Protected areas network and conservation efforts concerning threatened amphibians in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest
Abstract. One of the most common conservation strategies used to preserve threatened species is the establishment of protected areas (PAs), providing a maximum representation of biodiversity with the smallest possible cost. The Brazilian Atlantic Forest is one of the 35 global biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities, having high rate of habitat loss, which is one of the main factors driving threatened amphibians to extinction. Considering that amphibians are the vertebrate group with the largest number of species geographically excluded from global PAs, gap analysis was employed to evaluate whether or not the PAs of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest safeguard the threatened amphibian species in this region. Species status were compared through the official list of threatened species of the Brazilian Fauna and occurrence maps were obtained from the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List database. Thirty-eight threatened amphibian species were found, accounting for 17 critically endangered (CR), 10 endangered (EN), and 11 vulnerable (VU). The PAs distributed in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest corresponds to only 9 % of the region's entire area. This protected network covers only 30 % of the total geographical range of the assessed species. Besides, a shift in Brazil's environmental policy has led to PAs downgrading. Therefore, the maintenance of PAs integrity is essential, as well as further investment is necessary for the creation of new reserves, avoiding species loss and reducing the extinction risk of the threatened amphibian species in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest.