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Global Change Biology

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Anthropogenic pressures, Indigenous Peoples' lands, landscape conservation, primate biogeography, protected areas, sixth mass extinction, Structural equation modeling, Threatened species -- wildlife trade, Climatic changes -- Effect of human beings on


The world's primates have been severely impacted in diverse and profound ways by anthropogenic pressures. Here, we evaluate the impact of various infrastructures and human-modified landscapes on spatial patterns of primate species richness, at both global and regional scales. We overlaid the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) range maps of 520 primate species and applied a global 100 km2 grid. We used structural equation modeling and simultaneous autoregressive models to evaluate direct and indirect effects of six human-altered landscapes variables (i.e., human footprint [HFP], croplands [CROP], road density [ROAD], pasture lands [PAST], protected areas [PAs], and Indigenous Peoples' lands [IPLs]) on global primate species richness, threatened and non-threatened species, as well as on species with decreasing and non-decreasing populations. Two-thirds of all primate species are classified as threatened (i.e., Critically Endangered, Endangered, and Vulnerable), with ~86% experiencing population declines, and ~84% impacted by domestic or international trade. We found that the expansion of PAST, HFP, CROP, and road infrastructure had the most direct negative effects on primate richness. In contrast, forested habitat within IPLs and PAs was positively associated in safeguarding primate species diversity globally, with an even stronger effect at the regional level. Our results show that IPLs and PAs play a critical role in primate species conservation, helping to prevent their extinction; in contrast, HFP growth and expansion has a dramatically negative effect on primate species worldwide. Our findings support predictions that the continued negative impact of anthropogenic pressures on natural habitats may lead to a significant decline in global primate species richness, and likely, species extirpations. We advocate for stronger national and international policy frameworks promoting alternative/sustainable livelihoods and reducing persistent anthropogenic pressures to help mitigate the extinction risk of the world's primate species.


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