Global trends of habitat destruction and consequences for parrot conservation

David L. Vergara-Tabares, Javier M. Cordier, Marcos A. Landi, George Olah, Javier Nori*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    29 Citations (Scopus)


    Human advance on natural habitats is a major cause of biodiversity loss. This transformation process represents a profound change in wooded environments, disrupting original communities of flora and fauna. Many species are highly dependent on forests, especially parrots (Psittaciformes) with almost a third of their species threatened by extinction. Most parrot species occur in tropical and subtropical forests, and given the forest dependence of most species, this is the main reason why habitat loss has been highlighted as the main threat for the group. Such habitat loss acts in synergy with other important threats (e.g., logging and poaching), which become especially problematic in certain developing countries along tropical latitudes. In this study, we used available information on parrot distributions, species traits, IUCN assessment, habitat loss and timber extraction for different periods, and distribution of protected areas, to determine conservation hotspots for the group, and analyze potential changes in the conservation status of these species. We detected four conservation hotspots for parrots: two in the Neotropics and two in Oceania, all of them facing different degrees of threat in regard of current habitat loss and agricultural trends. Our results suggest that the future of the group is subject to policymaking in specific regions, especially in the northeastern Andes and the Atlantic Forest. In addition, we predicted that agricultural expansion will have a further negative effect on the conservation status of parrots, pushing many parrot species to the edge of extinction in the near future. Our results have conservation implications by recommending protected areas in specific parrot conservation hotspots. Our recommendations to mitigate conservation risks to this group of umbrella species would also benefit many other coexisting species as well.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)4251-4262
    Number of pages12
    JournalGlobal Change Biology
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


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