The first Atlas of European Mammals was published in 1999, some 15 years ago, and is now out of print. The Atlas has been widely-used, with more than 450 citations on the Web of Science and the data have also been included in various European distributional data collections. Although the atlas data remain available through these channels, or via the website www.european-mammals.org, it must be recognised that the dataset, which was finalised in 1998, is ageing and we can be less confident as time goes on that it accurately reflects the current distribution of mammals in Europe.
Distributional atlases remain a fundamental tool for research and conservation. Whilst most conservation delivery is at a national level, it is important that a broader picture of the distribution of species is available to help set context and priorities. Conservation requirements for species protected by the EU Habitats Directive provide a good example of this approach.
With this in mind, in 2015 some members of the original Editorial Group proposed the idea of a second edition of the atlas, updating information for the area already covered and extending the area to the whole of geographic Europe. Early discussions with mammalogists across Europe indicated that there was a high level of interest in this proposal and so an open meeting was held in Rome at the end of November 2016. Discussions at the meeting set the direction for the new project and work began on defining the scope of the project and recruiting volunteers across Europe to help with its delivery.
The Habitat Foundation, The European Mammal Foundation
The European Mammal Foundation (www.european-mammals.org)
Discover the Mammals of Europe (www.discovermammals.org)