Why is MammalMAP necessary?
In Africa, our knowledge of mammal distribution patterns is based largely on historical records. However, the last three centuries have seen extensive human-modification of African landscapes with the associated conversion, compression and fragmentation of natural land. With further land development presenting a likely reality for the future, the effectiveness of mammal conservation efforts depends on ecological records being updated so that they accurately reflect mammal distribution patterns in the 21st Century. With MammalMAP we plan to conduct these ecological updates over the coming years, by mapping the current distribution of mammal species (including marine mammals and small mammals) across Africa.
How will MammalMAP contribute to conservation?
The conservation benefits of this research are multiple. First, the comparison of these updated distribution records with both historical and future records will enable the detection of species’ distribution changes in response to human-related and climate-related habitat changes. These change detections will assist the guidance of continent-wide conservation policies and decision making processes. Second, the research will promote and facilitate interdisciplinary and international collaboration amongst scientists and conservation practitioners, with potential benefits to the advancement of conservation science. Finally, both the project input stage (data collection) and output stage (data dissemination) will offer interactive, dynamic and widely applicable education tools suitable for both formal and informal education sectors.