Impact of deforestation on endangered mammals

Study provides insights on the role of changing forest cover on the distribution of 35 endangered mammals

Data resources used via GBIF : 2,000 species occurrences
Borneo fires and smoke, 2002
Satellite photo of Borneo showing smoke from burning peat swamp forests. By Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Expanding agricultural croplands and pastures lead to deforestation, a major cause of habitat loss and biodiversity decline, affecting dozens of already endangered species relying on forests for hiding, feeding and breeding.

This study by a researcher from the Polytechnic University of Tirana examines the role of changing forest cover on the distribution of 35 endangered terrestrial mammals.

Using GBIF-mediated occurrences combined with IUCN range data, the author modelled the distributions based on environmental variables and used satellite data to determine recent changes to forest cover.

With overall good performance, the models showed distributions determined particularly by elevation, distance to the nearest protected area and forested landscape, the latter a significant factor predicting occurrence in a third of carnivore species and more than half of non-carnivores.

For the large Bornean bay cat (Catopuma badia), changes in forest cover meant changes in distribution with a tendency of occurrence mainly in areas with dense forests of more than 90 per cent coverage.

Laze K (2019) Insights on the role of forest cover and on the changes in forest cover on thirty-five endangered mammal species distributions. European Journal of Ecology. Walter de Gruyter GmbH 5(2): 88–110. Available at: