University Of Tasmania

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Mapping threats to species: Method matters

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 01:03 authored by Ostwald, A, Tulloch, VJD, Kyne, PM, Bax, NJ, Dunstan, PK, Ferreira, LC, Thums, M, Upston, J, Vanessa AdamsVanessa Adams
Mapping the various anthropogenic threats to species is a key tool to support and guide effective decisions for management of these threats. While there are a range of approaches to mapping threats, the extent to which these provide consistent or differing results has not been investigated. The overall aim of this study was to address this gap by explicitly testing how threat mapping methods vary. To achieve this, we examined the extent to which conservation management priorities change depending on the method used to map threats. This includes methods with increasing levels of spatial and species-specific information: (1) cumulative threats; (2) cumulative threats restricted to species distributions; (3) threat-species hotspots; and, (4) cumulative impacts. We used Australia’s North Marine Region as a case study and focused on 16 species deemed the highest priority for threat management due to their heightened vulnerability to these threats. Visual and tabulated comparisons of these four maps reveal how refining the underlying detail transforms the spatial footprint of each map and therefore, the management implications. Across all four methods there was consistent identification of the coastal zone as the area with highest threats. We found that the cumulative impact method required the greatest data inputs, but in return provided the greatest level of detail in terms of where to act and which threats to manage for vulnerable species.


Publication title

Marine Policy



Article number









School of Geography, Planning and Spatial Sciences


Elsevier Sci Ltd

Place of publication

The Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford, England, Oxon, Ox5 1Gb

Rights statement

Crown Copyright © 2021 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Marine systems and management not elsewhere classified