Researchers identify 20 future conservation battlegrounds

The soldiers of conservation have been given their marching orders. (Ah, martial metaphors … never can get the hang of them.) A new study has identified 20 future conservation battlegrounds around the world, from Alaska’s far north to the southern tip of the Australian island of Tasmania — hotspots where land-mammal species aren’t yet endangered but could be especially vulnerable in coming years due to pollution, deforestation, hunting, and other pressures. “Conservation is a crisis discipline,” said lead researcher Marcel Cardillo. “Because there are so many species on the verge of extinction, that’s where most of the effort goes.” But the researchers hope their map, published this week in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, will spur conservationists to target these regions now for preemptive protection.