The chemical landscape of tropical mammals in the Anthropocene

Colin A. Chapman, Tessa Steiniche, Kathryn Michelle Benavidez, Dipto Sarkar, Katherine Amato, Juan Carlos Serio-Silva, Marta Venier, Michael D. Wasserman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Sixty years ago, Rachel Carson published her book Silent Spring, which focused the world's attention on the dangers of pesticides. Since that time human impacts on the environment have accelerated and this has included reshaping the chemical landscape. Here we evaluate the severity of exposure of tropical terrestrial mammals to pesticides, pharmaceuticals, plastics, particulate matter associated with forest fires, and nanoparticles. We consider how these environmental contaminants interact with one another, with the endocrine and microbiome systems of mammals, and with other environmental changes to produce a larger negative impact than might initially be expected. Using this background and building on past conservation success, such as mending the ozone layer and decreasing acid rain, we tackle the difficult issue of how to construct meaningful policies and conservation plans that include a consideration of the chemical landscape. We document that policy solutions to improving the chemical landscape are already known and the path of how to construct a healthier planet is discernible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109522
JournalBiological Conservation
StatePublished - May 2022


  • Conservation policy
  • Ecosystem health
  • Environmental contaminants
  • Microplastics
  • Pesticides
  • Pharmaceuticals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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