Predicting local biodiversity responses to population pressures

Blog post

A global database helps identify how land use and related pressures have influenced the occurrence and abundance of species and the diversity of ecological assemblages.

Human activities have caused major changes in biological communities (animal populations and plants) worldwide, affecting biodiversity and ecosystem function. Understanding how land use and related pressures influence global biodiversity at a local scale can help make predictions of future changes.

Bringing more than 500 scientists worldwide, the PREDICTS project (Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity in Changing Terrestrial Systems) uses a meta-analytic approach to investigate how local biodiversity typically responds to pressures like land-use change, pollution, invasive species and infrastructure. Since 2012, this global database has collated data on local biodiversity at different levels of human pressure from published studies.

In a recently published paper in Ecology and Evolution, the project team outlines how the database can help in answering a range of questions in ecology and conservation biology. The PREDICTS database will be useful to researchers and international efforts wishing to model and understand the global status of biodiversity.

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