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Biological Conservation
Journal Prestige (SJR): 2.397
Citation Impact (citeScore): 5
Number of Followers: 308  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 0006-3207
Published by Elsevier Homepage  [3162 journals]
  • Strategically Investing In Strategic Planning: A review of: Kent D. Messer
           and William L. Allen, III The Science of Strategic Conservation:
           Protecting More with Less, 2018, Cambridge University Press; Cambridge UK.
           ISBN: 978-1-107-19193-8.
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Nick Salafsky
  • Multi-scale effects of land cover and urbanization on the habitat
           suitability of an endangered toad
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Michael L. Treglia, Adam C. Landon, Robert N. Fisher, Gerard Kyle, Lee A. Fitzgerald Habitat degradation, entwined with land cover change, is a major driver of biodiversity loss. Effects of land cover change on species can be direct (when habitat is converted to alternative land cover types) or indirect (when land outside of the species habitat is altered). Hydrologic and ecological connections between terrestrial and aquatic systems are well understood, exemplifying how spatially disparate land cover conditions may influence aquatic habitats, but are rarely examined. We sought to quantify relative effects of land cover at two different but interacting scales on habitat suitability for the endangered arroyo toad (Anaxyrus californicus). Based on an existing distribution model for the arroyo toad and available land cover data, we estimated effects of land cover along streams and within entire watersheds on habitat suitability using structural equation modeling. Relationships between land cover and habitat suitability differed between scales, and broader, watershed-scale conditions influenced land cover along the embedded stream networks. We found anthropogenic development and forest cover at the watershed-scale negatively impacted habitat suitability, but development along stream networks was positively associated with suitability. The positive association between development along streams and habitat suitability may be attributable to increased spatial heterogeneity along urbanized streams, or related factors including policies designed to conserve riparian habitats amidst development. These findings show arroyo toad habitat is influenced by land cover across multiple scales, and can inform conservation of the species. Furthermore, our methodology can help elucidate similar dynamics with other taxa, particularly those reliant on both terrestrial and aquatic environments.
  • Habitat selection in a dynamic seasonal environment: Vegetation
           composition drives the choice of the breeding habitat for the community of
           passerines in floodplain grasslands
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Yoan Fourcade, Aurélien G. Besnard, Edouard Beslot, Stéphanie Hennique, Gilles Mourgaud, Guillaume Berdin, Jean Secondi The conservation of grasslands is a concern worldwide as they are threatened by climate change and the expansion of intensive agricultural practices. The management of these areas must take into account the decisional process of habitat selection by individual organisms to identify potential ecological traps or underused habitats. Organisms that live in heterogeneous environments must select their breeding habitat based on cues that reflect habitat quality. In dynamic ecosystems such as grasslands, environmental cues used by individuals should show a strong temporal autocorrelation, such that their characteristics during breeding can be predicted earlier in the season. Our objective was to test if habitat features that explain grassland birds' distribution during the nesting and chick-rearing period could be predicted from the habitat features available on territory settlement. In western France, we analysed the relationships between the occurrence, richness and abundance of four passerine species, and vegetation structure and composition during chick-rearing period. We then analysed the temporal autocorrelation of vegetation features to determine whether the cues used during the settlement period reliably predicted the vegetation features encountered at later stages of breeding. We found that birds selected habitats characterized by a low cover of grasses, but did not respond to the physical structure of vegetation. The composition of vegetation was also the only variable that exhibited temporal autocorrelation over the course of the season, suggesting that individuals may rely on this feature to select optimal breeding habitats. Our results suggest that in dynamic environments, and in the absence of breeding experience or public information, animals can choose their breeding habitat based on a simple assessment of vegetation composition. A detailed knowledge of the underlying drivers of habitat selection is essential to manage habitats, identify potential ecological traps, and enhance the attractiveness of areas especially those under agri-environmental schemes.
  • Effectiveness of biodiversity offsets: An assessment of a controversial
           offset in Perth, Western Australia
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Sian Thorn, Richard J. Hobbs, Leonie E. Valentine Environmental offsets are used increasingly as a conservation tool to balance demands of development and environment but there is little evidence that offsets are effective. Our study assessed the effectiveness of the offset package developed for the Roe Highway Extension, in Western Australia, for Carnaby's black cockatoo, red-tailed black cockatoo and southern brown bandicoot. Black cockatoos were accounted for in the offset requirements, while Southern brown bandicoots were accounted for in the mitigation requirements of the approval but not the offset requirements. The development was cancelled after partial clearing and has not been completed. Pre-development consultant surveys were examined in relation to the offset requirements. Fieldwork was conducted at the offset sites to ground-truth habitat qualities where possible. The offset package was then compared to the principles of Australian Commonwealth and State offset policies. We found the offset package did not completely satisfy Commonwealth or State offset requirements, showed inconsistencies with the policies and produced net loss of environmental value. The offset sites provided 64% of the black cockatoo habitat required by the Commonwealth offset requirements, and were of a lower quality. Similarly, undergrowth vegetation (
  • Vehicle tracks are predator highways in intact landscapes
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Keren G. Raiter, Richard J. Hobbs, Hugh P. Possingham, Leonie E. Valentine, Suzanne M. Prober Roads and other forms of linear infrastructure are rapidly proliferating worldwide, yet little is known about how roads affect the distribution and abundance of predators, particularly in relatively intact landscapes. We used a combination of motion-sensor cameras and spoor surveys to compare dingo, fox and feral cat activity on unsealed vehicle tracks (hereafter: roads) and up to 3 km away, in relatively intact landscapes of the Great Western Woodlands in south-western Australia. We compared predator activity as indicated by independent sightings and spoor observations, in woodlands and shrublands: vegetation types with contrasting permeabilities.Predator activity was observed between 12 and 261 times more frequently on roads compared with off-road for all species studied. Roads also appeared to affect predator activity up to 2.5 km away. Even poorly formed and abandoned roads concentrated predator activity and affected landscape-scale rates of predator observations. The effect of road proximity on predator activity was non-linear and different between vegetation types for dingoes and cats but not foxes. Our results provide new evidence of the effects of roads on predator activity in surrounding landscapes, with interacting effects of vegetation. They also reinforce previous findings e.g. stronger roads preference displayed by dingoes and foxes, than by cats. Roads and other linear infrastructure have strong effects on predator activity within intact landscapes, although further research is needed to characterise the implications for prey species. Road planning or approvals, as well as habitat restoration programs for threatened species, should account for the effects of roads on predator activity.
  • Distributional shifts in a biodiversity hotspot
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Lydia Beaudrot, Miguel Acevedo, Jean-Philippe Lessard, Douglas Sheil, Eileen Larney, Patricia Wright, Jorge Ahumada Identifying ongoing changes in the distributions of species is critical for understanding and conserving biological diversity. Distributional shifts have been demonstrated in many ecosystems and taxa, yet the extent and nature of these changes remain largely undocumented for tropical forest mammals. Shifts over short time periods can be particularly alarming in areas of the world where mammals are already under threat as a result of human activities. This is the case for Madagascar, an island where deforestation, hunting, invasive species, and other human threats have resulted in the extinction of several endemic species. Here, we ask, are the distributions of Malagasy mammals changing' We test this by modeling local colonization and extinction dynamics, which are the biological processes that produce distributional shifts. We use camera trap data from the TEAM Network for four species along a 570 m elevational gradient in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. The endemic Eastern red forest rat (Nesomys rufus) declined in overall occupancy while the non-native bushpig (Potamochoerus larvatus) increased in occupancy overall. The two endemic carnivore species shifted their elevational use: the Malagasy ring-tailed mongoose (Galidia elegans) retracted from higher elevations and the Malagasy civet (Fossa fossana) moved to higher elevations, likely in response to anthropogenic pressures. These results show that shifts are occurring and we can detect them with just six years of data. These results appear near unique in documenting rapid changes in the spatial distributions of tropical forest mammals and provide important information for conservation.
  • The neglected otters in China: Distribution change in the past 400 years
           and current conservation status
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Lu Zhang, Qiaoyun Wang, Li Yang, Fei Li, Bosco Pui Lok Chan, Zhishu Xiao, Sheng Li, Dazhao Song, Zhengji Piao, Pengfei Fan Freshwater biodiversity is currently facing critical threats worldwide. As top predators, otters are indicator species of ecosystem health, and flagship species for conservation in freshwater ecosystems. Three otter species – Lutra lutra, Aonyx cinereus, and Lutrogale perspicillata – exist in China. They were once widely distributed but have experienced dramatic decline in the late 20th century, being listed as Class II protected animals in China. We searched in gazetteers, publications, online news, museum specimens, and camera trapping databases, and conducted questionnaire surveys to obtain otter records to reconstruct the historical (1550–1950), recent (1950–2000), and current (post-2000) distribution maps of otters in China. Unlike many other mammal species, otters' range did not contract during 1550–1950. Otters' recent and current distributions were comparable or even surpassed their historical ranges. However, applying rigorous verification criteria, only 57 sites in China were confirmed with otter occurrence since 2000. The potential distribution of L. lutra was mainly on the Tibetan Plateau and in northeast China, whereas only small and sparse patches remained in southeast China, where otters were frequently recorded in historical gazetteers. Although being endangered, otters have been neglected in China, with few research projects and no project funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China. Consequently, even wildlife experts have poor knowledge of otters. Surveys and specific research are urgently needed for otters in China. Public education is also advocated to raise awareness of otter conservation. Without sound information generated from research and urgent conservation actions, otter species will remain severely threatened in China.
  • Application of isoscapes to determine geographic origin of terrestrial
           wildlife for conservation and management
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Hannah B. Vander Zanden, David M. Nelson, Michael B. Wunder, Tara J. Conkling, Todd Katzner Accounting for migration and connectivity of mobile species across the annual cycle can present challenges for conservation and management efforts. The use of stable isotope approaches to examine the movements and ecology of wildlife has been widespread over the past two decades. Hydrogen stable isotope (δ2H) composition, in particular, has been frequently used to provide insight into the origin of migratory species, although isotopes of other elements are sometimes used. These intrinsic markers can yield valuable information about distributions of wildlife on a broad scale, with reduced labor and expense compared to tracking and telemetry. Many of the applications of isotopes to migratory species to date have addressed connectivity and origin, and studies in support of conservation biology are less common. In addition, there are few guides for how to best employ these methods for management. Therefore, we provide an overview for the wildlife conservation and management community on how stable isotope methods may be applied to conservation problems and a primer on the process for assigning geographic origins to terrestrial wildlife. We also discuss best practices for employing environmental isoscapes (isotopic distributions across landscapes), rescaling functions, and the assumptions required for assignment to origin while highlighting emerging issues in the modeling process. Finally, we provide example applications to illustrate these principles, and we explore strengths and limitations of this approach in a conservation context.
  • Predation risk for boreal woodland caribou in human-modified landscapes:
           Evidence of wolf spatial responses independent of apparent competition
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Matthew A. Mumma, Michael P. Gillingham, Katherine L. Parker, Chris J. Johnson, Megan Watters Management of wildlife often relies upon understanding mechanisms linking anthropogenic disturbance to population declines. The most-cited mechanism by which disturbance threatens boreal caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) is the exacerbation of apparent competition via increases in early successional forage, and subsequent changes in the densities and distributions of other prey species and gray wolves (Canis lupus). An alternative mechanism is the direct alteration of wolf distribution via positive responses by wolves to anthropogenic features. We conducted a mechanistic evaluation of hypotheses explaining human-mediated increases in boreal caribou mortality across northeast British Columbia. We evaluated support for (i) numeric apparent competition (increased prey densities) by evaluating relationships between disturbances, moose (Alces alces) density, and caribou survival. To evaluate (ii) spatial apparent competition (altered prey distribution) and (iii) wolf spatial responses (altered wolf distribution independent of prey), we modeled the relationships between disturbances and indices of caribou-moose and caribou-wolf co-occurrence and then examined predation risk for caribou as a function of co-occurrence. We did not detect any relationships between anthropogenic disturbances, moose density, and caribou survival. Although caribou-moose co-occurrence increased predation risk, we observed both positive and negative relationships between disturbances and caribou-moose co-occurrence. In contrast, caribou-wolf co-occurrence increased predation risk and was positively correlated with anthropogenic linear features. Contrary to other boreal caribou populations, our analyses demonstrate stronger support for the direct effects of anthropogenic linear features on caribou-wolf spatial overlap, leading to greater risk for caribou. Our research highlights the need for region-specific management actions to conserve and recover widely distributed species.
  • Identifying priority conservation areas for birds associated to endangered
           Neotropical dry forests
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): David A. Prieto-Torres, Javier Nori, Octavio R. Rojas-Soto Neotropical dry forests (NDF) are widely distributed and possess important levels of species richness and endemism; however, they are considered a highly endangered ecosystem. Today, the protected areas network (PAs) located within NDF covers
  • Resource selection in an apex predator and variation in response to local
           landscape characteristics
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): R.G. Morato, G.M. Connette, J.A. Stabach, R.C. De Paula, K.M.P.M. Ferraz, D.L.Z. Kantek, S.S. Miyazaki, T.D.C. Pereira, L.C. Silva, A. Paviolo, C. De Angelo, M.S. Di Bitetti, P. Cruz, F. Lima, L. Cullen, D.A. Sana, E.E. Ramalho, M.M. Carvalho, M.X. da Silva, M.D.F. Moraes Habitat loss and fragmentation represent major threats for the conservation of apex predators, such as the jaguar (Panthera onca). Investigating species' resource selection behavior in response to landscape alteration is critical for developing relevant conservation management plans. The jaguar is found across a variety of habitats with different gradients of human disturbance, making them a good candidate to study how apex predators respond to increasing intensity of human land use. We developed resource selection models to characterize patterns of jaguar resource selection at two different spatial scales, home range (coarse) and foraging scale (fine). This analysis was based on the largest existing GPS-location dataset for jaguars (n = 40 individuals, n = 87,376 locations), spanning the species' geographic range in Brazil and Argentina. We found that both males and females jaguars exhibited an overall preference for forests and areas close to watercourses at both the home range and foraging scale. At the foraging scale, areas of high livestock density “attracted” male jaguars. We also performed a follow-up analysis to test for context-dependent resource selection (i.e., functional responses) by relating individual behavior to local habitat characteristics. We found that jaguars in heavily-forested landscapes showed strong avoidance of non-forest. Furthermore, we found that only the individuals in closest proximity to watercourses showed positive selection for water. Our results highlight that jaguars display different patterns of resource selection in different areas, demonstrating a considerable ability to use or tolerate a wide variety of different conditions across the species geographic range. This plasticity may allow jaguars to adjust their behavior according to land use changes but also increases human-jaguar conflict and jaguar mortality, especially in areas with high livestock density.
  • Biodiversity-rich European grasslands: Ancient, forgotten ecosystems
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Angelica Feurdean, Eszter Ruprecht, Zsolt Molnár, Simon M. Hutchinson, Thomas Hickler Worldwide reforestation has been recommended as a landscape restoration strategy to mitigate climate change in areas where the climate can sustain forest. This approach may threaten grassland ecosystems of unique biodiversity as such policies are based on the false assumption that most grasslands are man-made. Here, we use multiple lines of evidence (palaeoecological, pedological, phylogenetic, palaeontological) from Central Eastern Europe and show that various types of grasslands have persisted in this area throughout the postglacial i.e., the past 11,700 years. A warm and dry climate, frequent fires, herbivore pressure and early Neolithic settlements kept forests open until widespread forest clearance beginning 4000 to 3000 years ago. Closed forest cover has been the exception for the last two million years. This long-term persistence has likely contributed to the high biodiversity of these grasslands. Consequently, we call for a more cautious prioritisation of the protection of what may be erroneously considered natural, i.e. forests, by many environmental specialists and managers. Instead we provide a new framework for a better understanding of the evolution and persistence of different grassland types and their biodiversity, so that grasslands can be better understood, valued and conserved.Graphical abstractUnlabelled Image
  • Projecting further increases in conservation translocations: A Canadian
           case study
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Kelly D. Swan, Natasha A. Lloyd, Axel Moehrenschlager Conservation actions are critical to mitigating the growing number of threatened species worldwide. Previous studies show a consistent increase in one highly targeted type of conservation action: conservation translocation (i.e. the movement of species for conservation purposes). Will this trend continue' To gain insights into effectiveness and future trends, we examined past and proposed uses of conservation translocation in species recovery efforts in Canada, where species are assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada and given legal protection and recovery plans under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Our review of 541 SARA-listed species indicates 55 have already been translocated, 49 are recommended for translocation, and 99 are under consideration, suggesting at least a doubling in future conservation translocations. Overall, translocation was relevant to recovery efforts for 38% of SARA-listed species. Species in need of translocation overwhelmingly belong to the vascular plants, but relatively few plants have been translocated to date, suggesting capacity and expertise in plant propagation and transplantation will be important. Species listed as Endangered under SARA were most commonly translocated, but the effectiveness of translocations relative to other actions could not be assessed due to insufficient detail in Federal recovery documents. Our finding that conservation translocations are projected to increase substantially in Canada begs the question whether such trends will also occur in other countries, and whether alignment between conservation need, policy direction, scientific planning and financial commitments will be sufficient to meet such demand.
  • A generalist herbivore requires a wide array of plant species to maintain
           its populations
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Satoshi Yamamoto, Kei Uchida Generalist herbivores are less susceptible to changes in the plant composition of their habitats than specialists are because generalists can consume a diverse array of plants. However, even generalists exhibit dietary choices, for example because they need to balance their nutritional intake for both growth and reproduction. In this study, we showed that an endangered generalist herbivorous grasshopper (Celes akitanus; Orthoptera: Acrididae) actively chooses which plants to include in its diet. Moreover, we found that grasshopper abundance is correlated with host plant abundance and richness. This grasshopper has been reported to occur mainly in traditionally managed grasslands that harbour more diverse plant species than other, nearby grasslands. To elucidate the links between this grasshopper and plant richness, we surveyed grasshopper abundance in grasslands under traditional and other management practices. Plant DNA barcoding of faecal samples demonstrated that this grasshopper is a generalist herbivore while also showing that it makes active dietary choices. Furthermore, although the grasshopper's host plants occurred in all grasslands, the grasshopper itself was found only in species-rich grasslands. In addition, grasshopper abundance was positively related to the abundance and richness of host plants. Our findings suggest that this endangered herbivore requires a wide array of host plants to maintain its populations.
  • Nature for whom' How type of beneficiary influences the effectiveness
           of conservation outreach messages
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Chelsea Batavia, Jeremy T. Bruskotter, Julia A. Jones, John A. Vucetich, Hannah Gosnell, Michael Paul Nelson In recent years the conservation community has engaged in debate over value in nonhuman nature, especially as it relates to motivations for conservation. Many have expressed the assumption that more people are willing to support conservation when emphasis is placed on the human benefits of nonhuman nature, rather than the value of nonhuman nature for its own sake. To test this assumption, we designed an online survey investigating how the type of beneficiary (human, nonhuman, or both) depicted in outreach messages affects two metrics of support: attitudes toward the message and donations for a conservation organization. Each respondent viewed one message highlighting humans, nonhumans, or both as conservation beneficiaries. Predicting that the effect of beneficiary type would depend partially on individual differences, we also measured respondents' moral inclusivity, i.e., the values and beliefs they hold with regard to human and various nonhuman entities. Although beneficiary type did not affect attitudes, we report several key findings for donation. Compared to messages depicting only nonhuman beneficiaries, messages depicting only human beneficiaries were associated with lower likelihood of donation overall and, among less morally inclusive respondents, lower donation amounts. At the same time, messages depicting both human and nonhuman beneficiaries were not associated with more positive donation outcomes than messages depicting only nonhuman beneficiaries. Our results suggest that highlighting humans as conservation beneficiaries may not most effectively generate social support for conservation. Messages advocating the protection of nonhuman nature for its own sake may produce the most consistently positive donation outcomes.
  • Functional and geographic components of risk for climate sensitive
           vertebrates in the Pacific Northwest, USA
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Meryl C. Mims, Deanna H. Olson, David S. Pilliod, Jason B. Dunham Rarity and life history traits inform multiple dimensions of intrinsic risk to climate and environmental change and can help systematically identify at-risk species. We quantified relative geographic rarity (area of occupancy), climate niche breadth, and life history traits for 114 freshwater fishes, amphibians, and reptiles in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Our approach leveraged presence-only, publicly available data and traits-based inference to evaluate area of occupancy, climate sensitivity (i.e., climate niche breadth), and a Rarity and Climate Sensitivity (RCS) index of all species across multiple geographic extents, grain sizes, and data types. The RCS index was relatively stable across extents, grains, and data types, with climate sensitivity differentiating species with otherwise similar areas of occupancy. We also found that species with sensitivity-associated traits (e.g., long generation time, low fecundity) were not necessarily the same species identified as at-risk with geographical approaches (small range size, small climate niche breadth). Many multispecies assessments using coarse-scale data (e.g., entire range maps or convex-hull approaches) often focus on a single dimension of intrinsic risk; others rely on data-intensive models only applicable to a few well-studied species. What remains is a need for an approach that enables multispecies, multidimensional assessment efforts. This is particularly true at regional scales, where management needs require assessments that are intermediate to coarse- and fine-scale approaches. We demonstrate that by considering multiple dimensions of intrinsic risk to climate change (range size, climate sensitivity, and traits), site-specific locality data may offer a pathway for ensuring vulnerable, understudied species do not go overlooked in conservation.
  • Can the status of pelagic shark populations be determined using simple
           fishery indicators'
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Felipe Carvalho, Hui Hua Lee, Kevin R. Piner, Maia Kapur, Shelley C. Clarke Calls to develop alternative methods of assessing the population status of pelagic shark populations have increased substantially in recent years. An interim solution has been the development of more subjective evaluation of data series (indicator-based analysis) rather than predictions from complex stock assessment models. This paper examines the reliability of indicators for predicting population status (i.e. whether it has been overfished) and the fishing pressure (i.e. whether overfishing is occurring) of large pelagic sharks, based on these fishery indicator trends alone. We simulate a variety of large pelagic shark populations under different exploitation scenarios using life history parameters, and measurable fishery indicators information (catch-per-unit of effort - CPUE; and average length - AL). Our simulation results, designed to be generalized (via sampling of realistic distributions) but based loosely on the shortfin mako shark, showed that the reliability of fishery indicators for establishing population status is dependent upon the length of the time series analyzed. These caveats are critical to the proper evaluation of population trajectories that underlie the most important conservation decisions being made for sharks today.
  • Simple biopsy modification to collect muscle samples from free-swimming
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Lauren Meyer, Andrew Fox, Charlie Huveneers Developing and enhancing non-lethal methods for sampling species of high conservation concern, including marine megafauna, has prompted the development of numerous biopsy methods to collect tissue for biochemical analyses. However, many of these analyses require adequately-sized muscle cores for reliable results. Here, we developed and trialed a novel modification to a biopsy probe traditionally limited to underwater use, which enables sampling of free-swimming sharks from above the surface. The modified probe used collected similar amounts of white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, muscle and sub-dermal tissue above water as the traditional underwater probe (muscle: 0.36 g vs. 0.44 g; sub-dermal tissue: 0.62 g vs. 0.44 g for surface and underwater respectively). Both methods obtained sufficient tissue for several analyses to be run on the same tissue core (e.g. stable isotopes, fatty acids, and genetics). This encourages the use of this biopsy probe, with studies assessing stock structure, trophic ecology, or physiology. The described modification adapts the probe to allow above-water deployment, providing more opportunities for effective, non-lethal sampling of free-swimming sharks.Graphical abstractUnlabelled Image
  • Giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) conservation in Brazil: Analysing
           the relative effects of fragmentation and mortality due to roads
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Fernando A.S. Pinto, Alex Bager, Anthony P. Clevenger, Clara Grilo Road networks can have serious ecological consequences for many species, mainly through habitat fragmentation and mortality due to collisions with vehicles. One example of a species impacted by roads is the giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), currently listed as Vulnerable by IUCN. Here we analysed the relative effect of fragmentation and mortality due to roads on giant anteater populations and show the critical areas for their persistence in Brazil. We estimated minimum patch size and maximum road density to evaluate the impact of the road network and observed road-kills on this species. We explored different scenarios by varying values of dispersal capacity to estimate the minimum patch size, and also of population densities to estimate maximum road density for giant anteater persistence. Our findings indicated that the minimum patch size can be from 498 to 247 km2 and the maximum road density can vary between 0.21 and 0.55 km/km2 in pessimist and optimistic scenarios, respectively. In Brazil, habitat fragmentation seemed to have a major impact over giant anteater populations. Habitat fragmentation due to roads seemed to have a more negative effect than mortality due to collisions with vehicles. Critical areas for the species persistence can represent 32% of its range in the optimistic scenario with 18% of suitable patches below the minimum size and 0.1% above the maximum road density. This study provides insights and implications for road networks on giant anteater populations in Brazil and guidance on road density and patch size thresholds for land managers and road agencies charged with planning ecologically sustainable roads in Brazil.
  • Conventional MPAs are not as effective as community co-managed areas in
           conserving top-down control in the Gulf of California
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Karol Ulate, Teresa Alcoverro, Rohan Arthur, Octavio Aburto-Oropeza, Carlos Sánchez, Leonardo Huato-Soberanis While undeniably successful in protecting nearshore marine ecosystems from overfishing, conventional marine reserves often impinge on the livelihoods of dependent coastal communities. Community co-managed areas may guarantee considerably more equity, but it is unclear if they can be as effective as conventional reserves in conserving critical trophic functions. We evaluated the effectiveness of different management regimes in the Gulf of California on fish biomass and echinoderm assemblages as proxies of key ecosystem processes on rocky shores. We compared multiple sites in a mixed (multi-use areas with regulated extraction) and core (no-extraction) federally-managed areas, a military MPA (where strict patrolling ensures no extraction), a co-managed reserve where government and communities are equally responsible, and unrestricted-access areas (non MPA). Fish biomass was higher in the military reserve and the community co-managed area reserve; echinoderm numbers were very low at these locations suggesting that they were strongly controlled by top-down processes. In contrast, federally-controlled reserves were virtually no different from unrestricted-access areas in numbers or composition of fish and echinoderms. Although federal managed reserves are the most common management regime across the Gulf, our data shows that they are highly ineffective in protecting ecosystem function. The relative effectiveness of co-managed reserves in this region suggests that fishers are more willing to comply when they have a stake in decision-making. Coastal conservation can benefit greatly by drawing from a wider suite of management options that engage local communities as key participants in the managing marine diversity and critical ecosystem functions.
  • Text and data mining of social media to map wildlife recreation activity
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Graham G. Monkman, Michel J. Kaiser, Kieran Hyder Mining of social media has been shown to be a useful tool for social and biological research (e.g. tracking disease out breaks). This article outlines an accessible approach to the use of text and data mining (TDM) of social media to gather information on wildlife recreation activity. The spatio-temporal distribution of the shore based recreational European seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) fishery in Wales is used as an example. Public online user generated content was mined using automated scraping. Data on fisher activity and fish sizes were extracted and then georeferenced by matching place names to a custom compiled gazetteer. Numbers of trips and spatio-temporal trends in the distribution of activity and catches were estimated. Prosecution was higher in summer than winter, and gear use and trip durations were consistent during the period 2002–13. Comparisons of TDM with existing surveys showed higher levels of activity and catch, and shorter mean trip durations were estimated using TDM. Monthly activity correlated closely with existing survey data. Spatial and temporal data agreed qualitatively with expert knowledge. This article showed that TDM can be used to describe a wildlife recreation activity, but use of TDM to derive unbiased population level estimates is challenging and more work is required to develop appropriate methods to correct for bias. These methods required no expertise in natural language processing or machine learning, a working knowledge of programming (e.g. in Python or R) is all that is needed to apply this approach. The opportunities to use TDM will increase with the continuing adoption of smartphones in emerging economies and developing nations and is of may be of particular utility where other data is unavailable.
  • Multiple facets of rarity among rain forest trees in the Western Ghats of
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Priya Davidar, François Munoz, Jean-Philippe Puyravaud, D. Mohandass, V.S. Ramachandran We collated data on the latitudinal, elevation and seasonality ranges, local densities, stature and dispersal mode of 514 evergreen tree species (≥10 cm girth at breast height), including 317 endemics, from the rain forests of the Western Ghats (WG) of India using two complementary databases, (i) 68 tree inventory plots, and (ii) the Atlas of Endemics. We tested the hypotheses that (i) regional rarity would be associated with local rarity and narrower ecological amplitudes, (ii) shorter and mechanically dispersed trees would be rarer, (iii) higher proportion of endemic species would be rare (iv) regionally wide ranging species would be locally rare, and localised species would be denser, (v) families with single species would be relicts in this biome, (vi) larger families would have a higher proportion of rare and endemic species. We used Atlas records in a generalised least square model acknowledging phylogenetic relationships, to test hypotheses (i) to (ii), and non parametric tests for (iii) to (vi). We identified rare species using binary cut-offs and compared these with IUCN threat status. Rarity was associated with (i) narrower ecological amplitudes and shorter stature, independent of phylogeny, (ii) 18 wide ranging and locally sparse, 41 narrow ranging and locally dense species, (iii) relict species and families, (iv) larger families. Rare species were more likely to be threatened, but 39% were not evaluated. We identified zones of rare endemics to help with conservation planning. The WG rain forests have a unique evolutionary history and potential that require increased conservation measures.
  • Long term amphibian monitoring at wetlands lacks power to detect
           population trends
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): C.H. Greenberg, S.J. Zarnoch, J.D. Austin Amphibians are declining worldwide due to habitat destruction, disease, and environmental stressors. Extremely variable breeding populations and a paucity of long-term monitoring data limits rigorous testing of amphibian population trends, or bias associated with sampling regimes. We used 24 years of continuous trapping data to compare annual probability of presence, and population trends and statistical power for six species among seven wetlands using five sampling scenarios (SS) based on the interval and span of years analyzed. Richness within a year and wetland ranged 29–89% of total species captured there (all years), and 27–82% of total species captured during the study (all years, pooled wetlands). SS had little effect on probability of presence for most common species but did for less common species. Population trends were inconsistently significant or nonsignificant among wetlands within SSs, and among SSs within the same wetlands. The direction (+/−) of trends among wetlands and scenarios for a species generally agreed, but not always. Low statistical power for virtually all population trend estimates, including the All-years SS indicated results were inconclusive. Juvenile recruitment was correlated with adult populations in some subsequent years for four of the six species. We illustrate how probability of presence and population trend estimates can differ among similar wetlands within a landscape, and according to the span, or subset of years sampled. Our results indicate that amphibian monitoring at wetlands cannot conclusively gauge population trends for breeding populations that fluctuate widely among wetlands and from year to year.
  • Deadwood enrichment combining integrative and segregative conservation
           elements enhances biodiversity of multiple taxa in managed forests
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Inken Doerfler, Martin M. Gossner, Jörg Müller, Sebastian Seibold, Wolfgang W. Weisser Integrative management strategies that simultaneously aim for wood production and biodiversity conservation are considered crucial to protect biodiversity of forest species outside protected areas. In this study, we evaluated whether deadwood enrichment as an integrative strategy at a scale of 17,000 ha resulted in enhanced biodiversity of saproxylic and non-saproxylic taxa eight years after the implementation of the strategy. The strategy included active deadwood enrichment with harvest remnants, retention of deadwood, and nature forest reserves areas. The analysis was based on data on the occurrence of plants, fungi, beetles, true bugs and birds from directly before and after the implementation of the strategy. The implementation of the strategy resulted in an increase in the deadwood amount by an average of 90 ± 40 m3 ha−1 (mean ± SE) over this period. While deadwood amounts doubled in production forests (+90%), they increased even more in nature forest reserves (+160%). Multidiversity (species density of all taxa) increased with an increase in deadwood amount; this was a result of an increase in the multidiversity of saproxylic species as the non-saproxylic multidiversity did not respond. Among single taxon groups, fungal and beetle species density responded positively to the increase in deadwood amount, especially when only saproxylic species were analysed. Importantly, this effect was not only found in the nature forest reserves, but also in the production forests. We thus conclude that active deadwood enrichment in production forests and nature forest reserves is a promising tool to rapidly promote the protection of forest biodiversity.
  • Demographic responses to climate variation depend on spatial- and life
           history-differentiation at multiple scales
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Matthew Tye, Johan P. Dahlgren, Dag-Inge Øien, Asbjørn Moen, Nina Sletvold Long-term demographic data are needed for detailed viability analyses of populations threatened by climate change, but the infeasibility of obtaining such data makes it urgent to assess whether demographic responses to climatic variation can be generalized across populations and species. We used 32 years of demographic data on four species of closely related orchids (genera Dactylorhiza and Gymnadenia), replicated in a coastal and an inland region in central Norway, to test how demographic responses to climate varied among geographical regions and species. We fit generalized linear mixed models (GLMMs) to study climate effects on vital rates and included GLMMs as components in matrix models to examine climate effects on population dynamics. We found that, overall, vital rates and population growth rates of the eight populations responded independently to variation in both temperature and rainfall. Only probability of flowering showed expected regional differentiation in response to climate, despite notable regional climatic differences. Other vital rate – climate relationships were structured by species or a combination of both region and species. The weak clustering of demographic responses to climate variation by species and region demonstrates that effects of climatic variation can strongly depend on variation in local habitat and life history, even among closely related populations occupying similar niches. This highlights the difficulty in transferring data from closely related and/or located populations for viability analyses and for models predicting range shifts, and a general need to account for among-population variation in demographic responses to develop successful conservation and management plans.
  • Situating the Half-Earth proposal in distributive justice: Conditions for
           just conservation
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Anna Wienhues The Half-Earth proposal (or ‘Nature Needs Half’) was put forward as an answer to the current sixth mass extinction crisis on Earth and sparked a debate with disagreement on empirical and normative questions. In this paper I focus on the so far undertheorised normative debate and will provide some conditions that would need to be fulfilled in order for the Half-Earth proposal to serve justice. As I will illustrate, to even begin with situating the Half-Earth proposal within an account of justice rests on an extensive rebuilding of our understanding of justice and many dimensions of justice have to be addressed before it is possible to determine whether the proposal could be regarded as all-things-considered just. I will start by focusing on the question of what would constitute a just global distribution of habitat by introducing the conceptual framework of distributive ecological justice – i.e., the notion that also nonhuman beings can have justice claims to certain ‘goods’ – and put it into conversation with considerations of environmental justice between humans. The upshot is that if a range of empirical and normative conditions are fulfilled, then the proposal can embody a distributively just compromise between ecological and environmental justice.
  • Are farming and birds irreconcilable' A 21-year study of bustard
           nesting ecology in intensive agroecosystems
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Vincent Bretagnolle, Leopold Denonfoux, Alexandre Villers Farmland landscapes in developed countries have undergone major habitat changes over the past 60 years leading to the decline of many species. Of these, the little bustard, a medium-sized, long-lived, ground nesting bird, has declined by 95% in France over the last 35 years. Here we present the results of a 21 year survey of the nesting ecology of this elusive species, analyzing 157 breeding attempts, the largest data set ever collated for this species. Females had a strong preference for meadows for breeding, yet this habitat only represented 14% overall habitat. Alfalfa alone accounted for 50% of nest locations. However, apart from vegetation type, females did not show any other pattern of habitat selection (vegetation height, nest position within field, field under agri-environmental contract-AES-). In addition, the laying period was extremely extended, spanning almost 3 months. We did not detect any strong effect of crop, date or whether the nesting field was in AES or not, on clutch size, egg size and egg-laying date. However, there were long-term changes in breeding phenology (females breed earlier than 20 years ago), and selection of vegetation between years and within years. Hatching success was very low (about half of the broods were destroyed by farm work), and both fecundity and productivity per female were found to be approximately one third of the values expected for a stable population. Overall, nesting females of Little Bustards select meadows in regard to their availability, but do not show any particular preference within meadows' vegetation structure or height. We show that in such system, meadows act as ecological traps, and furthermore, because females do not appear selective, it is impossible to manage meadows in order to limit this trap. We finally analyze whether the land-sharing AESs can conserve this species in intensive arable systems and conclude that the land sharing may not be sustainable. We discuss our results in light of the alternative of land sparing, and suggest that this is probably a better fit for the conservation of large-bodied bird species given their ecological constraints (large home ranges, presence of semi-natural landscape components and freedom from human interference).
  • A new method for jointly assessing effects of climate change and nitrogen
           deposition on habitats
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Anna Ida Hämmerle, Johannes Wessely, Undrakh-Od Baatar, Franz Essl, Dietmar Moser, Borja Jiménez-Alfaro, Ute Jandt, Emiliano Agrillo, Zvjezdana Stančić, Thomas Dirnböck, Stefan Dullinger
  • Foregrounding ecojustice in conservation
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 October 2018Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Haydn Washington, Guillaume Chapron, Helen Kopnina, Patrick Curry, Joe Gray, John J. Piccolo Justice for nature remains a confused term. In recent decades justice has predominantly been limited to humanity, with a strong focus on social justice, and its spin-off – environmental justice for people. We first examine the formal rationale for ecocentrism and ecological ethics, as this underpins attitudes towards justice for nature, and show how justice for nature has been affected by concerns about dualisms and by strong anthropocentric bias. We next consider the traditional meaning of social justice, alongside the recent move by some scholars to push justice for nature into social justice, effectively weakening any move to place ecojustice centre-stage. This, we argue, is both unethical and doomed to failure as a strategy to protect life on Earth. The dominant meaning of ‘environmental justice’ – in essence, justice for humans in regard to environmental issues – is also explored. We next discuss what ecological justice (ecojustice) is, and how academia has ignored it for many decades. The charge of ecojustice being ‘antihuman’ is refuted. We argue that distributive justice can also apply to nature, including an ethic of bio-proportionality, and also consider how to reconcile social justice and ecojustice, arguing that ecojustice must now be foregrounded to ensure effective conservation. After suggesting a ‘Framework for implementing ecojustice’ for conservation practitioners, we conclude by urging academia to foreground ecojustice.
  • Lemurs in a dying forest: Factors influencing lemur diversity and
           distribution in forest remnants of north-eastern Madagascar
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Dominik Schüßler, Ute Radespiel, Jonah Henri Ratsimbazafy, Jasmin Mantilla-Contreras A majority of Madagascar's iconic lemurs (Primates, Strepsirrhini) is threatened with extinction due to anthropogenic activities like land use change (deforestation) and bushmeat hunting.We used a multivariate approach combining land cover mapping, vegetation/degradation monitoring, the degree of anthropogenic disturbance and the status of forest protection by the local community to model their impact on lemur diversity, population densities and encounter rates within a rural area of lowland rain forest in north-eastern Madagascar.High mean annual deforestation rates (2.4%) were calculated since 1990, resulting in a landscape of small and isolated forest fragments. A limited number of eight lemur species belonging to five lemur families were encountered. Diurnal species were absent, while cathemeral lemurs avoided human disturbance. Small and nocturnal species were relatively abundant. Overall lemur diversity was best explained by forest size and a combination of disturbance and hunting. Encounter rates of three nocturnal taxa were influenced by forest size and habitat degradation. Community-level forest protection had no effect on lemur diversity, but coincided with lower levels of habitat degradation. Lemur population sizes were relatively small and only few forests remain that offer suitable habitats for viable populations.We highly recommend external conservation NGOs to support local forest management by improving the existing community-based approach. Actions should include expansion of protected habitats to increase population connectivity (reforestation) and to decrease lemur disturbance by villagers. Without external support, the last remaining forest habitats will be devastated within a few years resulting in the local extinction of most lemur populations.
  • Little owls in big landscapes: Informing conservation using multi-level
           resource selection functions
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Julien Fattebert, Vanja Michel, Patrick Scherler, Beat Naef-Daenzer, Pietro Milanesi, Martin U. Grüebler Habitat models are fundamental tools for designing evidence-based conservation measures, particularly for locating sites with high potential for promoting a species' recolonisation and occupancy. However, it remains challenging to respond to both the need for large-scale general rules, and for fine-scale information concurrently. Multi-level habitat models provide all-in-one surfaces that explicitly account for conditional dependencies among single-level selection probabilities. We integrated occurrence data obtained from citizen-science species observation data with radio-tracking data to develop multi-level resource selection functions for the little owl (Athene noctua), a species of conservation concern in Central Europe. The results of our habitat selection analyses confirmed that suitable little owl habitat is located in widely open agricultural landscapes that often exist in the vicinity of human settlements. We mapped habitats at fine resolution (40 × 40 m) over an area covering 77,313 km2 in Switzerland and Baden-Württemberg, Germany. We validated the models with external out-of-sample data, and we demonstrated good predictive ability and transferability over the broad landscape. Overall, a fifth of the modelled landscape was estimated to be suitable for little owls. Habitat suitability scores in Switzerland were generally lower than in Baden-Württemberg due to higher elevation, fewer orchards, and more forest patches. Extant populations currently occupy c. 15% of the potential suitable habitats in Baden-Württemberg, and 2% in Switzerland, suggesting that considerable space for recolonisation is available. However, while Baden-Württemberg offers vast open landscapes, lowlands in Switzerland show narrow swaths of habitat along valleys and lakes. We showed that the simultaneous integration of different levels of habitat selection behaviour into a multi-level habitat suitability map creates a promising tool for conservation planning of endangered species over large geographical areas. Our multi-level model allowed for identification of both large-scale habitat suitability patterns to develop conservation strategies, and fine-scale clusters of high quality habitats where conservation measures can be applied at once, thereby increasing relevance of such all-in-one habitat maps for policy makers, wildlife managers and conservations practitioners alike.
  • Behavioral responses to, and fitness consequences from, an invasive
           species are life-stage dependent in a threatened native fish
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 228Author(s): Timothy R. Brown, Rhys A. Coleman, Stephen E. Swearer, Robin Hale Native wildlife are impacted by invasive species in numerous ways and will be more vulnerable if they cannot recognize the threat posed by an invader. Impacts, however, are generally assessed for a single life stage and without consideration of behavioral responses. This limits knowledge of the mechanisms underpinning the threats of invaders and the responses that could help or hinder native animals to mitigate this threat.We conducted a series of experiments to examine if the threat of an invader and behavioral responses by a native animal are life-stage dependent. Our focal species were a widespread invasive (Gambusia holbrooki) and a threatened native Australian freshwater fish (Galaxiella pusilla). We show that the threat of, and behavioral responses to, the invader vary across life-cycle stages. Gambusia holbrooki had different effects on G. pusilla: inhibiting reproduction and consuming larvae but not eating eggs or reducing adult growth and survival. Although larval G. pusilla avoided visual cues from G. holbrooki, native predators and conspecific adults, they did not avoid olfactory cues from G. holbrooki, which is maladaptive considering the predation risk. In addition, adult G. pusilla did not avoid any G. holbrooki cues, providing further evidence of maladaptive behavior.Our study is one of the first comprehensive evaluations of how the threats of an invader to a native species, as well as the responses to this threat, are life-stage dependent. We use our empirical results to develop a general framework for understanding the mechanisms by which invasives threaten native biota, and highlight how this can be used to help assess and mitigate the threat of invaders.
  • Direct modelling of limited migration improves projected distributions of
           Himalayan amphibians under climate change
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Barkha Subba, Sandeep Sen, Gudasalamani Ravikanth, Michael Peter Nobis Amphibians are one of the most vulnerable taxa at risk of rapid decline under climate change. Here, we evaluated the impact of different migration constraints on projected future distributions of four high elevation frogs, belonging to the genus Scutiger, in the Eastern Himalaya. We explored differences between the output of conventional models assuming no or unlimited migration versus models considering plausible migration rates to ascertain future species distributions under climate change. Distributions of the four Scutiger species, namely S. boulengeri, S. glandulatus, S. sikimmesis and S. tuberculatus, based on field data and other sources were modelled using MaxEnt and projected for three future time periods (2021–2040; 2041–2060; 2061–2080) under the relatively ambitious RCP4.5 and the more pessimistic RCP8.5 climate change scenarios using three global circulation models. Projected species distributions were compared at different spatial resolutions (1 km, 5 km and 10 km) and for five assumptions about species migration: (1) no migration; (2–4) low, medium and high migration abilities using the KISSMig model; and (5) unlimited migration. Without migration, the projected future distribution of all four species showed a significant decrease of −15% to −64% by 2080. In contrast, three out of the four study species were projected to expand their distribution under unlimited migration scenarios. Models with more realistic migration rates, however, demonstrated considerable deviance from both no migration and unlimited migration scenarios. These results were consistent across models with different spatial resolutions. Our study shows that ignoring realistic migration constraints can lead to ineffective conservation measures by overestimating the future distribution of Himalayan amphibians. The proposed framework can be used to project more realistic ranges of future species distributions by considering the accessibility of future suitable areas, a key factor for species persistence under climate change.
  • Spatially and temporally targeted suppression of despotic noisy miners has
           conservation benefits for highly mobile and threatened woodland birds
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Ross Crates, Aleks Terauds, Laura Rayner, Dejan Stojanovic, Robert Heinsohn, Colin Wilkie, Matthew Webb Interactive effects of habitat loss and interspecific competition are major threats to global biodiversity. Managing despotic competitors in modified landscapes is a conservation priority, but implementing actions to benefit rare and highly mobile species is challenging. In Australia, overabundance of hyperaggressive noisy miners following woodland fragmentation and degradation is a key threatening process given their impact on songbirds including the nomadic, critically endangered regent honeyeater. Recent studies have found rapid noisy miner recolonization following their experimental removal, questioning the efficacy of miner removal as a conservation measure. We estimated the relative habitat saturation of noisy miners at a hotspot of threatened bird diversity. We then experimentally removed 350 noisy miners and assessed the effect of this removal on subsequent noisy miner abundance, relative to a control area. We monitored the occurrence of noisy miners near regent honeyeater nests and modelled the effect of noisy miner removal on songbird populations. Noisy miner removal significantly decreased noisy miner abundance throughout the breeding season, when 15–18 regent honeyeaters nested in the miner removal area. Songbird abundance and species richness increased significantly in the miner removal area, relative to the control area. We provide a rare example of how spatially and temporally targeted preventative action can reduce threats for nomadic and highly threatened species during breeding and prevent ongoing avian diversity loss more broadly.
  • Selecting surrogate species for connectivity conservation
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Margaux Meurant, Andrew Gonzalez, Aggeliki Doxa, Cécile H. Albert Habitat loss and fragmentation impede the movement of animals across landscapes causing biodiversity change. One strategy to counter these effects is to protect and restore habitat quality and connectivity for a diversity of species. How should surrogate species be selected to represent a diversity of needs from a larger species pool'Using a recent method to prioritize multispecies habitat networks, we tested how the selection of surrogate species affects prioritization outcomes. We ran prioritization schemes using subsets of N (N = 0, 1, 3, 5, 7, 9) species selected from a 14-species reference set. Selection was based on different concepts of surrogate species: umbrella, taxonomy, habitat diversity, movement diversity, movement and habitat diversity. Prioritization outputs were compared to the 14-species set for their effectiveness and comprehensiveness at retaining habitat quality and connectivity criteria, and for their spatial congruence.We show that species-based surrogates perform better than habitat-based surrogates and that a moderate number of species (5–7) might be sufficient to capture the needs of a broader species pool for one habitat type (forest). However, how species are selected matters as much as how many. The best performing approach is to select species representing a diversity of habitat and/or movement needs. Umbrella or taxonomy-based selections were less effective and comprehensive.Our results can guide the selection of surrogate species when designing a prioritization plan for regional connectivity conservation. We recommend favoring systematic trait-based species selection over single-species, umbrella or taxonomy-based selections. When a proper species-based surrogate approach cannot be done, a habitat-based surrogate approach might still be a useful alternative.
  • Medicinal plant harvesting, sustainability and cultivation in South Africa
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): A.S. van Wyk, G. Prinsloo Concerns regarding the conservation of medicinal plant species are receiving much attention due to overharvesting and exploitation. Medicinal plant harvesting is a global concern as plants are the source of the majority of medicines, either traditional or western, in the world. Millions of U.S. dollars of plant material are being exported annually from developing countries to developed countries. The challenge in developing countries is that, apart from the exports, the majority of people in those countries still use medicinal plant material for their basic healthcare needs. Biodiversity loss is therefore a significant challenge. This review focuses on South Africa as a developing country in which traditional medicines are highly valued, but also engages in exports of medicinal plant material to developed countries. Medicinal plant harvesting, with reference to suppliers of medicinal plant material, customary knowledge and the drivers of increased harvesting rates in South Africa is discussed. General aspects of sustainability and the causes of unsustainable medicinal plant harvesting, as well as cultivation to increase medicinal plant populations referring to its advantages and disadvantages and the challenges regarding cultivation of medicinal plant species for the medicinal plant trade market are reviewed. The shift from a cultural method of survival to a competitive trade business, South Africa's legislation regulating the management of natural environments, legislation compliance and the regulation of African traditional medicine are also reviewed.
  • Legal obligations regarding populations on the verge of extinction in
           Europe: Conservation, Restoration, Recolonization, Reintroduction
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): José Vicente López-Bao, Floor Fleurke, Guillaume Chapron, Arie Trouwborst After more than two decades of implementation of the Habitats Directive (Directive 92/43/EEC), some fundamental aspects of the directive are still unclear, and subject to interpretive uncertainty, which limit its correct implementation. For example, obligations for Member States in situations where a protected population has almost, or has just, gone extinct are unclear. The isolated and protected population of wolves (Canis lupus) in the Sierra Morena region in Spain – the only wolf population in the southern half of the Iberian Peninsula – has been steadily declining to the point where it is doubtful whether any wolves are left. Using this illustrative example, we provide clarifications on the obligations by Member States in situations where populations are on the verge of extinction. Our analysis shows that Articles 6 and 12 of the Habitats Directive require Member States to restore populations that are quasi extinct. From a legal perspective, even the complete extinction of the species would not exonerate Member States from its obligations regarding the species in the Natura 2000 sites concerned. In this line, we argue that the Spanish authorities should not wait with recolonization, reinforcement and/or reintroduction actions until the complete absence of wolves in the Sierra Morena is conclusively proven. Two scenarios appear to meet legal requirements: i) active reinforcement/reintroduction, or ii) an active and effective policy towards a rapid natural recolonization of Sierra Morena by northern wolves. However, based on the observed wolf trends in Spain and Portugal during the past five decades, a reconnection between northern and Sierra Morena wolves seems unlikely in the foreseeable future even if actively promoted. Considering the urgency of actions required to avoid that this population will be the first wolf population to become extinct in Europe in modern times, in order to comply with European obligations, the adopting and carrying out a reintroduction/reinforcement scheme to restore the Sierra Morena wolf population is required. Such a scheme needs to be accompanied by a comprehensive enforcement plan to assure that reintroduced wolves will thrive.
  • A fence runs through it: A call for greater attention to the influence of
           fences on wildlife and ecosystems
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Andrew F. Jakes, Paul F. Jones, L. Christine Paige, Renee G. Seidler, Marcel P. Huijser Fencing is a nearly ubiquitous infrastructure that influences landscapes across space and time, and the impact of fences on wildlife and ecosystems is of global concern. Yet the prevalence and commonness of fences has contributed to their “invisibility” and a lack of attention in research and conservation, resulting in a scarcity of empirical data regarding their effects. Stakeholders, including scientists, conservationists, resource managers, and private landholders, have limited understanding of how fences affect individual animals, populations, or ecosystem processes. Because fences are largely unmapped and undocumented, we do not know their full spatial extent, nor do we fully comprehend the interactions of fences with wild species, whether positive or negative. To better understand and manage fence effects on wildlife and ecosystems, we advocate for an expanded effort to examine all aspects of fence ecology: the empirical investigation of the interactions between fences, wildlife, ecosystems, and societal needs. We first illustrate the global prevalence of fencing, and outline fence function and common designs. Second, we review the pros and cons of fencing relative to wildlife conservation. Lastly, we identify knowledge gaps and suggest research needs in fence ecology. We hope to inspire fellow scientists and conservationists to “see” and study fences as a broad-scale infrastructure that has widespread influence. Once we better understand the influences and cumulative effects of fences, we can develop and implement practical solutions for sustaining wildlife and ecosystems in balance with social needs.
  • Off-the-shelf GPS technology to inform marine protected areas for marine
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Robin T.E. Snape, Phil J. Bradshaw, Annette C. Broderick, Wayne J. Fuller, Kimberley L. Stokes, Brendan J. Godley The financial expense of tracking solutions often impedes effective characterisation of habitat use in threatened marine megavertebrates. Yet some of these taxa predictably aggregate at coastal breeding sites, providing conservation opportunities. Toward a low-cost solution for tracking marine megavertebrates, we trial conventional GPS data loggers against Argos satellite transmitters for assessing inter-nesting habitat use of marine turtles. Devices were attached to green (Chelonia mydas) and loggerhead (Caretta caretta) turtles nesting at a study site in Cyprus, where patrol teams were in place to retrieve GPS loggers from turtles returning to lay subsequent clutches. GPS tracking revealed loggerhead turtles to predominantly use areas outside the boundaries of an MPA proposed for the region, while both species under-used much of the MPA area. Due to high location error, Argos data were considered unsuitable for such fine-scale assessments (all location classes except Z were included in our analysis). However, Argos tracking showed half the loggerhead turtles sampled also nested outside of the patrolled study area, demonstrating connectivity with other proposed MPAs. This was not accounted for by GPS tracking, because females exhibiting this behaviour rarely returned to the study beach, precluding GPS retrieval, thus, demonstrating the power of remote data access. The low-cost GPS technology could be considered in similar cases, where recapture is likely and where funding barriers preclude the use of Argos-relay fast-acquisition GPS technology. In combining the accuracy GPS and the continuity of Argos, the latter provides the best solution in most scenarios, but at far greater cost.
  • Elevated potential for intraspecific competition in territorial carnivores
           occupying fragmented landscapes
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Pranav Chanchani, Brian D. Gerber, Barry R. Noon The distribution of mammals is determined by a suite of endogenous and exogenous factors. In territorial, polygynous species like tigers (Panthera tigris), males often center their space-use around female territories, repelling competitors from these areas. Competition among males for females leads to increased mortality of both sexes and infanticide of unrelated cubs, which can lead to population declines. We hypothesized that increased territorial overlap among adult male tigers and elevated levels of inter and intra-sex competition would be manifest in populations with male-biased adult sex ratios (ASR). We also assessed whether inter-sex variation in adult survival or degree of habitat connectivity resulted in skewed ASR. We evaluated these hypotheses using camera trap data from three tiger populations occupying habitat patches with varying levels of connectivity and ASRs. Data were analyzed using multi-state occupancy models, where states were defined as habitat use by one or more male tigers in sites with and without female use. As predicted, in populations with male-biased or even ASR we found evidence for increased spatial overlap between male tigers, particularly pronounced in areas adjacent to female territories. Given parity in adult survival, habitat fragmentation likely caused male-biased ASR. Our results suggest that the persistence of small tiger populations in habitat patches with male-biased ASR may be significantly compromised by behavior-mediated endogenous demographic processes that are often overlooked. In habitat fragments with pronounced male biased ASR, population recovery of territorial carnivores may require timely supplementation of individuals to compensate for population losses from intraspecific competition.
  • Is large good enough' Evaluating and improving representation of
           ecoregions and habitat types in the European Union's protected area
           network Natura 2000
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Anke Müller, Uwe A. Schneider, Kerstin Jantke Natura 2000, the largest protected area network worldwide, covers 18.2% of the European Union's terrestrial area. Thereby, the network surpasses the goal of the Convention on Biological Diversity's Aichi target 11 to protect 17% of the land area by 2020. However, Aichi target 11 also calls for protected area networks to be ecologically representative. Here, we analyzed the coverage of 43 ecoregions in the terrestrial Natura 2000 estate. To simulate cost-efficient closing of gaps in the current system, we applied a linear programming model that solves the minimum set conservation problem of expanding the Natura 2000 network to achieve 10% ecoregion representation. As Natura 2000 sites are designated for habitat types and species listed on the annexes of the Habitats and Birds directives, we included 226 habitat types as a further biodiversity surrogate in the optimization. We found six ecoregions that currently do not meet the 10% representation target. To close these gaps, an additional 15,187 km2 (0.35% of the European Union's land territory) would be required. Simultaneously, representation of 21 habitat types could be increased. The United Kingdom would have to contribute more than half of the additional area, followed by Estonia, Latvia, France, and Italy. To protect biodiversity effectively and to comply with international conservation targets such as Aichi target 11, we recommend continuous evaluation and improvement also of already well-established protected area networks.
  • Mapping threats to wilderness character in the National Wilderness
           Preservation System
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): James Tricker, Peter Landres The National Wilderness Preservation System in the United States provides the greatest level of protection for the ecological and social values of lands held in trust for future generations. Although designated wilderness is the cornerstone of the US conservation portfolio, designation alone doesn't assure the protection of these areas, which are degraded by threats both inside and external to the area. This paper describes new methods for quantifying the location and cumulative magnitude of threats to wilderness, allowing agency managers and the public to evaluate whether the legal mandate from the 1964 Wilderness Act to “preserve wilderness character” is being upheld. These new methods have also been used in developing wilderness stewardship plans and analyzing the potential effects of proposed projects that would degrade wilderness character. The methods described here were developed and tested in seven wildernesses in a variety of ecological, geographic, and administrative settings, and are directly applicable to evaluating threats and improving the management of all 110 million acres of designated wilderness in the United States, as well as all areas that are increasingly recognized internationally as wilderness.
  • Modelling the spread and control of cherry guava on Lord Howe Island
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Christopher M. Baker, Sue Bower, Elena Tartaglia, Michael Bode, Hank Bower, Robert L. Pressey Effectively controlling invasive species on islands is a critical aspect of global conservation. Having the potential to outcompete or consume native species, it is particularly important to remove them from islands harbouring unique flora and fauna. Lord Howe Island, a World Heritage listed area to the east of the Australian mainland, is in the midst of a long-term weed management project, where the most prolific invasive species is cherry guava, with over 700,000 plants removed so far. In such projects, it is critical to have a good understanding of the invasion dynamics and removal process to have reliable estimates of project timeline and success, and to ensure the best removal strategies are being utilised. In this paper we model cherry guava growth, spread and removal on Lord Howe Island, fitting our model to 12 years of removal data. Our mean estimate is that there are 102,091 plants remaining on the island, which will take approximately 25 years to remove at current levels of eradication effort. Altering the strategy to search every year, rather than biennially, reduces the eradication time to 20 years, which falls within the project target, while also decreasing the total search effort. However, simply increasing search effort to finish faster actually increases the total eradication effort. This shows that the benefits of making careful adjustments to a strategy can far out-weight the benefit of simply investing more money into control. This project exemplifies how high-quality removal record-keeping can be used to generate models that provide important long-term forecasts of project success and suggest effective strategic improvements.
  • The cost of enforcing a marine protected area to achieve ecological
           targets for the recovery of fish biomass
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Christopher J. Brown, Brett Parker, Gabby N. Ahmadia, Rizya Ardiwijaya, Purwanto, Edward T. Game Protected areas are the primary management tool for conserving ecosystems, yet their intended outcomes may often be compromised by poaching. Consequently, many protected areas are ineffective ‘paper parks’ that contribute little towards conserving ecosystems. Poaching can be prevented through enforcement and engaging with community members so they support protected areas. It is not clear how much needs to be spent on enforcement and engagement to ensure they are frequent enough to be effective at conserving biodiversity. We develop models of enforcement against illegal fishing in marine protected areas. We apply the models to data on fishing rates and fish biomass from a marine protected area in Raja Ampat, Indonesia and explore how frequent enforcement patrols need to be to achieve targets for coral reef fish biomass. Achieving pristine levels of reef fish biomass required almost year-round enforcement of the protected area. Surveillance of the protected area may also be enhanced if local fishers who support the reserve report on poaching. The opportunity for local fishing boats to participate in surveillance was too small for it to have much benefit for total reef fish biomass, which increases slowly. However, specific functional groups of fish have much higher population growth rates and their biomass was predicted to increase markedly with community surveillance. We conclude that budgets for park management must balance the cost of conducting frequent patrols against supporting alternative activities, like education to build community support. Optimized budgets will be much more likely to achieve ecological targets for recovering fish biomasses and will contribute to fiscal sustainability of protected areas.
  • Survivors or reinvaders' Intraspecific priority effect masks
           reinvasion potential
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Florian Pichlmueller, James C. Russell Invasions of alien species on islands cause serious deleterious effects on native species through predation and competition often to the point of extinction. Where eradication is not possible ongoing control programs are the only alternative. Following control efforts there are risks of both recolonisation from survivors and reinvasion from neighbouring populations. Successful pest control efforts at such sites depend heavily on two rules of eradication: (1) individuals have to be removed faster than the growth rate and (2) reinvasion must be close to zero. We used a small near-shore island as a ‘microcosm’ to test whether both these rules could be met. We applied a molecular genetic approach to assess genetic differentiation of a ship rat (Rattus rattus) population on a nearshore island with the adjacent mainland population and investigated metapopulation dynamics and pest control success. Tissue samples from Goat Island, New Zealand, from three consecutive years were genotyped at 14 microsatellite loci and compared with the mainland populations. We showed moderate genetic differentiation between the two populations despite their close proximity and demonstrated that rats were neither being removed faster than they bred nor was reinvasion able to be managed close to zero. Furthermore, population reduction on the island counter-productively facilitated establishment by invading rats. These results have important implications for interpreting the relative roles of recolonization versus reinvasion following pest control operations. To properly manage invasive species at such sites, control must have the intensity of eradication efforts, and reinvasion must be managed both pre departure and post arrival.
  • Waterbird communities adjust to climate warming according to conservation
           policy and species protection status
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Elie Gaget, Thomas Galewski, Fréderic Jiguet, Isabelle Le Viol Climate change is one of the strongest biodiversity threats. Worse still, the impact of multiple anthropic stressors on species dynamics could complicate adaptation to temperature increase. International conservation policies aim to protect ecosystems against anthropic pressures, but their ability to facilitate adaptation to climate change has yet to be assessed. Using wetland bird monitoring surveys, we evaluated the differences at the country scale of community adjustment to temperature increase of wintering waterbird communities (145 species) according to the implementation of the two main western Palearctic international conservation policies (Bern Convention and Birds Directive) in the Mediterranean basin (2786 sites, 22 countries) over a 22-year period. We showed that thermic community composition increases over time in countries which have enforced conservation policies. We found that strictly protected species under the Birds Directive and the Bern Convention contributed more to this community adjustment than the not strictly protected species. The mechanism results from a population increase in protected warm-dwelling species but not from a decline in cold-dwelling species. This study supports the ability of international conservation policies to mitigate the effect of climate change on animal communities.
  • Saproxylic biodiversity and decomposition rate decrease with small-scale
           isolation of tree hollows
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Laia Mestre, Nicklas Jansson, Thomas Ranius Biodiversity is fundamental for ecosystem functioning, but little is known about how function responds to biodiversity loss following habitat disturbance in natural systems. Due to the global decay of veteran trees, many associated saproxylic (i.e. deadwood-dependent) insects are considered threatened. Nevertheless, the role of habitat spatial configuration on saproxylic insect biodiversity and dead wood decomposition is poorly understood. We performed a six-year landscape-scale colonization experiment on saproxylic beetles inhabiting hollow oaks, using boxes filled with wood mould as standardized habitat patches. We placed boxes either on a hollow tree or on another tree 61–324 m from the hollows, thereby creating two habitat isolation levels. We quantified wood mould decay and biodiversity in the boxes, measuring species richness, total abundances and community-weighted mean of body mass (CWM) as an index of community functional composition. Isolation had a persistent negative effect on primary consumer biodiversity, but it only impaired decay at the beginning of the experiment. All effects were independent of landscape-level (500-m radius) habitat amount surrounding the boxes. Wood mould decay was mediated by CWM of primary consumers. Therefore function was driven by the body masses of the dominant primary consumer species but not by species numbers (richness) or individual numbers (abundance). Our experiment shows that small-scale habitat isolation leads to biodiversity loss and reduced function and indicates that habitats created by conservation efforts will be used by more saproxylic species if located within sites with a high density of veteran trees.
  • Quantifying the contribution to biodiversity conservation of protected
           areas governed by indigenous peoples and local communities
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 20 September 2018Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Colleen Corrigan, Heather Bingham, Yichuan Shi, Edward Lewis, Alienor Chauvenet, Naomi Kingston
  • Kill, incarcerate, or liberate' Ethics and alternatives to orangutan
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Alexandra Palmer Despite its high cost and debatable conservation value, orangutan rehabilitation and reintroduction (R&R) continues. Drawing on qualitative research with orangutan conservationists, this paper argues that a central reason why R&R practitioners undertake this activity is a view that the alternatives, killing orangutan orphans or keeping them in captivity, are practically or ethically unacceptable. However, questions remain over whether orphans might be better off in captivity than in the wild, and why orphans appear to attract more attention and support than wild orangutans. In evaluating these questions, practitioners must weigh up obligations to individuals and larger units, displaced and wild orangutans (the former visible, and the latter abstract), and properties of orangutans such as their wildness, welfare, and autonomy. As advocates of compassionate conservation have highlighted, similar ethical dilemmas arise in the conservation of other species.
  • Population consequences of disturbance by offshore oil and gas activity
           for endangered sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus)
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Nicholas A. Farmer, Kyle Baker, David G. Zeddies, Samuel L. Denes, Dawn P. Noren, Lance P. Garrison, Abigail Machernis, Erin M. Fougères, Mikhail Zykov Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) populations are still recovering from massive population declines associated with commercial whaling operations. The species continues to face a suite of contemporary threats, including pollution, ship strikes, fisheries interactions, habitat loss and degradation, oil spills, and anthropogenic noise. The sperm whale stock in the northern Gulf of Mexico was exposed to oil from the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill and is exposed to high levels of anthropogenic noises generated by geological and geophysical (G&G) surveys for hydrocarbon deposits. Population impacts from oil and gas activities were predicted from models that incorporated two stressors: (i) oil exposure from DWH and (ii) noise from G&G surveys. Oil exposure was projected to reduce survival and reproductive success, causing a mean stock decline of 26% by 2025. Additionally, exposure to underwater noise can adversely impact whale hearing, communication, foraging efficiency, and disturb essential behaviors. Exposures to G&G survey noise were determined by simulating individual movements through three-dimensional sound fields generated by different survey methods. Behavioral disturbance was evaluated as reduced foraging opportunities under four dose-response functions. Bioenergetic models tracked the depletion of reserves in blubber, muscle, and viscera. All simulations suggested significant reductions in relative fitness of reproductive females were a likely consequence of persistent disturbances to foraging behaviors. Under a 160 dB SPL unweighted dose-response function, up to 4.4 ± 0.3% of the stock may reach terminal starvation due to behavioral disturbance associated with future G&G surveys, leading to abortions, calf abandonment, and up to 25% greater stock declines beyond those predicted from DWH oil exposure. Uncertainty in our results emphasizes a need for further controlled exposure experiments to generate behavioral disturbance dose-response curves and detailed evaluation of individual resilience following disturbance events. Given our focus on a limited suite of threats and need for field verification of these modeled impacts, precautionary management application of our results is recommended for this endangered species.
  • Using practitioner knowledge to expand the toolbox for private lands
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Drew E. Bennett, Liba Pejchar, Beth Romero, Richard Knight, Joel Berger Private lands provide important habitat for biodiversity and are critical to many conservation efforts. With increasing awareness of the importance of private lands, a broad suite of strategies to engage landowners in conservation is emerging. The success of these strategies is contingent on a skilled workforce of conservation practitioners that can scale-up these efforts and meet both ecological and livelihood objectives. Although professional capacity building is an acknowledged priority in the conservation community, the knowledge and experience of conservation practitioners (e.g., individuals working at land trusts and government agencies) has not been widely assessed. Here, we surveyed practitioners in the United States to gauge their familiarity with seven approaches to private lands conservation in different landscape contexts. Most practitioners were familiar with only two conservation tools, conservation easements and direct payment programs (e.g., Farm Bill programs), and familiarity varied among different types of organizations. Although these tools were perceived to restrict residential development and restore habitat, respectively, they had limited reported impact on climate change mitigation or relevance to urban areas. Widespread reliance on just two tools also raises important questions about the vulnerability of private lands conservation efforts to political and institutional changes and the ability to meet multiple conservation objectives in a world undergoing rapid climate and land use change. We argue for targeted efforts to enhance the professional capacity of conservation practitioners to expand the toolbox and achieve multiple conservation goals on diverse private lands.
  • Impacts of certification, uncertified concessions, and protected areas on
           forest loss in Cameroon, 2000 to 2013
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Stephanie Panlasigui, Jimena Rico-Straffon, Alexander Pfaff, Jennifer Swenson, Colby Loucks Deforestation and forest fragmentation are leading drivers of biodiversity loss. Protected areas have been the leading conservation policy response, yet their scale and scope remain inadequate to meet biodiversity conservation targets. Managed forest concessions increasingly have been recognized as a complement to protected areas in meeting conservation targets. Similarly, programs for voluntary third-party certification of concession management aim to create incentives for logging companies to manage forests more sustainably. Rigorous evidence on the impacts from large-scale certification programs is thereby critical, yet detailed field observations are limited, temporally and spatially. Remotely-sensed data, in contrast, can provide repeated observations over time and at a fine spatial scale, albeit with less detail. Using the Global Forest Change dataset, we examine annual forest loss in Cameroon during 2000–2013 to assess the impact of Forest Stewardship Council certification, as well as uncertified logging concessions and national parks. We use panel regressions that control for the effects of unobserved factors that vary across space or time. We find low forest loss inside the boundaries of each management intervention, with
  • From general research questions to specific answers: Underspecificity as a
           source of uncertainty in biological conservation
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Susana Suárez-Seoane, Jose Manuel Álvarez-Martínez, Carlos Palacín, Juan Carlos Alonso Species distribution modelling may support ecologists in conservation decision-making. However, the applicability of management recommendations depends on the uncertainty associated to the modelling process. A key source of uncertainty is the underspecificity of the research question. Modelling specific questions is straightforward since they drive clearly the methodological choices about input data and model building. Nevertheless, when the research questions remain underspecific, modellers must choose among a wide spectrum of choices, with each decision sequence driving to a different outcome that explain partially the target question. We show how the underspecificity associated to a general research question about Great Bustard breeding success at geographic scale drives to multiple decision choices, leads to a variety of model outcomes and hampers the identification of specific conservation actions. We ran generalised linear models using multi-model inference on a set of databases built according to specific sequences of methodological choices. Then, we evaluated variations in model performance, complexity (parsimony) and nature of predictors, as well as averaged model predictions and spatial congruence among model outputs. Deviance and parsimony varied widely (11.46% to 83.33% and 7 to 18, respectively), as did model averaged mean predictions in occupied areas, contributing predictors and spatial congruence among outputs (rPearson = 0.44 ± 0.23 for models calibrated in occupied areas; 0.48 ± 0.06 for models calibrated in potential/accessible areas). We recommend to carefully fix research questions and associated methodological options through collaborative working frameworks to conceptualize modelling approaches and, thus, to mitigate problems arising from underspecificity and other forms of uncertainty in conservation applications.
  • Survey-based assessment of the frequency and potential impacts of
           recreation on polar bears
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Karyn D. Rode, Jennifer K. Fortin-Noreus, David Garshelis, Markus Dyck, Vicki Sahanatien, Todd Atwood, Stanislav Belikov, Kristin L. Laidre, Susanne Miller, Martyn E. Obbard, Dag Vongraven, Jasmine Ware, James Wilder Conservation plans for polar bears (Ursus maritimus) typically cannot prescribe management actions to address their primary threat: sea ice loss associated with climate warming. However, there may be other stressors that compound the negative effects of sea ice loss which can be mitigated. For example, Arctic tourism has increased concurrent with polar bears increasingly using terrestrial habitats, which creates the potential for increased human-bear interactions. Little is known about the types, frequency, or potential impacts of recreation. We conducted a Delphi survey among experts who live and work in polar bear habitats, followed by an internet-based survey to which 47 managers, tour operators, community members, and scientists contributed. Participants identified viewing-based recreation as increasing and affecting the largest proportion of bears within subpopulations that come ashore during the ice-free season. Survey respondents suggested that negative effects of viewing, including displacement and habituation, could be reduced by restricting human use areas and distances between bears and people. Killing of bears in defense was associated more with camping or hunting for other species than other recreations, and may be mitigated with deterrents. Snowmobiling was the most common recreation across the polar bears' range, and reportedly caused some den abandonment and displacement. However, respondents estimated that
  • Public attitudes toward threatened and endangered species and management
           options in the Southeastern United States
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Kyle Rodgers, Adam Willcox Amid rapid population growth, the fate of many threatened and endangered (T&E) species in the Southeast is closely tied to conservation actions on private lands. Therefore, it is critical to understand how the public values wildlife and public attitudes toward T&E species and management approaches, such as Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) - a voluntary approach for private landowners to comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We conducted a mail survey to examine attitudes toward T&E species and HCPs, as well as wildlife value orientations (WVOs), among the general public in four study locations in the Southeast: Charlotte Co. (FL), Cumberland Co. (TN), the Etowah Watershed (GA), and the Lower Flint River Basin (GA). Overall, respondent attitudes toward T&E species and the ESA were positive. However, respondents did not believe the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would make good decisions regarding endangered species management without public input. Species attitudes, WVOs and ESA knowledge were all significant influences on public support for the ESA; and species attitudes, beliefs about involvement of local communities, and support for the ESA significantly influenced perceptions about HCPs. We conclude that HCPs represent an opportunity to capitalize on support for T&E species and rebuild trust in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by engaging the public in endangered species management.
  • Multi-scale habitat selection modeling identifies threats and conservation
           opportunities for the Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi)
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): David W. Macdonald, Helen M. Bothwell, Andrew J. Hearn, Susan M. Cheyne, Iding Haidir, Luke T.B. Hunter, Żaneta Kaszta, Matthew Linkie, Ewan A. Macdonald, Joanna Ross, Samuel A. Cushman Clouded leopards are among Asia's most widely distributed felids, but also among its least known and most vulnerable. Clouded leopards occur in some of the most rapidly disappearing forests in the world, yet a comprehensive assessment of their status and habitat use is lacking, which in turn limits identification of their priority conservation needs and capacity to act as umbrella species for conserving associated forest biodiversity. To address this need for the Sunda species (Neofelis diardi), we applied multi-scale modeling to identify both key environmental variables influencing habitat use and optimal scales of relationship with these variables. We detected clouded leopards at 18.3% of 1544 camera stations and 17 of 22 sampling locations on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Multi-scale GLMM revealed that recent forest loss and large-scale plantations strongly and negatively influence clouded leopard detection. Our findings also suggest that higher elevations and ridges are important components of N. diardi habitat use. We illustrate how scale optimization of habitat use can provide critical information for characterizing the requirements of protected areas, and identify core habitat patches and connectivity gaps in need of future protection. Our findings indicate greater challenges facing clouded leopards on Sumatra, including higher poaching pressure, greater fragmentation, and roughly half the habitat area available to N. diardi on Borneo. This research contributes vital insights to assist in prioritizing habitat conservation networks for the protection of this vulnerable felid and the forest biodiversity for which it is an ambassador species.
  • Fifteen operationally important decisions in the planning of biodiversity
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Atte Moilanen, Janne S. Kotiaho Many development projects, whether they are about construction of factories, mines, roads, railways, new suburbs, shopping malls, or even individual houses, have negative environmental consequences. Biodiversity offsetting is about compensating that damage, typically via habitat restoration, land management, or by establishment of new protected areas. Offsets are the fourth step of the so-called mitigation hierarchy, in which ecological damage is first avoided, minimized second, and third restored locally. Whatever residual damage remains is then offset. Offsetting has been increasingly adopted all around the world, but simultaneously serious concerns are expressed about the validity of the approach. Failure of offsetting can follow from either inappropriate definition of the size and kind of offset, or, from failure in implementation. Here we address planning of offsets, and identify fundamental operational design decisions that define the intended outcome of an offsetting project, and organize these decisions around objectives, offset actions, and the three fundamental ecological axes of ecological reality: space, time and biodiversity. We also describe how the offset ratio of a project (size of offset areas compared to impact area) can be constructed based on several partial multipliers that arise from factors such as degree of compensation required relative to no net loss, partial and delayed nature of restoration or avoided loss gains, time discounting, additionality, leakage, uncertainty, and factors associated with biodiversity measurement and offset implementation. Several of these factors are partially subjective and thus negotiable. The overall purpose of this effort is to allow systematic, well informed and transparent discussion about these critical decisions in any offset project.
  • Assessing the validity of crowdsourced wildlife observations for
           conservation using public participatory mapping methods
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Greg Brown, Clive McAlpine, Jonathan Rhodes, Daniel Lunney, Ross Goldingay, Kelly Fielding, Scott Hetherington, Marama Hopkins, Clare Manning, Mathew Wood, Angie Brace, Lorraine Vass Public participatory mapping is a method of crowdsourcing where the lay public can contribute spatial information for a range of applications including conservation planning. When used to collect wildlife observation data, participatory mapping becomes a type of “geographic citizen science” that involves collaboration with members of the public. While the potential of crowdsourcing to assist in wildlife conservation appears to be large, the quality and validity of the observational data collected remain a key concern. In this study, we examined the quality and validity of spatial data collected in a public participatory mapping project implemented in northern New South Wales (Australia) in 2018 where the public was asked to identify and map the location and frequency of koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) sightings using an internet mapping application. The iconic koala is a nationally-listed threatened species and has wide public recognition, making it an ideal test of our approach to examining the value of citizen science for wildlife. We assessed the validity of koala observation data from two perspectives of validity-as-accuracy (positional accuracy and data completeness) and validity-as-credibility (characteristics of spatial data contributors). To assess validity-as-accuracy, we analysed the distribution of citizen observations of koala sightings compared to an expert-derived probability distribution of koalas (likelihood model). To assess validity-as-credibility, we analysed the survey data to determine which participant characteristics increased the credibility of observational data. We found significant spatial association between crowdsourced koala observations and the likelihood model to validate koala locations, but there was under-reporting in more rural, remote areas. Significant variables contributing to accuracy in koala observations included participant knowledge of koalas, age, length of residence, and formal education. We also compared the crowdsourced results to a field-based citizen science koala observation project implemented in the same region and found crowdsourced participatory mapping provided comparable, if not superior results. Crowdsourced koala observations can augment field-based koala research by covering large geographic areas while engaging a broader public in conservation efforts. However, effective geographic citizen science projects require a significant commitment of resources, including the creation of community partnerships, to obtain high quality spatial data.
  • Research advances and gaps in marine planning: towards a global database
           in systematic conservation planning
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 11 September 2018Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Jorge G. Álvarez-Romero, Morena Mills, Vanessa M. Adams, Georgina G. Gurney, Robert L. Pressey, Rebecca Weeks, Natalie C. Ban, Jessica Cheok, Tammy E. Davies, Jon C. Day, Mélanie A. Hamel, Heather M. Leslie, Rafael A. Magris, Collin J. Storlie Systematic conservation planning (SCP) has increasingly been used to prioritize conservation actions, including the design of new protected areas to achieve conservation objectives. Over the last 10 years, the number of marine SCP studies has increased exponentially, yet there is no structured or reliable way to find information on methods, trends, and progress. The rapid growth in methods and marine applications warrants an updated analysis of the literature, as well as reflection on the need for continuous and systematic documentation of SCP exercises in general. To address these gaps, we developed a database to document SCP exercises and populated it with 155 marine SCP exercises found in the primary literature. Based on our review, we provide an update on global advances and trends in marine SCP literature. We found accelerating growth in the number of studies over the past decade, with increasing consideration of socioeconomic variables, land-sea planning, and ecological connectivity. While several studies aimed to inform conservation decisions, we found little evidence of input from practitioners. There are important gaps in geographic coverage and little correspondence with areas most threatened. Five countries lead most studies, but their networks suggest potential for capacity building through collaborations. The varying quality and detail in documentation of studies confirmed the limited opportunities to develop and assess the application of best practice in conservation planning. A global database to track the development, implementation, and impact of SCP applications can thus provide numerous benefits. Our database constitutes an important step towards the development of a centralized repository of information on planning exercises and can serve several roles to advance SCP theory and practice: it facilitates assessing geographic coverage and gaps; scientists and practitioners can access information to identify trends in the use of data, methods, and tools; reviewers and editors of journals can assess whether studies have covered important literature and developments; donors and non-government organizations can identify regions needing further work; and practitioners and policy-makers can learn from previous plans.
  • Selective logging causes the decline of large-sized mammals including
           those in unlogged patches surrounded by logged and agricultural areas
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Jamaluddin Jamhuri, Liza D. Samantha, Sze Ling Tee, Norizah Kamarudin, Adham Ashton-Butt, Akbar Zubaid, Alex M. Lechner, Badrul Azhar Legal and illegal logging is prevalent throughout the tropics, impacting on natural habitat and wildlife. This study aimed to investigate the sensitivity of forest mammals to selective logging in the lowland dipterocarp forests of South-West Peninsular Malaysia and identify the underlying factors that determine species occurrence. A total of 120 camera trap locations were deployed within selectively logged and unlogged forests. We found that unlogged forest had greater wildlife occurrences compared to selectively logged forests, including two endangered mammal species not found in logged forest. Forest vegetation structure characteristics such as the abundance of lianas, large trees, saplings, palms, bamboo and seedlings were associated with mammal species richness. Mammal species richness increased with number of forest trees, particularly those with a DBH of>45 cm, but this was limited to high altitude forest. Worryingly, we did not detect any large mammalian apex predators such as leopards or tigers in either unlogged or selectively logged forests. The absence of these animals may be the result of poaching, habitat degradation or other pressures; these mammals are expected to be present in intact forests in Peninsular Malaysia. Restoring logged forests and preserving the remaining unlogged lowland dipterocarp forests are critically important to safeguard mammalian biodiversity in the region. Besides that, we recommend that conventional logging practices are replaced with reduced impact logging methods.
  • Identifying critical limits in oil palm cover for the conservation of
           terrestrial mammals in Colombia
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Lain E. Pardo, Fabio de Oliveira Roque, Mason J. Campbell, Nicolás Younes, Will Edwards, William F. Laurance As oil palm plantations continue to expand in Neotropical regions, identifying critical transitions in land use, at which animal communities can be drastically altered, is crucial for conservation planning. Here, we investigated potential unexpected change points (thresholds) in the response of terrestrial mammal's richness and community composition to increasing oil palm cover in the Llanos region of Colombia. We deployed camera traps to detect species across 56 sites (landscapes of ~220 ha each) and used segmented regression and Threshold Indicator Taxa Analysis (TITAN) for the identification of these thresholds. We found a negative linear relationship between the proportion of oil palm and species richness, but no evidence of a threshold. In contrast, we found strong signs of a community threshold when oil palm cover in the study area reached 45–75%, at which mammalian species composition (taxon-specific changes of abundance and occurrence frequency) drastically changed. When species were assessed individually, a significant threshold relationship to oil palm cover was found to occur in 10 of the 15 examined species, with four (squirrel, agouti, spiny rat, common opossum) having a negative drastic change at approximately 45% oil palm cover. Five species showed no evidence for any critical threshold (giant and lesser anteater, jaguarondi, white-tailed deer and raccoon). We used the community threshold identified above as a baseline to evaluate the conservation status of the four oil palm production zones in Colombia. We found that approximately 41% of the total area covered by oil palm in Colombia has crossed the identified threshold of 45–75%, suggesting urgent need for forest restoration to increase its extent if a collapse of their resident mammal communities is to be avoided. These findings provide guidance for the design of sustainable landscapes within production areas in Colombia to promote the conservation of terrestrial mammals.
  • Habitat suitability modulates the response of wildlife to human recreation
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Joy Coppes, Ursula Nopp-Mayr, Veronika Grünschachner-Berger, Ilse Storch, Rudi Suchant, Veronika Braunisch Outdoor recreation activities are growing in popularity, causing increasing pressure on wildlife. There are various ways in which wildlife reacts to recreation activities, ranging from behavioural to physiological responses, with regional variation in response-intensity within the same species. We tested whether the effects of human recreation are modulated by overall structural habitat suitability, using a model that included vegetation and topography, at both the regional and local habitat use scale. By undertaking a systematic, plot-based survey over 13 years in 13 study regions across central Europe, we studied how recreation infrastructure and habitat suitability interact and affect the variation in regional densities and local habitat use of an endangered model species: the western capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus). Both regional densities and local habitat use varied greatly between study years and regions. Capercaillie densities were positively correlated with average habitat suitability, but significantly reduced when over 50% of the area was influenced by recreation activities. Habitat suitability was the main predictor determining local habitat use. Recreation infrastructures were avoided: the effect being stronger in poor habitat conditions, while slightly mediated by high habitat suitability. Our results indicate that effects of recreation activities might be mitigated by improving habitat suitability; however this has limits because it only affects local scale habitat use but not regional densities. We stress the importance of recreation-free areas which must cover extensive (i.e.>50%) parts of the species range.
  • Organic farming supports spatiotemporal stability in species richness of
           bumblebees and butterflies
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Romain Carrié, Johan Ekroos, Henrik G. Smith The spatiotemporal stability of wild organisms, such as flower-visiting insects, is critical to guarantee high levels of biodiversity in agroecosystems. Whereas the proportion of semi-natural habitats in the landscapes has been shown to stabilize the species richness of flower visitors, the effect of farming intensity has not yet been studied. In this study, we compared the temporal and spatial stability (continuity of species richness in space and time) of two groups of flower-visiting insects (butterflies and bumblebees) between nine conventional and ten organic farms, distributed along a gradient of semi-natural grassland proportion. We surveyed bumblebees, butterflies and local flower cover during the growing season, covering multiple years and several habitat types per farm (cereal fields, temporary grasslands and semi-natural grasslands). At the field scale we found that within-year stability of bumblebee species richness was higher in organic than in conventional temporary grasslands (leys), because of a higher continuity of in-field flower resources. Further analyses showed that late-season flower resources in organic ley fields were critical to maintain a high within-year stability of bumblebee species richness by reducing resource bottlenecks during that period, when most bumblebee colonies produce new queens. The among-year stability of bumblebee species richness was higher in organic than in conventional cereal fields, whereas the within and among-year stability of butterfly species richness was not influenced by farming system. On the farm scale, we found that the spatial stability of butterfly and bumblebee species richness was higher in organic than in conventional farms, but this was not explained by a greater spatial continuity of flower resources. Our study shows that organic farming reduces the spatiotemporal fluctuations in bumblebee and butterfly species richness. In addition, increasing floral resources as such benefits bumblebees and butterflies irrespective of farming system. Organic farming and increasing availability in floral resources therefore contribute to maintaining the within and between-year stability of bumblebees and butterflies in agricultural landscapes.
  • Taxon-specific associations of tallgrass prairie flower visitors with
           site-scale forb communities and landscape composition and configuration
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Kathy R. Denning, Bryan L. Foster Pollinators are integral to global plant biodiversity and agroecosystems, yet our understanding of the multi-scale drivers of pollinator community structure remains underdeveloped. In this study, we used a dataset comprising almost 7000 highly taxonomically resolved records of tallgrass prairie forbs and flower visiting insects to evaluate potential roles of site-scale forb communities as well as the composition and configuration of the surrounding landscapes, in structuring flower visitor communities. We examined the whole flower visitor community and three focal subgroups—bees (the principal pollinators worldwide), butterflies (often less efficient pollinators, but potentially useful as indicator taxa) and syrphid/bombyliid flies (which, as non-bee taxa, are often overlooked). At the site-scale, the composition of the entire flower visitor community was significantly associated with forb composition, but only bees were significantly, positively associated with forb α-diversity. Bee, butterfly, and fly diversity exhibited taxon-specific relationships with landscape composition and configuration. Butterfly richness was positively correlated with the combined extent of warm-season grasslands and woodlands, whereas bees were associated with the extent of warm-season grasslands, only. Bee and fly diversity was higher in landscapes with greater grassland edge density, indicating that habitat heterogeneity may be beneficial for these taxa. Our work adds to the growing body of research indicating that pollinators' responses to floral resources and land use in highly modified landscapes are often complex, taxon-specific and scale dependent, and our results highlight the importance of distinguishing among different types of natural and semi-natural lands when formulating pollinator conservation and restoration plans.
  • Land use patterns and influences of protected areas on mangroves of the
           eastern tropical Pacific
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Juliana López-Angarita, Alexander Tilley, Julie P. Hawkins, Carlos Pedraza, Callum M. Roberts Mangroves are one of the most productive ecosystems in the world, sustaining millions of coastal livelihoods. However, their area of occurrence has been greatly reduced over the last century. In this study, we identify potential drivers of land use and land cover change adjacent to mangroves on the Pacific shorelines of Colombia, Panama and Costa Rica. We also evaluate the effectiveness of protected areas at halting mangrove deforestation between 2000 and 2012. Across all countries, agriculture was the most dominant land use type adjacent to mangroves, inside and outside protected areas. Results show that a combined total of 564 ha were lost, representing an average loss rate of only 0.02% per year. 75% of the total mangrove loss occurred in locations outside protected areas, with only 138 ha cleared from inside protected areas. Results suggest current conservation policies for mangrove protection in the study countries are effective at reducing deforestation and set a positive example for regions where mangroves are in decline.
  • The Great Apes: A Short History by Chris Herzfeld (translated by Kevin
           Frey) 2017, Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0-300-22137-4 $26
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Herbert Covert
  • Genetic diversity of Ceiba pentandra in Colombian seasonally dry tropical
           forest: Implications for conservation and management
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Kelly T. Bocanegra-González, Evert Thomas, Marie-Laure Guillemin, Dulcinéia de Carvalho, J.P. Gutiérrez, C. Alcázar Caicedo, L.G. Moscoso Higuita, L.A. Becerra, M.A. González Seasonally dry tropical forests (SDTFs) are one of the most degraded vegetation types worldwide and in Colombia
  • State of the world's raptors: Distributions, threats, and conservation
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 September 2018Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Christopher J.W. McClure, James R.S. Westrip, Jeff A. Johnson, Sarah E. Schulwitz, Munir Z. Virani, Robert Davies, Andrew Symes, Hannah Wheatley, Russell Thorstrom, Arjun Amar, Ralph Buij, Victoria R. Jones, Nick P. Williams, Evan R. Buechley, Stuart H.M. Butchart Raptors provide critical ecosystem services, yet there is currently no systematic, global synthesis of their conservation status or threats. We review the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List to examine the conservation status, distributions, threats, and conservation recommendations for all 557 raptor species. We further assess the significance of Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) for raptor conservation. We also determine which countries contain the most species listed under the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia (Raptors MoU). Raptors, especially Old World vultures, are more threatened than birds in general. Eighteen percent of raptors are threatened with extinction and 52% of raptors have declining global populations. South and Southeast Asia have the highest richness and the largest number of threatened raptor species. By country, Indonesia has the highest richness of raptor species (119) and most declining species (63). China and Russia contain the most Raptors MoU species, although they are not yet signatories to the agreement. Raptor species that require forest are more likely to be threatened and declining than those that do not. Agriculture and logging are the most frequently identified threats, although poisoning is especially detrimental to Old World vultures. Of the 10 most important IBAs for raptors, six are in Nepal. Highest priority conservation actions to protect raptors include preventing mortality and conserving key sites and priority habitats. Improved long-term monitoring would allow for conservation to be appropriately targeted and effectiveness of interventions to be assessed.
  • Strengthening protected areas for giant panda habitat and ecosystem
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Jingjing Zhang, Weihua Xu, Lingqiao Kong, Vanessa Hull, Yi Xiao, Yang Xiao, Zhiyun Ouyang Biodiversity and ecosystem services are two main focuses in conservation planning. Considering both biodiversity and ecosystem services is beneficial when designing protected area networks. We demonstrated the relationship between these two concepts using the giant panda in China as a case study. We assessed the spatial relationship between giant panda habitat suitability and three key ecosystem services including carbon sequestration, water retention, and soil retention. We conducted spatial correlation and then used MARXAN to propose areas to target for new protected areas in the future that consider both goals. Results showed that the habitat suitability was positively correlated with ecosystem services in the entire study area. Panda habitats covered 77.7%, 72.0%, and 66.6% of carbon sequestration, water retention, and soil retention supplies, respectively. However, in nature reserves, which encompassed 31.0% of the whole study area and contained 33.6% of panda habitat, there was only 26.1–29.7% coverage of all ecosystem services. This result implied that nature reserves represented panda habitats well but did not adequately represent the three key ecosystem services. We identified conservation priority areas combining both panda habitat and ecosystem services and then proposed new protected areas. Our results inform conservation policies such as giant panda national park planning in this region. Our study also has implications for the role of protected area systems in the conservation of both flagship species and key ecosystem services in other places.
  • Which bird species have gone extinct' A novel quantitative
           classification approach
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Stuart H.M. Butchart, Stephen Lowe, Rob W. Martin, Andy Symes, James R.S. Westrip, Hannah Wheatley Determining whether species have gone extinct requires considering the timing and reliability of records, the timing and adequacy of surveys, and the timing, extent and intensity of threats. However, previous assessments have either applied qualitative approaches or considered only the first of these factors. We applied quantitative methods encompassing all three factors to a suite of 61 potentially or confirmed extinct species of birds. We tested six different methods, each with a range of thresholds, for assigning species to IUCN Red List Categories, and compared the results with species' current categories. We recommend that if both the probability that a species remains extant based on threats and the probability based on records and surveys fall below 0.5, it should qualify as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct), while if both probabilities fall below 0.1 it should qualify as Extinct. This novel approach resulted in an 80% match with the current IUCN Red List classification of species. The exceptions largely reflect species whose reclassification was pending the outcome of this work. Consequently, we recommend that nine species are reclassified on the IUCN Red List, with cryptic treehunter (Cichlocolaptes mazarbarnetti), Alagoas foliage-gleaner (Philydor novaesi) poo-uli (Melamprosops phaeosoma) now qualifying as Extinct. We estimate a revised total of 187 extinctions since 1500, of which 90% have been of insular species. The major drivers were invasive alien species (46%) and hunting/trapping (26%). Application of this approach in non-avian groups would increase the robustness of extinction rate estimates and species' classifications on the IUCN Red List.
  • Realizing the transformative potential of conservation through the social
           sciences, arts and humanities
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 14 August 2018Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Nathan J. Bennett, Robin Roth Conservation actions most often occur in peopled seascapes and landscapes. As a result, conservation decisions cannot rely solely on evidence from the natural sciences, but must also be guided by the social sciences, the arts and the humanities. However, we are concerned that too much of the current attention is on research that serves an instrumental purpose, by which we mean that the social sciences are used to justify and promote status quo conservation practices. The reasons for engaging the social sciences, as well as the arts and the humanities, go well beyond making conservation more effective. In this editorial, we briefly reflect on how expanding the types of social science research and the contributions of the arts and the humanities can help to achieve the transformative potential of conservation.
  • Are killer bees good for coffee' The contribution of a paper's title
           and other factors to its future citations
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 August 2018Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Mark J. Costello, Karen H. Beard, Richard B. Primack, Vincent Devictor, Amanda E. Bates How can the title of a paper affect its subsequent number of citations' We compared the citation rate of 5941 papers published in the journal Biological Conservation from 1968 to 2012 in relation to: paper length; title length; number of authors; paper age; presence of punctuation (colons, commas or question marks); geographic and taxonomic breadth; the word ‘method’; and the type of manuscript (article, review). The total number of citations increased in more recently published papers and thus we corrected citation rate (average number of citations per year since publication) by publication age. As expected, review papers had, on average, twice the number of citations compared to other types of articles. Papers with the greatest geographic or taxonomic breadth were cited up to twice as frequently as narrowly focused papers. Titles phrased as questions, shorter titles, and papers with more authors had slightly higher numbers of citations. However, overall, we found that the included parameters explained only 12% of the variability in citation rate. This suggests that finding a good title is necessary, but that other factors are more important to construct a well-cited paper. We suggest that to become highly cited, a primary requirement is that papers need to advance the science significantly and be useful to readers.
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Heriot-Watt University
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