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Biological Conservation
Journal Prestige (SJR): 2.397
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  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 0006-3207
Published by Elsevier Homepage  [3181 journals]
  • Global patterns of forest loss across IUCN categories of protected areas
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 19 November 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Roxanne Leberger, Isabel M.D. Rosa, Carlos A. Guerra, Florian Wolf, Henrique M. Pereira Forests are under increasing pressure globally and the establishment of protected areas has long been used as a conservation tool to preserve them. Seven categories of protected areas have been defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with different management objectives and protection levels. However, recent studies raised questions over whether protected areas are effective in preventing ecosystem degradation and whether IUCN categories vary in their effectiveness. In this study, we analysed forest loss and trends between 2001 and 2014 within IUCN protected areas at a global scale and within sixteen Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem services (IPBES) subregions, relevant for international policy. As habitat protection can be driven by the location of protected areas and as the amount of forest within protected sites is highly unequal, we reported the forest loss integrating the proximity of roads and population, as well as the amount of initial forest in 2000. Our results show that worldwide, the highest protection categories experienced less forest loss than those allowing more human intervention, although this result was reversed in three IPBES subregions. Moreover, in four subregions there was more forest loss within protected areas than outside. We also found accelerating rates of forest loss in protected areas across all IUCN categories, more pronounced in the highest protection IUCN categories. Our results highlight the importance of moving the discussion of the post-2020 biodiversity framework for protected areas beyond simple general areal targets and that areas with poor implementation effectiveness should benefit from additional support.
       
  • Habitat islands outside nature reserves – Threatened biodiversity
           hotspots of grassland specialist plant and arthropod species
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 19 November 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Balázs Deák, Orsolya Valkó, Dávid D. Nagy, Péter Török, Attila Torma, Gábor Lőrinczi, András Kelemen, Antal Nagy, Ádám Bede, Szabolcs Mizser, András István Csathó, Béla Tóthmérész In transformed landscapes, many populations of grassland specialist plant and animal species live outside the few protected areas and are often preserved on 'small natural features' (SNFs) such as road verges, field margins and rocky outcrops. In the steppe and forest steppe zones of Eurasia ancient burial mounds (kurgans) are widespread SNFs providing refuge for grassland species. Based on a large-scale botanical and zoological survey of 138 kurgans in Hungary, we compared the management regimes, the presence of threatening factors and the conservation potential of kurgans embedded in non-protected transformed landscapes and in protected areas. We found that kurgans extend the borders of the protected areas by maintaining populations of grassland specialist plants and arthropods (ants, orthopterans, true bugs and rove beetles) even in transformed landscapes. We revealed that the lack of proper management, the presence of anthropogenic disturbances and encroachment of woody species are the most considerable threats to the long-term maintenance of biodiversity on kurgans located outside the protected areas. For their effective conservation a new approach is needed, which can cope with the small area and dispersed localities of the kurgans and can integrate them into the network of other SNFs on a landscape-level. As the ecological importance of kurgans is disproportionate to their size conservation actions focusing on their protection offers a greater rate of return of the efforts than can be expected in case of larger continuous sites.
       
  • Understanding biological and socioeconomic tradeoffs of marine reserve
           planning via a flexible integer linear programming approach
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 18 November 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Zack S. Oyafuso, PingSun Leung, Erik C. Franklin Analyzing tradeoffs among ecological, economic, and management goals with respect to marine reserve network design is an important facet of systematic conservation planning. We designed an integer linear programming model to quantify tradeoffs among five marine reserve network aspects: ecological conservation value, economic opportunity cost, geographic domain size, total reserve area, and reserve spatial compactness. Using ecological and economic data from the Hawaiian deepwater bottomfish fishery as a case study, an integer linear programming model was designed to choose areas that 1) maximize conservation value and 2) minimize opportunity cost, defined as foregone fisheries revenue. Compromise solutions that equally weighted conservation value and opportunity cost resulted in solutions with dramatically lower foregone fisheries revenue and a relatively small loss in conservation value compared to solutions with the maximum conservation value. When opportunity cost was assumed uniform across the spatial domain, solutions had considerably higher foregone revenue for a given level of conservation value, highlighting the drawback of not including a spatially explicit metric of opportunity cost in reserve selection models. Inclusion of only indicator species, rather than the entire species complex, in the optimization led to considerable representation gaps in conservation value for non-included species. We found that optimizations performed at the archipelago scale provided geographically disproportionate reserve allocations and thus disproportionate conservation benefits and socioeconomic impacts across geopolitically distinct island regions. We showed how reserve selection models can be used to support systematic conservation planning exercises characterized by many diverse and conflicting objectives and parties.
       
  • Reported livestock guarding dog-wildlife interactions: Implications for
           conservation and animal welfare
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 18 November 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): K. Whitehouse-Tedd, R. Wilkes, C. Stannard, D. Wettlaufer, D. Cilliers Livestock depredation by carnivores is a key cause of detrimental human-wildlife interactions around the world. Recently, the use of livestock-guarding dogs (LGDs) to reduce livestock depredation has been challenged in terms of their impact on wild animal welfare and survival, but the prevalence of LGD-wildlife interactions is poorly understood. Using data for 225 LGDs on South African farms, we determined the prevalence of farmer-reported LGD-wildlife interactions to contextualise the potential concerns. Wildlife interactions were reported for a total of 71 dogs (32%); McNemar’s tests revealed non-lethal herbivore interactions (8%) were significantly lower than non-lethal predator interactions (17%; p < 0.01), but no significant difference was detectable in the proportion of lethal interactions according to type of wildlife (9% for herbivores and 10% for predators). All reported predator interactions were defensive, compared to only 25% of reported herbivore interactions (p = 0.016). Of the dogs for which data on corrective measures were available, 44% were successfully corrected following intervention. Of those deemed uncorrected, 42% had ceased exhibiting this behaviour independently or were acting defensively, 21% were removed from the programme, 26% had unclear intervention outcomes and 11% had died. Reported interactions with predators were rare, entirely defensive, and predominantly non-lethal. However, interactions with non-target species (herbivores) were more prevalent, necessitating remedial interventions. Overall, the conservation benefit of LGDs does not appear to be outweighed by ethical implications of their use; LGDs were shown to be highly targeted and discriminatory towards predators attempting to predate on livestock.
       
  • Response of bat activity to land cover and land use in savannas is scale-,
           season-, and guild-specific
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 18 November 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Julie Teresa Shapiro, Ara Monadjem, Timo Röder, Robert A. McCleery Tropical savannas are biomes of global importance under severe pressure from anthropogenic change, including land-cover and land-use change. Bats, the second-most diverse group of mammals, are critical to ecosystem functioning, but vulnerable to such anthropogenic stresses. There is little information on how savanna bats respond to land cover and land use, especially in Africa, limiting our ability to develop conservation strategies for bats and maintain the ecosystem functions and services they provide in this biome. Using acoustic monitoring, we measured guild-specific (aerial, edge, and clutter forager) responses of bat activity to both fine-scale vegetation structure and landscape-scale land-cover composition and configuration across the wet and dry seasons in a southern African savanna undergoing rapid land-cover and land-use change. Responses were guild- and season-specific but generally stronger in the dry season. Aerial and clutter bats responded most strongly to landscape metrics in the dry season (positive responses to savanna fragmentation and water cover, respectively) but fine-scale metrics in the wet season (positive responses to water cover and grass cover, respectively). Edge bats responded most strongly (negatively) to the distance to water in the dry season and fine-scale shrub cover in the wet season. Our results show it is possible to maintain high levels of bat activity in savanna mosaics comprised of different land covers and land uses. Bats, and the ecosystem services they provide, can be conserved in these changing landscapes, but strategies to do so must consider foraging guild, spatial scale, and seasonal variation in bat activity.
       
  • Automatic standardized processing and identification of tropical bat calls
           using deep learning approaches
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 18 November 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Xing Chen, Jun Zhao, Yan-hua Chen, Wei Zhou, Alice C. Hughes Consistent and comparable metrics to automatically monitor biodiversity across the landscape remain a gold-standard for biodiversity research, yet such approaches have frequently been limited to a very small selection of species for which visual approaches (e.g., camera traps) make continuous monitoring possible. Acoustic-based methods have been widely applied in the monitoring of bats and some other taxa across extended spatial scales, but are have yet to be applied to diverse tropical communities.In this study, we developed a software program “Waveman” and prepared a reference library using over 880 audio-files from 36 Asian bat species. The software incorporated a novel network “BatNet” and a re-checking strategy (ReChk) to maximize accuracy. In Waveman, BatNet outperforms three other published networks: CNNFULL, VggNet and ResNet_v2, with over 90% overall accuracy and 0.94 AUC on the ROC plot. The classification accuracy rates for all 36 species are at least 86% when analysed in combination. Moreover, our library preparation and ReChk greatly improved the sensitivity and reduced the false positive rate, when tested with 15 species for which more detailed and situationally diverse records were available. Finally, BatNet was successfully used to identify Hipposideros larvatus and Rhinolophus siamensis from three different environments. We hope this pipeline is useful tool to process bioacoustic data accurately, effectively and automatically, therefore allowing for greater standardization and comparability for researchers to understand bat activities across space and time and therefore provide a consistent tool for monitoring biodiversity for management and conservation.
       
  • Light pollution is a driver of insect declines
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 16 November 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Avalon C.S. Owens, Précillia Cochard, Joanna Durrant, Bridgette Farnworth, Elizabeth K. Perkin, Brett Seymoure Insects around the world are rapidly declining. Concerns over what this loss means for food security and ecological communities have compelled a growing number of researchers to search for the key drivers behind the declines. Habitat loss, pesticide use, invasive species, and climate change all have likely played a role, but we posit here that artificial light at night (ALAN) is another important—but often overlooked—bringer of the insect apocalypse. We first discuss the history and extent of ALAN, and then present evidence that ALAN has led to insect declines through its interference with the development, movement, foraging, and reproductive success of diverse insect species, as well as its positive effect on insectivore predation. We conclude with a discussion of how artificial lights can be tuned to reduce their impact on vulnerable populations. ALAN is unique among anthropogenic habitat disturbances in that it is fairly easy to ameliorate, and leaves behind no residual effects. Greater recognition of the ways in which ALAN affects insects can help conservationists reduce or eliminate one of the major drivers of insect declines.
       
  • Abundant Earth: Toward an Ecological Civilization, Eileen Crist.
           University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, (2019).
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 15 November 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Susie O’Keeffe
       
  • Environmental education outcomes for conservation: A systematic review
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 14 November 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Nicole M. Ardoin, Alison W. Bowers, Estelle Gaillard Effective environmental education represents more than a unidirectional transfer of information: rather, this suite of tools develops and enhances environmental attitudes, values, and knowledge, as well as builds skills that prepare individuals and communities to collaboratively undertake positive environmental action. Environmental education also facilitates connections between actionable research findings and on-the-ground practices, creating synergistic spaces where stakeholders collaborate to address dynamic environmental issues over time. Because of this commitment to application and iteration, environmental education can result in direct benefits to the environment and address conservation issues concretely. Yet, the path to achieving those tangible impacts can be winding, with robust data documenting changes challenging to produce. To better understand the research-implementation spaces where those environmental education outcomes occur, are measured, and are reported, we undertook a systematic review of research on environmental education's contributions to conservation and environmental quality outcomes. Given the variation in research designs and data, we used a mixed-methods approach to the review; analysis of the 105 resulting studies documented strongly positive environmental education outcomes overall and highlighted productive research-implementation spaces. Chi-square analyses revealed that programs reporting direct outcomes, compared with those reporting indirect outcomes, differed on primary topic addressed. A narrative analysis indicated that environmental education programs documenting direct impacts included: a focus on localized issues or locally relevant dimensions of broader issues; collaboration with scientists, resource managers, and/or community organizations; integrated action elements; and intentional measurement/reporting structures. Those themes suggest program development and documentation ideas as well as further opportunities for productive research-implementation spaces.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
       
  • Woody plant encroachment restructures bird communities in semiarid
           grasslands
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 240Author(s): Erik M. Andersen, Robert J. Steidl The abundance and distribution of woody plants have increased in grassland ecosystems worldwide. Robust generalizations about the consequences of this transformative process on animal communities have been elusive, especially in semiarid regions where populations of many species have declined. We evaluated how distributions and species richness of breeding birds responded to woody plant encroachment by using spatial variation in woody cover as a proxy for the temporal process by which grasslands transform into shrub savannas. Specifically, we surveyed breeding birds and vegetation on 140 10-ha plots in semiarid grasslands that spanned the gradient of cover by Prosopis (mesquite), a genus of shrubs that has proliferated in semiarid grasslands worldwide. We used a multispecies occupancy model to characterize distributions of breeding bird species along the encroachment gradient. Distributions of 29 of 35 species changed markedly in response to encroachment, with distributions of most obligate grassland species contracting and most facultative grassland species expanding. Species richness increased sharply as cover of woody plants increased and peaked at ∼22% cover; this increase was driven by recruitment of generalist and shrub-associated species, many of which are common at regional scales. Lastly, we identified thresholds of woody cover where distributions contracted or expanded markedly, which provide targets for conservation and restoration efforts. Our results highlight the importance of understanding species-specific responses to woody plant encroachment as the basis for explaining community-level patterns because increases in diversity at local scales might ultimately reduce diversity at broader scales as grassland specialists are displaced.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
       
  • Implementing a social-ecological systems framework for conservation
           monitoring: lessons from a multi-country coral reef program
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 240Author(s): Georgina G. Gurney, Emily S. Darling, Stacy D. Jupiter, Sangeeta Mangubhai, Tim R. McClanahan, Peni Lestari, Shinta Pardede, Stuart J. Campbell, Margaret Fox, Waisea Naisilisili, Nyawira A. Muthiga, Stephanie D’agata, Katherine E. Holmes, Natalia A. Rossi Multi-scale social-ecological systems (SES) approaches to conservation and commons management are needed to address the complex challenges of the Anthropocene. Although SES approaches to monitoring and evaluation are advocated in global science and policy arenas, real-world applications remain scarce. Here, we describe the first operationalization and implementation of Ostrom’s influential SES framework for monitoring practice across multiple countries. Designed to inform management aimed at sustaining coral reefs and the people that depend on them, we developed our SES monitoring framework through a transdisciplinary process involving academics and practitioners with expertise in social and ecological sciences. We describe the SES monitroing framework, including how it operationalizes key insights from the SES and program evaluation literatures, and demonstrate how insights from its implementation in more than 85 communities in four countries (Fiji, Indonesia, Kenya and Madagascar) are informing decision-making at multiple levels. Responding to repeated calls for guidance on applying SES approaches to monitoring and management practice, we outline the key steps of the transdisciplinary development of the framework and lessons learnt. Therefore, our work contributes to bridging the gap between SES science and commons management practice through not only providing an SES monitoring framework that can be readily applied to coral reefs and other commons, but also through demonstrating how to operationalize SES approaches for real-world monitoring and management practice.
       
  • Morality and the Environmental Crisis, Roger S. Gottlieb. Cambridge
           University Press, Cambridge, U.K. (2019)
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 240Author(s): Rachelle Gould
       
  • Companions in Conflict: Animals in Occupied Palestine, by Penny Johnson,
           London and Brooklyn, MA: Melville House, 2019. ISBN: 978-1-61219-743-2.
           ISBN (ebook): 978-1-61219-744-9
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 13 November 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Sharif S. Elmusa
       
  • Legal rights and nature’s contributions to people: Is there a
           connection'
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 13 November 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Simon P. James It has been claimed that approaches to conservation framed in terms of nature’s contributions to people are congenial to ones framed in terms of rights. This paper provides what has so far been lacking – namely, an argument in support of this claim. The argument takes its cue from the observation that nature’s contributions to people can take the form of contributions to cultural identity. It is then argued that in some such cases one can justify conserving the relevant natural entities by appealing to the relevant people’s legal right to their own cultural identity. In such instances, it is proposed, appeals to nature’s contributions to people really are consonant with appeals to legal rights. The argument is developed by means of a discussion of the cultural value of reindeer herding in Saami communities in northern Europe.
       
  • Turtle biogeography: Global regionalization and conservation priorities
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 November 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Joshua R. Ennen, Mickey Agha, Sarah C. Sweat, Wilfredo A. Matamoros, Jeffrey E. Lovich, Anders G.J. Rhodin, John B. Iverson, Christopher W. Hoagstrom Defaunation in the Anthropocene has created a need to focus limited conservation resources on geographically-explicit areas with high conservation significance. Priority conservation areas are often defined as those with high biodiversity – hotspots. While these conservation areas are critical to securing global biodiversity, prevailing approaches for their delineation are often qualitative. Here, we demonstrate the benefits of a clade-specific approach that improves conservation. We use the distinct, imperiled clade of turtles (tortoises and freshwater turtles) to delineate biogeographical regions and characterize their comparative levels of biodiversity and conservation values. We produce a quantitative, revisable map of 63 global turtle regions and identify several turtle regions, mostly in the Indomalayan turtle realm, that are high-priority conservation regions. While our high-priority turtle regions include those previously reported in the literature as turtle hotspots, we also describe a new priority conservation region in Southeast Asia (Yangtze-Huang He-Xi Yiang) which has both high species and endemism richness. Although not considered a high or intermediate conservation priority, our analyses delineated another previously unidentified turtle hotspot – the Kalahari Basin-Rift Valley. Additionally, we identify several turtle regions, largely in Central America, with intermediate conservation priority. Our results reveal that many turtle hotspots represent complex biogeographical areas with high inter-regional β-diversity, and several of these turtle-hotspots occur in transition zones with high biogeographical complexity. In these cases, inter-regional conservation efforts will be necessary to ensure turtle biodiversity conservation.
       
  • The effects of wildlife tourism provisioning on non-target species
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 November 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Lauren Meyer, Sasha K. Whitmarsh, Peter D. Nichols, Andrew T. Revill, Charlie Huveneers Marine wildlife tourism is growing in popularity and in the number of studies examining its impacts. These studies focus nearly exclusively on the industry’s target species, overlooking a myriad of non-target organisms that may also be affected. Here, the dietary effects of bait and chum input from the white shark cage-diving industry were assessed for eight non-target species from different functional groups (pelagic fishes, reef fishes, and rays), across two sites with different intensity of wildlife tourism, and compared to a control site with no wildlife tourism. Stomach content, fatty acid profiles, and nitrogen stable isotope values revealed site-specific diets for all eight species, consistent with the consumption of bait and chum at both cage-diving sites. However, these dietary shifts were incongruent with the extent of bait and chum input at North and South Neptune Islands. Species within each functional group responded differently to bait and chum, demonstrating the complexity of understanding the effects of wildlife tourism on non-target species. We suggest that appropriate management comprises an ecosystem-approach inclusive of non-target species.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
       
  • Landscape of human fear in Neotropical rainforest mammals
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 November 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Calebe P. Mendes, Daiane Carreira, Felipe Pedrosa, Gabrielle Beca, Laís Lautenschlager, Paula Akkawi, William Bercê, Katia M.P.M.B. Ferraz, Mauro Galetti The landscape of fear has profound effects on the species behavior, with most organisms engaging in risk avoidance behaviors in areas perceived as riskier. Most risk avoidance behaviors, such as temporal avoidance, have severe trade-offs between foraging efficiency and risk reduction. Human activities are able to affect the species landscape of fear, by increasing mortality of individuals (i.e. hunting, roadkill) and by disruption of the clues used by the species to estimate predation risk (e.g. light pollution). In this study, we used an extensive camera-trapping and night-time light satellite imagery to evaluate whether human activities affect the diel activity patterns of 17 species of rainforest dwelling mammals. We found evidence of diel activity shifts in eight of 17 analyzed species, in which five species become 21.6 % more nocturnal and three species become 11.7% more diurnal in high disturbed areas. This activity shifts were observed for both diurnal and nocturnal species. Persecuted species (game and predators) were more susceptible to present activity shifts. Since changes in foraging activity may affect species fitness, the behavior of humans’ avoidance may be another driver of the Anthropocene defaunation.
       
  • Contextualizing the social-ecological outcomes of coral reef fisheries
           management
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 11 November 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Steven M. Johnson, Bertha M. Reyuw, Anthony Yalon, Matthew McLean, Peter Houk Marine protected areas (MPAs) have emerged as a valuable tool in biodiversity conservation and fisheries management. However, the effective use of MPAs depends upon the successful integration of social and ecological information. We investigated relationships between the social system structure of coastal communities alongside biological data describing the status and trends in fish communities around Yap, Micronesia. Traditional marine tenure made Yap an ideal place to investigate the underlying principles of social-ecological systems, as communities own and manage spatially-defined coastal resources. Analysis of social survey data revealed three social regimes, which were linked to corresponding gradients of ecological outcomes. Communities with decentralized decision-making and a preference for communal forms of fishing had the greatest ecological outcomes, while communities lacking any form of leadership were linked to poor ecological outcomes. Interestingly, communities with strong top-down leadership were shown to have variable ecological outcomes, depending on the presence of key groups or individuals. We last investigated whether social perception could successfully predict the status of fish assemblages within non-managed reefs. Several biological metrics of fish assemblages within non-managed areas were significantly predicted by a gradient of human access, suggesting social perception could not predict the growing human footprint over the study period. These findings highlight the potentially overlooked role that community-oriented decision-making structures and fishing methods could play in successful conservation efforts, and the limitations of perception data. Policies that promote communal marine resource use offer a novel approach to improve fisheries management and promote social-ecological resilience.
       
  • Floodplain meadow restoration revisited: Long-term success of large scale
           application of diaspore transfer with plant material in restoration
           practice
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 11 November 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): S. Harvolk-Schöning, D. Michalska-Hejduk, M. Harnisch, A. Otte, T.W. Donath Rare and endangered floodplain meadows have been a focus of previous restoration projects, but knowledge about the long-term development of newly created meadows is scarce. We studied the long-term development of sites restored via the transfer of seed-containing plant material on former arable fields and former species-poor grassland. We analyzed the long-term development of the vegetation and tested the differences between former land-use types and former preparatory treatments. In former arable fields, we studied the influence of sowing with a grass seed mixture. In former species-poor grassland, we tested the effect of topsoil disturbance by rotovation to inhibit competition by the resident grassland vegetation.Restoration was generally successful with mean transfer rates (number of meadow species at restoration site/number of meadow species at donor site) of 60%, increased species richness, and high proportions of plant material species in the vegetation. Transfer rates were similar between arable fields and former species-poor grassland, though the number of target species for restoration (typical and/or endangered species) was higher in former arable fields. Communities on grassland sites developed more slowly but were more resilient against flooding. Sowing the grass seed mixture had no influence on restoration success on former arable fields, and the positive effects of rotovating on former species-poor grassland decreased over time. We conclude that the transfer of seed-containing plant material is an adequate method to restore species-rich grasslands that are resilient enough to persevere under floodplain dynamics.
       
  • Living on the edge: Forest cover threshold effect on endangered maned
           sloth occurrence in Atlantic Forest
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 240Author(s): Paloma Marques Santos, Larissa Lynn Bailey, Milton Cezar Ribeiro, Adriano Garcia Chiarello, Adriano Pereira Paglia Habitat loss and the isolation of remaining habitats are undoubtedly the two greatest threats to biodiversity conservation, especially for the maned sloth, due to its ecological restrictions. In this study, we identified a critical threshold of forest cover for maned sloth occurrence and explored the effects of other local and landscape variables. We sampled 68 sites, where we searched for the maned sloth and collected local habitat variables. We calculated the percentage of forest cover and open areas, assessing the appropriated scale through model selection. We used occupancy models and model selection methods to identify the threshold and assess occupancy and detection probabilities. The occupancy probability of the maned sloth is 0.97, but it decreases abruptly at 35% of forest cover, reaching zero in areas with less than 20% of forest cover. The two landscape variables are the most important predictors of sloth occupancy, based on the cumulative weight of evidence, were: Forest cover (78%) and Open areas cover (46%); the latter influencing negatively maned sloth occupancy. This is the first attempt to identify the habitat requirements of the threatened maned sloth in a fragmented area using landscape and local variables. Our results imply that conservation of maned sloth will benefit from an increase in the amount of native forest at the landscape scale. Given difficulties in the creation of new public protected areas, this improvement could be achieved via the recovery of areas located in private properties that are protected by the Brazilian Forest Code.
       
  • Exploring and expanding the spaces between research and implementation in
           conservation science
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 240Author(s): Bea Maas, Anne Toomey, Rafael Loyola Despite increased focus on the importance of navigating the spaces between research and implementation, conservation science is still not put into practice as often as it could be. Disciplinary and geographical biases, as well as insufficient funding or recognition of interdisciplinary communication, limit engagement between scientists, practitioners and decision-makers in the field of conservation science - especially in early stages and the follow-up of conservation projects. In light of the current global biodiversity and climate crisis, the borad community of conservation science faces questions with regard to how we can explore and expand implementation spaces to create opportunities for better collaboration and communication between science and our society: (1) Do we have our priorities right' (2) Are we documenting and learning from our successes and failures through evaluation' (3) And who are we including or excluding in the spaces between research and implementation' In this editorial, we present an overview of our Special Issue on “Implementation Spaces in Conservation Science”, in which these questions and the challenges that they raise are highlighted. Finally, we ask whether conservation science is ready for a paradigm shift - not only in the ways we do conservation, but also in how we think about it. This shift would open new avenues towards modern ways of implementing conservation evidence into practice through teaching, training and evaluation integrated into cooperation and communication with other disciplines and non-scientists. Ultimately, it will help us to properly measure success and thus influence cooperation with policy and decision-makers in conservation, but also promote integration of more diverse perspectives and knowledges from yet underrepresented parts of the conservation science landscape.
       
  • Urban pigeons loosing toes due to human activities
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 240Author(s): Frédéric Jiguet, Linda Sunnen, Anne-Caroline Prévot, Karine Princé Measuring the impacts of urban pollution on biodiversity is important to identify potential adaptations and mitigations needed for preserving wildlife even in city centers. Foot deformities are ubiquitous in urban pigeons. The reasons for these mutilations have been debated, as caused by frequenting a highly zoonotic environment, by chemical or mechanistic pigeon deterrents, or by necrosis following stringfeet. The latter would mean that pigeons frequenting pavements with more strings and hairs would be more exposed so subject to mutilations. We tested these hypotheses in Paris city (France), by recording the occurrence and extent of toe mutilations on samples of urban pigeons at 46 sites. We hypothesized that mutilations would be predicted by local overall environmental conditions, potentially related to local organic, noise or air pollutions, so gathered such environmental predictors of urban pollutions. We showed that mutilations do not concern recently fledged pigeons, and that their occurrence and frequency are not related to plumage darkness, a proxy of a pigeon's sensitivity to infectious diseases. Toe mutilation was more frequent in city blocks with a higher degree of air and noise pollution, while it tended to increase with the density of hairdressers. In addition, the number of mutilation on injured pigeons was higher in more populated blocks, and tended to decrease with increasing greenspace density, and to increase with air pollution. Pollution and land cover changes thus seem to impact pigeon health through toe deformities, and increasing green spaces might benefit bird health in cities.One sentence summaryToe mutilation in urban pigeons is linked to human-induced pollution.
       
  • What’s the catch with lumpsuckers' A North Atlantic study of seabird
           bycatch in lumpsucker gillnet fisheries
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 240Author(s): Signe Christensen-Dalsgaard, Tycho Anker-Nilssen, Rory Crawford, Alexander Bond, Guðjón Már Sigurðsson, Gildas Glemarec, Erpur Snær Hansen, Martina Kadin, Lotte Kindt-Larsen, Mark Mallory, Flemming Ravn Merkel, Aevar Petersen, Jennifer Provencher, Kim Magnus Bærum Worldwide, incidental bycatch in fisheries is a conservation threat to many seabird species. Although knowledge on bycatch of seabirds has increased in the last decade, most stems from longline fisheries and the impacts of coastal gillnet fisheries are poorly understood. Gillnet fishing for North Atlantic lumpsucker (Cyclopterus lumpus) is one such fishery. We collated and synthesized the available information on seabird bycatch in lumpsucker gillnet fisheries across the entire geographical range to estimate and infer the magnitude of their impact on the affected seabird populations. Most birds killed were diving ducks, cormorants and auks, and each year locally high numbers of seabirds were taken as bycatch. We found large differences in bycatch rates among countries. The estimated mean bycatch in Iceland was 2.43 birds/trip, while the estimates in Norway was 0.44 and 0.39 birds/trip, respectively. The large disparities between estimates might reflect large spatial differences in bycatch rates, but could partly also arise due to distinctions in data recorded by onboard inspectors (Iceland), self-administered registration (Norway) and direct observations by cameras (Denmark). We show that lumpsucker gillnet fisheries might pose a significant risk to some populations of diving seabirds. However, a distinct data deficiency on seabird bycatch in terms of spatio-temporal coverage and the age and origins of the birds killed, limited our abilities to fully assess the extent and population consequences of the bycatch. Our results highlight the need for a joint effort among countries to standardize monitoring methods to better document the impact of these fisheries on seabirds.
       
  • Cost-effectiveness of uncultivated field-margins and semi-natural patches
           in Mediterranean areas: A multi-taxa, landscape scale approach
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 240Author(s): Hila Segre, Yohay Carmel, Michal Segoli, Anat Tchetchik, Ittai Renan, Avi Perevolotsky, Dotan Rotem, Assaf Shwartz Careful consideration of the cost-effectiveness of wildlife-friendly practices is key to promote fit-for-purpose agro-ecological policies, but quantitative evaluations of economic costs and ecological benefits compared to other land management alternatives are scarce. We compared the cost-effectiveness of uncultivated field-margins, a widespread wildlife-friendly practice, to that of conserving large semi-natural patches at the landscape scale and over multiple seasons for six crop types in Mediterranean Israel. Increased production expenditures and revenue loss were used to assess costs. Ecological benefits were measured in terms of (1) potential biological pest-control, and (2) richness and abundance of plants, birds, butterflies, ground-dwelling and plant-associated arthropods. Field-margins increased biodiversity by 64 % compared to cultivated land and accounted for 78 % of the biodiversity recorded in semi-natural patches. The biodiversity benefits of field-margins varied across seasons and taxa. Arthropod richness in field-margins did not differ from semi-natural patches, but bird and plant richness were 42–46 % lower. Field-margins increased potential biological pest-control, but with no spillover into the fields. Field-margins were associated with revenue loss in most crop types, leading to lower cost-effectiveness compared to creating large semi-natural patches. Yet, in a few crop types which exhibited low or positive effect of field-margins on income, field-margins were more cost-effective than semi-natural patches. These results indicate that there is no one-size-fits-all agri-environmental policy. Measures need to be locally tailored (e.g. crop-specific) to maximize ecological and economic benefits at large spatial scales, while considering that in many cases setting aside contiguous areas for conservation is more cost-effective than field-scale wildlife-friendly practices.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
       
  • Survival and competing mortality risks of mountain lions in a major
           metropolitan area
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 7 November 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): John F. Benson, Jeff A. Sikich, Seth P.D. Riley Understanding natural and human-caused mortality for top predators persisting in human-dominated landscapes is critical for conserving their populations. We estimated survival and cause-specific mortality rates and investigated factors influencing mortality risk of mountain lions by radio-tracking 58 individuals (33 males, 25 females) across the highly fragmented landscape in greater Los Angeles, California from 2002 to 2019. Mortality risk did not differ strongly between subadults (annual survival [ŝ] = 0.68, SE = 0.08) and adults (ŝ = 0.81, SE = 0.04). However, the different age-classes were subjected to mortality risks from different sources as subadults were more likely to be killed by conspecifics, whereas adults were more likely to die from human-caused mortality. Male subadults were frequently killed by territorial adult males in the isolated Santa Monica Mountains, mortality that may be exacerbated by substantial anthropogenic barriers to dispersal in this landscape. We also tracked kittens tagged at natal dens in the Santa Monica Mountains and estimated survival to independence to be 0.63 (SE = 0.13). Higher mortality from anthropogenic causes for adults, whose survival has the greatest influence on population growth and extinction probability for mountain lions, highlights the importance of mitigation strategies to reduce human-caused mortality. Our work provides novel information about patterns of survival and mortality of mountain lions from the most urbanized landscape occupied by large carnivores in North America.
       
  • Inventory incompleteness and collecting priority on the plant diversity in
           tropical East Africa
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 November 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Shengwei Wang, Yadong Zhou, Paul Mutuku Musili, Geoffrey Mwachala, Guangwan Hu, Qingfeng Wang Inventory incompleteness has seriously affected the accuracy of the spatial distribution pattern of biodiversity, but the causes of incompleteness and the priority investigation with quantitative methods have received far less attention. In this study, we constructed a plant database of tropical East Africa, evaluated and explained the inventory incompleteness, and identified the priority collecting area. The results showed that the spatial distribution pattern of collection density and species richness is very uneven in tropical East Africa, with 16 % of regions having zero-collection, and more than half of the regions having inventory incompleteness. Species collection and completeness are mainly affected by species richness and road density, followed by national boundaries and insecurity in some areas. We quantitatively selected priority investigation areas in tropical East Africa to supplement biodiversity data in the area. We recommend prioritizing collections especially around western Kenya, southern Tanzania, and around the border of Tanzania and Kenya. Future work should focus on improving the digitization of specimens and the strengthening of cooperation among countries, for these are the best ways to raise awareness of the biodiversity patterns in tropical East Africa.
       
  • Connectivity of protected areas must consider landscape heterogeneity: A
           response to Saura et al.
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 November 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): R. Naidoo, A. Brennan
       
  • Reading the black book: The number, timing, distribution and causes of
           listed extinctions in Australia
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 239Author(s): J.C.Z. Woinarski, M.F. Braby, A.A. Burbidge, D. Coates, S.T. Garnett, R.J. Fensham, S.M. Legge, N.L. McKenzie, J.L. Silcock, B.P. Murphy Through collation of global, national and state/territory threatened species lists, we conclude that 100 Australian endemic species (one protist, 38 vascular plants, ten invertebrates, one fish, four frogs, three reptiles, nine birds and 34 mammals) are validly listed as extinct (or extinct in the wild) since the nation’s colonisation by Europeans in 1788. This tally represents about 6–10% of the world’s post-1500 recognised extinctions. The actual number of extinctions is likely to be far more than those recognised in formal lists. Mammals have suffered the highest proportional rate of extinction (ca. 10% of the endemic mammal fauna). There are four main distributional features of these extinctions: (i) consistent with global patterns, island endemic species are disproportionately represented; (ii) many non-island extinct species had highly restricted mainland ranges; but conversely (iii) many extinct mammals had extensive ranges; and (iv) there have been no recognised extinctions of species confined to Australia’s mainland monsoonal tropics. Extinctions have occurred largely continuously since Australia’s European settlement, with at least three extinctions in the last decade. Mammal extinctions were caused mainly by introduced predators; plant extinctions by habitat loss; frog extinctions by disease; reptile extinctions by an introduced snake; and invertebrate extinctions by a range of anthropogenic processes. Causality has changed over time, with recent extinctions more likely to be associated with disease, introduced reptiles and introduced fish and less likely to be associated with hunting and introduced mammalian predators. The most recent extinction is the sole case for which climate change was a major factor.
       
  • What makes ecosystem restoration expensive' A systematic cost
           assessment of projects in Brazil
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 240Author(s): Pedro H.S. Brancalion, Paula Meli, Julio R.C. Tymus, Felipe E.B. Lenti, Rubens M. Benini, Ana Paula M. Silva, Ingo Isernhagen, Karen D. Holl Limited funding is a major barrier to implementing ambitious global restoration commitments, so reducing restoration costs is essential to upscale restoration. The lack of rigorous analyses about the major components and drivers of restoration costs limit the development of alternatives to reduce costs and the selection of the most cost-effective methods to achieve restoration goals. We conducted detailed restoration cost assessments for the three most widespread biomes in Brazil (Amazon, Cerrado, and Atlantic Forest) and estimated the restoration costs associated with implementing Brazil’s National Plan for Native Vegetation Recovery (12M hectares). Most surveys (60–90%) reported using the costly methods of planting seedlings or sowing seeds throughout the site, regardless of the biome. Natural regeneration and assisted regeneration approaches were an order of magnitude cheaper but were reported in
       
  • Forecasting conservation impact to pinpoint spatial priorities in the
           Brazilian Cerrado
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 240Author(s): Fernanda T. Brum, Robert L. Pressey, Luis Mauricio Bini, Rafael Loyola Proper assessing the impacts of conservation interventions can create interaction spaces between researcher and implementation. For example, protected areas (PAs) are the main strategy to conserve biodiversity, but there is a widespread bias in their location towards unproductive and inaccessible lands. Thus, investments on PAs are likely to have been allocated to areas that did not need protection, at least in the short term, creating communication noise to the society. Here, we estimate the likely conservation impact of the recently established (2002–2012) PAs and indigenous lands (ILs) in a future scenario of land use projected to 2050. We selected areas that were similar to the PAs/ILs with positive conservation impact to propose spatial priorities aiming to minimize loss of Cerrado vegetation in the future. In our analyses, PAs in general and those of strict protection had significantly lower conversion rates than control areas, while sustainable use PAs and ILs showed no difference between control and protected areas. We did not find differences in impact values between PAs and ILs, but impact values were higher for strict protection than for sustainable use areas. We found a high density of potential priority areas to maximize impact in northern Cerrado. This region is the next agricultural frontier in the biome, having extensive vegetation cover that can be legally converted according to national legislation. By pinpointing conservation priorities based on impact, we can improve the benefit from land protection and increase the space of interactions between science, policymaking and society at large.
       
  • Conservationists’ moral obligations toward wildlife: Values and identity
           promote conservation conflict
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 240Author(s): Jeremy T. Bruskotter, John A. Vucetich, Alia Dietsch, Kristina M. Slagle, Jeremy S. Brooks, Michael P. Nelson Recent debate among scholars reveals potential rifts in the conservation community concerning the moral bases of conservation, and the nature of humanity’s obligations to nature. We reasoned that conflict within the conservation community could stem both from divergent values and identification with relevant interest groups. We used secondary data from three recent studies that quantify wildlife value orientations, belief in the intrinsic value of wildlife, and perceived moral obligations to wildlife among US residents and self-identified conservationists. Results indicate the vast majority (>75%) of conservationists both endorse the idea that wildlife possess intrinsic value, and that humans have an obligation to treat wild animals with concern for their welfare – ideas that are consistent with, though not unique to, compassionate conservation. Further, we found that both mutualism value orientations and identification with other interest groups relevant to conservation (e.g., animal rights, hunting) were moderately correlated with beliefs about an individuals’ obligations toward wildlife—providing evidence that both values and identity are sources of social conflict within the conservation community. Identity could provide a mechanism linking individual-level, cognitive processes with group-level processes (e.g. immergence) that promote both within-group conformity and between-group conflict, but more research is needed to unravel causality.
       
  • Robustness of simple avian population trend models for semi-structured
           citizen science data is species-dependent
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 240Author(s): Philipp H. Boersch-Supan, Amanda E. Trask, Stephen R. Baillie Accurate and robust population monitoring is essential to effective biodiversity conservation. Citizen scientists are collecting opportunistic biodiversity records on unprecedented temporal and spatial scales, vastly outnumbering the records achievable from structured surveys. Opportunistic records may exhibit spatio-temporal biases and/or large heterogeneity in observer effort and skill, but the quantity-quality trade-offs between surveys and less structured schemes remain poorly understood.Recent work has advocated the use of simple trend models for opportunistic biodiversity records. We examine the robustness of population trends of common United Kingdom birds derived from two citizen-science schemes; BirdTrack, an opportunistic recording scheme, and the structured Breeding Bird Survey (BBS). We derived reporting rate trends from BirdTrack lists using simple statistical models which accounted for list-level effort covariates but not for preferential sampling, and compared them to abundance and occurrence trends derived from BBS survey data.For 90 out of 141 species, interannual changes in reporting rates were positively correlated with trends from structured surveys. Correlations were higher for widespread species and those exhibiting marked population change. We found less agreement among trends for rarer species and those with small or uncertain population trajectories. The magnitude of long-term changes in reporting rates was generally smaller than the magnitude of occupancy or abundance changes, but this relationship exhibited wide scatter, complicating the interpretability of reporting rate trends. Our findings suggest that simple statistical models for estimating population trends from opportunistic complete lists are robust only for widespread and common species, even in a scheme with many observers and extensive coverage.
       
  • Supporting resurgent Indigenous-led governance: A nascent mechanism for
           just and effective conservation
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 240Author(s): Kyle A. Artelle, Melanie Zurba, Jonaki Bhattacharrya, Diana E. Chan, Kelly Brown, Jess Housty, Faisal Moola Substantial increases in the pace, scale, and effectiveness of conservation will be required to abate the ongoing loss of global biodiversity and simultaneous ecological degradation. Concurrently, the need for conservation to respect inherent human rights, including the rights and title of Indigenous Peoples, is increasingly recognized. Here, we describe the often overlooked role that resurgent Indigenous-led governance could have in driving rapid, socially just increases in conservation. Whereas Indigenous resurgence spans all aspects of governance, we focus on three aspects that highlight both the necessity and nascent potential of supporting resurgent Indigenous-led governance systems as they relate to conservation of lands and seas. Firstly, much of the landscapes and seascapes of conservation interest are within Indigenous territories, so augmenting conservation within them will increasingly not be possible, justified, nor legal without Indigenous consent and partnership. Secondly, resurgent Indigenous governance provides potential for rapidly increasing the spatial coverage of conserved areas. Thirdly, resurgent Indigenous governance provides potential for increased conservation effectiveness. We focus on Canada, a country disproportionately composed of globally significant intact ecosystems and other ecosystems with considerable ecological value, comprised of Indigenous territories, and where Indigenous governments are well-positioned to advance meaningful conservation at a large scale. We discuss broader implications, with Indigenous territories covering large swaths of the globe, including in all five countries (Canada, USA, Australia, Brazil, Russia) whose borders contain the majority of the world's remaining intact landscapes. We offer suggestions for supporting resurgent Indigenous governance to achieve biodiversity conservation that is effective and socially just.
       
  • Climate change threatens the most biodiverse regions of Mexico
    • Abstract: Publication date: December 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 240Author(s): Manuel Esperon-Rodriguez, Linda J. Beaumont, Jonathan Lenoir, John B. Baumgartner, Jennifer McGowan, Alexander Correa-Metrio, James S. Camac Climate change threatens Earth's biodiversity, although its impacts are variable and depend on the capacity of species and ecosystems to cope with the magnitude and speed of change. Natural protected areas (NPAs) constitute potential refugia for species' persistence and for sustaining the provisioning of ecosystem services. Biosphere reserves are NPAs that are less altered by human actions and provide habitat to endemic, threatened or endangered species. Here, we aim to evaluate the threat imposed by climate change on the network of biosphere reserves in Mexico. Focusing on five bioclimatic variables, we computed the climatic space – measured as an n-dimensional hypervolume – of 40 NPAs. Increases in temperature are predicted for all NPAs by 2050, whereas decreases in annual rainfall are predicted for 30 NPAs. By 2050, 31 NPAs that provide habitat to 22,866 recorded species are predicted to lose 100% of their baseline climatic space, shifting to completely novel climates. On average, the other nine NPAs are predicted to lose 55.7% (SD = 26.7%) of their baseline climatic space, while 54.5% (SD = 32.5%) of the future climatic space will be novel. Seventeen NPAs may lose climate variability (homogenization), decreasing species' niches. The extent to which non-analogue conditions will remain within the tolerance of species and ecosystems is currently unknown. Finally, we propose a vulnerability index to categorise NPAs based on their loss of existing climatic space, total geographic area, species richness, and uniqueness of species composition, finding los Tuxtlas and Tiburon Ballena as the most and least vulnerable NPAs, respectively.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
       
  • Unexpectedly high densities of feral cats in a rugged temperate forest
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 239Author(s): M.W. Rees, J.H. Pascoe, B.A. Wintle, M. Le Pla, E.K. Birnbaum, B.A. Hradsky Effective invasive predator management requires accurate knowledge of population density. However, density can be difficult to estimate for wide-ranging, cryptic and trap-shy species, such as the feral cat Felis catus. Consequently, few density estimates exist for this invasive predator of global significance, particularly from rugged, mesic or structurally complex habitats where detection is challenging. In this study, we estimated feral cat density in the wet forests and cool temperate rainforests of the Otway Ranges, south-eastern Australia, to (1) provide a density estimate for this rarely surveyed habitat type, and (2) verify predictions from a continental-scale model of feral cat density. We deployed 140 camera traps across two independent 49 km2 grids and identified individual feral cats based on unique pelage markings. Using spatially explicit mark-resight models, we estimated that there were 1.14 cats km−2 (95% CI: 0.89–1.47). This is more than three times the average cat density in natural environments across Australia, and at least five times higher than model-based predictions for the Otway Ranges. Such high densities of feral cats likely reflect the abundance of small native mammals and lack of apex predators in our study area. Our findings contradict the widespread assumption that feral cats occur at very low densities in mesic and rugged habitats. Underestimating the density of feral cats in these environments has significant implications for pest animal management and biodiversity conservation.
       
  • Understanding drivers of urban bushmeat demand in a Ghanaian market
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 239Author(s): James McNamara, John E. Fa, Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu Wild meat (or bushmeat) is consumed as a luxury item in many African cities. By contrast, bushmeat is an important source of food and income for many poor households in rural areas. To curb the flow of bushmeat from rural to urban areas, understanding drivers of demand in city markets, and their impact on hunter revenues remains fundamental. Here, we present a simple econometric model for the trade of a commercially important bushmeat species in Ghana, the grasscutter (Thryonomys swinderianus). We explore own-price and cross-price elasticity of demand of grasscutter meat relative to commonly consumed alternative meats (goat, beef, poultry and fish) in the Atwemonom market in Kumasi city, Ghana. We show that: 1) grasscutter demand is elastic to its own price, 2) beef has an elastic cross-price elasticity, and 3) grasscutter is a luxury good, highly sensitive to consumer income. The elastic nature of the market suggests that price control policies e.g. “wild meat” tax, could reduce demand. Given that beef is the best substitute in our study area, we suggest that investment in Ghana’s underdeveloped cattle industry may reduce wildlife demand while also supporting herding economies. Critically, our results demonstrated that policies that aim to reduce bushmeat demand are likely to impact hunter revenues. This finding underscores the need for complimentary investments in the rural economy to drive incomes and off-set any revenue losses as a result of a decline in bushmeat demand.
       
  • Habitat mapping of remote coasts: Evaluating the usefulness of lightweight
           unmanned aerial vehicles for conservation and monitoring
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 239Author(s): Gustavo A. Castellanos-Galindo, Elisa Casella, Juan Carlos Mejía-Rentería, Alessio Rovere Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have the potential to be an important tool providing low-cost but sufficiently precise mapping products to support environmental management. In this study, we present possible applications of UAVs to map and monitor three representative coastal tropical habitats: mangroves, rocky shores and coral reefs. We conducted UAVs surveys in a Marine Protected Area (MPA) of the tropical eastern Pacific region to investigate the suitability and usefulness of using this tool in a remote area for a variety of management and monitoring purposes. For mangrove ecosystems, we evaluated the potential of UAV-derived data to estimate canopy cover. On an intertidal rocky shore, we evaluated the potential of UAVs to obtain a detailed relative topographic position index that can be used to correlate the distribution patterns of resident and transient fauna. Finally, we compared the standard diver-based coral reef mapping approach used at the MPA with the use of a map produced with the UAV. Our results suggest that the use of UAVs by conservation practitioners in MPAs with diverse habitats, such as in the tropics, is likely to improve the knowledge of the MPAs environments and provide highly detailed information for monitoring helping to understand the nursery function of these inter-connected tropical habitats, at a reduced cost. This tool, therefore, has the potential to support conservation measures in a more effective way.
       
  • Effect of agri-environment measure for the aquatic warbler on bird
           biodiversity in the extensively managed landscape of Biebrza Marshes
           (Poland)
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 239Author(s): Michał Budka, Marek Jobda, Paweł Szałański, Hubert Piórkowski Farming intensification is one of the main factors responsible for bird populations declining in agricultural landscapes. Therefore, many countries implement agri-environment schemes (AES) to protect farmland biodiversity. However, recent studies showed that the effectiveness of AES varies between positive and negative.In this study we evaluated the effect an agri-environment measure, designed for aquatic warblers (AWM), has on bird biodiversity in a marginal, extensively managed landscape under strong succession pressure. We applied a point-count method to survey birds in areas within the AWM and outside the AWM and described habitat characteristics around these points.We found that AWM areas had a positive effect on the occurrence of aquatic warblers and six other bird species, meadow and Polish AES bird species richness; negatively affected the occurrence of three bird species and the all bird species richness, and was neutral for the occurrence of another ten bird species and for farmland bird species richness. We also show the diverse and sometimes mutually exclusive habitat preferences of the various species.The AWM implemented in extensively managed landscape successfully encouraged farmers to conduct extensive mowing of meadows and so stopped the habitat succession process. Simultaneously, if AWM is considered on a micro scale, it strongly supported some species but also eliminated others. Therefore, we suggest that management plans should be created at a landscape level. Such approach enables the determination of areas in which different species or groups of species are prioritised before others, allowing for the conservation of overall biodiversity.
       
  • Complementary and protection value of a Biosphere Reserve buffer zone for
           increasing local representativeness of ground-living arthropods
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 239Author(s): J. van Schalkwyk, J.S. Pryke, M.J. Samways, R. Gaigher Biosphere reserves (BRs) are areas of high biodiversity value that promote conservation and sustainable development. BRs consist of core, buffer, and transition zones. Buffer zones are where human and ecological activities overlap, and are key functional spaces that can have important complementarity value. We test this using ground-living arthropods in the highly biodiverse Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve in South Africa. We use generalized dissimilarity modelling to describe the compositional dissimilarity of assemblages as a function of environmental correlates between pairs of survey sites. Transformed spatial predictors were used as surrogates for biodiversity to assess complementarity. Important correlates of arthropod species turnover were related to mesoclimate, fire history, and geology. Buffer areas had important complementary value. Current habitat transformation across core and buffer zones does not change this, as results were the same when removing all transformed areas from the analyses. Important areas in buffer zones that increased local representativeness coincided with areas of increased intra-annual temperature variability. Orchards in transformed areas also influenced arthropod diversity in adjacent natural vegetation by
       
  • Prioritize diversity or declining species' Trade-offs and synergies in
           spatial planning for the conservation of migratory birds in the face of
           land cover change
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 239Author(s): S. Wilson, R. Schuster, A.D. Rodewald, J.R. Bennett, A.C Smith, F.A. La Sorte, P.H. Verburg, P. Arcese Stemming biodiversity loss requires strategic conservation guided by well articulated targets, whether they be proactive (e.g., protect biodiverse areas) or reactive (e.g., protect threatened species). Both types of targets can be effective, but there are trade-offs, especially for broadly distributed taxa such as migratory species, a group for which conservation has been challenged by limited knowledge of distributions throughout the annual cycle. We combined spatiotemporal distribution models with population trend data to first examine focal areas for the conservation of Neotropical migratory birds (n = 112 species) during the non-breeding period in the Western Hemisphere, based on a proactive approach (highest diversity) versus a reactive approach (strongest declines). For focal areas, we then assessed the extent of recent anthropogenic impact, protected area status, and projected changes in land cover using shared socioeconomic pathways. Spatial priorities for high diversity emphasized southern Mexico and northern Central America, and were strikingly different from areas with species in stronger decline, emphasizing the Andean cordilleras. Only 1.4% of the non-breeding region met targets for diversity and decline, mostly in southern Central America. Areas prioritized to conserve high species diversity have experienced less recent anthropogenic impact than areas prioritized for species in decline but are predicted to experience more rapid land conversion to less suitable agricultural landscapes in the next three decades. Our findings indicate how efficient conservation efforts will depend on the careful consideration of desired targets combined with reliable predictions about the locations and types of land cover change under alternative socioeconomic futures.
       
  • A risk assessment framework to improve the efficiency of CITES
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 239Author(s): Louise Mair, Francesca A. Ridley, L. Vincent Fleming, Philip J.K. McGowan Over-exploitation is a major threat to species and reported wildlife trade has quadrupled over the last four decades. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) therefore remains an important mechanism in tackling species declines. Appropriate listing of species on CITES Appendices avoids both unwarranted trade-controls and unsustainable trade and is, therefore, essential for the effective functioning and integrity of the Convention. The current process for assessing the appropriateness of existing species listings is considered time-consuming and inefficient. Here, we introduce a rapid risk assessment framework that combines assessments of species Red List conservation status with quantity of reported trade to provide insights into the risk posed to species from legal trade. We demonstrate the approach for ∼2500 vertebrate species listed on CITES Appendix II and identify a group of>1000 species that are not threatened (Red List category Least Concern) and had zero or an average of fewer than ten trade records per year. For these species, international trade is highly unlikely to pose a risk and so they may not merit inclusion on Appendix II on the basis of trade posing a threat to species survival. We suggest that the efficient risk assessment approach we apply here could be used to rapidly assess the appropriateness of species listings and, therefore, has the potential to improve the effectiveness of the Convention.
       
  • Using species-habitat networks to inform agricultural landscape management
           for spiders
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 239Author(s): Davide Nardi, Francesco Lami, Paolo Pantini, Lorenzo Marini Land-use intensification is a major threat to arthropods across agricultural landscapes. To mitigate these negative effects through appropriate landscape management, it is necessary to understand how entire species communities respond to land-use at the landscape scale. We performed a whole-landscape sampling of spiders in 300 habitat patches across 15 landscapes and built species-habitat networks to evaluate the impact of compositional and configurational simplification on network modularity and habitat specialisation. Within each landscape mosaic, spiders showed a high degree of habitat selectivity, i.e. patches of the same habitat type tended to cluster into modules that rarely interacted with each other. Although spiders are expected to disperse between habitat patches more often when landscapes are fragmented, their high modularity and habitat selectivity were not influenced by edge density. However, modularity was the highest at intermediate cover of semi-natural habitats, probably due to the simultaneous presence of multiple habitats with sufficient area to support the associated specialist species. Despite the high habitat selectivity, perennial crops and meadows seemed to play a central role in connecting different habitat modules across the landscapes. On the contrary, forest and hedgerows hosted very distinct species communities that did not occur outside woody habitats. Encouraging the spill-over of spiders from semi-natural habitats to crops to enhance biological control might be more effective for the better-connected permanent crops, while for annual crops it would be more effective to improve local field quality for crop specialists or to introduce open semi-natural habitats such as meadows.
       
  • Risk assessment and conservation strategies for rare lichen species and
           communities threatened by sea-level rise in the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain
           
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 239Author(s): Richard Troy McMullin, Yolanda F. Wiersma, Steven G. Newmaster, James C. Lendemer The Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain (MACP) is an ecoregion with high biodiversity that is under imminent threat from sea level rise and habitat loss. Previous studies have shown i) the area to be high in lichen biodiversity, including endemic species, ii) the most lichen species-rich sites are the most imperiled by sea-level rise, and iii) common, widespread lichens have lost significant suitable habitat and are projected to lose more due to sea-level rise. Despite this, the spatial distributions of rare species and the compositional dynamics of lichen communities has not previously been examined. Here, we evaluate the community composition of 599 lichen species in 215 sites across the MACP. We tested whether community similarity is correlated with spatial proximity or environmental conditions. We found that sites with similar environmental characteristics had similar species composition, after controlling for geographic distance. Inland swamps had the highest per-site average number of unique species (1.3) and the two coastal ecosystems, maritime forests and pocosin (a unique form of peatland vegetation), each had an average of nearly one unique species per site. Across the entire MACP, 42% of species were found at five or fewer sites and these were mostly at sites under high risk of being affected by sea level rise. While habitats and species throughout the MACP have been projected to be negatively affected by sea level rise, our results suggest that rare lichens face particularly acute threats. Lack of suitable habitat inland at higher elevations may necessitate intensive mitigation, including facilitated transplants of both lichens and their host trees.
       
  • Intense grazing of calcareous grasslands has negative consequences for the
           threatened marsh fritillary butterfly
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 239Author(s): Victor Johansson, Oskar Kindvall, John Askling, Markus Franzén Grazing generally benefits grassland biodiversity as it prevents shrub and tree succession. However, too intense grazing may have negative effects for example many grassland insects. EU-subsidies for grazing of some habitats, aimed at promoting biodiversity, still require a relatively intense grazing, and could therefore have negative consequences for some species. We quantified how such grazing affects habitat quality for the marsh fritillary butterfly, and how this influence its colonization-extinction dynamics and persistence. Specifically, we studied a metapopulation on Gotland (Sweden), where the marsh fritillary occupies unfertilized calcareous grassland with a naturally slow succession. We quantified the difference in larvae autumn nests between grazed and ungrazed habitat, and used this difference to adjust the ‘effective area’ of 256 habitat patches in a 50 km2 landscape. We then parameterized a metapopulation model based on the occurrence pattern of the adult butterfly, and simulated future population development under different grazing regimes. The results showed that ungrazed habitat harbored 4.8 times more nests than grazed habitat. Reducing the ‘effective area’ of grazed patches accordingly increased the local extinction probability and decreased colonization. Grazing all suitable habitat reduced the occupancy by over 80%, while no grazing increased the occupancy by up to 40%, based on projections of future dynamics. Current grazing is clearly too intense, and EU-subsidies are here, thus, a conservation measure with negative consequences for a threatened butterfly. To prevent this, subsidies for grazing need to be more flexible and better adapted to the prevailing soil conditions and requirements of the target species.
       
  • Navigating spaces for implementing raptor research and conservation under
           varying levels of violence and governance in the Global South
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 18 August 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Andrea Santangeli, Marco Girardello, Evan R. Buechley, Johanna Eklund, W. Louis Phipps The Global South harbors a large share of imperiled biodiversity. Effective research and conservation in the Global South are negatively affected by weak or turbulent socio-political contexts, such as poor governance and/or high violence levels. There is a need to understand how priorities for research and conservation relate to different levels of violence and governance, in order to highlight opportunities and challenges for biodiversity conservation. We explore the spatial overlap between density of violence and raptor research and conservation priorities, and unveil the effect of considering governance and violence when prioritizing areas for raptor research and conservation. Raptors are a group of species potentially highly affected by violence that may lead to proliferation of firearms and uncontrolled wildlife resource extraction. We found low spatial correlation between raptor research and conservation priorities and violence in the Global South. Exceptions are represented by distinct areas of high or increasing violence and that are important for raptors, such as the central African Rift Valley and west Yemen. We also highlight emerging potential opportunities, such as coastal West Africa, where violence is decreasing. Overall, while we show that governance and violence only marginally affected the distribution of raptor priority areas, results also highlight spatio-temporal dynamics in violence and governance that should be considered when navigating the research-implementation space in the Global South. In these regions it is crucial to focus on societal issues to reduce social and economic inequalities, stabilize unsafe regions and promote community-led initiatives that would mutually benefit people and wildlife.
       
  • The emperor penguin - Vulnerable to projected rates of warming and sea ice
           loss
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 October 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Philip N. Trathan, Barbara Wienecke, Christophe Barbraud, Stéphanie Jenouvrier, Gerald Kooyman, Céline Le Bohec, David G. Ainley, André Ancel, Daniel P. Zitterbart, Steven L. Chown, Michelle LaRue, Robin Cristofari, Jane Younger, Gemma Clucas, Charles-André Bost, Jennifer A. Brown, Harriet J. Gillett, Peter T. Fretwell We argue the need to improve climate change forecasting for ecology, and importantly, how to relate long-term projections to conservation. As an example, we discuss the need for effective management of one species, the emperor penguin, Aptenodyptes forsteri. This species is unique amongst birds in that its breeding habit is critically dependent upon seasonal fast ice. Here, we review its vulnerability to ongoing and projected climate change, given that sea ice is susceptible to changes in winds and temperatures. We consider published projections of future emperor penguin population status in response to changing environments. Furthermore, we evaluate the current IUCN Red List status for the species, and recommend that its status be changed to Vulnerable, based on different modelling projections of population decrease of ≥50% over the current century, and the specific traits of the species. We conclude that current conservation measures are inadequate to protect the species under future projected scenarios. Only a reduction in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions will reduce threats to the emperor penguin from altered wind regimes, rising temperatures and melting sea ice; until such time, other conservation actions are necessary, including increased spatial protection at breeding sites and foraging locations. The designation of large-scale marine spatial protection across its range would benefit the species, particularly in areas that have a high probability of becoming future climate change refugia. We also recommend that the emperor penguin is listed by the Antarctic Treaty as an Antarctic Specially Protected Species, with development of a species Action Plan.
       
  • Spatio-temporal dynamics of consumer demand driving the Asian Songbird
           Crisis
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 20 September 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Harry Marshall, Nigel J. Collar, Alexander C. Lees, Andrew Moss, Pramana Yuda, Stuart J. Marsden Many South-East Asian bird species are in rapid decline due to offtake for the cage-bird trade, a phenomenon driven largely by consumption in Indonesia and labelled the ‘Asian Songbird Crisis’. Interventions aimed at reducing this offtake require an understanding of the spatial and temporal dynamics of the trade. We surveyed the bird-keeping habits of over 3000 households from 92 urban and rural communities across six provinces on Java, Indonesia, and compared prevalence and patterns of bird-keeping with those from surveys undertaken a decade ago. We estimate that one-third of Java's 36 million households keep 66–84 million cage-birds. Despite over half of all birds owned being non-native species, predominantly lovebirds (Agapornis spp.), the majority of bird-keepers (76%) owned native species. Ownership levels were significantly higher in urban than rural areas, and were particularly high in the eastern provinces of the island. Overall levels of bird ownership have increased over the past decade, and species composition has changed. Notably, lovebirds showed a seven-fold increase in popularity while ownership of genera including groups with globally threatened species such as leafbirds (Chloropsis spp.) and white-eyes (Zosterops spp.) also rose sharply. The volume of some locally threatened birds estimated to be in ownership (e.g.,>3 million White-rumped Shama Kittacincla malabarica) cannot have been supplied from Java's forests and research on supply from other islands and Java's growing commercial breeding industry is a priority. Determining temporal and spatial patterns of ownership is a crucial first step towards finding solutions to this persistent, pervasive and adaptive threat to the regional avifauna.Graphical abstractUnlabelled Image
       
  • 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 Roff The 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.
       
 
 
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