerable to human activities. We document threats to global freshwater biodiversity under five headings: overexploitation; water pollution; flow modification; destruction or degradation of habitat; and invasion by exotic species. Their combined and interacting influences have resulted in population declines and range reduction of freshwater biodiversity worldwide. Conservation of biodiversity is complicated by the landscape position of rivers and wetlands as 'receivers' of land-use effluents, and the problems posed by endemism and thus non-substitutability. In addition, in many parts of the world, fresh water is subject to severe competition among multiple human stakeholders. Protection of freshwater biodiversity is perhaps the ultimate conservation challenge because it is influenced by the upstream drainage network, the surrounding land, the riparian zone, and - in the case of migrating aquatic fauna - downstream reaches. Such prerequisites are hardly ever met. Immediate action is needed where opportunities exist to set aside intact lake and river ecosystems within large protected areas. For most of the global land surface, trade-offs between conservation of freshwater biodiversity and human use of ecosystem goods and services are necessary. We advocate continuing attempts to check species loss but, in many situations, urge adoption of a compromise position of management for biodiversity conservation, ecosystem functioning and resilience, and human livelihoods in order to provide a viable long-term basis for freshwater conservation. Recognition of this need will require adoption of a new paradigm for biodiversity protection and freshwater ecosystem management - one that has been appropriately termed 'reconciliation ecology'.

5,857 citations