University of Sussex
Newbold_et_al_2014_A_global_model_of_the_response_of_tropical_and_sub-tropical_forest_biodiversity_to_anthropogenic_pressures_PRSB.pdf (1.09 MB)
Download file

A global model of the response of tropical and sub-tropical forest biodiversity to anthropogenic pressures

Download (1.09 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-08, 18:07 authored by Tim Newbold, Jörn P W Scharlemann, Lawrence N Hudson, Helen R P Phillips, Samantha L L Hill, Sara Contu, Igor Lysenko, Abigayil Blandon, Stuart H M Butchart, Hollie L Booth, Julie Day, Adriana De Palma, Michelle L K Harrison, Lucinda Kirkpatrick, Edwin Pynegar, Alexandra Robinson, Jake Simpson, Georgina M Mace, Andy Purvis
Habitat loss and degradation, driven largely by agricultural expansion and intensification, present the greatest immediate threat to biodiversity. Tropical forests harbour among the highest levels of terrestrial species diversity and are likely to experience rapid land-use change in the coming decades. Synthetic analyses of observed responses of species are useful for quantifying how land use affects biodiversity and for predicting outcomes under land-use scenarios. Previous applications of this approach have typically focused on individual taxonomic groups, analysing the average response of the whole community to changes in land use. Here, we incorporate quantitative remotely sensed data about habitats in, to our knowledge, the first worldwide synthetic analysis of how individual species in four major taxonomic groups—invertebrates, ‘herptiles’ (reptiles and amphibians), mammals and birds—respond to multiple human pressures in tropical and sub-tropical forests. We show significant independent impacts of land use, human vegetation offtake, forest cover and human population density on both occurrence and abundance of species, highlighting the value of analysing multiple explanatory variables simultaneously. Responses differ among the four groups considered, and—within birds and mammals—between habitat specialists and habitat generalists and between narrow-ranged and wide-ranged species.


Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Published version


Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences




Royal Society, The





Page range


Department affiliated with

  • Evolution, Behaviour and Environment Publications

Full text available

  • Yes

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


First Open Access (FOA) Date


First Compliant Deposit (FCD) Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Publications)


    No categories selected