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Biological Conservation
Journal Prestige (SJR): 2.397
Citation Impact (citeScore): 5
Number of Followers: 339  
 
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 0006-3207
Published by Elsevier Homepage  [3184 journals]
  • Scaling from individual physiological measures to population-level
           demographic change: Case studies and future directions for conservation
           management
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Jordanna N. Bergman, Joseph R. Bennett, Allison D. Binley, Steven J. Cooke, Vincent Fyson, Benjamin L. Hlina, Connor H. Reid, Michelle A. Vala, Christine L. MadligerAbstractLoss of biodiversity is a leading conservation issue and, accordingly, a central topic in ecological research is to predict how organisms respond to natural and anthropogenic environmental stressors. Proactive conservation science involves management strategies that rely on early identification and monitoring of threats before demographic instability is reached and may provide a more cost- and time-effective method for managing risks in an increasingly uncertain world. Using physiological measurements to predict organismal responses to environmental perturbations has historically been uncommon in the wild, despite the promise they hold as a tool to support management decisions. We provide an overview of interdisciplinary research that investigates environmental variation in conjunction with physiological processes to understand, and potentially predict, population-level demographic responses, which we refer to as Environment-Physiology-Demography, or EPD, studies. Using four EPD case studies (common murre, Cape mountain zebra, Daphnia magna, and common lizard) of the 29 we discovered during our literature review, we demonstrate how physiological biomarkers can be used as indicators of population change and/or stability to aid resource managers in the decision-making process. Of the 29 EPD studies we found, 72% were successful in connecting physiology to both an environmental and demographic change. Further, we outline geographic, taxonomic, and physiological biases observed across EPD studies, and the importance of considering the context-dependency of physiological traits when linking them to environmental variation and demographic processes. We encourage researchers to consider the EPD approach when investigating if and how the responses of individuals to environmental stressors translate into population-level consequences.
       
  • Anticoagulant rodenticides in Strix owls indicate widespread
           exposure in west coast forests
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): J. David Wiens, Krista E. Dilione, Collin A. Eagles-Smith, Garth Herring, Damon B. Lesmeister, Mourad W. Gabriel, Greta M. Wengert, David C. SimonAbstractExposure of nontarget wildlife to anticoagulant rodenticides (AR) is a global conservation concern typically centered around urban or agricultural areas. Recently, however, the illegal use of ARs in remote forests of California, USA, has exposed sensitive predators, including the federally threatened northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina). We used congeneric barred owls (S. varia) as a sentinel species to investigate whether ARs pose a threat to spotted owls and other old-forest wildlife in northern regions of the Pacific Northwest. We analyzed the liver tissue from 40 barred owls collected in Oregon and Washington and confirmed exposure to ≥1 AR compounds in 48% of the owls examined. Brodifacoum, an extremely toxic second-generation AR, was the most common compound detected (89% of positive cases), followed by bromadiolone (11%), difethialone (11%), and warfarin (5%). Brodifacoum was also detected in one barred owl and one spotted owl opportunistically found dead (liver concentrations were 0.091 and 0.049 μg/g, respectively). We found no evidence that exposure varied with proximity to developed and agricultural areas, or among different study areas, age-classes, and sexes. Rather, exposure was ubiquitous, and the rates we observed in our study (38–64%) were similar to or greater than that reported previously for barred owls in California (40%). Together these studies indicate widespread contamination in forested landscapes used by spotted owls and other wildlife of conservation concern. Owls collected in older forests may have been exposed via illegal use of ARs, highlighting a mounting challenge for land managers and policy makers.
       
  • Cost-benefit based prioritisation of orangutan conservation actions in
           Indonesian Borneo
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Courtney L. Morgans, Truly Santika, Erik Meijaard, Marc Ancrenaz, Kerrie A. WilsonAbstractEach year an estimated US$20–30 million is spent by government and non-government organisations in efforts to conserve the Bornean orangutan. However, recent population analysis reveals that these efforts have been unable to reduce species decline. A major aim of the Indonesian National Action Plan for orangutan conservation is to “improve in-situ conservation as the principal activity ensuring the orangutan's survival in its native habitats”. This paper summarises and examines current investment in conservation activities and provides recommendations on the strategic allocation of funds for future conservation. The cost data of major conservation initiatives, including orangutan rescue and rehabilitation, habitat protection, habitat restoration and community education, was collated from non-government agency annual reports and primary literature. A recent population density and distribution model, and reports documenting the effectiveness of conservation strategies for the species were then used to calculate population trends in the presence and absence of interventions. Using an open-access cost-effectiveness resource allocator tool, we investigate expenditure and program performance. We then provide recommendations on how to strategically allocate conservation funding to future programs to ensure maximum effectiveness.
       
  • Calling for a new agenda for conservation science to create
           evidence-informed policy
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): David Christian Rose, Tatsuya Amano, Juan P. González-Varo, Nibedita Mukherjee, Rebecca J. Robertson, Benno I. Simmons, Hannah S. Wauchope, William J. SutherlandAbstractImproving the use of scientific evidence in conservation policy has been a long-standing focus of the conservation community. A plethora of studies have examined conservation science-policy interfaces, including a recent global survey of scientists, policy-makers, and practitioners. This identified a list of top barriers and solutions to evidence use, which have considerable overlap with those identified by other studies conducted over the last few decades. The three top barriers – (i) that conservation is not a political priority, (ii) that there is poor engagement between scientists and decision-makers, and (iii) that conservation problems are complex and uncertain – have often been highlighted in the literature as significant constraints on the use of scientific evidence in conservation policy. There is also repeated identification of the solutions to these barriers. In this perspective, we consider three reasons for this: (1) the barriers are insurmountable, (2) the frequently-proposed solutions are poor, (3) there are implementation challenges to putting solutions into practice. We argue that implementation challenges are most likely to be preventing the solutions being put into practice and that the research agenda for conservation science-policy interfaces needs to move away from identifying barriers and solutions, and towards a detailed investigation of how to overcome these implementation challenges.
       
  • Conservation translocations and post-release monitoring: Identifying
           trends in failures, biases, and challenges from around the world
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Christine M. Bubac, Amy C. Johnson, Janay A. Fox, Catherine I. CullinghamAbstractIn an attempt to slow or reverse the loss of biodiversity, conservation translocations have been implemented to restore wild populations of dwindling or extirpated species and have increased concurrently with multiplying threats to biodiversity. Here, we reviewed 554 translocation case studies from around the world in an effort to assess how frequently studies monitor populations post-translocation, and if performed, for what length of time monitoring was done. Our secondary objectives included investigating shifts in reintroduction research trends, including whether species of certain conservation statuses (global and local) were more likely to be subjects of translocation efforts, the factors cited as reasons for initial species declines, and the causes of failed translocation attempts. We found that the majority of studies conducted post-release monitoring for a period of 1–4 years, and the highest proportion of failures occurred within the first four years. Overall, the most important factor contributing to failure was the causes of initial decline of the species, and there was no evidence that success rates have increased over the past decade despite increasing knowledge in the field. Many translocations were focused on locally extirpated species that had low risk of global extinction, especially in North America, Europe, and Oceania. The driving forces of failed translocations varied with predation, management issues, and habitat factors as common challenges. Future programs should focus on addressing the initial cause of decline and ensure that resources are in place to support a minimum of four years of post-release monitoring to help ensure a successful outcome.
       
  • Restoring apex predators can reduce mesopredator abundances
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): José Jiménez, Juan Carlos Nuñez-Arjona, Francois Mougeot, Pablo Ferreras, Luis Mariano González, Francisco García-Domínguez, Jaime Muñoz-Igualada, María Jesús Palacios, Samuel Pla, Carmen Rueda, Francisco Villaespesa, Fernando Nájera, Francisco Palomares, José Vicente López-BaoAbstractThe role that apex predators play in ecosystem functioning, disease regulation and biodiversity maintenance is increasingly debated. However, the positive impacts of their presence in terrestrial ecosystems, particularly in human-dominated landscapes, remain controversial. Limited experimental insights regarding the consequences of apex predator recoveries may be behind such controversy and may also impact on the social acceptability towards the recovery of these species. Using a quasi-experimental design and state-of-the-art density estimates, we show that mesopredator abundances were reduced after the restoration of an apex predator, with evidence of resonating positive impacts on lower trophic levels. Iberian lynx Lynx pardinus reintroduction was followed by the reduction of the abundance of mesocarnivores (red foxes Vulpes vulpes and Egyptian mongooses Herpestes ichneumon by ca. 80%) and the recovery of small game of high socio-economic value (European rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus and red-legged partridges Alectoris rufa). The observed mesopredator reduction resulted in an estimated 55.6% less rabbit consumption for the entire carnivore guild. Our findings have important implications for the social acceptability of Iberian lynx reintroductions, which crucially depend on the perception of private land owners and managers. Under certain circumstances, restoring apex predators may provide a sustainable and ethically acceptable way to reduce mesopredator abundances.
       
  • Life-history traits inform population trends when assessing the
           conservation status of a declining tiger shark population
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 September 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Christopher J. Brown, George RoffAbstractThe assessment of the conservation status of wide ranging species depends on estimates of the magnitude of their population trends. The accuracy of trend estimates will depend on where and how many locations within a species' range are sampled. We ask how the spatial extent of sampling interacts with non-linear patterns in long-term trends to affect estimates of decline in standardised catch of tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) on the east coast of Australia. We apply a Bayesian trend model that uses prior information on life-history traits to estimate trends where we use data from all regions versus spatial subsets of the data. As more regions were included in the model the trend estimates converged toward an overall decline of 71% over three generations. Trends estimated from data only from northern regions or southern regions underestimated and overestimated the regional decline, respectively. When a subset of regions was modelled, rather than the full data-set, the prior informed by life-history traits performed well, as did a weakly informed prior that allowed for high variation. The rate of decline in tiger sharks is consistent with a listing East Coast Australia tiger sharks as endangered under local legislation. Monitoring programs that aim to estimate population trends should attempt to cover the extremes and mid-points of a population's range. Life-history information can be used to inform priors for population variation and may give more accurate estimates of trends that can be justified in debates about the status of threatened species, particularly when sampling is limited.
       
  • The scientist abroad: Maximising research impact and effectiveness when
           working as a visiting scientist
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Andrew Chin, Leontine Baje, Terrance Donaldson, Karin Gerhardt, Rima W. Jabado, Peter M. Kyne, Ralph Mana, Gauthier Mescam, Johann Mourier, Serge Planes, Colin WenAbstractConservation science is crucial to global conservation efforts, and often involves projects where foreign scientists visit a host country to conduct research. Science can significantly contribute to conservation efforts in host countries. However, poorly conceived and implemented projects can lead to poor conservation outcomes, cause negative impacts on communities, and compromise future research. This paper presents guidance from scientists, managers, and conservation practitioners following the 10th Indo-Pacific Fish Conference, the region's largest ichthyology meeting where delegates presented many examples of collaborative research. The guidance provided focuses on issues regarding planning and preparation, collaboration and reciprocity, and conduct and protocol. The intent is to provide conservation scientists with practical advice from locally based and experienced conservation scientists and practitioners about how to maximise research effectiveness and conservation benefits when working abroad. A range of activities and approaches are suggested that visiting scientists can adopt and implement to build the relationships and trust needed for effective collaboration with local actors. Building effective collaborations between local actors and visiting scientists can maximise research effectiveness and impact by ensuring that projects address the most important issues and conservation concerns, involve the appropriate people, use suitable methods and approaches, and carefully consider local contexts and ethics. Such projects are more likely to provide lasting benefits to both parties, and enhance conservation outcomes. However, both visiting scientists and local actors need to communicate clearly, be accommodating, and commit to a genuine partnership to realise these benefits.
       
  • When protected areas produce source populations of overabundant species
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Elena H. West, Kristin Brunk, M. Zachariah PeeryAbstractWhile protected areas are a cornerstone of biodiversity conservation, human activities in these areas can negatively affect native species in direct and indirect ways. However, the potential effects of food subsidies provided by visitors on the local- and landscape-scale population dynamics of overabundant species, and how these effects may be augmented by human development outside of parks, are largely unexplored. Here, we investigated how human foods at heavily-visited sites within California parks benefited populations of Steller's jays (Cyanocitta stelleri), an overabundant predator of a threatened seabird that nests in remnant old-growth forests. Our study population was heavily subsidized with both juveniles and adults consuming substantial amounts of human foods by biomass (46% and 57%, respectively), as indicated by stable isotope analyses. Juvenile survival, adult survival, and fecundity—estimated from radio-telemetry data—were high and the population was projected to grow rapidly (25% annually). Most juveniles dispersed from parks following seasonal declines in human visitation to areas with high housing densities and more stable resources—with almost half of dispersers returning to old-growth forests the following breeding season. Thus, we found that local food subsidies at heavily-visited sites promoted source populations of jays that may bolster populations in old-growth forests at broader spatial scales, and that this effect was likely augmented by more temporally stable resources in developed areas outside of parks during the nonbreeding season. These novel results indicate that curbing populations of overabundant predators may require reductions in food subsidies both within protected areas and surrounding landscapes.
       
  • Engaging multiple stakeholders to reconcile climate, conservation and
           development objectives in tropical landscapes
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): James Reed, Jos Barlow, Rachel Carmenta, Josh van Vianen, Terry SunderlandAbstractAchieving equitable and sustainable development that supports climate change mitigation targets and avoids biodiversity loss remains a leading, and intractable challenge in many tropical countries. Sectorial thinking – focusing on just one aspect of the problem or system – is increasingly understood to be inadequate to address linked social-ecological challenges. Holistic approaches that incorporate diverse stakeholders across scales, sectors, and knowledge systems are gaining prominence for addressing complex problems. Such ‘integrated landscape approaches’ have received renewed momentum and interest from the research, donor and practitioner communities, and have been subsumed in international conventions related to climate, biodiversity, and sustainable development. However, implementation efforts and tangible evaluation of progress continues to lag behind conceptual development. Failure of landscape approaches to adequately engage diverse stakeholders—in design, implementation and evaluation—is a contributing factor to their poor performance. Here we draw on consultation workshops, advances in the literature, and our collective experience to identify key constraints and opportunities to better engage stakeholders in tropical landscape decision-making processes. Specifically, we ask: (1) what are the key challenges related to effectively engaging multiple stakeholders in integrated landscape approaches and (2) what lessons can be learned from practitioners, and how can these lessons serve as opportunities to avoid duplicating future research efforts or repeating past perceptions of underperformance. We present our findings within three broad categories: (i) navigating complexity, (ii) overcoming siloed thinking, and (iii) incentivizing behavioral change; thus providing a useful starting point for overcoming inherent challenges associated with engaging stakeholders in landscape approaches.
       
  • Drones for research on sea turtles and other marine vertebrates – A
           review
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Gail Schofield, Nicole Esteban, Kostas A. Katselidis, Graeme C. HaysAbstractWe review how unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), often referred to as drones, are being deployed to study the abundance and behaviour of sea turtles, identifying some of the commonalities and differences with studies on other marine vertebrates, including marine mammals and fish. UAV studies of all three groups primarily focus on obtaining estimates of abundance, distribution and density, while some studies have provided novel insights on the body condition, movement and behaviour of individuals (including inter-specific interactions). We discuss the emerging possibilities of how UAVs can become part of the standard methodologies for sea turtle ecologists through combining information on abundance and behaviour. For instance, UAV surveys can reveal turtle densities and hence operational sex ratios of sea turtles, which could be linked to levels of multiple paternity. Furthermore, embedding UAV surveys within a mark-recapture framework will enable improved abundance estimates. The complexity of behaviours revealed by direct observations of sea turtles and animal-borne cameras can also be examined using UAV footage, complementing studies using electronic tags, such as time-depth recorders and satellite transmitters. Overall, UAVs provide a low-cost approach of quantifying the flexibility of marine animal behaviour, allowing us to integrate information on abundance to establish how individuals respond to the presence of other organisms and the immediate environment.
       
  • The use of drones for conservation: A methodological tool to survey
           caimans nests density
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Leonardo J. Scarpa, Carlos I. PiñaAbstractThe use of drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), is a burgeoning facet of conservation biology with the potential to revolutionize the way in which animals and habitats are monitored. Recently, the location and distribution of caiman nests were mainly carried out by helicopters, paramotoring, and small plane for the identification and validation of nesting sites. The methods chosen for counting caimans are limited by interpretation difficulties when comparing densities observed in different habitats or with different visibility conditions or environmental variables. In this research, flights with drones were conducted in order to estimate the density amount of the caiman nests, quantify the nests potential in the monitored areas, and evaluate whether the current nest harvest in Corrientes Province is within the acceptable limits for a sustainable program. The use of this technology allows researchers to sample the presence of nests, their quantification, and georeferentiation, but also to find an absolute density of nests and to extrapolate it to other areas with similar habitat conditions.
       
  • Environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding of pond water as a tool to survey
           conservation and management priority mammals
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Lynsey R. Harper, Lori Lawson Handley, Angus I. Carpenter, Muhammad Ghazali, Cristina Di Muri, Callum J. Macgregor, Thomas W. Logan, Alan Law, Thomas Breithaupt, Daniel S. Read, Allan D. McDevitt, Bernd HänflingAbstractEnvironmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding can identify terrestrial taxa utilising aquatic habitats alongside aquatic communities, but terrestrial species' eDNA dynamics are understudied. We evaluated eDNA metabarcoding for monitoring semi-aquatic and terrestrial mammals, specifically nine species of conservation or management concern, and examined spatiotemporal variation in mammal eDNA signals. We hypothesised eDNA signals would be stronger for semi-aquatic than terrestrial mammals, and at sites where individuals exhibited behaviours. In captivity, we sampled waterbodies at points where behaviours were observed (‘directed’ sampling) and at equidistant intervals along the shoreline (‘stratified’ sampling). We surveyed natural ponds (N = 6) where focal species were present using stratified water sampling, camera traps, and field signs. eDNA samples were metabarcoded using vertebrate-specific primers. All focal species were detected in captivity. eDNA signal strength did not differ between directed and stratified samples across or within species, between semi-aquatic or terrestrial species, or according to behaviours. eDNA was evenly distributed in artificial waterbodies, but unevenly distributed in natural ponds. Survey methods deployed at natural ponds shared three species detections. Metabarcoding missed badger and red fox recorded by cameras and field signs, but detected small mammals these tools overlooked, e.g. water vole. Terrestrial mammal eDNA signals were weaker and detected less frequently than semi-aquatic mammal eDNA signals. eDNA metabarcoding could enhance mammal monitoring through large-scale, multi-species distribution assessment for priority and difficult to survey species, and provide early indication of range expansions or contractions. However, eDNA surveys need high spatiotemporal resolution and metabarcoding biases require further investigation before routine implementation.
       
  • Learning from published project failures in conservation
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Allison S. Catalano, Joss Lyons-White, Morena M. Mills, Andrew T. KnightAbstractConservation professionals need to know what has worked and what has not when designing, implementing, evaluating and refining conservation projects. Project failure reporting is an important, but largely unexploited, source of learning that capitalizes on the learning opportunity of failure provided through the experience of navigating research-implementation ‘spaces’. Learning from others through reading available literature is one way to supplement learning gained through direct experience. Learning vicariously is especially effective when presenting failure as opposed to success experiences. We reviewed the peer-reviewed conservation science literature to identify the extent and characteristics of failed project reporting, focusing our analysis upon social dimensions as opposed to biological causes, which have been comparatively well addressed. We quantified the degree to which articles reported activities commonly applied to learn from failure in business, medicine, the military and commercial aviation. These included activities for identifying, analyzing, correcting and sharing project failures. We used qualitative thematic analysis to identify the social causes of project failure. Reports of failed project experiences are rare and lack standardization. Human dimensions of project failure, such as stakeholder relationships, are more commonly reported than other causes of failure. The peer-reviewed literature has the potential to become a useful repository of lessons learned from failed projects. However, practical challenges such as identifying individuals' cognitive biases, cultivating psychological safety in teams, mainstreaming systemic team learning behaviors, addressing varied leadership styles, and confronting fear of failure in organizational culture must be overcome if conservation professionals are to effectively navigate research-implementation ‘spaces’.
       
  • Identification skills in biodiversity professionals and laypeople: A gap
           in species literacy
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Michiel J.D. Hooykaas, Menno Schilthuizen, Cathelijn Aten, Elisabeth M. Hemelaar, Casper J. Albers, Ionica SmeetsAbstractBiodiversity is in worldwide decline and it is becoming increasingly important to expand biodiversity awareness and achieve broad-based support for conservation. We introduce the concept of species literacy, as knowledge about species can be a good starting point for engaging people in biodiversity. However, concern has been raised about a general lack of knowledge about native species. We explored species literacy via a species identification test in the Netherlands, and we investigated potential drivers of it. The dataset included 3210 general public participants, 602 primary school children aged 9/10, and 938 biodiversity professionals.A considerable gap in species literacy was found between professionals and laypeople. Knowledge about common, native animals was particularly low in children, who on average identified only 35% of the species correctly. Mammals received relatively high identification scores as compared to birds. Laypeople's species literacy increased with age and educational level, and was associated with positive attitudes towards nature and animals, media exposure and having a garden.The results indicate that a considerable part of the Dutch lay public is disconnected from native biodiversity. This points to a separation between people and nature that could hinder future efforts to preserve biodiversity. Our assessment can help bridge the gap between laypeople and professionals, as it can help set up communication and education strategies about native biodiversity that fit prior knowledge.
       
  • Selecting the optimal artificial reefs to achieve fish habitat enhancement
           goals
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Hayley R. Lemoine, Avery B. Paxton, Shimon C. Anisfeld, R. Claire Rosemond, Charles H. PetersonAbstractManagers and conservation practitioners commonly deploy artificial habitats to restore lost natural habitats or supplement existing natural habitats. These decision makers face logistical and financial constraints in determining which type of structure (e.g., size, material) to deploy, as well as the added complication that ecological evaluations of structure performance are sparse. As a result, deployed artificial habitats often fail to meet habitat restoration or supplementation goals, especially in marine systems. Here, we evaluated the ecological performance of four types of marine artificial reefs (metal ships, three types of concrete modules) relative to each other and to neighboring natural habitat (rocky reefs). Through diver-conducted fish surveys on twenty-three reefs offshore of North Carolina (NC), USA, we found that different reef types hosted distinct fish communities. Concrete modules performed similarly to rocky reefs, supporting similar fish abundance, biomass, and community composition. In contrast, metal ships supported different fish communities than concrete modules and rocky reefs. Further analyses revealed that these patterns may relate to the ‘footprint’ and structural complexity of reef structures. These findings suggest that managers should strategically deploy particular types of artificial reefs depending on their objectives. For example, concrete modules should be deployed if the objective is to mimic rocky reefs, whereas deploying ships may create habitats that surpass natural reefs in fish abundance and biomass but with different communities. Moving forward, managers and conservation practitioners must rely on the most recent and location-specific structure evaluations when deciding which types of artificial habitats to deploy given their management objectives.
       
  • Features associated with effective biodiversity monitoring and evaluation
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Kelly M. Dixon, Geoffrey J. Cary, Graeme L. Worboys, Sam C. Banks, Philip GibbonsAbstractMonitoring and evaluation (M&E) of biodiversity has been heavily criticised. However, these criticisms have yet to be tested empirically across a range of geographical environments and institutions. We surveyed 243 protected area staff from 55 countries to describe how M&E is undertaken and to identify variables statistically associated with effective M&E. We found that M&E is routinely employed: 78% of respondents indicated that monitoring occurred and 64% responded that monitoring persisted for at least as long that a management action was implemented. However, our results suggested there is scope to improve the way that M&E is conducted: only 46% of respondents thought that M&E worked well, just 36% provided an example of monitoring informing management and 38% of respondents indicated that management is not undertaken in different ways to facilitate adaptive management.Monitoring and evaluation was generally perceived to be working better in non-government organisations (NGOs), where data are entered in existing databases, and where research and management staff work cooperatively. Monitoring had a greater probability of informing management where documented thresholds were in place that trigger management intervention and where monitoring data were stored in a publicly available database. Management was most likely to be implemented in different ways to facilitate adaptive management in NGOs, where management intervention options were documented, monitoring had persisted as long as the management action and where reporting is done regularly. The most common suggestions that respondents gave to improve M&E were increased funding, better science management integration, and improving organisational culture and commitment.
       
  • Trophic interactions mediate the response of predator populations to
           habitat change
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Brendan K. Hobart, Gavin M. Jones, Kevin N. Roberts, Brian P. Dotters, Sheila A. Whitmore, William J. Berigan, Martin G. Raphael, John J. Keane, R.J. Gutiérrez, M. Zachariah PeeryAbstractIdentifying the mechanisms by which globally pervasive changes in habitat affect predators is a central, yet challenging, endeavor in applied ecology. Cryptic shifts in trophic interactions are potentially important but widely underappreciated mechanisms shaping predator population response to habitat change. Here, we assessed the extent to which variation in trophic interactions explained differences in predator populations at both local and landscape scales. We integrated stable isotope analyses, GPS tagging, and long-term territory occupancy information to characterize the trophic ecology of spotted owls in the Sierra Nevada, California, USA where population trends and densities vary among forest landscapes with contrasting land uses and disturbance regimes. Trophic interactions appeared to influence spotted owl space use and territory occupancy rates with emergent consequences for landscape-scale patterns in population abundance and trends. Specifically, consumption of woodrats and pocket gophers, which varied with habitat conditions, was associated with smaller home ranges and lower territory extinction probabilities. Moreover, spotted owls consumed significantly more woodrats and pocket gophers in landscapes with stable (national parks) and high-occupancy (private lands) populations than in landscapes with declining owl populations (national forests). Collectively, our results suggest that trophic responses to local habitat conditions can affect predators at multiple spatial scales and that managing for important prey species habitat may benefit predator populations. Because trophic interactions mediate species' responses to anthropogenic pressures in many ecological systems, our approach to integrating stable isotopes with behavioral, fitness, occupancy, and demographic data offers a tractable avenue for researchers elsewhere to quantify such relationships.
       
  • Understanding and managing human tolerance for a large carnivore in a
           residential system
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Stacy A. Lischka, Tara L. Teel, Heather E. Johnson, Kevin R. CrooksAbstractHuman tolerance for interactions with large carnivores is an important determinant of their persistence on the landscape, yet the relative importance of factors affecting tolerance is not fully understood. Further, the impact of management efforts to alter tolerance has not been adequately assessed. We developed a model containing a comprehensive set of predictors drawn from prior studies and tested it through a longitudinal survey measuring tolerance for black bears (Ursus americanus) in the vicinity of Durango, Colorado, USA. Predictors included human-bear conflicts, outcomes of interactions with bears, perceptions of benefits and risks from bears, trust in managers, perceived similarity with the goals of managers, personal control over risks, value orientations toward wildlife, and demographic factors. In addition, we monitored changes in tolerance resulting from a bear-proofing experiment designed to reduced garbage-related conflicts in the community. Residents who perceived greater benefits associated with bears and more positive impacts from bear-related interactions had higher tolerance. Residents who perceived greater risks and more negative impacts and who had greater trust in managers, domination wildlife value orientations, and older age were less tolerant. Conflicts with bears were not an important predictor, supported by our finding that changes in conflicts resulting from our bear-proofing experiment did not affect tolerance. In contrast to conservation approaches that focus primarily on decreasing human-wildlife conflicts, our findings suggest that communication approaches aimed at increasing public tolerance for carnivores could be improved by emphasizing the benefits and positive impacts of living with these species.
       
  • Strategic conservation for lesser prairie-chickens among landscapes of
           varying anthropogenic influence
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Daniel S. Sullins, David A. Haukos, Joseph M. Lautenbach, Jonathan D. Lautenbach, Samantha G. Robinson, Mindy B. Rice, Brett K. Sandercock, John D. Kraft, Reid T. Plumb, Jonathan H. Reitz, J.M. Shawn Hutchinson, Christian A. HagenAbstractFor millennia grasslands have provided a myriad of ecosystem services and have been coupled with human resource use. The loss of 46% of grasslands worldwide necessitates the need for conservation that is spatially, temporally, and socioeconomically strategic. In the Southern Great Plains of the United States, conversion of native grasslands to cropland, woody encroachment, and establishment of vertical anthropogenic features have made large intact grasslands rare for lesser prairie-chickens (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus). However, it remains unclear how the spatial distribution of grasslands and anthropogenic features constrain populations and influence conservation. We estimated the distribution of lesser prairie-chickens using data from individuals marked with GPS transmitters in Kansas and Colorado, USA, and empirically derived relationships with anthropogenic structure densities and grassland composition. Our model suggested decreased probability of use in 2-km radius (12.6 km2) landscapes that had greater than two vertical features, two oil wells, 8 km of county roads, and 0.15 km of major roads or transmission lines. Predicted probability of use was greatest in 5-km radius landscapes that were 77% grassland. Based on our model predictions, ~10% of the current expected lesser prairie-chicken distribution was available as habitat. We used our estimated species distribution to provide spatially explicit prescriptions for CRP enrollment and tree removal in locations most likely to benefit lesser prairie-chickens. Spatially incentivized CRP sign up has the potential to provide 4189 km2 of additional habitat and strategic application of tree removal has the potential to restore 1154 km2. Tree removal and CRP enrollment are conservation tools that can align with landowner goals and are much more likely to be effective on privately owned working lands.
       
  • Disentangling economic, cultural, and nutritional motives to identify
           entry points for regulating a wildlife commodity chain
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Mona Estrella Bachmann, Jessica Junker, Roger Mundry, Martin Reinhardt Nielsen, Dagmar Haase, Heather Cohen, Joseph A.K. Kouassi, Hjalmar S. KühlAbstractDevelopment of reduction policies for products risking the health or the environment usually begins with the question of whether the most promising entry point is reducing production, distribution or consumption. We aim to answer this crucial question for bushmeat, a wildlife product whose unsustainable harvest threatens biodiversity and food security. We collected one of the largest data sets available on bushmeat commodity chains by interviewing 348 hunters, 202 bushmeat traders, 190 restaurant owners, and 985 consumers in 47 urban and rural settlements around Taï National Park, Côte d'Ivoire. We examined 1) structural traits by network analyses and 2) disentangled the underlying economic, cultural, and nutritional motives for bushmeat utilization at the level of production (hunters), distribution (bushmeat traders), and consumption (households). We found that while economic drivers determined hunting, trading was associated with economic and cultural drivers and consumption was purely influenced by cultural habits. Bushmeat traders were promising candidates for effective regulation interventions, but held a small market share and the risk of displacement to other trading channels remains. Since cultural motives for consumption provide a key opportunity for large-scale behavioral changes, we propose consumers as the most effective point of entry for interventions. However, any such consumer level intervention should be supported by programs providing the remaining commodity chain actors with alternative livelihoods. Generally, interventions into the complex social-ecological system of wildlife commodity chains must consider interdependencies and require multi-actor approaches and monitoring to avoid displacement and diffusion effects and to guarantee a socially and ecologically sustainable change.
       
  • Impact evaluation and conservation outcomes in marine protected areas: A
           case study of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Kerrie A. Fraser, Vanessa M. Adams, Robert L. Pressey, John M. PandolfiAbstractWhile marine protected areas are being expanded to meet international conservation targets and protect biodiversity from increasing anthropogenic threats, our understanding of the conservation impact of such interventions is limited. Hailed as a success globally, the rezoning of Australia's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in 2004 was complex and controversial. Despite substantial research within the Marine park, little rigorous evaluation has been undertaken of the rezoning's biological impact - the difference increased protection has made to biodiversity relative to that expected without protection. We review available data of measures of biological impact from ‘new’ no-take zones established in the rezoning and those established under previous zoning. We found 48 studies reporting 782 measures of impact based on comparisons of biological indicators in no-take zones with fished areas. Overwhelmingly, impacts were neutral (57%) or positive (33%). Few data supported causal relationships between new no-take zones and improvements in biological indicators (48 of 159 impacts). The probability of a positive impact increased with time from establishment of no-take zones. Limited conclusions can be drawn from other data. We evaluated whether these measures of impact were robust based on analysis of six key principles of impact evaluation. Sampling was not designed to support causal inferences. Biological monitoring and evaluation designs were limited in providing evidence of the impact of protection. Improved methods that include credible counterfactual data can address limitations of current practice. We highlight ways of progressing impact evaluation techniques to support causal inferences of the impact of marine protected areas generally.
       
  • Urban Raptors. Ecology and Conservation of Birds of Prey in Cities, edited
           by Clint W. Boal and Cheryl R. Dykstra 2018. Island Press, Washington.
           IBSN 978-1-61091-840-4, xvi + 304 pp., $40.00 (paperback)
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Simone Fattorini
       
  • Refuge in the sāqya: Irrigation canals as habitat for one of the world's
           100 most threatened species
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Ronaldo Sousa, Amílcar Teixeira, Hassan Benaissa, Simone Varandas, Mohamed Ghamizi, Manuel Lopes-LimaAbstractAnthropogenic habitats may function as a refuge for some species, including freshwater mussels (Bivalvia, Unionida). In this study we assessed possible differences in density, size and condition index of the Moroccan freshwater pearl mussel Pseudunio marocanus (Pallary, 1918), formerly Margaritifera marocana, colonizing anthropogenic (sāqya = irrigation canal) and natural (Bouhlou River) habitats in Morocco. Results showed that the individuals colonizing the irrigation canal located on the left bank have a significantly higher density and condition index when compared to natural conditions, but no differences were found regarding size. Since this species is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN, being also considered among the 100 most endangered organisms in the planet, the presence of P. marocanus in anthropogenic habitats has high conservation importance. In fact, and despite no Moroccan freshwater pearl mussels were found on the irrigation canal located in the right bank, the one located on the left bank present stable conditions for the settlement of juveniles and, if managed carefully, for the future survival of the species. However, local authorities reported frequent dredging and cleaning activities by local farmers on this sāqya without any special attention devoted to Moroccan freshwater pearl mussels (or any other species) conservation. Therefore, the results reported here can be used by scientists, managers, politicians and local people to promote future management actions that enhance the Moroccan freshwater pearl mussel protection and guarantee their future survival, including on anthropogenic habitats.
       
  • Managing cross-scale dynamics in marine conservation: Pest irruptions and
           lessons from culling of crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster spp.)
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Morgan S. Pratchett, Graeme S. CummingAbstractThe global degradation of natural ecosystems is leading to an increased focus on interventionist management and habitat restoration. On coral reefs, a foremost example of this trend is the extensive culling of crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster spp.), which are native to coral reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific. At high densities, following population irruptions, crown-of-thorns starfish consume large areas of live coral, contributing to sustained and widespread degradation of reef environments. While population irruptions of crown-of-thorns starfish may be exacerbated by anthropogenic activities, their deleterious effects on reef systems are symptomatic of broad scale habitat degradation and loss of resilience. Extensive culling of crown-of-thorns starfish is justified as a way to offset distal drivers of coral reef degradation, but the demonstrated effectiveness of culling in small and isolated habitat patches has limited viability at the scale of entire reef systems, given the considerable effort required (upwards of 800 h.km2) and no evidence of increased efficiencies with scale. Here we draw on ideas from the management of irruptive species in other systems to develop an alternative perspective on population irruptions of Acanthaster spp., focusing on the sequential thresholds that lead to landscape-scale population irruptions. Strategic management to prevent early precursors to population irruptions may represent the most feasible approach to preventing or containing these disturbances. However, permanent or long-term solutions will require a deeper, more holistic consideration of the multitude of factors that contribute to population irruptions of crown-of-thorns starfish across a hierarchy of different scales.
       
  • Diversity of forest management promotes parasitoid functional diversity in
           boreal forests
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Antonio Rodríguez, Jaakko L.O. Pohjoismäki, Jari KoukiAbstractIntensive forest management leads to forest homogeneity and compromises biodiversity conservation for the sake of a single commodity provision: wood biomass. However, forest biodiversity supports multiple ecosystem functions, with the regulation of insect pest populations among the less understood. We studied how parasitoid functional diversity and composition were affected by forest management and the application of harvesting practices directed to the promotion of biodiversity through the emulation of natural disturbances, i.e. prescribed burning and retention forestry. We used a large-scale, replicated ecological experiment initiated in Finland in 2000, where forest structure was manipulated with several harvesting regimes in combination with prescribed fire. We sampled parasitoid flies (Diptera: Tachinidae) attacking herbivorous insects, and compared their functional diversity and trait composition between distinct habitats shaped by management and in association with plant functional composition. At the local scale, parasitoid taxonomic and functional diversity were positively related to plant functional diversity. Variation in parasitoid functional composition was linked to the different habitats created by forest management and was associated with plant functional composition. Diversity of forest management, involving prescribed fire, variable tree retention and the preservation of old-growth forest, increases habitat diversity in boreal forests. This management leads to higher forest heterogeneity at multiple spatial scales, increasing plant structural diversity and cascading up to higher trophic levels, resulting in higher parasitoid functional diversity. This result gives further support for the importance of preserving natural early successional and old-growth boreal forests, with potential benefits of improved natural biological control across the forest landscape.
       
  • Overrepresentation of flagship species in primate documentaries and
           opportunities for promoting biodiversity
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Crystal M. Riley Koenig, Bryan L. Koenig, Crickette M. SanzAbstractDocumentary films are intended to engage a broad audience and can be effective outreach tools for raising awareness of global biodiversity and conservation issues. We screened 210 films and recorded the duration that each primate species was on screen to evaluate their representation in documentaries and to assess factors potentially driving biases within these depictions. We expected that flagship species would be overrepresented such that: 1) apes would be more frequently included in documentaries than other primate taxa, 2) Critically Endangered and Endangered species would be more frequently included in documentaries than those of less concern, and 3) large-bodied primates would have more on-screen time than smaller-bodied primates. Due to factors affecting the accessibility of species, we hypothesized that: 4) species of Least Concern would be overrepresented, and 5) diurnal and cathemeral primates would be overrepresented compared to nocturnal primates. We found that documentary films portray only a fraction of primate biodiversity. Only a third of primate species are portrayed in documentaries, and these tend to be large flagship species and easily filmed species. African apes were overrepresented compared to other primate taxa. Endangered and Least Concern species were overrepresented, whereas Vulnerable and Near Threatened species were underrepresented. Larger-bodied species and non-nocturnal primates were featured in more films and had longer on-screen times than smaller or nocturnal primates. Our findings suggest that audiences may benefit from the collaboration of filmmakers and scientists, which would likely result in greater species representation and more comprehensive coverage of relevant conservation issues.
       
  • Both forest reserves and managed forests help maintain ectomycorrhizal
           fungal diversity
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Tomasz Leski, Maria Rudawska, Marta Kujawska, Małgorzata Stasińska, Daniel Janowski, Leszek Karliński, Robin WilganAbstractThe present study focuses on ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi, a group of fungi that are extremely vital to the functioning of forest ecosystems. Over a three-year period, we monitored above- and belowground communities of ECM fungi in protected and managed stands located in Poland in Central European mixed forests dominated by Scots pine. Ectomycorrhizal fungi have been evaluated in three pairs of forest reserves and adjacent managed forests using a combination of classical and molecular identification methods. We found that the managed forests harbored, in total, a higher number of fungal taxa than the reserves (105 vs. 93); however, no significant difference in the average number of ECM fungal taxa was found between both management strategies (69.0 ± 6.0 vs. 61.3 ± 11.5). This was true both for sporocarps and ectomycorrhizal communities. In terms of environmental factors, soil nitrate concentration and number of trees were found to be the main drivers shaping the ECM fungal communities. The species composition of ECM fungal communities was to a large extent similar between forest reserves and managed forests, and only a small pool of species was found uniquely on one of the stand types. Species of conservation value (red-listed and rare species in Poland) have been noted on stands influenced by both management strategies. Our results suggest that both forest reserves and managed forests contribute to maintaining ECM fungal diversity, with managed forests contributing a higher total taxa pool, and each management regime contributing a certain number of taxa not found in the other.
       
  • Understanding the environmental and anthropogenic correlates of tiger
           presence in a montane conservation landscape
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Ugyen Penjor, Cedric Kai Wei Tan, Sonam Wangdi, David Whyte MacdonaldAbstractManagement of tigers is a response to a global conservation crisis. Range contraction, population decline, habitat fragmentation, prey loss, and poaching cause and aggravate this crisis. There is a debate as to whether conserving source sites or maintaining landscape connectivity is the greater priority. Both approaches rely on understanding environmental and anthropogenic factors. We used a large dataset from a nation-wide camera trapping survey to investigate factors affecting habitat use of tigers across the montane landscape of Bhutan. We tested the effects of environmental and anthropogenic covariates on habitat use while accounting for imperfect detection using a hierarchical occupancy model. Tiger habitat use showed a strong positive association with closeness to protected area, greater distance from human settlement and availability of abundant large prey. Our findings can help to identify the drivers of tiger decline and contribute to the refinement of conservation strategies to combat that decline in this montane conservation landscape. We provide a general approach to tiger conservation by highlighting the importance of understanding the basic ecology of this apex predator, including the relationship between environmental and anthropogenic variables and habitat use. Bhutan, with unusually strong environmental legislation, and a high percentage of its area protected and under contiguous forest cover, set the global standard in large carnivore conservation and is an important component of a wider conservation complex in South Asia.
       
  • Information access and knowledge exchange in co-managed coral reef
           fisheries
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Michele L. Barnes, Emmanuel Mbaru, Nyawira MuthigaAbstractEffectively managing ecosystems is an information intensive endeavour. Yet social, cultural, and economic barriers can limit who is able to access information and how knowledge is exchanged. We draw on social network theory to examine whether co-management institutions break down these traditional barriers. We examined the factors that predict information access and knowledge exchange using interview and knowledge sharing network data from 616 Kenyan coral reef fishers operating in four communities with formal co-management institutions. For access to fisheries management information, we found disparities in fisher's age, leadership status, and wealth. Yet once we accounted for formal engagement in the co-management process, only wealth disparities remained significant. In contrast, knowledge exchange was insensitive to whether or not we accounted for engagement in co-management. We found that community leaders and external actors, such as NGO representatives, were primary sources of fisheries-related knowledge. Among fishers, knowledge exchange tended to occur more often between those using the same landing site. Fishers engaged in the co-management process and community leaders were likely to transfer knowledge widely (acting as ‘central communicators’), yet only leaders bridged disconnected groups (acting as ‘brokers’). Ethnic minorities and those with higher levels of education were more likely to fall on the periphery of the knowledge exchange networks. Taken together, our results suggest that co-management can break down traditional social and cultural – but perhaps not economic – barriers to information access; while social, cultural, and economic factors remain important for structuring knowledge exchange.
       
  • Tradeoffs and tools for data quality, privacy, transparency, and trust in
           citizen science
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Christine Anhalt-Depies, Jennifer L. Stenglein, Benjamin Zuckerberg, Philip M. Townsend, Adena R. RissmanAbstractEmerging technologies make it increasingly straightforward for scientists to collect data that are fine in scale, broad in scope, and transparent with open access. However, the resulting datasets may contain sensitive information such as location information about endangered resources or private landowners. These tensions are particularly relevant for citizen science programs which engage the public in answering scientific questions. Citizen science programs are often promoted as being able to achieve multiple scientific (e.g. quality data and open sharing of data) and social goals (e.g. increased transparency and public trust), but likely tensions between these desired outcomes are less frequently discussed. We develop a conceptual framework for tensions in citizen science information and review the internal policies and practices currently used to navigate between data sharing and privacy protection. We also examine the case of Snapshot Wisconsin's wildlife camera traps on private land to understand how program managers balanced data production and sharing with protection of sensitive information and how citizen scientists perceived the project. We found that programs may be forced to make tradeoffs between data quality, privacy protection, resource security, transparency, and trust. In order to maximize conservation outcomes, we recommend that managers anticipate potential tradeoffs in advance of data collection, develop policies and practices to address these, and practice iterative evaluation that solicits feedback from participants.
       
  • Quantifying the trade in wild-collected ornamental orchids in South China:
           Diversity, volume and value gradients underscore the primacy of supply
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Stephan W. Gale, Pankaj Kumar, Amy Hinsley, Mang Lung Cheuk, Jiangyun Gao, Hong Liu, Zhi-Long Liu, Sophie J. WilliamsAbstractDespite the grave threat illegal wildlife trade poses to species survival, few studies have attempted to link supply and demand data for the same wildlife product. All ca. 29,000 orchid species are listed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and many are protected under domestic legislation too, but a growing body of evidence suggests that orchids continue to be subject to unsustainable harvesting and undocumented trade. South China is a known black spot for trade in wild-collected ornamental orchids but understanding of the drivers determining the flow of species diversity, volume and value remains wanting. We conducted systematic monthly surveys at five markets along a West-East transect from Yunnan to Hong Kong for one year, recording variables including species, numbers of individuals, weight and price. Although wild orchid diversity is highest in Yunnan, the diversity of orchids in trade increased eastwards and mean price per stem rose more than four-fold, albeit always significantly cheaper than that for artificially produced hybrids. Part of this trade appears to be in breach of CITES. Few orchids in trade conformed to six criteria highlighted in prior demand-side studies as being of higher utility value, but most conformed to a combination of four or more, suggesting that vendors can readily offer products that meet a majority of consumer preferences. Effective supply-side regulation, through government intervention and social media campaigns, is needed to facilitate behavioural change and allow artificially propagated plants to compete in the market-place.
       
  • Species Conservation. Lessons From Islands, edited by Jamieson A. Copsey,
           Simon A. Black, J. J. Groombridge and Carl G. Jones 2018. Cambridge
           University Press. IBSN 978-0-521-72819-5, xx + 378 pp., £32.99
           (paperback)
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Simone Fattorini
       
  • Don't put all your eggs in one basket – Lessons learned from the
           largest-scale and longest-term wildlife conservation program in the Amazon
           Basin
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): C.C. Eisemberg, R.C. Vogt, R.A.M. Balestra, S.J. Reynolds, K.A. ChristianAbstractThe Brazilian Government established the Amazon Turtle Project (Projeto Quelônios da Amazônia – PQA) in 1975 to monitor and protect the main nesting sites of Amazon River turtles. The PQA has become the largest-scale and longest-term wildlife conservation initiative in the Brazilian Amazon. We evaluated the outcomes of the PQA across 11 protected localities over 30 years (1977–2008). Inside the protected localities, one population of Podocnemis expansa has declined and four have seen an increase in numbers. The PQA conservation efforts for P. unifilis were not as successful as those of Podocnemis expansa, but were sufficient to stabilize or increase populations. These results suggest that there is a minimum effort necessary for positive conservation outcomes, which was not achieved for Podocnemis sextuberculata. Given the lack of correlation between initial nesting numbers and positive population trends, the current level of success in a given locality cannot be used as a tool to prioritize future protection efforts. We recommend that the PQA should maintain or increase its coverage due to the high levels of local unpredictability. If current harvest trends are maintained, it is likely the only surviving populations of P. expansa will be within protected areas. Considering the scope of the PQA and the period that it has been operational, it is surprising how little recognition it has received; the lack of national and international awareness of its achievements may be one of the main reasons behind the lack of support from the Brazilian Government.
       
  • Building a tool to overcome barriers in research-implementation spaces:
           The conservation evidence database
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): William J. Sutherland, Nigel G. Taylor, Douglas MacFarlane, Tatsuya Amano, Alec P. Christie, Lynn V. Dicks, Anaëlle J. Lemasson, Nick A. Littlewood, Philip A. Martin, Nancy Ockendon, Silviu O. Petrovan, Rebecca J. Robertson, Ricardo Rocha, Gorm E. Shackelford, Rebecca K. Smith, Elizabeth H.M. Tyler, Claire F.R. WordleyAbstractConservation practitioners, policy-makers and researchers work within shared spaces with many shared goals. Improving the flow of information between conservation researchers, practitioners and policy-makers could lead to dramatic gains in the effectiveness of conservation practice. However, several barriers can hinder this transfer including lack of time, inaccessibility of evidence, the real or perceived irrelevance of scientific research to practical questions, and the politically motivated spread of disinformation. Conservation Evidence works to overcome these barriers by providing a freely-available database of summarized scientific evidence for the effects of conservation interventions on biodiversity. The methods used to build this database – a combination of discipline-wide literature searching and subject-wide evidence synthesis – have been developed over the last 15 years to address the challenges of synthesizing large volumes of evidence of varying quality and measured outcomes. Here, we describe the methods to enhance understanding of the database and how it should be used. We discuss how the database can help to expand multi-directional information transfers between research, practice and policy, which should improve the implementation of evidence-based conservation and, ultimately, achieve better outcomes for biodiversity.
       
  • Two sides of the same coin – Wildmeat consumption and illegal wildlife
           trade at the crossroads of Asia
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): J.F. McEvoy, G. Connette, Q. Huang, Paing Soe, Khin Htet Htet Pyone, M. Valitutto, Yan Lin Htun, Aung Naing Lin, Aung Lwin Thant, Wai Yan Htun, Kaung Htet Paing, Khine Khine Swe, Myint Aung, Sapai Min, M. Songer, P. LeimgruberAbstractDomestic trade and consumption of wildmeat is intricately linked with the international trade of wildlife and together they are driving a biodiversity crisis across Southeast Asia. Forming a key juncture between countries and bioregions, Myanmar is an important piece of this puzzle and acts as a source and a conduit for illegal wildlife trade across Asia. While some information on key markets and border crossings exists, this is frequently limited to single taxa. An assessment of wildlife trade across Myanmar that quantifies international and domestic trade, and consumption is missing. We summarize results from a nationwide hunter survey, linking hunting practices at the local level to specific markets and to broader trends in illegal wildlife trade. Our survey results reveal widespread, intense hunting around Myanmar for local trade and wildmeat consumption. The majority of hunters surveyed can be classified as ‘subsistence harvesters’. Hunters report declines in populations across a range of species of conservation concern. Pangolin is hunted extensively, and Myanmar is a major contributor to the illegal pangolin trade. A better understanding of internal trade routes is needed to prevent wildlife products reaching markets that are largely outside government control. Legislative changes are encouraging, but enforcement at the local level must be combined with community-level action to provide alternatives for subsistence harvesters to halt the rapid declines reported in endangered animal populations.
       
  • Geographic and taxonomic patterns of extinction risk in Australian
           squamates
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Reid Tingley, Stewart L. Macdonald, Nicola J. Mitchell, John C.Z. Woinarski, Shai Meiri, Phil Bowles, Neil A. Cox, Glenn M. Shea, Monika Böhm, Janice Chanson, Marcelo F. Tognelli, Jaclyn Harris, Claire Walke, Natasha Harrison, Savannah Victor, Calum Woods, Andrew P. Amey, Mike Bamford, Gareth Catt, Nick ClemannAbstractAustralia is a global hotspot of reptile diversity, hosting ~10% of the world's squamate (snake and lizard) species. Yet the conservation status of the Australian squamate fauna has not been assessed for>25 years; a period during which the described fauna has risen by ~40%. Here we provide the first comprehensive conservation assessment of Australian terrestrial squamates using IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. Most (86.4%; n = 819/948) Australian squamates were categorised as Least Concern, 4.5% were Data Deficient, and 7.1% (range 6.8%–11.3%, depending on the treatment of Data Deficient species) were threatened (3.0% Vulnerable, 2.7% Endangered, 1.1% Critically Endangered). This level of threat is low relative to the global average (~18%). One species (Emoia nativitatis) was assessed as Extinct, and two species (Lepidodactylus listeri and Cryptoblepharus egeriae) are considered Extinct in the Wild: all three were endemic to Christmas Island. Most (75.1%) threat assessments were based on geographic range attributes, due to limited data on population trends or relevant proxies. Agriculture, fire, and invasive species were the threats that affected the most species, and there was substantial geographic variation in the number of species affected by each threat. Threatened species richness peaked on islands, in the Southern Alps, and across northern Australia. Data deficiency was greatest in northern Australia and in coastal Queensland. Approximately one-in-five threatened species were not represented in a single protected area. Our analyses shed light on the species, regions, and threats in most urgent need of conservation intervention.
       
  • Threats to seabirds: A global assessment
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 August 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Maria P. Dias, Rob Martin, Elizabeth J. Pearmain, Ian J. Burfield, Cleo Small, Richard A. Phillips, Oliver Yates, Ben Lascelles, Pablo Garcia Borboroglu, John P. CroxallAbstractWe present the first objective quantitative assessment of the threats to all 359 species of seabirds, identify the main challenges facing them, and outline priority actions for their conservation. We applied the standardised Threats Classification Scheme developed for the IUCN Red List to objectively assess threats to each species and analysed the data according to global IUCN threat status, taxonomic group, and primary foraging habitat (coastal or pelagic). The top three threats to seabirds in terms of number of species affected and average impact are: invasive alien species, affecting 165 species across all the most threatened groups; bycatch in fisheries, affecting fewer species (100) but with the greatest average impact; and climate change/severe weather, affecting 96 species. Overfishing, hunting/trapping and disturbance were also identified as major threats to seabirds. Reversing the top three threats alone would benefit two-thirds of all species and c. 380 million individual seabirds (c. 45% of the total global seabird population). Most seabirds (c. 70%), especially globally threatened species, face multiple threats. For albatrosses, petrels and penguins in particular (the three most threatened groups of seabirds), it is essential to tackle both terrestrial and marine threats to reverse declines. As the negative effects of climate change are harder to mitigate, it is vital to compensate by addressing other major threats that often affect the same species, such as invasive alien species, bycatch and overfishing, for which proven solutions exist.
       
  • A multifunctional approach for achieving simultaneous biodiversity
           conservation and farmer livelihood in coffee agroecosystems
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Aaron L. Iverson, David J. Gonthier, Damie Pak, Katherine K. Ennis, Robyn J. Burnham, Ivette Perfecto, Mariangie Ramos Rodriguez, John H. VandermeerAbstractEcologically complex agroecosystems often provide multiple conservation benefits, yet understanding the agricultural practices that favor biodiversity is often a theoretical task until we simultaneously demonstrate the economic impact of such practices on farmers. We provide a multifunctional analysis of both biodiversity and ecosystem services that influence coffee farm profit in Puerto Rico. We show that the vegetation heterogeneity of an agroecosystem, more so than any one ecological component (e.g. shade), is associated with a higher biodiversity of plants, birds, lizards, bees, ants, and parasitoid wasps. However, a farm's vegetation heterogeneity does not consistently correlate with profit-related ecosystem services, including coffee yield and biological control of coffee pests and pathogens, due to tradeoffs between services. Therefore, inherent financial incentives that would encourage farmers to manage farms in ways that maintain high associated biodiversity may be lacking. We explored several economic incentives that would allow farms to be simultaneously biodiverse and profitable, which we show is possible through realistic incentive schemes. We found that the combination of a certification premium plus carbon payments (50% premium plus $16 t−1 CO2e) or a restructuring of agricultural subsidies using currently experienced subsidy amounts may be sufficient to make farms that are more heterogeneous, and therefore more biodiverse, the most profitable option for farmers. If these biodiverse farms can also be profitable, it will open critical opportunities for maintaining rural landscapes that support farmers' livelihoods, as well as protect the planet's biodiversity.
       
  • Ecology and Conservation of the Diamond-Backed Terrapin, W.M. Roosenburg,
           V.S. Kennedy (Eds.). Johns Hopkins University Press (2018)
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): David A. Steen
       
  • Landscape structure shapes the diversity of beneficial insects in coffee
           producing landscapes
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 238Author(s): Hugo Reis Medeiros, Felipe Martello, Eduardo A.B. Almeida, Ximo Mengual, Karen A. Harper, Yuri Campanholo Grandinete, Jean Paul Metzger, Ciro Abbud Righi, Milton Cezar RibeiroAbstractThe expansion of monocultures and the overuse of agrochemicals have resulted in the loss of beneficial insects and disruption of ecosystem services such as pollination and biological control in agricultural landscapes. Bees, wasps and flower flies were our model groups to investigate how landscape structure attributes affect alpha and beta diversity of different beneficial insect groups in Brazilian landscapes containing coffee crops. Species richness and abundance of wasps, and bee richness were positively correlated with forest cover at multiple spatial extents. Bee abundance, and species richness and abundance of flower flies did not respond to any landscape predictor. The community composition of wasps and bees in landscapes with low forest cover was composed of subsets of the communities located in forested landscapes, leading to species loss in structurally impoverished landscapes. High variations in landscape diversity and edge density between landscapes resulted in flower fly species replacement suggesting that pairs of landscapes with high and low diversity of habitat types and edge density harbor different species. Such results indicate that initiatives for the conservation of beneficial insects in the Atlantic Forest biodiversity hotspot must focus on forest conservation and restoration, because high levels of forest loss can result in the loss of wasp and bee species with potential negative consequences for the provision of pollination and pest control services in agroecosystems. Our findings can aid conservationists and policy makers to define priority actions for biodiversity conservation as well as the selection of appropriate spatial scales in landscape planning and management.
       
  • Human-snow leopard conflict in the Chang Tang region of Tibet, China
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): John D. Farrington, Dawa TseringAbstractIn April 2006, the authors conducted a preliminary human-wildlife conflict survey of 300 livestock herders in Shainza, Nyima, and Tsonyi Counties in northern Tibet's sparsely-populated Chang Tang region. This survey revealed a widespread but previously undocumented problem of snow leopard predation on livestock. In June and July 2007, an exploratory human-snow leopard conflict survey of 234 herders in the above counties found that 65.8% of respondents had experienced conflict with snow leopards in the form of livestock kills, with 77.3% of the most recent incidents occurring in the previous five years. These incidents were concentrated in winter and spring and a surprising 39.6% of incidents occurred during the day, often with herders present. Fifteen exploratory snow leopard sign transects totaling 14.85 km were conducted. Abundant snow leopard scrapes as well as pug marks were found, confirming the presence of these secretive cats. A total of 521 blue sheep were counted on and off sign transects indicating widespread availability of wild snow leopard prey. The recent surge in reported snow leopard conflict is likely due to increasing human and livestock populations, establishment of two multiple-use nature reserves accompanied by improved enforcement of wildlife protection laws, and a regional gun and trap ban launched in 2001. However, retaliatory killing of snow leopards in the survey area continues to be a potential threat. Therefore, measures are needed to reduce livestock kills by snow leopards, including corral improvements, improved guarding, establishment of livestock compensation schemes, and educating herders about snow leopard behavior.
       
  • The value of newly created wood pastures for bird and grasshopper
           conservation
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Verena Rösch, Malte Hoffmann, Ulrich Diehl, Martin H. EntlingAbstractModern production forests in Europe have closed canopies. As a consequence, the biodiversity associated with open woodland is declining. Forest grazing that created open conditions was once widespread. It was largely abandoned during the 20th century but is currently receiving increasing attention as a tool in nature conservation. In order to elucidate the value of newly created wood pastures for the conservation of birds and grasshoppers we selected nine wood pastures (WP) in southern Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany). In most of them part of the trees had been removed to create more open conditions. We selected adjacent ungrazed forests (F) and open pastures (OP) for comparison. Birds were recorded via territory mapping, grasshoppers via standardised transect surveys. We found higher bird species richness in WP compared to F and OP and more breeding pairs per area compared to open pastures. Target species for conservation like European nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus) were only recorded in WP. Grasshopper species richness in WP and OP was similar but low in F. Species with conservation relevance only occurred in WP and OP. Community composition of both taxa differed between habitat types and β-diversity of birds was significantly higher among WP than among F and OP. We conclude that even in recently established sites, canopy opening in connection with grazing is a very effective tool in nature conservation, especially in order to promote species that favour open, structurally diverse forest habitats.
       
  • Interspecific variations in shorebird responses to management practices on
           protected Mediterranean saltpans
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Jean-Yves Barnagaud, Julien Papaïx, Aurélien Audevard, Matthieu Lascève, Stanislas Wroza, David GeoffroyAbstractTidal habitats sustain fragile ecosystems, undergoing pressures from coastal artificialization and rising sea levels. Saltpans are a substitution habitat for birds that breed, winter or stop-over along coastlands where most pristine tidal habitats have been removed. Balancing the economical, patrimonial and biodiversity values of former saltpans is thus needed to mitigate the threats posed by global changes on waterbirds. In this study, we scrutinized the influence of management practices on waterbirds on two isolated saltpans located on the French Mediterranean shore, several tens of kilometres apart from other suitable habitats. We analysed three years of bird counts for nine protected species that breed, forage and roost on these saltpans. We used a multispecies hierarchical model to relate variations in bird counts to water levels, oxygenation and salinity, the three parameters targeted by the saltpans management plan to promote bird settlement. We showed that the hypersaline conditions that dominate in these saltpans are suboptimum to most species, suggesting that waterbird concentrations are dictated by the lack of alternatives in the surrounding landscape rather than by habitat suitability. Intraspecific variations in species' responses to these variables should orient towards the creation of a habitat mosaic within the saltpans. Eventually, between-site differences in bird responses to water conditions pointed the effects of disturbance, predation and other landscape-level features. Our results reveal that high waterbird numbers on isolated saltpans may be a misleading measure of their ecological suitability, and that management on these sites needs to incorporate conflicts and complementarity in species' habitat use.
       
  • Smartphone technologies supporting community-based environmental
           monitoring and implementation: a systematic scoping review
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Mark Andrachuk, Melissa Marschke, Charlotte Hings, Derek ArmitageAbstractThe prospect of leveraging new technologies for community-based environmental monitoring has captured the imagination of many scientists, policy makers, and conservation professionals. This systematic review examines the state of knowledge and trends in the peer-reviewed literature related to the use of smartphone technologies for community and citizen science environmental monitoring. We organize our findings in relation to data collection and data handling, the process of developing smartphone applications, and the ways that outcomes are reported. While the literature is nascent and technological advances are continually opening new opportunities, it is notable that there is limited scholarship that explicitly connects the monitoring function of smartphones to tangible conservation action (e.g., only 10 percent of the papers analysed data collected by smartphones, let alone making connections to required actions or policy). We discuss two central implications in terms of research-implementation spaces for environmental monitoring with smartphones: (1) what we identify as the cost paradox, the lack of recognition of actual costs of app development, monitoring, and implementation; and (2) the need to center the role of people and partnerships in order to ask more precise questions about outcomes for app users and conservation impacts from data collection. We conclude with a call for more research on costs and actual impacts, documentation of factors that lead to successes and failures, and how digital divides influence conservation outcomes. Our intent is not to call into question the potential impacts of smartphone technologies, but to encourage further understanding of how and when they can be most useful.
       
  • Contrasting effects of natural shrubland and plantation forests on bee
           assemblages at neighboring apple orchards in Beijing, China
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Panlong Wu, Jan C. Axmacher, Xuedong Li, Xiao Song, Zhenrong Yu, Huanli Xu, Teja Tscharntke, Catrin Westphal, Yunhui LiuAbstractWild bees provide important pollination services for crops and wild plants. While land use intensification has resulted in steep declines of wild bee diversity across agricultural landscapes, the creation of semi-natural habitats has been proposed as a counter-measure. However, the relative value of semi-natural and natural habitats in promoting wild bees has rarely been studied, especially for China that harbors the world's largest plantation forest area, characterized by intensively managed, mono-dominant stands of wind-pollinated tree species. We sampled wild bees in apple orchards to assess how their assemblages were influenced by semi-natural habitats in the surrounding landscape and the local flowering ground-cover. Bee abundance declined with increasing isolation from natural shrubland. In contrast, wild bee diversity and abundance were negatively linked to plantation forests. For the abundance of large bees, this effect was partly ameliorated by local flowering ground-cover. Maintaining or restoring wild bee assemblages in agricultural landscapes therefore requires careful evaluations of restoration measures such as forest planting. Availability of local flower resources and nearby natural shrubland appeared particularly important to enhance wild bees and their potential services in apple orchards.
       
  • Dynamics of the giant panda habitat suitability in response to changing
           anthropogenic disturbance in the Liangshan Mountains
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Cheng Li, Thomas Connor, Wenke Bai, Hongbo Yang, Jindong Zhang, Dunwu Qi, Caiquan ZhouAbstractThrough decades of conservation efforts at the national and worldwide scales, the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) has been downgraded from “endangered” to “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. The decision has not gone unquestioned, however. Although the population has increased, pandas still face serious human disturbances (e.g., livestock grazing and logging). Human disturbance is a crucial factor affecting the distribution of wildlife and their habitats, and evaluating the change of habitat quality in response to this disturbance is vital to wildlife conservation. However, the quantification of human activity variables that result in habitat changes has been rare. To fill this knowledge gap, we used human disturbance (i.e., livestock grazing, logging, farming, collection of bamboo shoots, collection of medicinal plants, road construction), environmental (i.e., forest cover, elevation, slope) and panda GPS locational data to evaluate panda habitat suitability and space use, the impact of human disturbance on panda habitat, and the distribution characteristics of human disturbances over time. Our results show that pandas' habitat suitability has improved, with substantial areas of stabilizing and increasing habitat across our Liangshan Mountains study area between the 3rd national survey of the giant panda (2000) to the 4th national survey of the giant panda (2012). The percent contribution of human disturbance variables to MaxEnt panda habitat suitability models decreased greatly between the 3rd and 4th survey (93.6% to 59.5%), which was especially driven by the decrease in logging's contribution (78% to 19%). The percent contribution of environmental variables consequently increased (6.4% to 40.5%), the largest growth occurring in the forest cover variable (2.7% to 14.2%). Our results also indicate that panda space use expanded between the national surveys. It is concerning that human disturbances are still widely distributed and the percent contribution of some disturbance variables to panda habitat suitability increased. For example, livestock grazing went from a 1.4% to 13.1% contribution between the 3rd and 4th national surveys, and indicates a need to strengthen management in this area. The methods used in this study could also be applied to the assessment of human disturbance effects on habitat quality for other species, and our results provide scientific support to relevant management departments for wildlife and biodiversity conservation in South-central China.
       
  • The Fall of the Wild: Extinction, De-extinction, and the Ethics of
           Conservation, Ben A. Minteer (New York: Columbia University Press, 2019)
           pp. 1–183
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Robert Chapman
       
  • Landscape context matters for attractiveness and effective use of road
           underpasses by bats
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Alexis Laforge, Frédéric Archaux, Yves Bas, Nicolas Gouix, François Calatayud, Thomas Latge, Luc BarbaroAbstractThe worldwide expansion of road networks is a major concern in biological conservation because of its predominantly negative effects on terrestrial fauna. Roads also affect bats, acting as barriers to movements and causing direct mortality by collisions with vehicles. Among wildlife crossing structures existing to maintain landscape connectivity, road underpasses are considered as one of the most effective conservation measure for bats. While a few studies assessed the effects of underpass attributes on bat use, none to date has assessed the impact of landscape context on underpass use and attractiveness. To address this knowledge gap, we monitored bat activity during three consecutive nights around 24 underpasses selected along a gradient of forest cover. We compared bat activity below and above underpasses (i.e., underpass use), at road sections with and without underpasses and at habitats adjacent to roads (i.e., underpass attractiveness). We found a significant positive effect of forest cover on both underpass use and attractiveness for Myotis spp. and Barbastella barbastellus, and significant negative effects of distance to the nearest forest patch for Rhinolophus spp. and hedgerow length for Myotis spp. Our study highlights the key influence of landscape context on road underpass efficiency to maintain landscape connectivity for bats. We advocate for incorporating a landscape-scale approach in the decision-making process of underpass location during road project planning to enhance efficiency of such costly crossing structures.
       
  • Perceptions and representations of animal diversity: Where did the insects
           go'
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Camila Leandro, Pierre Jay-RobertAbstractInsects are everywhere: they represent 73% of the total described fauna, and, being linked to every ecosystem function, they play key roles in biodiversity resilience. However, are we humans aware of this' Through a study conducted on French students in Environmental and Human Sciences, we designed a free-associations test-based game to elucidate whether Insects were a part of animal diversity representations and which Insects were indeed in students' minds. We also looked for perceived values and related knowledge among taxa in order to examine those results with regard to students' socio-demographic characteristics. Besides a known overall negative perception of invertebrates, we found that this perception was correlated to the “human environment” of the person beyond the “exposure to nature” theory: being surrounded by persons actively involved in nature conservation increases positive perception of Insecta. Moreover, invertebrates were less seen as a part of ecosystems than vertebrates; this implies a lack of a holistic vision of diversity, which might be the key to improving insect understanding and conservation. Departing from the depiction of insects from a specific group of participants, we propose a generic framework to enhance awareness for insect conservation and recommendations to improve education initiatives. These baselines could significantly help future conservation strategies as they address the perception challenge of insects.
       
  • Global ivory market prices since the 1989 CITES ban
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Monique C. Sosnowski, Toby G. Knowles, Taro Takahashi, Nicola J. RooneyAbstractPoaching associated with the ivory trade is estimated to cause an 8% annual loss in the world elephant population. Although international trade in ivory was banned by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species in 1989, elephant populations continue to suffer. Together with global price data on ivory transactions, information on ivory product type, weight, region, legality of sale, and year of transaction, were used alongside an ivory Transaction Index (TI) and world gold price to: (1) examine the temporal and geographic trends in ivory price; (2) determine variables associated with ivory price; and (3) propose a predictive equation based on these variables. Results indicate that ivory price has been rising since the CITES ban, with highest values observed across Asia. Determinants significant to ivory market price include: (1) region; (2) type [raw, polished, carved]; (3) TI; and (4) legality. Interaction effects were present between region and legality, and between region and type. The predictive equation successfully explained 72.5% of variation in price. It is hoped that an improved understanding of the market mechanism will lead to more effective policy interventions, which can ensure a secure future for elephants as a species.
       
  • Environmental DNA provides quantitative estimates of a threatened salmon
           species
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Andrew Olaf Shelton, Ryan P. Kelly, James L. O'Donnell, Linda Park, Piper Schwenke, Correigh Greene, Richard A. Henderson, Eric M. BeamerAbstractSpecies of conservation interest are often rare or elusive, and often require labor-intensive population surveys for management. Sampling genetic traces of such species from environmental media such as water, air, or soil (environmental DNA; eDNA) can provide noninvasive and cost-effective means of monitoring. However, eDNA results may not align with traditional survey methods (e.g., visual, net) making it difficult to interpret eDNA results. We present the results of parallel beach seine and quantitative-PCR (qPCR) surveys of a threatened Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) from Skagit Bay, an estuary in Washington, USA. Our replicated design and hierarchical statistical model assesses the abundance, biomass, and DNA concentration at two spatial scales (site- and population-) over five months. We find both eDNA- and seine-derived abundance indices reflect the seasonal migration of salmon; at the population-scale, eDNA and seines provide virtually identical quantitative information. At the site scale, the methods are less correlated, suggesting the methods reveal different information about a patchily distributed species. Environmental DNA may act to smooth otherwise patchy biological signals in space and time. Reduced within-site variability for eDNA relative to seines suggests that eDNA may offer more precise population estimates. We partition sources of variability in space and time and compare eDNA and seine surveys – a first, to our knowledge – and so reveal the behavior of eDNA in the field. Our results underscore the value of using eDNA in conjunction with traditional surveys. Combining eDNA and seine estimates should improve the population data on which management of threatened species depends.
       
  • A new wilderness for Central Europe' — The potential for large
           strictly protected forest reserves in Germany
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Sebastian Brackhane, Nicolas Schoof, Albert Reif, Christine B. SchmittAbstractThe German National Strategy on Biological Diversity (NBS) aims to establish wilderness areas on 2% of the German terrestrial territory by 2020, however wilderness areas in Germany currently only cover 0.6% of the total land area. Operationalizing the wilderness concept in densely populated countries like Germany where few primary habitats remain is challenging. In this study, we developed minimum criteria (including fragmentation, compactness and size) for forest wilderness areas and assessed their number, spatial distribution and extent for Germany. We tested their ecological representativeness in the main German ecoregions, their compatibility with ecological networks, overlaps with existing protected areas, and forest ownership. Our results revealed a potential for forest wilderness areas to cover 10.3% of the German terrestrial territory for candidate sites ≥1000 ha, which is reduced to 4.1% and 0.6% when applying larger minimum sizes (3000 ha; 10,000 ha). Candidate sites of ≥10,000 ha were restricted to mountainous regions (n = 12) and the less populated Northeast German Plain (n = 4). Forest ownership and protected areas designated to protect cultural landscapes further limit this potential. Our study is a first step toward the systematic planning for wilderness areas in Germany. It shows the country's potential to achieve its wilderness goals, if criteria are adapted to high infrastructure densities and rely on developing wilderness in currently used forests. Considering the number of forest areas that extend over national borders, concerted efforts at the European level could lead toward ecologically valuable networks of protected wilderness areas in Europe.
       
  • How citizen science boosted primary knowledge on fungal biodiversity in
           Denmark
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Jacob Heilmann-Clausen, Hans Henrik Bruun, Rasmus Ejrnæs, Tobias Guldberg Frøslev, Thomas Læssøe, Jens H. PetersenAbstractThe Danish Fungal Atlas was a citizen science project aiming to map Danish macrofungi over five years (2009–13). The atlas contributed>235,000 records of fruit-body forming Basidiomycota, adding to about 195,000 fungal records from earlier periods. The new records increased the average number of species known per 10 km × 10 km grid cell by 75% from 125 to 218 species. We recorded 197 species as new to Denmark, extending the number of known basidiomycote species by 7%. At least 15 species appeared to be new to science. Among the new Danish records, species with northern distribution ranges were significantly overrepresented, in marked contrast to climate change predictions. Species with inconspicuous or subterranean fruit bodies were overrepresented among both the new Danish species and those only recorded before the project period, indicating low recording probability to be an important driver for the turnover in species recorded. Hence, the main drivers of novel fungal discoveries were 1) intensive sampling effort by citizen scientists guided by professional mycologists and 2) improved taxonomic knowledge. Summarizing over the last 100 years, an exponential increase in known macrofungal diversity in Denmark is evident, suggesting that we are still far from having a complete overview. This is striking, considering that Denmark is among the best-studied land areas on the globe. We conclude that citizen science projects, if appropriately designed, have a huge potential to boost primary knowledge on fungal biodiversity.
       
  • A low cost approach to estimate demographic rates using inverse modeling
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Roberto C. Rodríguez-Caro, Thorsten Wiegand, Easton R. White, Ana Sanz-Aguilar, Andrés Giménez, Eva Graciá, Koen J. van Benthem, José D. AnadónAbstractSurvival is a key parameter in species' management and conservation. Most methods for estimating survival require time series data, large sample sizes and, overall, costly monitoring efforts. Inverse modeling approaches can be less data hungry, however they are underused in conservation sciences. Here we present an inverse modeling approach for estimating relative survival rates of long-lived species that is mathematically straightforward and evaluate its performance under constraints common in conservation studies related to small sample sizes. Specifically, we (i) estimated the relative survival rates in a Testudo graeca population based on one-year monitoring, (ii) assessed the impact of sample size on the accuracy, and (iii) tested alternative hypotheses on the impact of fire on the survival rates. We then compared the results of our approach with capture-recapture (CRC) estimates based on long-term monitoring. Our approach (153 individuals within a single year) yielded estimates of survival rates overlapping those of CRC estimates (11 years of data and 1009 individuals) for adults and subadults, but not for juveniles. Simulation experiments showed that our method provides robust estimates if sample size is above 100 individuals. The best models describing the impact of fire on survival identified by our approach predicts a decrease in survival especially in hatchlings and juvenile individuals, similar to CRC estimates. Our work proves that inverse modeling can decrease the cost for estimating demographic rates, especially for long-lived species and as such, its use should be encouraged in conservation and management sciences.
       
  • Environmental factors are primary determinants of different facets of pond
           macroinvertebrate alpha and beta diversity in a human-modified landscape
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Matthew J. Hill, Jani Heino, James C. White, David B. Ryves, Paul J. WoodAbstractUnderstanding the spatial patterns and environmental drivers of freshwater diversity and community structure is a key challenge in biogeography and conservation biology. However, previous studies have focussed primarily on taxonomic diversity and have largely ignored the phylogenetic and functional facets resulting in an incomplete understanding of the community assembly. Here, we examine the influence of local environmental, hydrological proximity effects, land-use type and spatial structuring on taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic (using taxonomic relatedness as a proxy) alpha and beta diversity (including the turnover and nestedness-resultant components) of pond macroinvertebrate communities. Ninety-five ponds across urban and non-urban land-uses in Leicestershire, UK were examined. Functional and phylogenetic alpha diversity were negatively correlated with species richness. At the alpha scale, functional diversity and taxonomic richness were primarily determined by local environmental factors while phylogenetic alpha diversity was driven by spatial factors. Compositional variation (beta diversity) of the different facets and components of functional and phylogenetic diversity were largely determined by local environmental variables. Pond surface area, dry phase length and macrophyte cover were consistently important predictors of the different facets and components of alpha and beta diversity. Our results suggest that pond management activities aimed at improving biodiversity should focus on improving and/or restoring local environmental conditions. Quantifying alpha and beta diversity of the different biodiversity facets facilitates a more accurate assessment of patterns in diversity and community structure. Integrating taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversity into conservation strategies will increase their efficiency and effectiveness, and maximise biodiversity protection in human-modified landscapes.
       
  • Incentives and social relationships of hunters and traders in a Liberian
           bushmeat system
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Sorrel Jones, Sarah Papworth, Aidan Keane, Freya St John, Emmanuel Smith, Abraham Flomo, Zuannah Nyamunue, Juliet VickeryAbstractHunting provides livelihoods and food security for a large number of people across the tropics but endangers wildlife populations. Effective management requires understanding both social and economic dynamics of local bushmeat systems, yet social elements such as relationships between actors are often overlooked. We provide the first detailed description of a rural hunting system in Liberia, from interviews with 205 hunters and 50 traders in the Gola Forest. We found bushmeat contributed substantially to local livelihoods and earnings from hunting and trading were high relative to local alternatives (median US$120 and $US262/month, hunters and traders respectively). Most of hunters' catch was sold to traders (85% of harvested biomass) and subsequently transported to urban markets (65% of all harvested biomass). Local consumption accounted for 27% of total harvest. Financial risks from meat confiscation were primarily born by traders, many of whom were women, and 60% perceived this as a motivation to reduce trading. By contrast, the most commonly stated motivation to reduce hunting was the time demanded by alternative activities such as farming. This discrepancy implies that livelihood support initiatives and law enforcement tools may play distinct roles across groups. Relationships between hunters and traders were complex and involved a variety of credit arrangements. Interpersonal trust played an important role, with mistrust of hunters being cited by 12% of traders as the principle barrier for profiting from bushmeat trade. Our findings provide context for designing conservation strategies and suggest that underlying social processes deserve closer attention in bushmeat research.
       
  • Camera shy' Motivations, attitudes and beliefs of bird photographers
           and species-specific avian responses to their activities
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Caitlin Slater, Graham Cam, Yin Qi, Yang Liu, Patrick-Jean Guay, Michael A. WestonBird photography is a popular and growing pursuit which may disturb birds. This study: 1) characterises photographer motivations, attitudes and behaviours; and, 2) examines avian escape responses evoked by photographers. Bird photographers (n = 188) answered scaled questions with responses characterised using Principle Components Analysis. Photographers had high commitment and specificity to bird photography, often documenting species rarity or novelty, but rarely videoed birds. Respondents generally thought that photography instilled an appreciation of birds in others. They were concerned with especially sensitive contexts for photography (breeding, migrating and some habitats) yet believed disturbance caused is ephemeral and trivial. Flight-Initiation Distance (FID) evoked by experimental approaches to four treatments, three of which mimicked photographer behaviour (taking an image every five steps while 1. walking, 2. walking and using a flash, 3. crouching) and 4. walkers (control) (n = 1093; 128 species) revealed a significant interaction between species and treatment. Single species models (n = 11, where n ≥ 4 for all treatments) revealed differences between treatments for eight species. In all but one of these species, photographer behaviour was associated with longer FIDs, suggesting birds judged such behaviour as especially threatening, perhaps because aspects were similar to the behaviour of a predator. The FIDs reported here could usefully underpin enhanced guidelines for ethical bird photography, but prescriptions need to be species-specific, and tailored to the behaviours used by photographers.Graphical abstractUnlabelled Image
       
  • The magnitude of roadkill in Taiwan: Patterns and consequences revealed by
           citizen science
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Kristina Chyn, Te-En Lin, Yu-Kai Chen, Chih-Yun Chen, Lee A. FitzgeraldAbstractRoadkill is among the most severe and insidious causes of impoverishment of vertebrate populations. As large roadkill databases develop, inferences from roadkill data can inform landscape-scale studies with broad conservation aims. The Taiwan Roadkill Observation Network (TaiRON) is one of the largest roadkill databases, and we elucidated taxonomic, seasonal, and temporal trends of roadkill in Taiwan, as well as patterns of protected species roadkill. Notably, the study revealed that snakes were the largest proportion of all roadkill (35%) and 26% of snake roadkills were of protected species. Additionally, the top 23 species of a total 496 species ranked by roadkill abundance made up 50% of the observations. During winter, there were significantly fewer roadkill observations of bats, lizards, and snakes, but birds and mammals had fairly consistent roadkill across seasons. Additionally, 19% percent of the observations were of protected species. The staggering magnitude and extent of roadkill observations collected by TaiRON indicates a clear impact of roads of on Taiwan's vertebrate fauna. The patterns demonstrate that certain taxonomic groups are disproportionately killed on roads, and a small number of species account for most of the mortality. Additionally, certain seasons account for higher frequency of road kills, especially for ectothermic taxa. These are important insights, as this means that there are groups that are highly and disproportionately affected by roads. We hope this first synthesis of all data from TaiRON provides an understanding of the magnitude of roadkill in Taiwan to inform conservation action.
       
  • Spatial conservation planning with ecological and economic feedback
           effects
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Cecilia Larrosa, Luis R. Carrasco, Leandro R. Tambosi, Cristina Banks-Leite, E.J. Milner-GullandAbstractMost spatial conservation prioritisations being implemented across the globe are based on static approaches to conservation planning. These use snapshots of systems to support decision-making. However, ignoring the dynamic nature of systems can result in misleading spatial prioritisations and missed opportunities to encourage participation in conservation programmes. Using a modelling approach, we show that integrating economic and ecological feedbacks into conservation planning improved social and ecological outcomes. We developed an approach that enabled accounting for feedbacks of farmland set-asides using a popular conservation planning tool. We empirically assessed the impact of ignoring feedbacks on plans to restore the Brazilian Atlantic Forest by comparing outcomes of our approach and a widely used static approach. The proposed approach attained better conservation outcomes than a static approach, at about 7% lower cost, while also allowing more farmers to benefit economically from the set-aside scheme through capitalising on the differences between their opportunity costs and the amount paid by the scheme. Accounting for feedbacks led to substantially different areas being prioritised for farmland set-asides, and to more farmers being included in the set-aside scheme. These results show important benefits from understanding, and then working with, feedbacks that inevitably accompany large-scale conservation interventions. Our approach is the first to integrate both environmental and economic feedbacks into spatial conservation planning, and model information rent capture. In doing so, it demonstrates how existing economic incentives can be used to encourage farmers to join a conservation set-aside, while still resulting in a lower overall intervention cost.
       
  • Restoration of raised bogs–Land-use history determines the composition
           of dragonfly assemblages
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Annemarie Krieger, Thomas Fartmann, Dominik PoniatowskiAbstractEven though bogs function as the most important terrestrial carbon store on Earth and play a crucial role in the conservation of highly endangered species, the area covered by peatlands is declining globally. Consequently, numerous restoration efforts within degraded bogs have been realized. In many cases, however, it is unknown whether the conservation measures have been successful.We used Odonata (hereafter referred to as dragonflies) as ecological indicators to evaluate the restoration success of rewetting measures in central European degraded raised bogs. Depending on their land-use history (rewetted industrial peat cuts with and without former agricultural use), two types of bog restoration were compared with rural peat cuts (control).Our study demonstrated that restored bogs are important habitats for dragonfly conservation. Both types of restored bogs were as diverse in overall species richness as the control plots. However, land-use history had a strong effect on restoration success. All raised-bog species of the study area were able to recolonize at least some of the nutrient-poor restored bogs. The situation was different for the nutrient-rich restored bogs. Due to the high nutrient content – caused by the former agricultural use – the characteristic dragonfly fauna of raised bogs will be unlikely to be able to recolonize in these locations in the long term. Nevertheless, the nutrient-rich restored bogs represent an important secondary habitat, especially for transition-bog species. In conclusion, the conducted restoration measures created a network of small oligo- to mesotrophic water bodies, which fosters aquatic macroinvertebrate diversity in bogs.
       
  • The effectiveness of herbicides for management of tor-grass (Brachypodium
           pinnatum s.l.) in calcareous grassland
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): John W. Redhead, Marek Nowakowski, Lucy E. Ridding, Markus Wagner, Richard F. PywellAbstractCalcareous grasslands are highly biodiverse semi-natural habitats. A particular challenge to European calcareous grassland management in recent years has been the increasing dominance of the competitive grass Brachypodium pinnatum. B. pinnatum is difficult to control by traditional means but selective herbicides offer a potential alternative.We trialled five selective herbicides on two levels of B. pinnatum cover (sparse and dense) at a UK calcareous grassland site over three years of repeated treatment. We compared the effect of herbicides with a minimal intervention treatment (cutting) and current management practices (cutting and grazing for sparse cover, broad-spectrum glyphosate application for dense cover) on the cover of B. pinnatum, key indicator species and the composition of the grassland community.Areas with initially sparse B. pinnatum showed no significant reduction under any herbicide, whilst some herbicides (propyzamide, cycloxydim) showed detrimental impacts on non-target species. Cutting and grazing showed some beneficial effects, despite no significant reduction in B. pinnatum.On areas of dense B. pinnatum cover, glyphosate application reduced cover of B. pinnatum but led to colonisation by negative indicators or species typical of agricultural situations and disturbed ground. None of the selective herbicides significantly reduced dense B. pinnatum cover, and some (propyzamide, tepraloxydim, fluazifop-P-butyl) had significant negative impacts on non-target species.Our results suggest herbicide treatments, including glyphosate, are unlikely to offer long-term control of B. pinnatum on calcareous grasslands. A more promising approach is suggested by the effect of cutting and grazing, although further experimentation is required to determine the most effective regimes.
       
  • Simulated elephant-induced habitat changes can create dynamic landscapes
           of fear
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Urša Fležar, Elizabeth le Roux, Graham I.H. Kerley, Dries P.J. Kuijper, Mariska te Beest, Dave J. Druce, Dominique Prinsloo, Joris P.G.M. CromsigtAbstractLandscapes of fear have become widely studied in the northern hemisphere, but are still largely understudied in the more complex, diverse carnivore-prey communities of Africa. Habitat changes brought about by a megaherbivore, the African elephant (Loxodonta africana), can modify the perceived landscape of fear by predation vulnerable prey species (impala Aepyceros melampus and warthog Phacochoerus africanus) in contrast with non-prey species (white rhinoceros Ceratotherium simum). We hypothesized that by opening up woody vegetation, elephants may modify perceived risk at a landscape-scale, but also at a fine scale by depositing escape impediments in the form of coarse woody debris. We experimentally tested this in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, South Africa, by simulating elephant-induced habitat changes on patch scale (opening up woody vegetation) and within-patch scale (deposition of coarse woody debris) and monitoring the herbivore visitation using camera traps. We compared visitation on the edge of grazing lawns (in proximity of dense vegetation) and the centre (open, highly visible patches), either with or without coarse woody debris and with or without fresh predator scat. We found that mesoherbivore prey species showed contrasting responses, with warthog avoiding plots close to dense vegetation and plots with coarse woody debris. Impala reduced their visitation to dense vegetation patches only during risky times, at night, especially in the presence of predator scat, but did not clearly avoid plots with coarse woody debris. Our study indicates that, in African savannas, the perceived landscape of fear is a highly dynamic phenomenon varying in both space and time and being species-specific. Elephant induced habitat changes may shape landscapes of fear in complex and contrasting ways.
       
  • Biodiversity offsetting: Certainty of the net loss but uncertainty of the
           net gain
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Magali Weissgerber, Samuel Roturier, Romain Julliard, Fanny GuilletBiodiversity offsetting is usually the last step in the mitigation hierarchy and aims to compensate for impacts of development projects on biodiversity. It is supposed to contribute to the key environmental objective of “no net loss” of biodiversity by delivering gains equivalent to losses. We hypothesize that such gains can only be attained through ecological restoration of degraded sites: the restored ecosystem should not only equal the original or reference ecosystem as usually assumed, but rather the original state of degradation of the ecosystem used for offsetting should be of the same level as the impacted ecosystem after development. We built on this starting assumption to determine whether impacts and gains were considered equally in the offsetting measures of 24 infrastructure projects, and to infer the potential gains in offset sites, based on an analysis of procedure and administrative documents. The analysis showed that impacts were presented in much more detail than the offsetting measures. In addition, out of 577 ha that was intended to offset areas being artificialized, only 3% of the area was artificial prior to offsetting work, i.e. delivering high potential gains, while 81% could be considered semi-natural habitats, thus with lower potential gains. Little information on the ecological quality of offset sites was available. When described, their good quality was used as an argument to justify their selection, resulting in relatively uncertain gains in comparison to certain impacts. Our results suggest that including multiple comparisons of multiple ecosystem states is a way forward to better evaluate the equivalence between gains and losses, and thus would ensure no net loss of biodiversity.Graphical abstractUnlabelled Image
       
  • A review of the relation between species traits and extinction risk
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Filipe Chichorro, Aino Juslén, Pedro CardosoAbstractBiodiversity is shrinking rapidly, and despite our efforts only a small part of it has been assessed for extinction risk. Identifying the traits that make species vulnerable might help us to predict the status for those less known. We gathered information on the relationships between traits and extinction risk from 173 publications, across all taxa, spatial scales and biogeographical regions, in what we think it is the most comprehensive compilation to date. We aimed to identify (1) taxonomical and spatial biases, and (2) statistically robust and generalizable predictors of extinction risk through the use of meta-analyses. Vertebrates and the Palaearctic are the most studied taxon and region because of higher accumulation of data in these groups. Among the many traits that have been suggested to be predictors, only three had enough data for meta-analyses. Two of them are potentially useful in assessing risk for the lesser-known species: regardless of the taxon, species with small range and narrow habitat breadth are more vulnerable to extinction. Contrastingly, body size (the most studied trait) did not present a consistently positive or negative response. We hypothesize that the relationship between body size and extinction risk is shaped by different aspects, namely the phenomena represented by body size depending on the taxonomic group. To increase our understanding of the drivers of extinction, further studies should focus on understudied groups such as invertebrates and fungi and regions such as the tropics and expand the number of traits in comparative analyses that should avoid current biases.
       
  • Beyond the obvious impact of domestic livestock grazing on temperate
           forest vegetation – A global review
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Kinga Öllerer, Anna Varga, Keith Kirby, László Demeter, Marianna Biró, János Bölöni, Zsolt MolnárLarge herbivores have a keystone role in many forest ecosystems. There is widespread recognition that undesirable changes may be caused by the complete removal of grazing-related disturbances, whereas there can be benefits from properly managed, targeted livestock grazing, both from a forest management and biodiversity perspectives. However, there are also many contradictory statements and results about forest grazing. We summarize the main scientific evidence and knowledge gaps on forest livestock grazing through a global review of the literature for the temperate region. We analysed 71 publications discussing the impact of livestock grazing on vegetation in forests. Grazing reduces vegetation biomass, but less obvious effects relevant to conservation include increased habitat diversity and increased regeneration of selected canopy tree species. Moreover, detailed guidance on how grazing should be carried out for conservation purposes is limited because the results are strongly context dependent. The direction and amplitude of effects can be influenced not only by forest type and stocking levels, but by foraging preferences of livestock, availability of alternative forage, grazing season and herder activity. We stress the need for well-planned real-world experiments and observations, and for more quantitative studies to foster evidence-based conservation management. Grazing differences between wild ungulates and livestock should be better studied, because the effects are often overlapping. We suggest widening the temporal and spatial scales of case studies and stress the need to create space and openness for interdisciplinary and participatory research and conservation approaches, initiating knowledge co-production on the benefits and dis-benefits of grazing in forests.Graphical abstractUnlabelled Image
       
  • The emergence of private land conservation in scientific literature: A
           review
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Gonzalo Cortés Capano, Tuuli Toivonen, Alvaro Soutullo, Enrico Di MininAbstractPrivate land conservation (PLC) is an important means for achieving global conservation targets. We reviewed peer-reviewed literature focussing on PLC to summarize past scientific evidence and to identify research trends and gaps to direct future research. We carried out an in-depth review of 284 scientific articles and analysed where, when and in what context PLC has been studied. Specifically, we (i) assessed where and when PLC studies took place and which topics they covered; (ii) identified the most addressed conservation actions and policy instruments, and (iii) investigated whether stakeholders' engagement during research processes was reported or not. We found that (i) there has been an increase in the number of scientific PLC publications over time; (ii) 78% of the articles in scientific journals focussed on four countries only (United States of America, Australia, South Africa and Canada); (iii) literature content focussed mostly on easements, programs and landowners and showed both geographical and temporal differences; (iv) land/water protection, law and policy and livelihood, economic and other incentives were the most addressed conservation actions; (v) property rights, particularly conservation easements, were the most addressed policy instrument; and (vi) half of the articles did not report the engagement of any stakeholder sector and cross-sector stakeholders' engagement was often missing. Overall, our results highlight the need for future studies on PLC to cover currently underrepresented regions; to assess the effectiveness of more conservation actions and policy instruments; and to test how engaging different stakeholders can potentially promote legitimate and equitable PLC policies across contexts.
       
  • Procrustean beds and empty boxes: On the magic of creating environmental
           data
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Ivan Jarić, Fabien Quétier, Yves MeinardAbstractThis article explores a dark side of the current enthusiasm for compiling large datasets in support of evidence-based conservation, at various scales. We use a series of concrete examples to show how data gathered in biodiversity databases can be poorly informative for the design and implementation of effective conservation strategies and actions. This is due to two mechanisms. The first is the use of ill-advised formats, compelling contributors to fill in data which are at odds with the ecological information that they are truly able to capture. The second corresponds to the fact that, unless knowledge gaps are explicitly and emphatically highlighted, the elaboration of databases bestows visibility on knowledge and invisibility on knowledge gaps. Given these risks, we call for a cultural shift among conservation practitioners, consultants and others, to embrace the idea that documenting and acknowledging knowledge gaps and uncertainties is just as important as compiling data and taking known information into account. We also propose a series of concrete reforms to address these risks. In particular, we point the need for procedural improvements in the process through which conservation databases are elaborated and we suggest introducing differentiated data sharing policies for conservation databases.
       
  • Landscape connectivity and spatial prioritization in an urbanising world:
           A network analysis approach for a threatened amphibian
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Cátia Matos, Silviu O. Petrovan, Philip M. Wheeler, Alastair I. WardAbstractHabitat fragmentation affects amphibian populations worldwide. Urban expansion and associated infrastructure are a main cause of habitat degradation and loss of landscape-scale habitat connectivity. Mitigation measures such as underpasses and associated fences are implemented to reduce the impacts of development on protected species. However, such efforts focus largely on local outcomes rather than envisioning how mitigation may contribute to habitat connectivity and population persistence at the landscape scale. We used a graph-theoretic approach to model structural and functional connectivity for a widespread but declining pond-breeding amphibian, the great crested newt (Triturus cristatus). This involved assessing species movement among breeding ponds and associated landscapes with different levels of urban and rural development and linear barriers. We used recent regional pond survey data for great crested newts combined with published data on movement and habitat use to explore connectivity. Landscape connectivity was affected by factors such as habitat quality and quantity, scale of movement and different degrees of road permeability. Linear barriers to movement and differences in their permeability were critical for predicting their impact on both migratory and dispersal movements in Triturus cristatus. Incorporating landscape connectivity modelling which includes the impact of barriers such as roads would substantially improve population-level outcomes from mitigation schemes. An accurate understanding of the far-reaching consequences of road mitigation as well as immediate, local effects, combined with our methods of assessing road permeability could transform future mitigation efforts by directing action to places that not only improve individual survival but also maximise connectivity at the landscape-scale.
       
  • Incorporating future climate uncertainty into the identification of
           climate change refugia for threatened species
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Linda J. Beaumont, Manuel Esperón-Rodríguez, David. A. Nipperess, Mareshell Wauchope-Drumm, John B. BaumgartnerAbstractClimate change presents a substantial threat to species unable to keep pace via migration or adaptation. In-situ climate refugia, areas currently occupied by a species and that remain suitable in the future, will be vital for species with dispersal limitations. Ex-situ refugia, areas beyond species' current ranges that remain suitable, may facilitate range shifts or provide options for translocation. Assessing both refugia is a conservation priority. Here, we identify refugia for 319 species threatened in New South Wales, using four plausible scenarios describing futures that are Warmer/Wetter, Warmer/Drier, Hotter/Wetter and Hotter/Little Precipitation change, relative to the present. Using Maxent, we identify (a) in-situ refugia for each species under each scenario; (b) regions of consensus – areas projected as in-situ refugia across all scenarios; (c) hotspots of in-situ refugia (regions suitable for>1 species); and (d) regions of consensus for ex-situ refugia. Species were categorised based on the extent of in- and ex-situ refugia. By 2070, refugia will likely be broadest, and narrowest, under the Warmer/Wetter and Hotter/Wetter scenarios, respectively. East coast regions currently suitable for multiple species are unlikely to remain as hotspots. Most species (65%) are projected to have limited regions of consensus for either refugia. Translocation should be explored for species with little-to-no in-situ refugia, but for which ex-situ refugia exist. Management of existing populations will be critical for species with in-situ refugia but limited ex-situ. We highlight how management decisions based on agreement across climate scenarios can be made, irrespective of uncertainty about the magnitude of climate change.
       
  • Epigenetic and transcriptional signatures of ex situ conserved golden
           snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana)
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Du Zhang, Qi Hu, Yue Hu, Yihe Zhang, Yu Zhang, Peng Cui, Yunyun Zhou, Xuefeng Liu, Jun Jiang, Linsen Yang, Huiliang Yu, Hui Yao, Yucheng Zhao, Xinxing Liu, Yili Liang, Kai Zou, Jiemeng Tao, Diqiang Li, Xueduan Liu, Yuguang ZhangAbstractExtremely endangered wildlife can be effectively protected by ex situ conservation programs. Despite that, the effects of human activity on the health of captive populations are still unclear. Using reduced representation bisulfite sequencing and RNA-seq, we assessed epigenetic and gene transcriptional variations between different types of human intervention (“Custodial” and “Sanctuary” groups) and a “Wild” group of golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana), which is one of the most endangered primates worldwide. Consequently, we found striking genome-scale divergence of both DNA methylation and gene expression for the Custodial group, which agreed with stronger human interventions on the food supply and management of the group. KEGG pathway analyses indicated that the differentially expressed genes were enriched in a wide range of physiologically functional pathways, most of which are involved in immune and metabolic functions. In particular, a group of core genes in autophagy related pathways, e.g., ATP6V0A1 and PPM1D, were both differentially expressed and methylated. Our findings revealed that the ex situ conserved golden snub-nosed monkey exhibited significant epigenetic and transcriptional adaptation to human intervention, thereby may provide a foundation for future biomarker development that can be used to evaluate the unintended risks of ex situ conservation programs for endangered animal species.
       
  • Policy analysis: Top-down dilution of conservation commitments in Europe:
           An example using breeding site protection for wolves
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Víctor Sazatornil, Arie Trouwborst, Guillaume Chapron, Alejandro Rodríguez, José Vicente López-BaoAbstractIn Europe, decision-making power related to biodiversity conservation has been partly, and voluntarily, relinquished by countries to superior levels. In this hierarchical top-down scenario, the Bern Convention and the EU Habitats Directive grant protection to a considerable number of taxa, and determine underlying conservation actions at (sub)national levels. The protection mandates emanating from these legal instruments are expected to be transferred effectively to lower levels, adapting general obligations to species-specific contexts. We assessed the implementation of general obligations from international agreements through local regulations, using as illustrative example the European requirement of protecting the breeding sites of protected species, and the conservation of grey wolves (Canis lupus) in Europe. After reviewing 43 wolf management and conservation plans across Europe, only 14% of wolf plans contained management guidelines issued to avoid wolf breeding site destruction or disturbance (this figure was 52% in the case of North America, n = 25 wolf plans). In Europe, we found only seven actions or guidelines designed to ensure breeding site protection/availability for wolves (from six countries). None of the plans contained a comprehensive set of measures to preserve breeding sites or guarantee their availability. Our results suggest that transposition of general obligations from international agreements into local legislation systems may be a critical point of weakness in the biodiversity conservation policy process. We recommend additional scrutiny to ensure that ambitious conservation goals are not diluted, but enforced, along its way from high-tier laws to local regulations, in accordance with the letter and spirit of international agreements.
       
  • Endosymbionts: An overlooked threat in the conservation of freshwater
           mussels'
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Joshua I. Brian, David C. AldridgeEndosymbionts can often have profound impacts on the growth, reproduction and survivorship of their hosts. Freshwater unionid mussels (Unionida) are important ecosystem engineers, and one of the most globally imperilled taxa, yet evidence concerning their endosymbiotic fauna remains patchy. Further, endosymbionts are not considered in an IUCN assessment for any unionid mussel. Here, we conduct the first literature review of all endosymbionts of the 16 extant European and 279 extant North American unionids, in addition to the four most significant invasive bivalves in Europe. There were 1476 host-endosymbiont records from 239 different studies over a 168-year period, documenting at least 188 unique endosymbiont taxa. However, study effort was uneven in its distribution, with 53% of unionid species (n = 157) having no endosymbiont records. Eighty-eight percent of all hosts are considered under-sampled, including 99% of Endangered or Critically Endangered mussels. This is of significant concern given that when the effects of endosymbionts were examined, 72% showed potentially negative effects on their host, including complete castration in the case of digenean trematodes. However, only a small number of endosymbionts have had their effects quantified. Bipartite network analyses revealed invasive mussels may be competent for native parasites. This leads to the potential for parasite spillback, with conservation implications for vulnerable native species. Recommendations for future work include greater sampling of sympatric native and invasive populations (including non-destructive sampling of endangered species) and experimental manipulation of host-endosymbiont communities. This will facilitate better conservation outcomes for this crucial group of ecosystem engineers.Graphical abstractUnlabelled Image
       
  • Evaluating the assumptions of population projection models used for
           conservation
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Julia E. EarlAbstractPopulation projection models, such as matrix and integral projection models, are used increasingly to understand potential effects of anthropogenic stressors and inform conservation actions. However, vital rate and life history information needed to create robust population models is often missing or incomplete, making assumptions about parameters and population processes necessary. Understanding how assumptions affect results is critical, particularly if the study will be used to guide policy or management actions. I review published amphibian population projection models to determine whether model output is evaluated with population data, what assumptions are made, and whether sensitivity analyses are performed. I found that only 21% of published models were evaluated with population data, and most models (67%) were explored with sensitivity analyses. I then simulated the effects of four assumptions and varying population carrying capacities on model output and sensitivity results using existing matrix population models from three amphibian species with different life histories: Anaxyrus boreas, Lithobates sylvaticus, and Ambystoma maculatum. Simulations showed that changes in model output and sensitivity analyses under different assumptions depended more on the species examined than the assumption implemented. There were changes in which parameters model output was most sensitive to under all assumptions examined for all species, suggesting caution when using results if there is great uncertainty about model assumptions. Models and their parameterization should be regularly updated with new information to ensure conservation biologists are using the most robust information on potential outcomes of threats and conservation actions.
       
  • Thermal squeeze will exacerbate declines in New Zealand's endemic forest
           birds
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Susan Walker, Adrian Monks, John InnesAbstractThe effects of invasive species whose ranges are expanding in response to climate change have the potential to drive a new wave of extinctions in vulnerable species. We explore whether expansion of mammalian predators in New Zealand will lead to the thermal squeeze of a forest avifauna by investigating the mechanisms that have led to recent declines. Analysis of local occupancy across the three main islands between 1969–1979 and 1999–2004 shows that the ranges of predator-vulnerable endemic species are constrained by lowland forest loss and continued to contract to higher-elevation, colder parts of forested mountains. Species that are large, nest in tree cavities, and/or disperse poorly have undergone more rapid recent loss where temperatures are higher, consistent with higher and more constant predation in warmer forested sites being the principal mechanism of recent decline. Warming climate is likely to exacerbate local extinctions of predator-vulnerable species by reducing the extent of cool thermal refugia from continuously high predation pressure below the upper limit of forest. However, warming is unlikely to jeopardise small-bodied, non-cavity-nesting, mobile species, which have had stable or increasing populations in warm sites and largely deforested landscapes. New Zealand will share with Hawai'i the phenomenon of thermal squeeze of endemic forest bird species that is mediated by the changing range of an invasive species, rather than by native species themselves tracking their climatic niches. New Zealand will need to make substantial advances in large-scale predator management in warm forests to halt and reverse forest bird declines.
       
  • Factors affecting feelings of justice in biodiversity conflicts: Toward
           fairer jaguar management in Calakmul, Mexico
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Lou Lecuyer, Sophie Calmé, F. Guillaume Blanchet, Birgit Schmook, Rehema M. WhiteAbstractConservation focuses on environmental objectives, but neglecting social concerns can lead to feelings of injustice among some actors and thus jeopardise conservation aims. Through a case study on a biodiversity conflict around jaguar management in Southern Mexico, we explored actors' feelings of injustice and their associated determinants. We employed a framework distinguishing four dimensions of justice: recognition, ecological, distributive and procedural. By conducting and analysing 235 interviews with farmers and ranchers, we investigated what drive their feeling of injustice, namely their perceptions of the injustice itself, individual characteristics and interactions with their environment. The participants selected 10 statements representing criteria characterizing their feeling of justice toward jaguar management, which they compared using pair-wise comparisons. A pioneering statistical analysis, BTLLasso, revealed that self-interest assumptions were not upheld; feelings of injustice were only weakly influenced by experience of depredation. Feelings of injustice were influenced mainly by factors related to actors' intra-and inter-group relationships (e.g. perception of collective responsibility, perceived coherence in the group to which they identified). This nuanced understanding of how people build their perception of justice can inform fairer and more effective conservation approaches. Whilst details will be context specific, it emerged that building relationships and enabling debate over ecological responsibilities are important and conservation efforts should go beyond merely offering financial compensation. We conclude that perception of justice is a neglected but important aspect to include in integrative approaches to managing biodiversity conflicts, and that novel mixed methods can advance both conceptual and applied understanding in this area.
       
  • Measuring the spectral signature of polar bears from a drone to improve
           their detection from space
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Dominique Chabot, Seth Stapleton, Charles M. FrancisAbstractThe increasing spatial resolution of earth observation satellites is creating new opportunities to survey wildlife. Satellites could be particularly valuable for surveying polar bears (Ursus maritimus) because of their remote circumpolar distribution and status of concern in the face of Arctic warming. However, the white coloration of bears does not contrast well with sea ice or snow in panchromatic imagery. We took advantage of the close-range observation capabilities of a drone to determine the spectral signature of polar bears as they would appear in multispectral satellite imagery, capturing low-altitude (≤100 m) multispectral images of bears in natural landscapes in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. The bears' spectral curves were similar to those previously measured from pelts, with reflectance increasing with wavelength through the visible spectrum, although live bears had higher reflectance than pelts in the red-edge and near-infrared region. Bears had sufficiently consistent reflectance across the overhead surface of their body that ≥50% of pixels comprising each subject could be confidently matched to its core spectral signature, boding well for detection in coarser satellite imagery. Bears were clearly distinguishable from snow by their much lower reflectance in the blue and green region, but could potentially be confounded with large bright boulders. Currently available multispectral satellite imagery may still be too coarse (1.2 m/pixel) to reliably detect polar bears on sea ice, but resolution will likely continue to increase in future systems. Drones are a useful tool to resolve the spectral signature of wildlife species that could potentially be detected in satellite imagery.
       
  • Protected areas and biodiversity conservation in India
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Mousumi Ghosh-Harihar, Ruby An, Ramana Athreya, Udayan Borthakur, Pranav Chanchani, Dilip Chetry, Aparajita Datta, Abishek Harihar, Krithi K. Karanth, Dincy Mariyam, Dhananjai Mohan, Malvika Onial, Uma Ramakrishnan, V.V. Robin, Ajai Saxena, Ghazala Shahabuddin, Prachi Thatte, Varsha Vijay, Kristen Wacker, Vinod B. MathurAbstractThree well-supported generalizations in conservation biology are that developing tropical countries will experience the greatest biodiversity declines in the near future, they are some of the least studied areas in the world, and in these regions especially, protection requires local community support. We assess these generalizations in an evaluation of protected areas in India. The 5% of India officially protected covers most ecoregions and protected areas have been an important reason why India has suffered no documented species extinctions in the past 70 years. India has strong legislation favouring conservation, government investment focused on 50 Tiger Reserves, and government compensation schemes that facilitate local support, all of which brighten future prospects. However, many protected areas are too small to maintain a full complement of species, making connectivity and species use of buffer zones a crucial issue. Conservation success and challenges vary across regions according to their development status. In less developed areas, notably the biodiverse northeast Himalaya, protected areas maintaining the highest biodiversity result from locally-focused efforts by dedicated individuals. Across India, we demonstrate considerable opportunities to increase local income through ecotourism. Our evaluation confirms a lack of data, increasing threats, and the importance of local support. Research on biodiversity in buffer zones, development of long-term monitoring schemes, and assessment of cash and conservation benefits from tourism are in particular need. For policy makers, two main goals should be the development of monitoring plans for ‘eco-sensitive zones’ around protected areas, and a strong emphasis on preserving established protected areas.
       
  • Barriers to the evaluation of systematic conservation plans: Insights from
           landmark Australian plans
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Emma J. McIntoshAbstractThe evaluation of conservation programs is often inhibited by barriers such as time constraints and a lack of funding. Through an exploration of two internationally influential systematic conservation planning activities conducted in Australia in the 1990s and 2000s, I demonstrate this is also true for conservation planning programs. Forestry agreements in North East New South Wales and the rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park popularised the now widely used planning software packages C-Plan and Marxan. Through 37 semi-structured interviews with senior stakeholders involved in decision-making around both plans, I examined barriers to evaluation, the factors underpinning these barriers, and, in the absence of program-wide evaluations, stakeholder perceptions of the effectiveness of the plans. My findings confirmed that the primary barriers to the evaluation of conservation planning exercises are a lack of suitable monitoring data, resource limitations and inadequate preparation. Respondents also shed light on the factors which shaped these barriers in a conservation context, such as the need for political expediency, a loss of momentum post-plan, and the presence or absence of necessary leadership. Perceptions of the effectiveness of the plans reflected interpretations of a) whether the planning process followed good practice, b) the fact a planning result was agreed upon and implemented, c) the longer-term influence of the plan, and, in contrast to much of the current literature on these case studies, d) the consequences of industry restructuring.
       
  • Guidelines for genetic management in mammal translocation programs
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Carlo Pacioni, Adrian F. Wayne, Manda PageAbstractAdequate levels of genetic diversity are important for the long-term success of translocated populations. Typically, population genetic theory and mathematical models are used to inform expected outcomes in different contexts. However, difficulties arise when trying to translate theoretical expectations into management actions. Providing practical guidelines on how to maximise the genetic diversity of translocated populations will help bridge this gap. In this study we develop guidelines for genetic management in translocation programs that consider genetic dynamics associated with population establishment, the harvest of founders from a source population, and the supplementation of an existing population over eight generations. Guidelines were informed by individual-based modelling. Given the nature of the modelling framework that we adopted, we report results in terms of the actual number of individuals and genetic diversity parameters as these are estimated in field-based studies.Our results demonstrate that 10 releases of 50 or two releases of 100 individuals should be carried out to establish a new population. Repeated harvests (each) of>30% of a source population within a generation had a negative impact on its genetic diversity and demographics. The survival of>20% of the supplemented individuals was needed for the supplementation program to be effective. Concurrently, the survival of resident animals also had a major effect. We make available a R utility to explore potential outcomes under different management scenarios. We considered our results to be directly applicable to polygamous, continuous breeder species, and generally informative for a wide range of vertebrate species.
       
  • Landscape context modifies the rate and distribution of predation around
           habitat restoration sites
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Cassandra K. Duncan, Ben L. Gilby, Andrew D. Olds, Rod M. Connolly, Nicholas L. Ortodossi, Christopher J. Henderson, Thomas A. SchlacherAbstractThe rate and distribution of ecological functions is modified by how species respond to the composition of landscapes. Extensive loss of habitats has led to habitat restoration becoming an important management tool, however, it is not clear where restoration sites should be located in heterogeneous landscapes to maximise outcomes for ecological functions. We used restored oyster reefs, and the guild of predators associated with them, as a model system to test whether, and how ecological functioning is modified by the spatial context of restoration sites in marine landscapes (i.e. seascapes). We measured predation rates and surveyed predators using videoed deployments of ‘squidpops’ (dried squid tethered using fishing line) at multiple restored oyster reefs and nearby control sites in Queensland, Australia. Sites were located in different spatial contexts in a seascape composed of a mosaic of habitat types. Predation rates at restored oyster reefs were double those at control sites. Seascape context was important in modifying these predation rates; consumption near reefs was significantly lower when reefs were close to seagrass and mangroves. By contrast, higher rates were observed on reefs surrounded by non-vegetated seafloor, far from seagrass and mangroves. In addition, the distance over which predation extendeds into the surrounding unvegetated areas was greater on reefs father from vegetation. Strategically placing restoration sites in heterogeneous landscapes can maximise the effects of habitat restoration for ecosystem functioning and modify the distance over which these effects extent into surrounding seascape.
       
  • Ecological restoration for biodiversity conservation improves habitat
           quality for an insectivorous passerine in boreal forest
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Martijn Versluijs, Jean-Michel Roberge, Sönke Eggers, Jorina Boer, Joakim HjälténAbstractIt is increasingly recognized that successful biodiversity conservation will necessitate active ecological restoration measures. In boreal forests, emulating natural disturbances is commonly used as a restoration tool for improving habitat quality for a range of sensitive species. We assessed the consequences of prescribed burning and artificial gap creation on the demographic parameters of an insectivorous bird, the pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca). This to improve our ability to develop strategies for successful ecological restoration aiming at improving the conservation status of boreal forest birds. Pied flycatchers reproduced equally well in nature reserves, forests subjected to ecological restoration and untreated control stands. Nestling body weight was found to be higher in stands restored through prescribed burning. Considering that nestling condition at the time of fledging is known to be positively related to survival rates after fledging, our results suggest a positive effect of prescribed burning on population dynamics and on local habitat quality. Our findings should encourage forest managers to actively use prescribed burning as a management tool in boreal forests to complement other conservation measures. However, one should be careful with generalizing these results to other bird species as they only are directly applicable to pied flycatchers. Still, they may potentially apply also to other insectivorous bird species with similar habitat requirements. In addition, it should be stressed that to maintain diverse boreal forest bird assemblages, heterogeneous landscapes are needed including both burned and unburned forest of different successional stages.
       
  • Advancing land-sea integration for ecologically meaningful coastal
           conservation and management
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Linda R. Harris, Mariel Bessinger, Anisha Dayaram, Stephen Holness, Stephen Kirkman, Tamsyn-Claire Livingstone, Amanda T. Lombard, Melanie Lück-Vogel, Maya Pfaff, Kerry J. Sink, Andrew L. Skowno, Lara Van NiekerkAbstractCoasts are among our most valuable natural assets but are under intense pressure from human use and climate change. Despite this, coasts – as a coherent ecological unit – have been poorly included in conservation plans, largely because they are inadequately delineated. There are usually gaps and overlaps at the edges of the separate terrestrial-, estuarine- and marine-realm maps, and often no clarity on which specific coastal boundary (e.g., high-water mark) was used, other than vaguely, ‘the coastline’. This particularly compromises conservation and management of ecotonal, intertidal ecosystems along realm-map seams because they are poorly defined and mapped. Therefore, a key step in advancing coastal conservation, assessment, planning and management is to generate a fine-scale ecosystem-type map that is seamless across realms. We undertook this for South Africa, aiming to delineate the ecotone into ecologically meaningful zones comprising structurally and functionally appropriate ecosystem types. We defined and mapped (at
       
  • Using citizen science data to support conservation in environmental
           regulatory contexts
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Bruce E. Young, Noel Dodge, Pamela D. Hunt, Margaret Ormes, Matthew D. Schlesinger, Hollie Y. ShawAbstractOutside of protected areas, environmental regulation is a vital policy tool for conserving at-risk species. An underappreciated potential for citizen science is to augment locality databases used in regulatory review to provide greater certainty to regulatory decisions. To characterize current use of citizen science data in regulatory review, we surveyed 61 state and provincial natural heritage programs, agencies that perform field surveys and maintain databases of at-risk species in the United States and Canada. Most (82% of U.S. and 88% of Canadian) natural heritage programs participate in regulatory review, and of these 52% of the U.S. and all Canadian programs currently use citizen science data. eBird and iNaturalist are the most commonly used schemes. In a test case with the New York Natural Heritage Program's database, the inclusion of eBird records for 6 at-risk species increased the currency and the number and spatial extent of areas known to be utilized by these species. Although citizen science data did not change subnational conservation status categories, they demonstratively complemented information collected by professional field biologists. Challenges to using citizen science data in this context include extracting useful information on rare species when most records are of common species and filtering records with sufficient spatial precision and documentation. To enhance the utility of their data, designers of citizen science schemes should encourage their volunteers to provide useful ancillary data, such as breeding activity for birds, and making data, including for sensitive species, easy to access by program data managers.
       
  • Sensitivity of biodiversity indices to life history stage, habitat type
           and landscape in Odonata community
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Rassim KhelifaAbstractAssessing biodiversity and prioritizing the conservation of sites requires a robust methodology that minimizes the estimation errors of biodiversity indices and thus maximizes management efficiency. In aquatic insects, while there is still a debate about the use of different life history stages to increase the reliability of the biodiversity estimates, little is known about the effect of habitat and landscape characteristics. Here, odonates are used to assess the sensitivity of important biodiversity indices to the use of different life history stages (adult, oviposition, exuvia, and larva) and the influence of habitat type (lotic vs. lentic) and freshwater landscape complexity (proximity to a diversity of wetlands). Unlike exuvia and larvae, the use of adults gave inaccurate estimates of species richness, Relative Taxonomic Distinctness (RTD), Conservation Priority Index (CPI), but was quite reliable for Dragonfly Biotic Index (DBI). Interestingly, recording the mating state (oviposition) of the adult improved the accuracy of RTD and CPI by ≈40 and 60%, respectively. The estimation bias was higher in lotic than in lentic habitat and it increased with the freshwater landscape complexity. Our study shows that applying a multi-life stage approach in biodiversity indices reveals site connectivity at the landscape level.
       
  • Conservation in human-dominated landscapes: Lessons from the distribution
           of the Central American squirrel monkey
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Gerardo Ceballos, Paul R. Ehrlich, Jesus Pacheco, Natalia Valverde-Zúñiga, Gretchen C. DailyAbstractIt is becoming increasingly evident that many species can tolerate different degrees of habitat perturbation and that we often underestimate the capacity of some human-modified landscapes to support populations of declining species. We provide new insights into the distribution of the endangered Central American squirrel monkey and habitat changed over the last 20 years. The species has shown an approximate 60% decrease between the historic and the present extent of occurrence, with an area of occupancy of also about 60% of the present extent of occurrence. Despite the large habitat alteration, our results show surprisingly that this endangered monkey can persist in highly perturbed landscapes. This offers opportunities to improve its long-term chances of survival through conservation actions to protect and restore its habitat on the one hand, and to reduce the monkey's direct mortality on the other. Surprisingly we found several troops in 16 localities in a large area along the Rio Coto Brus where the Central American squirrel monkey was previously unrecorded. Some of our observations were made in cloud forests at a record high altitude for this species. We speculate the monkeys are using these highland areas as a corridor between suitable lowland habitats in the Coto Brus and the Rio Sierpe-Osa Peninsula regions. In response, we suggest strategies to help in the monkey's long-term conservation, that can be used as an example for other endangered species.
       
  • A brief introduction to niche construction theory for ecologists and
           conservationists
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Ulysses Paulino Albuquerque, André Luiz Borba do Nascimento, Leonardo da Silva Chaves, Ivanilda Soares Feitosa, Joelson Moreno Brito de Moura, Paulo Henrique Santos Gonçalves, Risoneide Henriques da Silva, Taline Cristina da Silva, Washington Soares FerreiraAbstractNiche construction theory (NCT) is a theoretical framework that has great potential for increasing our understanding of ecological and evolutionary phenomena. However, few ecologists still use NCT, probably because they believe that ecological and evolutionary processes do not occur at the same pace or because they believe that the modern evolutionary synthesis (MES) explains the studied phenomena well enough. NCT is not opposed to the MES. However, NCT proponents argue that because all organisms undergo environmental modifications, they can alter the selection pressures that act on themselves and other species. In this case, adaptation is conceived as a two-way process in which organisms and the environment act upon one another. Therefore, this article aims to present a brief introduction of NCT, arguing and exemplifying its applicability in ecological studies and conservation strategies. Finally, we provide suggestions about how NCT can contribute to ecological studies and the planning of conservation strategies.
       
  • Review of: Tales of an Ecotourist: What travel to wild places can teach us
           about climate change, Mike Gunter Jr. States University of New York
           (2018). ISBN 978143836678
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Jamie D’Souza
       
  • Introduced cats (Felis catus) eating a continental fauna: The number of
           mammals killed in Australia
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Brett P. Murphy, Leigh-Ann Woolley, Hayley M. Geyle, Sarah M. Legge, Russell Palmer, Chris R. Dickman, John Augusteyn, Stuart C. Brown, Sarah Comer, Tim S. Doherty, Charlie Eager, Glenn Edwards, Damien A. Fordham, Dan Harley, Peter J. McDonald, Hugh McGregor, Katherine E. Moseby, Cecilia Myers, John Read, Joanna RileyAbstractPredation by cats (Felis catus) is implicated in the decline and extinction of many Australian mammal species. We estimate the number of mammals killed by cats across Australia through meta-analysis of data on the frequency of mammals in cat diet samples from 107 studies. For feral cats in largely natural landscapes, the spatially-weighted mean frequency of mammals in diet samples was 70% (44% for native species, 34% for introduced species). Frequency was significantly higher on the mainland, and in areas of low temperature and topographic ruggedness. Geographic patterns varied markedly between native and introduced mammals, with native mammals most frequent in northern Australia. We estimate that: (i) 815 million individuals yr−1 are killed by feral cats in natural landscapes, 56% of which are native species; (ii) 149 million individuals yr−1 are killed by unowned cats in highly modified landscapes; and (iii) 180 million individuals yr−1 are killed by pet cats. For the latter two components, mainly introduced species are killed. Collectively, across the three components of the cat population, 1,144 million individuals yr−1 are killed by cats, of which, at least 40% (459 million individuals yr−1) are native species. It remains challenging to interpret this tally in terms of its impact on population viability for Australian mammals, because demographic information is not available for most species. However, our estimate of annual mammal mortality due to cat predation is substantially higher than that due to another key threatening process, land clearing.
       
  • A manifesto for predictive conservation
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 237Author(s): Henry Travers, Matthew Selinske, Ana Nuno, Anca Serban, Francesca Mancini, Tatsiana Barychka, Emma Bush, Ranaivo A. Rasolofoson, James E.M. Watson, E.J. Milner-GullandAbstractIf efforts to tackle biodiversity loss and its impact on human wellbeing are to be successful, conservation must learn from other fields which use predictive methods to foresee shocks and pre-empt their impacts in the face of uncertainty, such as military studies, public health and finance. Despite a long history of using predictive models to understand the dynamics of ecological systems and human disturbance, conservationists do not systematically apply predictive approaches when designing and implementing behavioural interventions. This is an important omission because human behaviour is the underlying cause of current widespread biodiversity loss. Here, we critically assess how predictive approaches can transform the way conservation scientists and practitioners plan for and implement social and behavioural change among people living with wildlife. Our manifesto for predictive conservation recognises that social-ecological systems are dynamic, uncertain and complex, and calls on conservationists to embrace the forward-thinking approach which effective conservation requires.
       
 
 
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