| Nature 436, 192 (14 July 2005) | doi: 10.1038/436192a|
Conservation: Top predators and biodiversity
Fabrizio Sergio1,2, Ian Newton3 and Luigi Marchesi2
Top of pageThe charisma of top vertebrate predators is often used by conservationists as a lever for financial support1, 2, to raise environmental awareness2, 3 and in planning protected areas4, 5, 6 — a strategy that has been criticized3, 5, 7. Here we use information collected from five raptor species that differ widely in their diet and habitat associations to show that sites occupied by these predators are consistently associated with high biodiversity. The biodiversity at these sites is more extensive than it is at sites selected at random, or at sites occupied by species from lower down the trophic pyramid (insectivorous or herbivorous species, for example). Our results indicate that conservation focusing on top predators can be ecologically justified because it delivers broader biodiversity benefits.
1 Top of pageDepartment of Conservation Biology, Estación Biológica de Doñana, CSIC, 41013 Seville, Spain
2 Raptor Conservation Research Unit, Trento Museum of Natural Sciences, 38100 Trento, Italy
3 Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Monks Wood, Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE28 2LS, UK
Correspondence to: Fabrizio Sergio1,2 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org