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Research effort allocation and the conservation of restricted-range island bird species

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date01/2011
JournalBiological Conservation
Journal number1
Volume144
Number of pages6
Pages627-632
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Knowledge gap analyses can be useful to highlight imbalances in research and to improve the distribution of conservation research efforts. We used ISI's Web of Knowledge (WoK) and BirdLife International's library catalogue (BLI) to examine the allocation of research effort amongst the extinction-prone island restricted-range birds (RRSs, n = 1321) and the island endemic bird areas and secondary areas (EBAs, n = 108; SAs, n = 58) previously identified by BirdLife International. We found that the distribution of research effort was very uneven across both species and areas. Half of the number of outputs obtained from WoK referred to 3.1% of the island restricted-range bird species and to 4.8% of the endemic bird areas and secondary areas, whereas 52.2% of the species and 34.3% of the areas had no output. The global distribution of research had a strong spatial component, with a limited number of places receiving most of the research efforts (Hawaii, New Zealand, Central America), while many species rich areas were very poorly studied (South East Asia, South Pacific, most Atlantic islands). Research amongst the most threatened RRSs tended to be less biased, with these species having a higher probability of having at least one output from WoK than less threatened species. Given that threats to the conservation of biodiversity are often highly context-dependent, we advocate prioriting the study of poorly known species and regions. Finally, we integrate the knowledge gaps we identify with previously established conservation priorities, in order to prioritize for future conservation research on RRS. EBAs and SAs.