Journal Cover Biodiversity and Conservation
  [SJR: 1.248]   [H-I: 90]   [189 followers]  Follow
   Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
   ISSN (Print) 0960-3115 - ISSN (Online) 1572-9710
   Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2350 journals]
  • The curious case of Bradypus variegatus sloths: populations in threatened
           habitats are biodiversity components needing protection
    • Authors: Sofia Marques Silva; José A. Dávila; Bryson Voirin; Susana Lopes; Nuno Ferrand; Nadia Moraes-Barros
      Pages: 1291 - 1308
      Abstract: Studying Neotropical wild populations is of particular interest. While this region is facing an escalating habitat degradation, it also has remarkable biodiversity levels, whose origin we are only beginning to understand. A myriad of processes might have had idiosyncratic effects on its numerous species. Within the hottest Neotropical biodiversity hotspot, the Atlantic Forest (AF), species and genetic diversities are organized latitudinally, with decreasing diversity levels southwards. Bradypus variegatus, the brown-throated three-toed sloth, was one of the first species observed to present such pattern. Moreover, within AF, B. variegatus populations seem to be geographically isolated and genetically differentiated. Whether AF B. variegatus isolation, differentiation, and loss of genetic diversity are historical or contemporary (anthropogenic-driven), result from species-specific or general historical events, and if this is of conservation concern remains unclear. Here, we combine micro-evolutionary, multilocus, and high-throughput sequencing approaches to detail the processes responsible for the patterns of genetic diversity on B. variegatus populations in AF, and further understand AF biogeographic history. Few studies made use of similar approaches on Neotropical biodiversity. Our results agree with recent re-interpretations on the AF refugia model and support a species-specific refugium in southern AF, characterized by a metapopulation formation. Finally, we present compelling evidences of the need for conservation actions on AF B. variegatus populations, by comparing genetic diversity levels between populations of different Bradypus species. As far as we know, this is the most comprehensive assessment on Bradypus nuclear DNA diversity.
      PubDate: 2018-05-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1493-7
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 6 (2018)
  • Non-crop habitats modulate alpha and beta diversity of flower flies
           (Diptera, Syrphidae) in Brazilian agricultural landscapes
    • Authors: Hugo Reis Medeiros; Adriano Thibes Hoshino; Milton Cezar Ribeiro; Mírian Nunes Morales; Felipe Martello; Osvaldo Coelho Pereira Neto; Daniel Wisbech Carstensen; Ayres de Oliveira Menezes Junior
      Pages: 1309 - 1326
      Abstract: Non-crop habitats play a key role in maintaining functional diversity and ecosystem services in farmland. However, the interplay between beneficial insects and landscape variables has rarely been investigated in Neotropical agroecosystems. We used flower flies as a model group to investigate the effects of landscape attributes on beneficial insects in agroecosystems across a gradient of landscape complexity. We specifically ask: (i) Do the abundance and species richness of flower flies in cereal crops increase with increasing landscape complexity' (ii) Do the effects of landscape variables on local flower fly communities differ between spatial scales' (iii) How do landscape complexity and local factors (crop size, altitude and insecticide applications) affect beta diversity' We sampled flower flies in 54 edges within 18 wheat crops in Paraná State, southern Brazil. The percentage of non-crop habitats, landscape diversity and edge density were the explanatory variables, which were calculated at multiple spatial scales for each landscape. We collected 8340 flower flies, distributed in 12 genera and 52 species. Species richness was positively associated with the percentage of non-crop habitats, but total abundance presented non-clear pattern. However, abundance without the dominant species was also positively associated with the percentage non-crop habitats. Similarly, beta diversity was related to non-crop habitats, suggesting that the reduction in non-crop habitats implies in species loss. We have provided the first insights into the importance of non-crop habitats on the conservation of beneficial insects within Neotropical farmlands. To guarantee high levels of biodiversity within agroecosystems we need to promote the conservation and restoration of non-crop habitats in the surrounding landscapes.
      PubDate: 2018-05-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1495-5
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 6 (2018)
  • Buy or lease land' Cost-effective conservation of an oligotrophic lake
           in a Natura 2000 area
    • Authors: Oliver Schöttker; Frank Wätzold
      Pages: 1327 - 1345
      Abstract: Cost-effective implementation of measures to conserve biodiversity is often a major target of conservation organisations, and choosing the correct mode of governance can be important in this context. Nature conservation organisations can, in principle, choose between two distinct modes of governance to implement conservation activities: they can (1) buy desired areas of interest and implement conservation measures themselves (buy option), or (2) offer payments to landowners to incentivize them to voluntarily preserve or create habitat on their land (compensation option). In this paper we analyse the cost-effectiveness of these two modes of governance in a case study on a conservation project in a Natura 2000 area in Schleswig–Holstein, Germany. The actual costs of the buy option are compared with the potential costs of implementing the compensation option. We developed a costing framework to compare the costs of both options over time, given they generate the same ecological results on an identical project area. We find that the cost-effective solution depends, among other things, on the conservation timeframe considered and on cost components such as transaction costs, leasehold rent and land prices.
      PubDate: 2018-05-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1496-4
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 6 (2018)
  • Impact of habitat fragmentation on the spatial structure of the Eastern
           Arc forests in East Africa: implications for biodiversity conservation
    • Authors: William D. Newmark; Phoebe B. McNeally
      Pages: 1387 - 1402
      Abstract: The Eastern Arc Mountains in Tanzania and Kenya are one of 35 global biodiversity hotspots. The Eastern Arc forests are, as are many other tropical biodiversity hotspots, highly fragmented. Understanding the impact of habitat fragmentation (i.e., habitat loss and subdivision) on the spatial structure of the Eastern Arc forests is important because forest spatial structure highly influences species richness, persistence, and extinction debt. Here we examine the impact of habitat fragmentation on the spatial structure of the Eastern Arc forests at a patch scale using very high resolution aerial imagery having a spatial resolution of 0.5–1.5 m. Forest area across the 13 Eastern Arc Mountains is 405,852 ha and is distributed into 311 fragments ≥ 10 ha in size with a median fragment size of 84 ha. The 18 largest forest fragments in the Eastern Arc Mountains contain greater than three-quarters of total forest area. Average fragment isolation, as assessed by median distance to nearest fragment and median distance to the nearest larger fragment, is 867 and 1533 m, respectively. Of total forest area, 14% is < 100 m from the forest edge and 33% is < 300 m from the forest edge. Establishing forested linkages among the largest and closest forest fragments through forest regeneration and protection of secondary regenerating forest as well as providing protected area status to the remaining non-protected forest including unprotected smaller forest fragments are important to enhancing the long-term persistence of many plant and animal species here.
      PubDate: 2018-05-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1498-x
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 6 (2018)
  • Too much, too fast, too complex or too strange' Asymmetric sequences
           in public opinion regarding biodiversity conservation in Island
           social-ecological setups
    • Authors: Andreas Y. Troumbis; Maria N. Hatziantoniou
      Pages: 1403 - 1418
      Abstract: Ecological modernization projects are crucial drivers for transforming economies and territorial policies in small scale islands. Social factors and public behavior are determinants for successful implementation of this transition strategy that refers to several domains in parallel, e.g., energy transition, biodiversity conservation, environmentally friendly agri-culture and green-services sector. In this paper, we propose a technique to ordinate and plot combined values-choices of individuals in a 4 phase/2D plane regarding the implementation of ecological modernization policies organized around four traits, i.e., speed and quantity of the process, organizational complexity and governance origin of a project. Results are intriguing. Arrangements of combined individual choices appear with a main sequence corresponding to the fatalist anthropological rationality category according to Douglas’ model of polyrationalities. There are differences between public quantitative and qualitative evaluations of specific projects; these differences are maximized when conservation plans are confronted to specific energy facilities. We propose the idea that this technique could be an instrument for scrutinizing public engagement with- and appreciation of—biodiversity conservation in the emerging field of culturomics.
      PubDate: 2018-05-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1499-9
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 6 (2018)
  • Independent contributions of threat and popularity to conservation
    • Authors: M. Díaz; J. D. Anadón; J. L. Tella; A. Giménez; I. Pérez
      Pages: 1419 - 1429
      Abstract: Species translocations are popular tools in conservation, but may be increasingly motivated by species’ popularity, rather than their threat status. We analyzed relative contributions of threat status (a surrogate for extinction risk) and popularity (an estimate of the degree of public knowledge, awareness or notoriety) to the likelihood of developing translocation projects for a representative whole regional fauna (174 conservation translocations during the last two decades for 82 out of the 527 species of Spanish terrestrial vertebrates). Three measures of threat status were obtained from technical (IUCN) and legal sources. Popularity estimates were obtained from body size data and two different Internet search protocols. All combinations of the three factors used to estimate threat status were correlated, as were the three indicators of species popularity (internet popularity indexes and body mass). Selected estimates unbiasedly captured differences in both threat and popularity among species. Threat and popularity were only weakly correlated, as expected when considering faunas as a whole rather than the better-studied subsets. Threat status and popularity had significant and equivalent contributions to explain the development of conservation translocations. Popularity, or lack thereof, partly explained the development of projects for non-threatened but popular species, as well as the lack of projects for several highly endangered species unknown by the public. Observed mismatches between technical and social criteria can be prevented by (a) strict separation of conservation translocations from translocations directed to cover other social demands or (b) development of explicit, quantitative decision-making criteria aimed at rigorous ex-ante evaluations of translocations.
      PubDate: 2018-05-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1500-7
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 6 (2018)
  • Can conservation in protected areas and visitor preferences converge'
           An empirical study in Central Chile
    • Authors: Claudia Cerda; Juan Pablo Fuentes; Gabriel Mancilla
      Pages: 1431 - 1451
      Abstract: The assessment of visitors’ willingness to pay (WTP) to achieve scenarios that guarantee good conservation status in protected areas and that positively contribute to visitor experience is crucial to revealing the potential to harmonize the development of nature-based tourism and the conservation of biodiversity. We estimated visitors’ WTP for a variety of environmental attributes in a protected area in a biodiversity hotspot in central Chile. Using a choice experiment (CE), WTP was estimated for the protection of animals, plants, and soil; for guaranteeing the provision of ecosystem services related to water resources; and for increasing touristic infrastructure. Among animals and plants, the marginal mean WTP/visitor/visit for single levels of variation in the attribute ranged from ~ US $1.4 (for herbaceous species) to ~ US $7 (for birds). The WTP for soil protection in camping areas and walking trails reached a mean of ~ US $2.8. The mean WTP for guaranteeing the provision of water benefits ranged from US $− 1.98 (for activities such as hydroelectricity and mining) to ~ US $5.6 (for the conservation of biodiversity and ecological processes). Small increases in infrastructure for recreation are well accepted by visitors (a mean WTP of US $1.50) compared to medium or large increases, which generate a negative WTP. Our results indicate that the protected area conservation and visitor preferences can converge. Broader assessments that include multiple biological attributes have emerged as useful approaches in designing management strategies for protected areas that align with conservation goals and visitor preferences.
      PubDate: 2018-05-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1501-6
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 6 (2018)
  • Measuring the representativeness of a germplasm collection
    • Authors: Carlos Hernandez-Suarez
      Pages: 1471 - 1486
      Abstract: Many germplasm collections aim to preserve most of the genetic diversity present in a population so that the population could be regenerated, which provides genetic resources to ensure food security. This paper proposes a way to measure how well a germplasm collection achieve this goal. In the most common scenario, one has little information regarding the number and statistical distribution of alleles at every locus, and it is thus very difficult to measure the representativeness of the accession. Here, we show how to use samples of allelic diversity at a sample of loci to estimate the representativeness of an accession based on the coverage of a sample with point and interval estimates. Our approach avoids making unrealistic assumptions regarding the number of loci, the bounds for the number of alleles or their frequency distributions. Depending on the sampling scheme of a collection, we differentiate between absolute or relative coverage. Here, we demonstrate this methodology using data from the germplasm collection at the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research.
      PubDate: 2018-05-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1504-3
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 6 (2018)
  • The sociology of sea turtle research: evidence on a global expansion of
           co-authorship networks
    • Authors: Antonios D. Mazaris; Chrysoula Gkazinou; Vasiliki Almpanidou; George Balazs
      Pages: 1503 - 1516
      Abstract: The conservation of biological diversity represents a major challenge for modern societies. Research offers the fundamental information to advance and integrate our knowledge on ecological systems, their processes and interactions. Yet, the transfer of scientific knowledge and results represents a critical step towards enhancing conservation efficiency. Here, we use sea turtle research, as an example to test the potential and dynamics of international scientific cooperation reflecting the advancement of knowledge. The selection of sea turtles as a case study was mainly based on two factors. First, they represent a highly mobile group of species with cosmopolitan distribution that cross geopolitical borders, policies and agreements. Second, encouraging evidence on global population recovery are increasingly presented. We used research publications on sea turtles (from 1967 since 2016) as the main product of scientific knowledge, to develop a series of co-authorship networks. Countries that were mentioned in authors’ affiliations were used as nodes, with two nodes being connected if authors of these countries had collaborated as co-authors in a publication. The properties of the co-authorship networks revealed that sea turtle scientific collaboration networks are ] getting larger and spreading constantly over different countries through time. Network metrics revealed a robust and coherent network supported by numerous countries. Our results showed a steady flow of scientific information among countries within sea turtle research communities, a factor that might have contributed to the encouraging evidence on sea turtle population trends observed globally. This analysis highlights the potential benefits generated by international collaborations reflecting the integration of skills, scientific backgrounds and knowledge.
      PubDate: 2018-05-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1506-1
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 6 (2018)
  • Snub-nosed monkeys ( Rhinopithecus ): potential distribution and its
           implication for conservation
    • Authors: Jonas Nüchel; Peder Klith Bøcher; Wen Xiao; A-Xing Zhu; Jens-Christian Svenning
      Pages: 1517 - 1538
      Abstract: Many threatened species have undergone range retraction, and are confined to small fragmented populations. To increase their survival prospects, it is necessary to find suitable habitat outside their current range, to increase and interconnect populations. Species distribution models may be used to this purpose and can be an important part of the conservation strategies. One pitfall is that such mapping will typically assume that the current distribution represents the optimal habitat, which may not be the case for threatened species. Here, we use maximum entropy modelling (Maxent) and rectilinear bioclimatic envelope modelling with current and historical distribution data, together with the location of protected areas, and environmental and anthropogenic variables, to answer three key questions for the conservation of Rhinopithecus, a highly endangered genus of primates consisting of five species of which three are endemic to China, one is endemic to China and Myanmar and one is endemic to Vietnam; Which environmental variables best predict the distribution' To what extent is Rhinopithecus living in an anthropogenically truncated niche space' What is the genus’ potential distribution in the region' Mean temperature of coldest and warmest quarter together with annual precipitation and precipitation during the driest quarter were the variables that best explained Rhinopithecus’ distribution. The historical records were generally in warmer and wetter areas and in lower elevation than the current distribution, strongly suggesting that Rhinopithecus today survives in an anthropogenic truncated niche space. There is 305,800–319,325 km2 of climatic suitable area within protected areas in China, of which 96,525–100,275 km2 and 17,175–17,550 km2 have tree cover above 50 and 75%, respectively. The models also show that the area predicted as climatic suitable using Maxent was 72–89% larger when historical records were included. Our results emphasise the importance of considering historical records when assessing restoration potential and show that there is high potential for restoring Rhinopithecus to parts of its former range.
      PubDate: 2018-05-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1507-0
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 6 (2018)
  • Why conserving species in the wild still matters
    • Authors: David L. Stokes
      Pages: 1539 - 1544
      Abstract: Wildlife conservation efforts have traditionally prioritized protection of species in the wild over protection in zoos and other captive states. This emphasis mirrors a long-held and more general Western view of the wild and wilderness as antidote to the ills of civilization. However, recent philosophical treatments have posited that with the rise of human dominance in the world we have reached the end of nature as distinct from human culture, true wilderness no longer exists, and nature and wilderness are merely social constructs. With the putative disappearance of wild nature, its status as an organizing principle in conservation is called into question. While debate over the objective existence of wild nature continues, this commentary argues that regardless of one’s opinion on the philosophical issue, there are important practical reasons to continue to prioritize conservation of species in the wild. These are: the reality that this is the only practical hope for the vast majority of endangered species, the value of relatively wild habitats in accommodating species’ evolved requirements, the value to both ecosystems and humans of species remaining functional components of ecosystems, and the role of the wild in inspiring conservation action by humans. Ironically, as the world becomes ever less wild, conservation of species in the wild becomes more important.
      PubDate: 2018-05-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1509-y
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 6 (2018)
  • Current understanding of invasive species impacts cannot be ignored:
           potential publication biases do not invalidate findings
    • Authors: Sara E. Kuebbing; Martin A. Nuñez
      Pages: 1545 - 1548
      PubDate: 2018-05-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1527-9
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 6 (2018)
  • Antarctic Specially Protected Areas (ASPA): a case study at Rothera Point
           providing tools and perspectives for the implementation of the ASPA
    • Authors: N. Cannone; P. Convey; F. Malfasi
      Abstract: Antarctica is considered among the world’s last great wildernesses, but its current network of Antarctic Specially Protected Areas (ASPAs) is inadequate, unrepresentative and at risk, needing urgent expansion due to the vulnerability of Antarctica to increasing threats from climate change and human activities. Among the existing ASPAs, no. 129 Rothera Point is unique because its designation related specifically to the monitoring of the impacts associated with the neighbouring Rothera Research Station, operated by the United Kingdom. The station is located on Adelaide Island (Antarctic Peninsula) in Antarctic Conservation Biogeographic Region 3 (ACBR3). We aim here to: (1) provide an improved description of the botanical values of the ASPA, and detailed vegetation mapping as for the establishment of future monitoring, (2) assess the representativeness of the ASPA vegetation within a wider geographical context encompassing Marguerite Bay and Adelaide Island and, (3) use this case study as a contribution to the ongoing discussion within the Antarctic Treaty System on the future development of the continent-wide ASPA network. Even though this specific ASPA was not initially designated for its biodiversity value, a higher species richness was recorded within the ASPA than outside the protected area on Rothera Point. Within the local geographic context, based on the available data, Rothera Point is characterized by high biodiversity and, above all, Léonie Island exhibits the greatest floristic richness within Marguerite Bay and Adelaide Island, being a biodiversity hot-spot of exceptional value. This case study emphasizes the continued existence of significant knowledge gaps relating to Antarctic terrestrial biodiversity, and the urgent need for large-scale assessment of the biological values of Antarctica, as one of the main challenges for the implementation of a robust and representative system of protected areas in terrestrial Antarctica, to protect this global natural heritage in the face of current and predicted future environmental change.
      PubDate: 2018-05-12
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1559-1
  • Priority caves for biodiversity conservation in a key karst area of
           Brazil: comparing the applicability of cave conservation indices
    • Authors: Lucas Mendes Rabelo; Marconi Souza-Silva; Rodrigo Lopes Ferreira
      Abstract: Landscapes in tropical regions have been greatly altered by human activities, as a product of growing demands for mineral and agricultural production, as well as those related to the generation of energy (e.g., hydroelectric, wind). In this scenario, caves have suffered several impacts, sometimes irreversible, as they are generally associated with rocks of high economic value and are closely related to epigean systems. Several indices have been proposed to guide conservation policies for the world’s speleological heritage, although few of them consider cave biodiversity as a criterion. To address this knowledge gap, we tested the applicability of four newly proposed indices to assist researchers and policy-makers select priority areas for global cave biodiversity conservation. To compare indices, we used data from 48 caves of the largest carbonate region of South America (Bambui geological group), all found within the Cerrado, a global biodiversity hotspot. Each of the four indices considered cave biodiversity as a criterion, although only three adequately evaluated this attribute. Based on results of Simões index and CCPi, which were the most appropriate in relation to indicate priority caves for biodiversity conservation in regions where the fauna and its distribution are not fully known, 15 of the 48 caves were identified as conservation priorities.
      PubDate: 2018-05-09
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1554-6
  • The deadly route to collapse and the uncertain fate of Brazilian
           rupestrian grasslands
    • Authors: G. Wilson Fernandes; N. P. U. Barbosa; B. Alberton; A. Barbieri; R. Dirzo; F. Goulart; T. J. Guerra; L. P. C. Morellato; R. R. C. Solar
      Abstract: Rupestrian grasslands are biodiverse, evolutionary old vegetation complexes that harbor more than 5000 species of vascular plants and one of the highest levels of plant endemism in the world. Growing on nutrient–impoverished soils and under harsh environmental conditions, these mountaintop ecosystems were once spared from major human interventions of agriculture and intensive cattle ranching. However, in Brazil, rupestrian grasslands have experienced one of the most extreme land use changes among all Brazilian ecosystems, suffering from ill policies leading to intense mining activities, uncontrolled tourism, and unplanned road construction. Indeed, the discovery of large mineral reserves, the adoption of ineffective conservation policies, and, going forward, climate change, are threatening this hyper-diverse ecosystem. Here, we shed light on the severe threats imposed by land-use changes in this ecosystem, modeling its future distribution under different scenarios. We uncover a catastrophic forecast that, if not halted, will lead to the loss of 82% of this unique ecosystem in the future, impacting ecosystem services at regional scales, including water and food security potentially affecting more than 50 million persons.
      PubDate: 2018-05-08
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1556-4
  • Global Island Monitoring Scheme (GIMS): a proposal for the long-term
           coordinated survey and monitoring of native island forest biota
    • Authors: Paulo A. V. Borges; Pedro Cardoso; Holger Kreft; Robert J. Whittaker; Simone Fattorini; Brent C. Emerson; Artur Gil; Rosemary G. Gillespie; Thomas J. Matthews; Ana M. C. Santos; Manuel J. Steinbauer; Christophe Thébaud; Claudine Ah-Peng; Isabel R. Amorim; Silvia Calvo Aranda; Ana Moura Arroz; José Manuel N. Azevedo; Mário Boieiro; Luís Borda-de-Água; José Carlos Carvalho; Rui B. Elias; José María Fernández-Palacios; Margarita Florencio; Juana M. González-Mancebo; Lawrence R. Heaney; Joaquín Hortal; Christoph Kueffer; Benoit Lequette; José Luis Martín-Esquivel; Heriberto López; Lucas Lamelas-López; José Marcelino; Rui Nunes; Pedro Oromí; Jairo Patiño; Antonio J. Pérez; Carla Rego; Sérvio P. Ribeiro; François Rigal; Pedro Rodrigues; Andrew J. Rominger; Margarida Santos-Reis; Hanno Schaefer; Cecília Sérgio; Artur R. M. Serrano; Manuela Sim-Sim; P. J. Stephenson; António O. Soares; Dominique Strasberg; Alain Vanderporten; Virgílio Vieira; Rosalina Gabriel
      Abstract: Islands harbour evolutionary and ecologically unique biota, which are currently disproportionately threatened by a multitude of anthropogenic factors, including habitat loss, invasive species and climate change. Native forests on oceanic islands are important refugia for endemic species, many of which are rare and highly threatened. Long-term monitoring schemes for those biota and ecosystems are urgently needed: (i) to provide quantitative baselines for detecting changes within island ecosystems, (ii) to evaluate the effectiveness of conservation and management actions, and (iii) to identify general ecological patterns and processes using multiple island systems as repeated ‘natural experiments’. In this contribution, we call for a Global Island Monitoring Scheme (GIMS) for monitoring the remaining native island forests, using bryophytes, vascular plants, selected groups of arthropods and vertebrates as model taxa. As a basis for the GIMS, we also present new, optimized monitoring protocols for bryophytes and arthropods that were developed based on former standardized inventory protocols. Effective inventorying and monitoring of native island forests will require: (i) permanent plots covering diverse ecological gradients (e.g. elevation, age of terrain, anthropogenic disturbance); (ii) a multiple-taxa approach that is based on standardized and replicable protocols; (iii) a common set of indicator taxa and community properties that are indicative of native island forests’ welfare, building on, and harmonized with existing sampling and monitoring efforts; (iv) capacity building and training of local researchers, collaboration and continuous dialogue with local stakeholders; and (v) long-term commitment by funding agencies to maintain a global network of native island forest monitoring plots.
      PubDate: 2018-05-07
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1553-7
  • Plant traits and population characteristics predict extinctions in a
           long-term survey of Mediterranean annual plants
    • Authors: Arne Saatkamp; Laurence Affre; Thierry Dutoit; Peter Poschlod
      Abstract: Global and local environmental changes lead to frequent plant extinctions many of which occur in man-made habitats such as agricultural fields. Plant traits and site conditions modify risks of extinction, but strength and sense of their effect are not known yet. Here, we present a long-term survey of population sizes for Mediterranean annual plants that we revisited 20 years after their first record to evaluate climate, population size, traits and habitat requirements as drivers of local extinctions. Small populations had an increased probability of extinction in our data-set. Our analyses revealed that seed production and survival of seeds in the soil seed bank decreased extinction rate, whereas plant size increased extinction probability. Mean annual temperature increased extinction rates of annual plants in cereal fields. We discuss these effects as a response to recent and ongoing habitat changes, and discuss how traits may be used to guide conservation practices in the face of local extinctions.
      PubDate: 2018-05-07
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1551-9
  • Temporal variation in abundance of leaf litter beetles and ants in an
           Australian lowland tropical rainforest is driven by climate and litter
    • Authors: Peter S. Grimbacher; Will Edwards; Michael J. Liddell; Paul N. Nelson; Cassandra Nichols; Carl W. Wardhaugh; Nigel E. Stork
      Abstract: Determining if the seasonality of leaf litter invertebrate populations in tropical rainforests is driven by climate or availability of litter, or both, is important to more accurately predict the vulnerability of litter invertebrates to climate change. Here we used two approaches to disentangle these effects. First, the influence of climatic seasonality was quantified by sampling a fixed volume of litter monthly over 4 years and counting extracted beetles and ants. Second, litter volume was experimentally manipulated (addition and exclusion) to test the influence of litter quantity independently of climatic variation. There were significant seasonal peaks for both beetle and ant abundance and these were positively correlated with rainfall, temperature and litter volume. As abundance was measured on a ‘per litter volume’ basis we conclude that there was a significant effect of climate on abundance. The litter manipulation experiment showed that beetle and ant abundance per litter volume were also influenced by litter volume, when it was low. We recognise that other factors such as litter structure or complexity may have affected temporal ant abundance. Beetle and ant abundance were depressed in litter exclusion plots but did not differ significantly between control and addition plots, suggesting a possible ceiling in the effect of litter volume on population sizes. We conclude that seasonality in climate and litter quantity are driving most temporal variation in insect abundance and that there may be some resilience among leaf litter insects to cope with higher temperatures. However, future responses by plants to increased climatic variability and higher CO2 concentrations may alter litter fall dynamics and thus temporal patterns in litter insect abundances.
      PubDate: 2018-05-05
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1558-2
  • Improving the estimation of area of occupancy for IUCN Red List
           assessments by using a circular buffer approach
    • Authors: Frank T. Breiner; Ariel Bergamini
      Abstract: The area of occupancy (AOO) is one of the main measures used by IUCN to quantify range size for species. AOO represents the area of suitable habitat currently occupied by the taxon and is usually quantified by counting the number of occupied cells in a uniform grid that covers the entire range of a taxon. However, this methodology adds uncertainty by the location of the origin of the grid frame. In this communication paper, we tested the influence of the origin of the grid frame used to quantify AOO and found for Swiss bryophytes that 14 species (out of 1089) fall into a different Red List category when the origin of the grid frame was shifted. With this and theoretical examples we show that AOO quantified by circles around the occurrences (a circular buffer approach) would reduce uncertainty significantly because they are independent of the origin of a grid frame. A circular buffer approach to quantify AOO contribute thus to more robust and accurate Red Lists and its usage is in accordance with the IUCN criteria.
      PubDate: 2018-05-04
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1555-5
  • Linear habitats in rural landscapes have complementary roles in bird
    • Authors: Mark Hall; Dale Nimmo; Simon Watson; Andrew F. Bennett
      Abstract: Linear strips of vegetation (e.g., hedges, roadsides) are characteristic of rural environments worldwide. Different types of linear features have distinct structure and landscape context, suggesting they each may offer unique opportunities for conservation in modified landscapes. We compared the avifauna of 76 streamside (riparian) sites and 33 sites in roadside vegetation—two distinctive types of linear features of rural landscapes in southern Australia. There was a marked difference in the composition of the avifauna between these linear features, reflecting their individual context within the landscape. For all response groups—woodland bird species, non-woodland species, waterbirds—riparian vegetation supported a greater species richness per site, and greater cumulative richness across multiple sites, than did roadside vegetation. For woodland species, the assemblage of greatest conservation concern, richness in both riparian and roadside sites increased with increasing width, and decreased with increasing abundance of an aggressive avian competitor. The ubiquity of linear features worldwide means that measures that enhance their conservation value will have widespread benefits. Our results demonstrate that: (1) linear features offer habitat for a broad range of species in rural environments; (2) by supporting distinct assemblages, different types of linear features have complementary roles in nature conservation; (3) wider linear features have a positive influence on species that require vegetated cover; and (4) the fauna of linear features are vulnerable to biotic influences, in this case a native avian competitor.
      PubDate: 2018-05-04
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1557-3
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