Global COVID-19 lockdown highlights humans as both threats and custodians of the environment

Amanda E. Bates*, Richard B. Primack, Brandy S. Biggar, Tomas J. Bird, Mary E. Clinton, Rylan J. Command, Cerren Richards, Marc Shellard, Nathan R. Geraldi, Valeria Vergara, Orlando Acevedo-Charry, Zuania Colón-Piñeiro, David Ocampo, Natalia Ocampo-Peñuela, Lina M. Sánchez-Clavijo, Cristian M. Adamescu, Sorin Cheval, Tudor Racoviceanu, Matthew D. Adams, Egide KalisaVincent Z. Kuuire, Vikram Aditya, Pia Anderwald, Samuel Wiesmann, Sonja Wipf, Gal Badihi, Matthew G. Henderson, Hanspeter Loetscher, Katja Baerenfaller, Lisandro Benedetti-Cecchi, Fabio Bulleri, Iacopo Bertocci, Elena Maggi, Luca Rindi, Chiara Ravaglioli, Kristina Boerder, Julien Bonnel, Delphine Mathias, Philippe Archambault, Laurent Chauvaud, Camrin D. Braun, Simon R. Thorrold, Jacob W. Brownscombe, Jonathan D. Midwood, Christine M. Boston, Jill L. Brooks, Steven J. Cooke, Victor China, Uri Roll, Jonathan Belmaker, Assaf Zvuloni, Marta Coll, Miquel Ortega, Brendan Connors, Lisa Lacko, Dinusha R.M. Jayathilake, Mark J. Costello, Theresa M. Crimmins, Lori Anne Barnett, Ellen G. Denny, Katharine L. Gerst, R. L. Marsh, Erin E. Posthumus, Reilly Rodriguez, Alyssa Rosemartin, Sara N. Schaffer, Jeff R. Switzer, Kevin Wong, Susan J. Cunningham, Petra Sumasgutner, Arjun Amar, Robert L. Thomson, Miqkayla Stofberg, Sally Hofmeyr, Jessleena Suri, Rick D. Stuart-Smith, Paul B. Day, Graham J. Edgar, Antonia T. Cooper, Fabio Cabrera De Leo, Grant Garner, Paulson G. Des Brisay, Michael B. Schrimpf, Nicola Koper, Michael S. Diamond, Ross G. Dwyer, Cameron J. Baker, Craig E. Franklin, Ron Efrat, Oded Berger-Tal, Ohad Hatzofe, Víctor M. Eguíluz, Jorge P. Rodríguez, Juan Fernández-Gracia, David Elustondo, Vicent Calatayud, Philina A. English, Stephanie K. Archer, Sarah E. Dudas, Dana R. Haggarty, Austin J. Gallagher, Brendan D. Shea, Oliver N. Shipley, Ben L. Gilby, Jasmine Ballantyne, Andrew D. Olds, Christopher J. Henderson, Thomas A. Schlacher, William D. Halliday, Nicholas A.W. Brown, Mackenzie B. Woods, Sigal Balshine, Francis Juanes, Mitchell J. Rider, Patricia S. Albano, Neil Hammerschlag, Graeme C. Hays, Nicole Esteban, Yuhang Pan, Guojun He, Takanao Tanaka, Marc J.S. Hensel, Robert J. Orth, Christopher J. Patrick, Jonas Hentati-Sundberg, Olof Olsson, Margot L. Hessing-Lewis, Nicholas D. Higgs, Mark A. Hindell, Clive R. McMahon, Rob Harcourt, Christophe Guinet, Sarah E. Hirsch, Justin R. Perrault, Shelby R. Hoover, Jennifer D. Reilly, Catherine Hobaiter, Thibaud Gruber, Charlie Huveneers, Vinay Udyawer, Thomas M. Clarke, Laura P. Kroesen, David S. Hik, Seth G. Cherry, Justin A. Del Bel Belluz, Jennifer M. Jackson, Shengjie Lai, Clayton T. Lamb, Gregory D. LeClair, Jeffrey R. Parmelee, Matthew W.H. Chatfield, Cheryl A. Frederick, Sangdon Lee, Hyomin Park, Jaein Choi, Frédéric LeTourneux, Thierry Grandmont, Frédéric Dulude de-Broin, Joël Bêty, Gilles Gauthier, Pierre Legagneux, Jesse S. Lewis, Jeffrey Haight, Zhu Liu, Jarod P. Lyon, Robin Hale, Dallas D'Silva, Ian MacGregor-Fors, Enrique Arbeláez-Cortés, Felipe A. Estela, Camilo E. Sánchez-Sarria, Michelle García-Arroyo, Giann K. Aguirre-Samboní, Juan C. Franco Morales, Shahar Malamud, Tal Gavriel, Yehezkel Buba, Shira Salingré, Mai Lazarus, Ruthy Yahel, Yigael Ben Ari, Eyal Miller, Rotem Sade, Guy Lavian, Ziv Birman, Manor Gury, Harel Baz, Ilia Baskin, Alon Penn, Amit Dolev, Ogen Licht, Tabi Karkom, Sharon Davidzon, Avi Berkovitch, Ofer Yaakov, Raoul Manenti, Emiliano Mori, Gentile Francesco Ficetola, Enrico Lunghi, David March, Brendan J. Godley, Cecilia Martin, Steven F. Mihaly, David R. Barclay, Dugald J.M. Thomson, Richard Dewey, Jeannette Bedard, Aroha Miller, Amber Dearden, Jennifer Chapman, Lauren Dares, Laura Borden, Donna Gibbs, Jessica Schultz, Nikita Sergeenko, Fiona Francis, Amanda Weltman, Nicolas Moity, Jorge Ramírez-González, Gonzalo Mucientes, Alexandre Alonso-Fernández, Itai Namir, Avi Bar-Massada, Ron Chen, Shmulik Yedvab, Thomas A. Okey, Steffen Oppel, Volen Arkumarev, Samuel Bakari, Vladimir Dobrev, Victoria Saravia-Mullin, Anastasios Bounas, Dobromir Dobrev, Elzbieta Kret, Solomon Mengistu, Cloé Pourchier, Alazar Ruffo, Million Tesfaye, Mengistu Wondafrash, Stoyan C. Nikolov, Charles Palmer, Lorenzo Sileci, Patrick T. Rex, Christopher G. Lowe, Francesc Peters, Matthew K. Pine, Craig A. Radford, Louise Wilson, Lauren McWhinnie, Alessia Scuderi, Andrew G. Jeffs, Kathleen L. Prudic, Maxim Larrivée, Kent P. McFarland, Rodrigo Solis, Rebecca A. Hutchinson, Nuno Queiroz, Miguel A. Furtado, David W. Sims, Emily Southall, Claudio A. Quesada-Rodriguez, Jessica P. Diaz-Orozco, Ku'ulei S. Rodgers, Sarah J.L. Severino, Andrew T. Graham, Matthew P. Stefanak, Elizabeth M.P. Madin, Peter G. Ryan, Kyle Maclean, Eleanor A. Weideman, Çağan H. Şekercioğlu, Kyle D. Kittelberger, Josip Kusak, Jeffrey A. Seminoff, Megan E. Hanna, Takahiro Shimada, Mark G. Meekan, Martin K.S. Smith, Mohlamatsane M. Mokhatla, Malcolm C.K. Soh, Roanna Y.T. Pang, Breyl X.K. Ng, Benjamin P.Y.H. Lee, Adrian H.B. Loo, Kenneth B.H. Er, Gabriel B.G. Souza, Christopher D. Stallings, Joseph S. Curtis, Meaghan E. Faletti, Jonathan A. Peake, Michael J. Schram, Kara R. Wall, Carina Terry, Matt Rothendler, Lucy Zipf, Juan Sebastián Ulloa, Angélica Hernández-Palma, Bibiana Gómez-Valencia, Cristian Cruz-Rodríguez, Yenifer Herrera-Varón, Margarita Roa, Susana Rodríguez-Buriticá, Jose Manuel Ochoa-Quintero, Reut Vardi, Víctor Vázquez, Christian Requena-Mesa, Miyako H. Warrington, Michelle E. Taylor, Lucy C. Woodall, Paris V. Stefanoudis, Xiangliang Zhang, Qiang Yang, Yuval Zukerman, Zehava Sigal, Amir Ayali, Eric E.G. Clua, Pamela Carzon, Clementine Seguine, Andrea Corradini, Luca Pedrotti, Catherine M. Foley, Catherine Alexandra Gagnon, Elijah Panipakoochoo, Celene B. Milanes, Camilo M. Botero, Yunior R. Velázquez, Nataliya A. Milchakova, Simon A. Morley, Stephanie M. Martin, Veronica Nanni, Tanya Otero, Julia Wakeling, Sarah Abarro, Cyril Piou, Ana F.L. Sobral, Eulogio H. Soto, Emily G. Weigel, Alejandro Bernal-Ibáñez, Ignacio Gestoso, Eva Cacabelos, Francesca Cagnacci, Reny P. Devassy, Matthias Claudio Loretto, Paula Moraga, Christian Rutz, Carlos M. Duarte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations

Abstract

The global lockdown to mitigate COVID-19 pandemic health risks has altered human interactions with nature. Here, we report immediate impacts of changes in human activities on wildlife and environmental threats during the early lockdown months of 2020, based on 877 qualitative reports and 332 quantitative assessments from 89 different studies. Hundreds of reports of unusual species observations from around the world suggest that animals quickly responded to the reductions in human presence. However, negative effects of lockdown on conservation also emerged, as confinement resulted in some park officials being unable to perform conservation, restoration and enforcement tasks, resulting in local increases in illegal activities such as hunting. Overall, there is a complex mixture of positive and negative effects of the pandemic lockdown on nature, all of which have the potential to lead to cascading responses which in turn impact wildlife and nature conservation. While the net effect of the lockdown will need to be assessed over years as data becomes available and persistent effects emerge, immediate responses were detected across the world. Thus, initial qualitative and quantitative data arising from this serendipitous global quasi-experimental perturbation highlights the dual role that humans play in threatening and protecting species and ecosystems. Pathways to favorably tilt this delicate balance include reducing impacts and increasing conservation effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109175
JournalBiological Conservation
Volume263
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Funding

FundersFunder number
National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
Arthur Rylah Institute
National Pork Board
Institut de Ciències del Mar
Red Ecoacústica Colombiana
Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt
Vancouver Aquarium
Ein Avdat National Park
Swiss National Park
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Ministry of EnvironmentMOE-2021003360002
Ministry of Environment
National Science and Technology Planning Project
Commission for Environmental Cooperation
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationGBMF9881, GBMF 8072
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales
Agence Nationale de la RechercheANR-18-CE32-0010-01
Agence Nationale de la Recherche
European Regional Development Fund
Cultural Practices and Environmental Certification of Beaches
CORAILLIFE16 NAT/BG/000874
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Bertarelli Programme in Marine Science
Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación
European Union's H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions798091, 794938
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of CanadaRGPIN-2014-06229, ALLRP 550721 - 20
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais
Habitat
National Geographic SocietyNGS-82515R-20
National Geographic Society
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Columbia Basin Trust
A.G. Leventis Foundation
Australian Research CouncilLP140100222
Australian Research Council
Bai Xian Asia Institute
Departamento Administrativo de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación (COLCIENCIAS)811-2018
Departamento Administrativo de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación (COLCIENCIAS)
European Commission
Direction de l'Environnement de Polynésie Française
Seventh Framework Programme
Department of Conservation, New Zealand
Boston University
Council on Ocean Affairs Science and Technology, California State University
Australian Institute of Marine Science
National Research Foundation of KoreaKRF-2021R1A2C1011213
National Research Foundation of Korea
National Natural Science Foundation of China
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
Fundación Charles Darwin2398
Fundación Charles Darwin
Natural Environment Research Council
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
Cape Eleuthera Foundation
King Family Trust
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
Biology Society of South Australia
European Regional Development FundFIS2016-80067-P
European Regional Development Fund
Faruk Eczacıbaşı
National Science FoundationDEB-1832016
National Science Foundation
Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt
National Parks Board - Singapore
Fonds Québécois de la Recherche sur la Nature et les Technologies
Major Science Initiative FundMSI 30199
Labex
Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development0041 - 2020
Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development
Universidad de Costa RicaINV.1106-01-002-15, 2020-21
Universidad de Costa Rica
Bilge Bahar
Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund
Agencia Estatal de Investigación
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Faruk Yalçın Zoo
Disney Conservation Fund
Earth and Space Science Fellowship Program
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation CommissionFWC-12164, FWC-14026, FWC-19050
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology
Fondation Bertarelli
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Colombian Institute for the Development of Science and Technology
DSI-NRF
Conservation Trust Foundation
Agência Regional para o Desenvolvimento da Investigação, Tecnologia e InovaçãoM1420-09-5369-FSE-000002
Agência Regional para o Desenvolvimento da Investigação, Tecnologia e Inovação
Government of Tristan da Cunha
California State University Long Beach
Galapagos National Park Directorate ResearchPC-41-20
Foundation Segré
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Agencia Estatal de Investigación2020002990006
Agencia Estatal de Investigación
Institute of Biology
Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment
Canada Foundation for Innovation
Israeli Academy of Science
University of Tasmania
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

    Keywords

    • Biodiversity
    • Global monitoring
    • Pandemic
    • Restoration

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