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Biological Conservation
Journal Prestige (SJR): 2.397
Citation Impact (citeScore): 5
Number of Followers: 303  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 0006-3207
Published by Elsevier Homepage  [3161 journals]
  • Kill, incarcerate, or liberate' Ethics and alternatives to orangutan
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 227Author(s): Alexandra PalmerDespite 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 ZykovAbstractSperm 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 BergerAbstractPrivate 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 LoucksAbstractDeforestation 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 AlonsoAbstractSpecies 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 WilderConservation 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 WillcoxAbstractAmid 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. CushmanAbstractClouded 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. KotiahoAbstractMany 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 VassAbstractPublic 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. StorlieAbstractSystematic 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 AzharAbstractLegal 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. LauranceAbstractAs 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 BraunischAbstractOutdoor 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. SmithAbstractThe 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. FosterAbstractPollinators 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. RobertsAbstractMangroves 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. GonzálezAbstractSeasonally 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. ButchartAbstractRaptors 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 OuyangAbstractBiodiversity 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 WheatleyAbstractDetermining 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.
  • Comprehensive analysis of>30 years of data on stream fish population
           trends and conservation status in Bavaria, Germany
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Melanie Mueller, Joachim Pander, Juergen GeistAbstractFreshwater fishes are among the most threatened groups of vertebrates, with 39% of all European fish species facing extinction. Herein, we provide a comprehensive analyses of historical data as well as fish monitoring data from 1989 through 2013 from Bavaria, Germany. The results of this study indicate that the most pronounced species-turnover already had occurred before the 1990s. Severe loss of species (21 out of 69 species lost until 1990s), decrease in spatial distribution (51 species, 27 reduced to
  • Vulnerability of turtles to deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon:
           Indicating priority areas for conservation
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Camila K. Fagundes, Richard C. Vogt, Rodrigo A. de Souza, Paulo De Marco Jr.AbstractThe loss of forest cover has been considered to be an important factor in the decline of turtle populations. We used Species Distribution Models (SDM) to identify the potential distribution areas of several turtle species in the Brazilian Amazon and to calculate amount of area possibly lost to deforestation (vulnerability). We then used the software Zonation to prioritize areas for turtle conservation. We assigned higher conservation weight to terrestrial, semi-aquatic and threatened turtles and forced the exclusion of deforested areas. Different scenarios were run to assess the effectiveness of PAs in protecting turtles. Priority areas for turtle conservation are located in central-northern Amazon. These regions usually do not encompass high deforestation areas. Areas that turtles are most vulnerable to deforestation are located in central-northeastern Amazon, but only three species lost more potential distribution area to current and predicted deforestation than the percentage of total deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. Phrynops geoffroanus, Podocnemis unifilis, Mesoclemmys gibba and Kinosternon scorpioides had a highest proportion of their potential distribution area lost due to deforestation. Many priority sites for turtle conservation are located outside of PAs, even when considering only the top 17% of priority sites. Although we did not explicitly take into consideration the social importance of turtles as a food resource in our analysis, our results highlight the most important regions for investing in conservation of turtles in the Brazilian Amazon. These results have significant practical implications for conservation.
  • Conservation challenges emerging from free-roaming horse management: A
           vexing social-ecological mismatch
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Erik A. Beever, Lynn Huntsinger, Steven L. PetersenAbstractHorses have been associated with human societies for millennia, and for many have come to symbolize wildness, power, resilience, and freedom. Although equids were extirpated from North America 10,000–12,000 years ago, descendants of domestic horses now roam freely in the USA and 17 other countries across six continents. In landscape-scale and experimental investigations, free-roaming horses (Equus caballus) have been shown to induce numerous alterations to native-ecosystem components and processes through influences on soil, water, plants, and other aspects of biodiversity. However, we argue that the management of free-roaming horses both in the U.S. and globally has been complicated by “socio-ecological mismatches.” Such mismatches arise from an inability to reconcile conflicting processes and functions in a social-ecological system, often reflecting differences in the spatio-temporal scales at which diverse components operate. Here, we describe three types of mismatches, and illustrate how the ecological dynamics of aridlands generally fit poorly with existing approaches to horse management and policy. Such mismatches complicate cost-effective management of free-roaming horses and the ecosystems they inhabit, and reduce the palette of potential solutions.
  • Functional rarity of coral reef fishes at the global scale: Hotspots and
           challenges for conservation
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Matthias Grenié, David Mouillot, Sébastien Villéger, Pierre Denelle, Caroline M. Tucker, François Munoz, Cyrille ViolleAbstractCharacterizing functional diversity has become central in ecological research and for biodiversity assessment. Understanding the role of species with rare traits, i.e. functionally rare species, in community assembly, ecosystem dynamics and functioning has recently gained momentum. However, functional rarity is still ignored in conservation strategies.Here, we quantified global functional and evolutionary rarity for 2073 species of coral reef fishes and compared the rarity values to IUCN Red List status. Most species were functionally common but geographically rare. However, we found very weak correlation between functional rarity and evolutionary rarity. Functional rarity was highest for species classified as not evaluated or threatened by the IUCN Red List. The location of functional rarity hotspots (Tropical Eastern Pacific) did not match hotspots of species richness and evolutionary distinctiveness (Indo-Australian Archipelago), nor the currently protected areas. We argue that functional rarity should be acknowledged for both species and site prioritization in conservation strategies.
  • The role of churches in maintaining bird diversity: A case study from
           southern Poland
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Piotr Skórka, Michał Żmihorski, Emilia Grzędzicka, Rafał Martyka, William J. SutherlandAbstractWith the human population increasing there have been losses in biodiversity. A common feature of mankind is religious beliefs with various associated positive and negative consequences for biodiversity. Religion also has associated religious sites, many of which have a long history. The role of churches in benefitting biodiversity has not received attention. To examine the impact of churches we measured the taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversity of birds around Christian churches and compared this with matched farmsteads. We surveyed 101 churches and equal number of farmsteads in villages of southern Poland. We measured structural and compositional characteristics (e.g. number of trees, shrubs, number of buildings and height) at both churches and farmsteads. General additive models, ordination and rarefactions methods were used in data analysis. Species richness, abundance and phylogenetic diversity were each higher at churches than at farmsteads. The species composition differed between building types but functional diversity was similar at both types of buildings. Bird species richness and abundance were correlated with the church's age. Previous studies showed village farmsteads supported high species diversity, thus our current findings that churches are richer show they may increase bird diversity in studied villages. We suggest that the green surroundings and tall towers create strong environmental gradient that enhances species richness, functional and phylogenetic diversity. There are over ten thousand churches in Poland, and similar places of worship are present in many religions, thus this habitat may be important for sustaining local taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic biodiversity in different global areas.
  • Rebuttal to response to Horns et al. 2018
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 22 August 2018Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Joshua J. Horns, Frederick R. Adler, Çağan H. Şekercioğlu
  • Fair tests of the habitat amount hypothesis require appropriate metrics of
           patch isolation: An example with small mammals in the Brazilian Atlantic
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Marcus Vinícius Vieira, Mauricio Almeida-Gomes, Ana Cláudia Delciellos, Rui Cerqueira, Renato CrouzeillesAbstractPatch size and isolation are traditionally considered as main determinants of species richness in fragmented landscapes, grounded on Island Biogeography Theory (IBT). The Habitat Amount Hypothesis (HAH) is the more recent alternative: species richness could be predicted exclusively by the total amount of habitat surrounding sampling sites. However, tests may be biased towards HAH by the use of poor metrics of patch isolation, and because landscape variables are measured only within the scale of effect for habitat amount. Here we compare the HAH, IBT, and patch isolation as predictors of species richness of forest-dependent small mammals in an Atlantic Forest fragmented landscape using two measures of patch isolation: considering all (overall) or only the nearest three (restrict) forest remnants within the scale of effect for each variable. The model with habitat amount had more support than models with patch size and isolation (representing IBT), or patch size alone, but the model with overall patch isolation was equally plausible. Had we used only restricted patch isolation, we would have found support only for the HAH, disregarding patch isolation. The appropriate metric of patch isolation is critical for robust tests of the HAH, which should be considered in future studies to avoid biased results in favour of the HAH. Our results provide strong evidence for either HAH or overall patch isolation over IBT, and both may offer simplicity to decision-making.
  • Habitat diversity and structure regulate British bird richness:
           Implications of non-linear relationships for conservation
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Luis Carrasco, Lisa Norton, Peter Henrys, Gavin M. Siriwardena, Christopher J. Rhodes, Clare Rowland, Daniel MortonAbstractSpatial environmental heterogeneity (EH) is an important factor determining species richness among many taxa across spatial scales. Increased EH may support higher diversity mainly by providing a higher number of ecological niches. However, the shapes of the EH-diversity relationships and their influence on diversity measures at landscape scales are poorly understood. We used random forests regression models to assess the relationships between different components of EH and bird species richness across Great Britain. Bird data were obtained using BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey methods across 335 UK Countryside Survey (CS) 1-km squares in 2000. Data on components of EH, including; vegetation, habitat diversity, and habitat structure were collected in associated field surveys. Using the results of our EH component-bird richness models, we applied the case of the likely decline of the ash tree, a species of conservation concern and a key component of British landscape complexity, to create predictive scenarios of future bird richness. We found that EH components had a strong positive effect on bird richness and identified six key components that explained over 70% of variance in bird richness. Bird richness responses were strongly dependent on the specific EH components and were generally non-linear, especially for habitat structural variables, such as lines of trees and hedges. Our predictive scenarios showed a decrease in bird species richness only for simulated ash tree decreases within the habitat structural variables of over 90%, and only for areas where this tree species was a particularly abundant component of the landscape. Our findings, showing that bird richness responses differ for EH components, and that non-linear responses are common, could help the ‘design’ of landscapes that enhance bird diversity. In particular, our study indicates that, in some cases, increasing the occurrence of key structural components of habitat (such as ensuring a minimum of 700 m of managed hedges or a minimum of 70 individual trees per km square), could have disproportionally positive impacts on bird richness.
  • Response to Horns et al. 2018: ‘Using opportunistic citizen science data
           to estimate avian population trends’ Biological Conservation 221,
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 18 August 2018Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Frank A. Fogarty, Martha E. Wohlfeil, Erica Fleishman
  • Corrigendum to “The ecological benefit of tigers (Panthera tigris) to
           farmers in reducing crop and livestock losses in the eastern Himalayas:
           Implications for conservation of large apex predators.” [Biological
           Conservation, 219, 119–125]
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 18 August 2018Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Phuntsho Thinley, Rajanathan Rajaratnam, James P. Lassoie, Stephen J. Morreale, Paul D. Curtis, Karl Vernes, Leki Leki, Sonam Phuntsho, Tshering Dorji, Pema Dorji
  • Will climate change cause spatial mismatch between plants and their
           pollinators' A test using Andean cactus species
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Pablo Gorostiague, Jesús Sajama, Pablo Ortega-BaesAbstractClimate change can disrupt mutualisms by causing temporal or spatial mismatch between interacting species. However, the effects of climate change forecasts on biotic interactions remain poorly studied. In cactus species, pollination constitutes a fundamental process in the production of fruits and seeds. Thus, we aimed to analyse the impact of future climate change on the geographical distributions of 11 cactus species from the southern Central Andes and their spatial match with their pollinators. We used species distribution modelling to forecast the geographic range shifts of these cactus species and their pollinators under two future scenarios (RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5) for the years 2050 and 2070. We predicted geographic range contractions under future scenarios that reached almost 80% for some cactus species. Our results indicate that the geographical distributions of cacti would be constrained by the presence of the pollinator species on which they depend in the present; however, climate change would not cause spatial mismatch between cacti and their animal pollinators in the future. For most cactus species, we predicted an increase in the spatial match with their mutualists under future scenarios. This is the first study that estimates the geographic range of cacti using both abiotic and biotic factors. Given the importance that positive interactions have on the life cycle of many plant species, our approach could be used to better understand the potential effects of climate change, particularly on species that are of special interest for conservation actions.
  • Diel patterns of movement activity and habitat use by leopards (Panthera
           pardus pardus) living in a human-dominated landscape in central Kenya
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Eric K. Van Cleave, Laura R. Bidner, Adam T. Ford, Damien Caillaud, Chris C. Wilmers, Lynne A. IsbellAbstractLarge carnivores can exert strong influence on local ecosystems, making them important targets for biodiversity conservation. An important question for conserving large carnivores outside of protected areas is the role of human activity in influencing the behavior of these predators. We used high-resolution animal location tracking and statistical modeling to examine the behavior of seven leopards (Panthera pardus) occupying an area that includes a research center and livestock ranch in central Kenya. Our analyses reveal changes in habitat selection around the times of sunrise and sunset, corresponding with changes in human activity at our site. Activity patterns were also variable within and among the leopards in our sample. To explore sources of this variability, we used regression modeling to estimate the relative influence of changing spatial and environmental conditions for leopard ranging behavior. Despite the tendency to be active during the day, we found that leopards strongly avoided areas where they were likely to encounter people during the daytime and showed variable selection for these same areas at night. The use of anthropogenic habitats was also associated with periods of greater ranging activity. We discuss the implications of these results for conservation efforts that attempt to balance the demands of livestock ranching alongside carnivore conservation.
  • A review of Bayesian belief network models as decision-support tools for
           wetland conservation: Are water birds potential umbrella taxa'
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Maggie P. MacPherson, Elisabeth B. Webb, Andrew Raedeke, Doreen Mengel, Frank NelsonAbstractCreative approaches to identifying umbrella species hold promise for devising effective surrogates of ecological communities or ecosystems. However, mechanistic niche models that predict range or habitat overlap among species may yet lack development. We reviewed literature on taxon-centered Bayesian belief network (BBN) models to explore a novel approach to identify umbrella taxa identifying taxonomic groups that share the largest proportion of habitat requirements (i.e., states of important habitat variables) with other wetland-dependent taxa. We reviewed and compiled published literature to provide a comprehensive and reproducible account of the current understanding of habitat requirements for freshwater, wetland-dependent taxa using BBNs. We found that wetland birds had the highest degree of shared habitat requirements with other taxa, and consequently may be suitable umbrella taxa in freshwater wetlands. Comparing habitat requirements using a BBN approach to build species distribution models, this review also identified taxa that may not benefit from conservation actions targeted at umbrella taxa by identifying taxa with unique habitat requirements not shared with umbrellas. Using a standard node set that accurately and comprehensively represents the ecosystem in question, BBNs could be designed to improve identification of umbrella taxa. In wetlands, expert knowledge about hydrology, geomorphology and soils could add important information regarding physical landscape characteristics relevant to species. Thus, a systems-oriented framework may improve overarching inferences from BBNs and subsequent utility to conservation planning and management.
  • Fished species uniformly reduced escape behaviors in response to
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): O. Kennedy Rhoades, Steve I. Lonhart, John J. StachowiczAbstractPredation is a critical ecological process that alters the structure and functioning of ecosystems through density-mediated and trait-mediated effects on lower trophic levels. Although studies have focused on harvest-driven reductions in abundances and sizes of targeted species, human harvest also alters species morphologies, life histories, and behaviors by selection, plasticity, and shifts in species interactions. Restricting harvest can recover the biomass of targeted species, but it is less clear how behavioral phenotypes recover, particularly relative to the impacts of potentially opposing pathways of human influence. We investigated the effects of protection on the behavioral traits of a marine fish assemblage, recording behavior of 1377 individual fishes of nine targeted kelp forest species across 16 California marine protected areas (MPAs) varying in age, protection level, and diver visitation. With long-term, full protection from harvest, all fish species exhibited shorter flight initiation distance (FID, or the distance at which an animal flees from an approaching threat) and longer time delays before fleeing, despite differences in trophic position, microhabitat use, and other ecological characteristics. These escape behaviors were amplified across new MPAs regardless of protection level, suggesting that recovery is slow and likely the result of differences in genetic or early-life experience among individuals in these long-lived species. Although the effects of full protection from harvest were partially offset by recovering populations of large piscivorous predators, the net effect of long-term, full protection on fish behavior was shorter FID. Additionally, all species had shorter FID at sites more frequently visited by divers, and this effect was greater in sites with long-term, full protection from fishing. To the extent that escape behavior is correlated with foraging behavior and predation rates, these results suggest that human-induced behavioral changes may affect ecosystem processes, even after abundances have recovered. If recovery of ecosystem functioning and services are the management goal, assessments should be broadened to include the recovery of functional traits (including behavior).
  • 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 RothAbstractConservation 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.
  • Estimating habitat loss due to wind turbine avoidance by bats:
           Implications for European siting guidance
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Kévin Barré, Isabelle Le Viol, Yves Bas, Romain Julliard, Christian KerbiriouAbstractWind energy is rapidly growing as a renewable source of energy but is not neutral for wildlife, especially bats. Whereas most studies have focused on bat mortality through collision, very few have quantified the loss of habitat use resulting from the potential negative impact of wind turbines, and none of them for hub heights higher than 55 m. Such impacts could durably affect populations, creating a need for improvement of knowledge to integrate this concern in implementation strategies. We quantified the impact of wind turbines at different distances on the activity of 11 bat taxa and 2 guilds. We compared bat activity at hedgerows (207 sites) located at a distance of 0–1000 m from wind turbines (n = 151) of 29 wind farms in an agricultural region in the autumn (overall 193,980 bat passes) using GLMMs. We found a significant negative effect of proximity to turbines on activity for 3 species (Barbastella barbastellus, Nyctalus leisleiri, Pipistrellus pipistrellus), 2 species-groups (Myotis spp., Plecotus spp.) and 2 guilds (fast-flying and gleaner). Bat activity within 1000 m of wind turbines by gleaners and fast-flying bats is reduced by 53.8% and 19.6%, respectively. Our study highlighted that European recommendations (at least 200 m from any wooded edge) to limit mortality events likely strongly underestimate the loss of bat activity. The current situation is particularly worrying, with 89% of 909 turbines established in a region that does not comply with recommendations, which themselves are far from sufficient to limit the loss of habitat use.
  • 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. BatesAbstractHow 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.
  • Multi-scale considerations for grassland butterfly conservation in
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Katherine C. Kral, Torre J. Hovick, Ryan F. Limb, Jason P. HarmonAbstractGlobal change threatens the persistence of multiple taxonomic groups, including butterflies. While conservation efforts for butterfly populations have increased, they are often hampered by a lack of true density estimates and a better understanding of ecological factors that influence density. Our objective was to enhance current grassland butterfly conservation efforts by using line-transect distance sampling to calculate density estimates and model the influence of landscape and local variables on butterfly density in the Northern Great Plains, USA. We calculated density for five obligate and ten facultative grassland species to produce one of the most extensive datasets for butterfly densities to date. In contrast to most previous research, we found that landscape variables influenced butterfly density more often than local variables. Specifically, the percent cover of perennial grasslands, crop lands, and wetlands appeared in 90% of species models, whereas common local variables—forb richness and invasive plant cover— appeared in 60% of best-ranked models. We expected the density of obligate butterfly species to decrease as invasive plants increased, but butterfly species' responses varied with larval diet, instead of habitat associations. Best-ranked models for Danaus plexippus and Speyeria idalia, two species of conservation concern with obligate host plants, did not include local host plant availability. Our results reiterate the importance of modeling species responses to variables across multiple scales and the potential benefits of conserving large tracts of grasslands. Although results emphasize the need for conservation at the landscape scale, managing for heterogeneous local scale variables will also help conserve grassland butterflies.
  • Mapping relative extinction risk for biodiversity conservation
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Xinghua Sui, Lingfeng Mao, Ying Liu, Fangliang He
  • Higher bat and prey abundance at organic than conventional soybean fields
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Julia E. Put, Greg W. Mitchell, Lenore FahrigAbstractStudies that have compared biodiversity at organic and conventional farms have generally found that there are more species in greater abundances at organic farms. One widespread problem with previous studies is that most do not control for differences in field structure and landscape composition at organic and conventional farms. Thus, the effects observed may be due to factors other than organic farming practices. We addressed this problem by selecting matched organic-conventional pairs of soybean fields such that in each pair the soybean fields were similar in size, hedgerow length, and surrounding landscape composition within 1 km, 2 km and 3 km of the fields. At each of our 16 field pairs (32 sites), we measured relative differences in bat species richness and abundance using acoustic bat recorders, and bat prey availability using black-light traps. We predicted that organic soybean fields would have greater bat species richness, bat abundance and bat prey abundance than conventional soybean fields due to the prohibition of synthetic pesticides and longer more diverse crop rotations in organic fields, both of which should benefit bat insect prey. We found that organic soybean fields had higher bat species richness, bat abundance and bat prey abundance than conventional fields, after controlling for the effect of differences in soybean height between conventional and organic fields. Our results suggest that the management practices used at organic farms benefit bats at least in part by providing greater bat prey availability.
  • Avian communities are decreasing with piñon pine mortality in the
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Jeanne M. Fair, Charles D. Hathcock, Andrew W. BartlowAbstractAn increase in tree mortality is expected to occur worldwide due to climate-induced drought and increasing temperatures. The 2000–2002 drought in the southwestern United States was one of the most severe in the last 50 years. It led to a severe outbreak of bark beetles that resulted in high mortality of piñon pine (Pinus edulis) trees on the Pajarito Plateau in Northern New Mexico beginning in 2002. Many areas in piñon-juniper habitat had entire stands of piñon die leaving only juniper (Juniperus spp.). Point count surveys were used to determine avian responses to tree mortality from 2003 to 2013. We also tested whether birds responded differently in sites that were mechanically thinned in 2002 and 2003 on Los Alamos National Laboratory property compared to sites not thinned. Junipers and dead piñon pines due to bark beetles and drought were removed on thinned sites. Richness, diversity, and abundance steadily declined after 2003. There was a 73% decrease in abundance and a 45% decrease in richness from 2003 to 2013. There was no difference in community composition between thinned and unthinned sites. Bird abundance and species richness declined faster in thinned sites than unthinned sites, but diversity decreased similarly in both treatments. Several species disappeared over time and some declined substantially. Our results suggest a delay in bird responses to tree mortality on the Pajarito Plateau. Piñon mortality may be a significant threat to bird communities in the southwestern U.S., and tree thinning to control fire may be an added risk.
  • Tropical timber tracing and stable isotopes: A response to Horacek et al.
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 August 2018Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Mart Vlam, Arnoud Boom, G. Arjen de Groot, Pieter A. ZuidemaAbstractWe appreciate the comments of Horacek et al. on our publication about African timber tracing (Vlam et al., 2018). In short, our results showed that the geographic origin of Tali timber could be inferred from genetic characteristics (DNA), but not from chemical characteristics obtained from measurements of 3 stable isotopes. Horacek et al. claim that the latter result was due to project design and not to the isotopic method. While we acknowledge some of advices by Horacek et al., our study design was well suitable to test the application of stable isotopes. It just did not work for the isotopes studied – carbon, oxygen and nitrogen – and at the small geographic ranges included in our study. Our results do not support, nor do we want to suggest, the conclusion that stable isotopes are not useful to perform timber tracing. Rather, we have shown for this species and at the sampled forest concessions, that stable isotopes of carbon oxygen and nitrogen do not allow differentiation and therefore offer no potential for chemical tracing.
  • Evaluating spatiotemporal trends in terrestrial mammal abundance using
           data collected during bird surveys
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Dario Massimino, Sarah J. Harris, Simon GillingsAbstractInformation on the status of biodiversity is crucial for species conservation and management. Large scale assessments are only feasible through citizen science but some taxa are poorly monitored because few people specialise in them. We explore alleviating this problem by using data collected for poorly monitored species as an add-on to existing bird surveys. Since 1995, participants in the annual Breeding Bird Survey have recorded the abundance of mammals during their surveys. We demonstrate the value of these data by developing spatial models of relative abundance for nine common and easily detected mammal species. Rabbit, brown hare and mountain hare all showed widespread declines. Conversely, deer showed increases throughout their ranges, with the exception of the red deer whose population was predominantly stable. The grey squirrel continues to increase in several areas. The red fox, the only carnivore with enough data, showed significant large declines. The collection of data on taxa other than the primary target has particular merit where the secondary taxa can be detected effectively by methods devised for the core survey. In such cases the data are inexpensive and inherit some of the benefits of the underlying structure and power of the core survey. However, the efficacy of the primary study design may vary for the members of secondary taxa and may not be temporally or spatially suitable for all of them. Although more volunteer training may be required, there are also opportunities to engage and enthuse people about conservation issues of other species groups.
  • Wildlife supply chains in Madagascar from local collection to global
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Janine E. Robinson, Iain M. Fraser, Freya A.V. St. John, J. Christian Randrianantoandro, Raphali R. Andriantsimanarilafy, Julie H. Razafimanahaka, Richard A. Griffiths, David L. RobertsAbstractInternational trade in wildlife is a complex multi-billion dollar industry. To supply it, many animals are extracted from the wild, sourced from biodiversity-rich, developing countries. Whilst the trade has far-reaching implications for wildlife protection, there is limited information regarding the socio-economic implications in supply countries. Consequently, a better understanding of the costs and benefits of wildlife supply chains, for both livelihoods and conservation, is required to enhance wildlife trade management and inform its regulation. Using Madagascar as a case study, we used value chain analysis to explore the operation of legal wildlife trade on a national scale; we estimate the number of actors involved, the scale, value and profit distribution along the chain, and explore management options. We find that the supply of wildlife provided economic benefits to a number of actors, from local collectors, to intermediaries, exporters and national authorities. CITES-listed reptiles and amphibians comprised a substantial proportion of the quantity and value of live animal exports with a total minimum export value of 230,795USD per year. Sales prices of reptiles and amphibians increased over 100-fold between local collectors and exporters, with exporters capturing ~92% of final export price (or 57% when their costs are deducted). However, exporters shouldered the largest costs and financial risks. Local collectors obtained ~1.4% of the final sales price, and opportunities for poverty alleviation and incentives for sustainable management from the trade appear to be limited. Promoting collective management of species harvests at the local level may enhance conservation and livelihood benefits. However, this approach requires consideration of property rights and land-tenure systems. The complex and informal nature of some wildlife supply chains make the design and implementation of policy instruments aimed at enhancing conservation and livelihoods challenging. Nevertheless, value chain analysis provides a mechanism by which management actions can be more precisely targeted.
  • A modelled global distribution of the seagrass biome
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Dinusha R.M. Jayathilake, Mark J. CostelloAbstractSeagrasses form one of the most ecologically important and productive three-dimensional habitats in coastal seas. Knowing the global distribution of seagrass meadows is essential for conservation and blue carbon estimates. Here, we modelled the global distribution of seagrass using 43,037 occurrence records and 13 environmental variables within the modelling software MaxEnt at 30 arc sec resolution (c. 1 km at the equator). We found that sea surface temperature and distance from land contributed most in predicting seagrass distribution globally. Comparison of summing models for individual species, genera, and families found that a model combining all species occurrence records best fitted the known geographic distribution. In addition, this model fills geographic gaps in previous maps. We predicted the seagrass biome may occupy 1,646,788 km2, more than double previous global estimates. Applications for this dataset include blue carbon estimates, spatial planning such as for designing Marine Protected Areas, environmental sensitivity mapping, and monitoring of change in biome cover.
  • Comparing citizen science reports and systematic surveys of marine mammal
           distributions and densities
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Gillian K.A. Harvey, Trisalyn A. Nelson, Paul C. Paquet, Colin J. Ferster, Caroline H. FoxAbstractCitizen science observations represent a significant and growing source of species and ecosystem knowledge. These data have potential to support traditional surveys. Databases of citizen observations of wildlife are growing, but how to use this information for scientific purposes is less clear owing to uncertainty in sampling distribution and data quality. In this study, we demonstrate how mapping cetacean patterns using citizen observations and systematic surveys generate consistent and different understandings of cetacean distributions and densities, and evaluate potential risk by assessing cumulative human effects in British Columbia, Canada. We used GIS-based map comparison methods that quantified differences and similarities between geographic datasets to locate where cetacean distributions and densities had spatially unique or spatially analogous representation. Where spatial clusters in both data sources are congruent, we interpret with a higher level of confidence that species occur, and mapped patterns accurately reflect distribution and density. In areas where datasets exhibit dissimilar species densities and distributions, we acknowledge lower confidence and advise further sampling. Regions of agreement were primarily in the central-western portion of the study area (off the southeastern coast of Haida Gwaii); areas of disagreement were heterogeneously distributed across the study area. Spatial clusters from citizen data exhibited significantly higher cumulative human effect scores than from systematic surveys, despite previous data adjustments for human effort. We demonstrate the use of citizen observations as a confirmatory dataset to broaden ecological exploration by augmenting scientific survey datasets and identifying strategic areas for future data collection efforts.
  • Forest structure following natural disturbances and early succession
           provides habitat for two avian flagship species, capercaillie (Tetrao
           urogallus) and hazel grouse (Tetrastes bonasia)
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Mareike Kortmann, Marco Heurich, Hooman Latifi, Sascha Rösner, Rupert Seidl, Jörg Müller, Simon ThornAbstractBoreal and mountainous forests are a primary focus of conservation efforts and are naturally prone to large-scale disturbances, such as outbreaks of bark beetles. Affected stands are characterised by biological legacies which persist through the disturbance and subsequent succession. The lack of long-term monitoring data on post-disturbance forest structure precludes understanding of the complex pathways by which natural disturbances affect forest structure and subsequently species presence. We analysed the response of capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) and hazel grouse (Tetrastes bonasia) to bark beetle infestations. We combined high-resolution airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR) with a 23-year time series of aerial photography to quantify present-day forest structure and stand disturbance history. Species presence was assessed by collecting droppings of hazel grouse and capercaillie in a citizen science project. Structural equation models showed that the probability of hazel grouse presence increased with increasing disturbance, and the probability of both hazel grouse and capercaillie presence increased with succession. Indirect effects of bark beetle infestations, such as a reduced abundance of deciduous trees and an enhanced herb layer cover, were positively associated with capercaillie presence. Decreasing canopy cover increased the probability of hazel grouse presence. The high temporal and spatial heterogeneity of bark beetle infestations created forest structures that meet the contrasting habitat requirements of both, capercaillie and hazel grouse. This heterogeneity resulted from biological legacies such as decomposing snags, and the simultaneous regrowth of natural regeneration. A benign-neglect strategy towards bark beetle infestations could hence foster capercaillie and hazel grouse in mountainous forests.
  • Red lists in conservation science-policy interfaces: A case study from
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Thi Huong Do, Max Krott, Nataly Juerges, Michael BöcherAbstractRed lists of threatened species have been a powerful instrument to interact loss of biodiversity in many countries. However, there have been growing concerns over the scientific basis of red lists and the influence of red lists on conservation policy formulation. This article explores science–policy interface in the development and use of the Vietnamese Red Data Book 2007 by applying the Research – Integration – Utilization (RIU) model of scientific knowledge transfer. Our study has shown the scientific weaknesses of the Vietnamese Red Data Book 2007, which arise from limited availability of updated data on rare and threatened species in Vietnam and unknown factors influencing them. Despite the existing limitations, the science-based policy advice of the Vietnamese Red Data Book 2007 has achieved certain political influence due to successful integration. Our study also reveals that good and actor-relevant communication could help to win powerful allies in conservation policy formulation, which contributes to a successful transfer of scientific knowledge. Based on our results, we recommend that the improvement of the scientific basis of the red lists is essential to enhance science-based policy support in biodiversity conservation.
  • Integrated spatially-explicit models predict pervasive risks to
           recolonizing wolves in Scandinavia from human-driven mortality
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Mariano R. Recio, Barbara Zimmermann, Camilla Wikenros, Andreas Zetterberg, Petter Wabakken, Håkan SandAbstractHuman-driven wildlife mortality is caused by both indirect causes and direct persecution due to conflicts of interests. The wolf, a predator frequently at risk from human-wildlife conflict, is returning to areas where it was historically extirpated in Scandinavia (Sweden and Norway). The wolf is expanding via a management strategy that allows wolves to reproduce exclusively in a wolf breeding range (WBR) in the south-central region. We modelled wolf territory occurrence in the WBR and all of Scandinavia, accounting for biotic and anthropogenic variables, and we also modelled the occurrence of human-driven mortality (traffic collisions, culling and illegal killing). We integrated territory distribution and mortality models in a two-dimensional model estimating habitat suitability and mortality risk for wolves. Forest was the main variable driving territory occurrence, and mortality was a consequence of variables associated with traffic infrastructure, human population, prey densities, and wolf management levels. Only
  • Habitat heterogeneity as a key to high conservation value in
           forest-grassland mosaics
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): László Erdős, György Kröel-Dulay, Zoltán Bátori, Bence Kovács, Csaba Németh, Péter János Kiss, Csaba TölgyesiAbstractForest-grassland mosaics are widespread features at the interface between tree- and grass-dominated ecosystems. However, the importance of habitat heterogeneity in these mosaics is not fully appreciated, and the contribution of individual woody and herbaceous habitats to the overall conservation value of the mosaic is unclear. We distinguished six main habitats in the forest-grassland mosaics of the Kiskunság Sand Ridge (Hungary) and compared the species composition, species richness, Shannon diversity, naturalness, selected structural features, environmental variables, and the number of protected, endemic, red-listed and specialist species of the plant communities. Each habitat had species that were absent or rare elsewhere. Grasslands had the highest conservation importance in most respects. North-facing forest edges had the highest species richness, while south-facing edges were primarily important for tree recruitment. Among the forest habitats, small forest patches were the most valuable, while large and medium forest patches had the lowest conservation importance. We showed that the current single-habitat focus of both research and conservation in the studied forest-grassland mosaics is not justified. Instead, an integrated view of the entire mosaic is necessary. Management practices and restoration projects should promote habitat heterogeneity, e.g., by assisting tree and shrub establishment and survival in grasslands. The legislative background should recognize the existence of fine-scale forest-grassland mosaics, which are neither grasslands nor forests, but a mixture.
  • Animal diversity declines with broad-scale homogenization of canopy cover
           in African savannas
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Robert McCleery, Ara Monadjem, Benjamin Baiser, Robert Fletcher, Karen Vickers, Laurence KrugerAbstractSavannas are increasingly threatened by anthropogenic forces that are causing broad-scale directional shifts in woody vegetation that homogenizes their structure. Yet, whether animal communities respond consistently to changes in woody vegetation in savannas, particularly in terms of the effects of spatial scale, remains poorly understood. We addressed this gap by testing for changes in birds, bats and terrestrial small mammals across a gradient of woody cover in the savannas of southeastern Africa for two years at multiple spatial scales. We found that homogenization of vegetation structure corresponded with decreases in animal richness, diversity and functional diversity. Additionally, metrics of animal diversity declined at opposing ends of a canopy cover gradient (65%), where we found distinctly different animal assemblages. These patterns were consistently more pronounced on a broader grid scale (30.25 ha) when compared with the plot scale (0.25 ha). The broad-scale reductions in the diversity and functions of animals observed may be indicative of reductions in the resilience, stability and ecosystem function of tropical savannas. Our results suggest that conservation and management aimed at promoting heterogeneity at broad scales may be critical for maintaining diversity and functionality in savannas.
  • Increased mammal nocturnality in agricultural landscapes results in
           fragmentation due to cascading effects
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Hila Shamoon, Roi Maor, David Saltz, Tamar DayanAbstractLandscape conversion to agriculture is the primary cause for habitat loss worldwide. As partial mitigation, agricultural landscapes may be designated as ecological corridors due to their presumed habitability and permeability to wildlife. Behavioral changes following anthropogenic disturbance can affect species' spatio-temporal activity patterns and modify interactions, and thus influence habitat preferences. Understanding how human activity affects wildlife behavior and how such behavioral changes scale up to the community may enhance the effectiveness of conservation schemes. We used camera traps to measure the activity of five mammal species along a disturbance gradient in an agricultural-natural mosaic landscape designated as a national ecological corridor. Wildlife diurnal activity was minimal around towns, where humans were active during the day. Nevertheless, predator activity increased near towns and at other sites of high disturbance. Although attracted to highly disturbed areas, predators avoided humans temporally by restricting activity to night-time, whereas prey activity relative to less disturbed areas was negligible. We conclude that perceived threat from humans during daytime combined with elevated nocturnal predation risk exclude prey species from large areas of an agricultural region designated as ecological corridor. Human activity may have triggered a cascading effect mediated by predators' diel activity shifts, which reduced landscape permeability to prey. Our study underlines the need to consider wildlife diel activity patterns for conservation and environmental management planning.
  • Socioeconomic drivers of illegal bushmeat hunting in a Southern African
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Matthew S. Rogan, Jennifer R.B. Miller, Peter A. Lindsey, J. Weldon McNuttAbstractIllegal bushmeat hunting of economically and ecologically valuable wildlife populations is emerging as a threat across African savannas. Due to the cryptic nature of illegal hunting, little information exists on the drivers of the bushmeat industry. Here we report on the socioeconomic drivers identified in a broader investigation into illegal bushmeat hunting in rural villages around a southern African savanna ecosystem, the Okavango Delta, Botswana. We conducted interviews with bushmeat hunters and heads of rural households about hunting activities, rural livelihoods, attitudes towards wildlife, and market characteristics of illegal bushmeat. Using generalized linear models, we identified and investigated a set of independent variables that characterize illegal-hunter households. Results revealed that compared to non-hunter households, illegal hunter households (n = 119, 25% of the sample) lived in closer proximity to wildlife, were more likely to farm crops, and more often received income from formal employment by at least one household member. Bushmeat hunting was positively correlated with livestock wealth but not associated with household income. Only 11.4% (n = 44) of non-hunter households reported purchasing bushmeat. Most households (84%) reported incurring costs associated with living near wildlife (e.g., damages to crops or livestock), with no difference between hunter and non-hunter households. Hunters were more likely to say they valued wildlife. We conclude that bushmeat hunting in Botswana is generally supplemental to household core income sources rather than essential for subsistence. We propose two interventions to counter the negative impacts of illegal hunting on the region's lucrative wildlife-based economy: 1) more effective law enforcement that imposes costs for hunting illegally, and 2) development of alternative wildlife-based revenue streams that motivate communities to conserve wildlife.
  • Natural vegetation and bug abundance promote insectivorous bat activity in
           macadamia orchards, South Africa
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Sina M. Weier, Ingo Grass, Valerie M.G. Linden, Teja Tscharntke, Peter J. TaylorAbstractAccelerating land use change is associated with the loss of species and their ecosystem services. South Africa is the world's largest producer of macadamias and the industry continues to grow. Insectivorous bat species are important for pest control, but bat populations are declining. Therefore, proactive management of bat communities in agricultural landscapes is essential. We acoustically monitored bats and used light traps to catch arthropods during one annual cycle, sampling five macadamia orchards monthly in Limpopo, South Africa. We used GIS and R to analyse both the general bat and foraging bat activity of the two main foraging guilds (open-air/clutter edge guild) in different land use types and total activity with respect to arthropod abundances. Overall clutter edge guild activity (number of passes) decreased with macadamia and orchard (all other fruit) cover in the high season and increased with bush cover and distance to settlements (potential roosts) in the low season. Open-air guild activity increased with fallow cover in the high season. Foraging activity (feeding buzzes) of the clutter edge guild increased with bush cover over the whole year. Total activity (both guilds) increased with abundance of true bugs, including the main macadamia pests, and bush cover.In conclusion, natural and semi-natural vegetation promote bat activity in macadamia orchards, and potentially bats' provision of the ecosystem service of pest control. In times of accelerating land use change, remnants of natural vegetation are important refuges and need to be maintained or restored. The installation of bathouses might further improve bat activity.
  • Basin-scale distribution of harbour porpoises in the Baltic Sea provides
           basis for effective conservation actions
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Ida Carlén, Len Thomas, Julia Carlström, Mats Amundin, Jonas Teilmann, Nick Tregenza, Jakob Tougaard, Jens C. Koblitz, Signe Sveegaard, Daniel Wennerberg, Olli Loisa, Michael Dähne, Katharina Brundiers, Monika Kosecka, Line Anker Kyhn, Cinthia Tiberi Ljungqvist, Iwona Pawliczka, Radomil Koza, Bartlomiej Arciszewski, Anders GalatiusAbstractKnowledge on spatial and seasonal distribution of species is crucial when designing protected areas and implementing management actions. The Baltic Proper harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) population is critically endangered, and its distribution is virtually unknown. Here, we used passive acoustic monitoring and species distribution models to describe the spatial and seasonal distribution of harbour porpoises in the Baltic Proper. Porpoise click detectors were deployed over a systematic grid of 297 stations in eight countries from April 2011 through July 2013. Generalized additive models were used to describe the monthly probability of detecting porpoise clicks as a function of spatially-referenced covariates and time. During the reproductive season, two main areas of high probability of porpoise detection were identified. One of those areas, situated on and around the offshore banks in the Baltic Proper, is clearly separated from the known distribution range of the Belt Sea population during breeding season, suggesting this is an important breeding ground for the Baltic Proper population. We commend the designation of this area as a marine protected area and recommend Baltic Sea countries to also protect areas in the southern Baltic Sea and the Hanö Bight where additional important harbour porpoise habitats were identified. Further conservation measures should be carried out based on analyses of overlap between harbour porpoise distribution and potentially harmful anthropogenic activities. Our study shows that large-scale systematic monitoring using novel techniques can give important insights on the distribution of low-density populations, and that international cooperation is pivotal when studying transnationally migratory species.
  • Routine experiences of nature in cities can increase personal commitment
           toward biodiversity conservation
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2018Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 226Author(s): Anne-Caroline Prévot, Hélène Cheval, Richard Raymond, Alix CosquerAbstractThis study examines individual commitment to biodiversity during adulthood. We studied the interrelations between everyday experiences of nature, knowledge about biodiversity, connectedness with nature, and implementation of specific pro-biodiversity practices, through a survey covering 473 adults in Paris surroundings (France). More specifically, we showed that people involved in experiences of nature in which attentiveness to biodiversity is explicit (citizen science, nature watch association, environmental association) have more knowledge about biodiversity and conservation than both people involved in experiences of nature in which attention to biodiversity remains implicit (community garden, allotment, community-supported agriculture), and people without such kinds of experience of nature. However, we found that people experiencing nature as part of a daily routine, whatever the type of experience, were more connected to nature and more likely to implement active pro-biodiversity practices. With this interdisciplinary study that links conservation biology and conservation psychology, we help understand more precisely the levels of commitment of urban and sub-urban adults toward biodiversity conservation.
  • Comment on: Developing forensic tools for an African timber: […], by
           Vlam et al., 2018
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 July 2018Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Micha Horacek, Gareth Rees, Markus Boner, Johannes Zahnen
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