The Azores Archipelago: Biodiversity Erosion and Conservation Biogeography

Borges, P.A.V., Santos, A.M.C., Elias, R.B. & Gabriel, R. (2019) The Azores Archipelago: Biodiversity Erosion and Conservation Biogeography. Encyclopedia of the World's Biomes-Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences. Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences (ed. by E. Scott et al.), pp. 1-13. Elsevier,  Amsterdam, Netherlands. DOI:10.1016/B978-0-12-409548-9.11949-9.

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  • Aug, 2019


The Azores is an isolated archipelago that is home to a unique biodiversity. However, their native biotas are being affected by different drivers of global change, mainly by land-use changes and fragmentation, introduction of exotic invasive species and climatic changes. The combined effects of these factors lead to changes in habitats structure and composition, the spread of exotic fauna and flora, and the impoverishment of native endemic species. Most of the Azorean endemic species were recently assessed for IUCN and a large fraction of the endemic arthropods have a status of conservation concern, including Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable species, which confirms an ongoing process of extinction debt that most probably will lead to the extinction of many species. One important step for designing and implementing conservation strategies that mitigate these impacts is having a deep knowledge of changes on abundance and range-size contraction and expansion. A long-term monitoring strategy is already in place in the Azores, but future actions should include implementing a “Global Island Monitoring Scheme” for the long-term coordinated survey and monitoring of native island biotas.