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Is the prickly pear a ‘Tzabar’? Diversity and conservation of Israel’s migrant species: Supplementary Material

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posted on 2018-03-28, 12:29 authored by Arian D. Wallach, Erick Lundgren, Esty Yanco, Daniel Ramp

Human-assisted biotic migration is a hallmark of the Anthropocene. Populations introduced outside their native ranges (‘migrant species’) have commonly been viewed as a threat to be addressed with lethal control programs. Israel has a long history of anthropogenic changes, and conservation has typically focused on ameliorating direct human impacts rather than eradicating migrant species. However, this may be changing with the growing influence of invasion biology worldwide. We conducted a review of the diversity, conservation status, and academic attitudes toward Israel’s migrant species (IMS). We identified 199 plants and animals from 85 families that have immigrated into Israel from across the globe, and 122 species from 64 families considered native to Israel that have emigrated to every bioregion and to two oceans, although few species have become cosmopolitan. The conservation status of most immigrant (84.9%) and emigrant (55.7%) species has not been assessed, and even the native ranges of eleven immigrants (5.5%) remains unknown. Of those assessed, 27% of immigrants are threatened or decreasing in their native ranges, and 62% of emigrants are globally decreasing or locally threatened and extinct. After accounting for local extinctions, immigration has increased Israel’s plant and vertebrate richness by 104 species. Israel’s immigrants are increasingly being viewed from an invasion biology perspective, with 76% of studies published in the past decade, reaching over a quarter of local conservation publications. Incorporating principles of compassionate conservation could help foster a more socially acceptable and morally grounded approach to the immigrant wildlife of the Middle East.