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Proactive conservation to prevent habitat losses to agricultural expansion

Citation

Williams, David et al. (2021), Proactive conservation to prevent habitat losses to agricultural expansion, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.jq2bvq87m

Abstract

The projected loss of millions of square kilometres of natural ecosystems to meet future demand for food, animal feed, fibre, and bioenergy crops is likely to massively escalate threats to biodiversity. Reducing these threats requires a detailed knowledge of how and where they are likely to be most severe. We developed a geographically explicit model of future agricultural land clearance based on observed historic changes and combine the outputs with species-specific habitat preferences for 19,859 species of terrestrial vertebrates. We project that 87.7% of these species will lose habitat to agricultural expansion by 2050, with 1,280 species projected to lose ≥25% of their habitat. Proactive policies targeting how, where, and what food is produced could reduce these threats, with a combination of approaches potentially preventing almost all these losses while contributing to healthier human diets. As international biodiversity targets are set to be updated in 2021, these results highlight the importance of proactive efforts to safeguard biodiversity by reducing demand for agricultural land.

Methods

Full methods are available in the "Methods" and "Supplementary Information" of the accompanying paper, and in the code uploaded here. Note that not all data can be shared. Specifically:

  1. The habitat maps are not available to be shared. Please contact the corresponding authors for more information.
  2. We have not included the projections of future agricultural land cover, but will happily share these files. Please email the corresponding authors so we can keep track of how the data are being used.

Usage Notes

The code assumes that the following directories are set up:

  • "./Data/ModellingData/" —containing the .csv files with the prefix "ModellingData_..."
  • "/Data/" —containing "MollweideCountryID_1.5km_IMPACT.tif", "ProportionCrop_2010.tif", "ProportionPasture_2010.tif", "ISO_translation.csv", "ProportionalTargets.csv", "RegionLookUp.csv"
  • "./Data/CountryRasters/" —containing the raster identifying countries and with cell indices
  • "Data/ESHFiles/" —containing the habitat maps for species. NOTE: These data are not available to be shared. Please contact the corresponding authors for more information.
  • "Data/HabitatSuitabilityData/" — containing habitat suitability data for species
  • "./Outputs/Model_Coefficients/" —containing the .rda files which end "..._Coefs.rda"
  • "./Outputs/BAU/tifs" —where the country-specific projections will be stored. Change "BAU" to whatever scenario you are running
  • "./Outputs/WorldAgProjections/..." —where scenario-specific agricultural projections will be stored. NOTE: These data are not included in this repository. Please email the corresponding authors so we can keep track of how the data are being used (we will share them freely, we just want to be able to advise).
  • "./Outputs/ESHTables_EATLancet/" —containing the estimates of the loss of extent of suitable habitat

Scripts need to be run in order. File names are numbered; the sequence is:

  1. Model fitting scripts
  2. Converting agricultural land
  3. Combining the rasters produced into a world map
  4. Overlaying this world map with maps of suitable habitat
  5. Calculating habitat loss from these

Funding

Wellcome Trust, Award: 205212/Z/16/Z