The ASEAN region is of global biodiversity importance, exceptionally species-rich, and contains extremely high proportions of country-endemic species found nowhere else on Earth. Species and their habitats are under pressure from unsustainable offtake by illegal wildlife trade, in addition to habitat loss driven by commercial agriculture, infrastructure, and energy projects. Hence, without urgent attention, many species within ASEAN could become extinct in the next few decades. Loss of regionally endemic species in the region would equal global extinctions and a loss of unique natural and cultural heritage across ASEAN.
This assessment provides an overview of current conservation status and available baseline data for ASAP species. Through a comprehensive analysis of primary threats and drivers, a review of area-based conservation measures, ongoing conservation efforts, and the policy context, the assessment generates recommendations for species conservation and recovery for all threatened land and freshwater vertebrate species in the ASEAN region.
Effectively addressing unsustainable offtake at the site level and along the trade chain together with strengthening area-based conservation measures such as protected and conserved areas, including ASEAN Heritage Parks (AHPs), can contribute to the ecological recovery of threatened species in the ASEAN region. This assessment compiles the evidence base to draw attention to the problem and inform a collective ASEAN response to safeguard the region's unique biodiversity.
Bold and urgent action is needed for biodiversity in the ASEAN region. An ASEAN species declaration is recommended as a vital policy platform to galvanise urgent action to avert species extinctions and secure the region’s extraordinary biodiversity.