Islands are biodiversity hotspots, but also extinction epicenters. Fortunately, there is a way to protect these vibrant ecosystems.
Islands are home to a great diversity of rare and endemic species. With the advent of global travel, humans have spread around the world, ventured into these sensitive ecosystems, and in many cases, have introduced species that never could have arrived there on their own.
The introduction of invasive species to island ecosystems has become an alarming environmental crisis contributing to the rapidly rising global extinction rate. Although islands represent only 5.3% of the Earth’s landmass, these biodiversity hotspots are the loci of 75% of all recorded bird, amphibian, mammal, and reptile extinctions. Of these recorded extinctions, 86% have been linked to the presence of invasive species. Today, nearly half of Earth’s Critically Endangered and Endangered terrestrial vertebrates live on islands.
There is hope. Although many island species are at risk of extinction today, tools are available to address this crisis. On many islands around the world it is possible to completely remove invasive species such as rats, feral cats, and mice that prey on and outcompete native species. Restoration projects around the world have contributed to steady advances in scientific research and technology, and these improvements are promising for the protection of global biodiversity.
Since our founding in 1994, Island Conservation has successfully undertaken restoration activities on 60 islands worldwide, benefiting 1090 populations of 399 species and subspecies. As technology advances it is becoming even more clear that to prevent extinctions, we can and should focus on islands.
- Choros Island, Chile: Before and After Restoration - April 24, 2018
- Finn: The Wonder Dog that Traveled to Chile and Saved the Humboldt Penguins - April 23, 2018
- Do Bird-eating Mice Pose a Danger to Wisdom the Albatross? - April 18, 2018
- Protecting the Seabirds of Midway Atoll - April 18, 2018
- Rare Image Captured of Critically Endangered Mascarene Petrel - April 13, 2018
- Mother Nature Network Features Finn the Wonder Dog - April 11, 2018
- Rat-Detecting Dogs Join Lehua Island Restoration Project Partnership; Localized Treatments Continue After a few Rats Caught on Camera - April 9, 2018
- Scientific Assessment Highlights Biodiversity Conservation - March 26, 2018
- Draft Environmental Assessment Released for Midway Seabird Protection Project - March 22, 2018
- Antipodes Island: One of the most complex island eradication projects ever declared a success - March 20, 2018