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Journal Cover Biological Conservation
  [SJR: 2.593]   [H-I: 138]   [274 followers]  Follow
    
   Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
   ISSN (Print) 0006-3207
   Published by Elsevier Homepage  [3043 journals]
  • Compilation and traits of Australian bird species killed by cats
    • Authors: J.C.Z. Woinarski; L.A. Woolley; S.T. Garnett; S.M. Legge; B.P. Murphy; M.J. Lawes; S. Comer; C.R. Dickman; T.S. Doherty; G. Edwards; A. Nankivill; R. Palmer; D. Paton
      Pages: 1 - 9
      Abstract: Publication date: December 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 216
      Author(s): J.C.Z. Woinarski, L.A. Woolley, S.T. Garnett, S.M. Legge, B.P. Murphy, M.J. Lawes, S. Comer, C.R. Dickman, T.S. Doherty, G. Edwards, A. Nankivill, R. Palmer, D. Paton
      House cats Felis catus have contributed to the extinction of many bird species on islands, but their impact on continental bird faunas is less well resolved. Here, we compile and analyse a comprehensive record of all bird species known to be killed by feral cats at a continental scale. From published studies and unpublished data, we document predation by feral and pet cats on 357 bird species in Australia, including 338 Australian (non-vagrant) native bird species (=45.6% of the 741 Australian native bird species, excluding vagrants). This tally included 24 species listed as threatened or extinct by the IUCN (40% of the 58 non-vagrant Australian species listed as threatened), and 71 of the 117 bird species (61%) listed as threatened under Australian legislation (or species with one or more subspecies so listed). These tallies are substantially larger than reported in previous reviews. We provide the first continental-scale attempt to model bird species' traits that are associated with likelihood of being killed by cats, and use such modelling to attempt to redress some inevitable biases in compilation of predation records on birds. We conclude that the likelihood of being killed by a cat was highest for bird species that are restricted to islands, are of intermediate body mass (ca. 60–300g), and nest and forage on the ground, and least likely for bird species occurring mostly in rainforests and wetlands. We also identify a set of bird species most likely to be threatened by cat-predation and hence most likely to benefit from enhanced management of cats. This study does not specifically evaluate the impact of cats on bird populations or on the conservation of Australian birds, but our results suggest that such impact may be much more pervasive than previously documented.

      PubDate: 2017-10-04T09:42:20Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.09.017
      Issue No: Vol. 216 (2017)
       
  • Free-ranging livestock threaten the long-term survival of giant pandas
    • Authors: Binbin V. Li; Stuart L. Pimm; Sheng Li; Lianjun Zhao; Chunping Luo
      Pages: 18 - 25
      Abstract: Publication date: December 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 216
      Author(s): Binbin V. Li, Stuart L. Pimm, Sheng Li, Lianjun Zhao, Chunping Luo
      China has implemented forest policies and expanded protected areas to halt deforestation and protect giant panda habitats. These policies simultaneously encouraged local communities to raise livestock that then freely range in forests. This grazing had unintended consequences. As an alternative livelihood, it has become the most prevalent human disturbance across the panda's range. How do free-ranging livestock impact giant panda habitats and what are the implications for future conservation and policy on a larger scale' We use Wanglang National Nature Reserve as a case study. It has seen a nine-fold livestock increase during past 15years. We combined bamboo survey plots, GPS collar tracking, long-term monitoring, and species distribution modelling incorporating species interaction to understand the impacts across spatial and temporal scales. Our results showed that livestock, especially horses, lead to a significant reduction of bamboo biomass and regeneration. The most intensively used areas by livestock are in the valleys, which are also the areas that pandas prefer. Adding livestock presence to predictive models of the giant panda's distribution yielded a higher accuracy and suggested livestock reduce panda habitat by 34%. Pandas were driven out of the areas intensively used by livestock. We recommend the nature reserve carefully implement a livestock ban and prioritise removing horses because they cause the greater harm. To give up livestock, local communities prefer long-term subsidies or jobs to a one-time payment. Thus, we recommend the government provide payments for ecosystem services that create jobs in forest stewardship or tourism while reducing the number of domestic animals.

      PubDate: 2017-10-04T09:42:20Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.09.019
      Issue No: Vol. 216 (2017)
       
  • Patterns of beta-diversity along elevational gradients inform epiphyte
           conservation in alpine forests under a climate change scenario
    • Authors: Juri Nascimbene; Daniel Spitale
      Pages: 26 - 32
      Abstract: Publication date: December 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 216
      Author(s): Juri Nascimbene, Daniel Spitale
      We explored the patterns of beta-diversity of forest epiphytic bryophytes and lichens along elevational gradients to elucidate the potential impact of climate change on these functionally relevant components of the forest biota of the Alps. Eight elevational gradients were selected from a regional forest database matching the requirement of hosting spruce-dominated forests within the whole elevational range of this forest type (900–1900m). We calculated the decay of species compositional similarity along the gradients, considering the beta diversity components, turnover and richness difference. We then assessed the importance of temperature in explaining variation in these components of beta diversity along the elevational gradients by using a distance-based redundancy analysis. Our results warn against the impact of climate change on epiphytic bryophyte and lichen communities in alpine spruce forests. This impact could be more rapid (higher rate of similarity decay) and severe for lichens, triggering species loss with temperature warming. In contrast, temperature warming is expected to cause relevant shifts in species composition to bryophyte communities, despite allowing to maintain species richness through species replacement. The contrasting mechanisms (species loss vs species replacement) by which climate influences bryophyte and lichen communities, suggest that conservation strategies should be tailored to each organism group. In particular, for bryophytes conservation efforts should be assigned to forests at each band of the elevation gradient which hosts peculiar assemblages. In contrast, for lichens priority for conservation should be assigned to forests at higher elevation that currently host the largest species pool. In this context, forest management is the primary tool available to mitigate the effect of climate change and to give a chance to delay the local extinction of several species.

      PubDate: 2017-10-04T09:42:20Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.09.021
      Issue No: Vol. 216 (2017)
       
  • Assessing the risk to the conservation status of temperate rainforest from
           exposure to mining, commercial logging, and climate change: A Tasmanian
           case study
    • Authors: Brendan Mackey; Sean Cadman; Nicole Rogers; Sonia Hugh
      Pages: 19 - 29
      Abstract: Publication date: November 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 215
      Author(s): Brendan Mackey, Sean Cadman, Nicole Rogers, Sonia Hugh
      Formal protected areas are a critical conservation measure so long as their tenure is defined and secure and they are well managed. Protected areas in developed countries are assumed to meet these criteria and therefore have not attracted the level of attention given to the adequacy of protected areas in developing countries. We investigate this assumption using as a case study the southern temperate rainforests of Tasmania, Australia. We examine the extent to which these rainforests are protected from potential exposure to mining, commercial logging and climate change. We analyse the tenure of Tasmania's rainforests and identify the protected area categories that prohibit or allow mining or logging. We also model the potential distribution of Nothofagus cunninghamii, a dominant rainforest canopy tree species, to future climate and compare this with modelled current and future forest fire danger index. Results showed that 90% of the total area of Tasmanian rainforest (715,773ha−1) is in a reserve. However, the area of rainforest in reserves secured from mining and/or commercial logging is only 47% (335,863ha−1) as 43% (308,897ha−1) is in a reserve category where these land uses are permitted. The protected area category with the highest level of protection, prohibiting all mining and logging, is the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area which encompasses 325,920ha−1 of temperate rainforest. During a recent legislative review, 66,012ha−1 of rainforest in protected areas was downgraded to a reserve category that permits logging or mining. A key conservation instrument therefore is the Management Plan for the World Heritage Area as it overrides land use activities otherwise permitted including the 21,257ha−1 which is on a State-defined land tenure that allows for logging or mining. Climate change impacts, as modelled, suggest the main conservation challenges are in maintaining the integrity of the remaining intact rainforest blocks and better managing ignitions from lightning strikes and arsonists in the coniferous and alpine rainforests. Allowing structural degradation and fragmentation to intact rainforest blocks will reduce their capacity to buffer meso-climatic variability and resist fire events thereby undermining their ecosystem integrity. Noting that Aichi Target 11 includes the requirement that reserves are effectively managed, our case study highlights that assessing the effectiveness of a reserve system is not necessarily a straightforward matter as governance systems and regulatory frameworks involve a mix of international obligations, national and subnational policies and statutes, along with other agreements, administrative arrangements and plans of management, which can provide for a range of land use activities and be subject to modification over time.

      PubDate: 2017-09-07T11:17:31Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.08.032
      Issue No: Vol. 215 (2017)
       
  • Primate responses to anthropogenic habitat disturbance: A pantropical
           meta-analysis
    • Authors: Juliana M. de Almeida-Rocha; Carlos A. Peres; Leonardo C. Oliveira
      Pages: 30 - 38
      Abstract: Publication date: November 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 215
      Author(s): Juliana M. de Almeida-Rocha, Carlos A. Peres, Leonardo C. Oliveira
      Rapid human-induced conversion and degradation of natural habitats has severely altered patterns of species occupancy and population viability. Primates are highly vulnerable to tropical forest loss and degradation because they are highly arboreal, forest-dependent, and often highly sensitive to changes in forest structure. Here we quantify the effects of anthropogenic habitat modification on primate community structure using a global meta-analysis based on 72 studies to understand the variation in effect sizes between biogeographic regions, types of human disturbance, trophic levels of primate species, and sampling design protocols. We examined response ratios for 637 comparisons between disturbed forests and adjacent ‘pseudo-control’ forests with a history of little or no impact. This revealed an overall decrease of 30% (95% CI: 17–43%) in biodiversity metrics in response to habitat disturbance, which was particularly detrimental to primate assemblages in Madagascar and Southeast Asia. This effect was more severe in areas converted to agriculture (77%; 95% CI: 59–88%), while land use intensification led to far more detrimental effects than the initial degradation of forests, calling for the identification of habitat degradation thresholds. Negative effects of forest degradation were further exacerbated by ~30% under scenarios of persistent hunting pressure, emphasizing possible synergistic interactions between environmental stressors. Given that overall primate diversity was depressed in degraded habitats, our results emphasize the importance of retaining connectivity across remnants of undisturbed primary forest within human-modified landscapes to maintain full complements of primate species, and ensure their long-term persistence.

      PubDate: 2017-09-07T11:17:31Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.08.018
      Issue No: Vol. 215 (2017)
       
  • Using Bayesian mark-recapture modelling to quantify the strength and
           duration of post-release effects in reintroduced populations
    • Authors: Doug P. Armstrong; Christie Le Coeur; Joanne M. Thorne; Julia Panfylova; Tim G. Lovegrove; Peter G.H. Frost; John G. Ewen
      Pages: 39 - 45
      Abstract: Publication date: November 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 215
      Author(s): Doug P. Armstrong, Christie Le Coeur, Joanne M. Thorne, Julia Panfylova, Tim G. Lovegrove, Peter G.H. Frost, John G. Ewen
      Translocated animals often suffer elevated mortality during some acclimation period after release. Such post-release effects must be accounted for when estimating normal survival rates and therefore predicting population persistence. The standard approach for doing this is to nominate a fixed acclimation period, and either i) exclude survival data over that period, or ii) use model selection criteria to test whether survival differs over that period. We present a more flexible approach where the acclimation period is treated as unknown and is estimated simultaneously with the pre- and post-acclimation survival probabilities. We illustrate this approach using survival data for six reintroduced populations involving three New Zealand forest bird species. Analyses of the complete data sets (22–73 surveys conducted over 4–14years) indicated that significant post-release effects occurred in at least one sex in five of the six populations, with 30–84% mortality attributable to post-release effects over acclimation periods ranging from 1 to 9months. When we applied the approach to just the first year of data for each population, the estimated normal survival rates were consistent with those obtained from the complete data sets, and always at least as accurate as our previous approach of excluding data up to the next breeding season after translocation. The flexible approach therefore appears to be effective for accounting for post-release effects in survival estimation, and is beneficial in quantifying both the strength and duration of those effects so that pre- and post-release management strategies are better informed.

      PubDate: 2017-09-07T11:17:31Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.08.033
      Issue No: Vol. 215 (2017)
       
  • Partial migration links local surface-water management to large-scale
           elephant conservation in the world's largest transfrontier conservation
           area
    • Authors: Arnold Tshipa; Hugo Valls-Fox; Hervé Fritz; Kai Collins; Lovelater Sebele; Peter Mundy; Simon Chamaillé-Jammes
      Pages: 46 - 50
      Abstract: Publication date: November 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 215
      Author(s): Arnold Tshipa, Hugo Valls-Fox, Hervé Fritz, Kai Collins, Lovelater Sebele, Peter Mundy, Simon Chamaillé-Jammes
      Successful conservation of large mammals requires vast areas to maintain viable populations. This often requires to embrace large-scale approaches that extend beyond the borders of formally protected areas. However, the quality of the scientific knowledge about animal movement across large conservation areas vary, and could limit the effectiveness of conservation efforts. Here we used GPS tracking to conduct the first study of large-scale movements of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in Hwange NP (Zimbabwe), which is an unfenced park part of the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, the world's largest terrestrial conservation area. We show that some, but not all, elephants migrate seasonally, with wet- to dry-season movements linked to the provision of water in Hwange NP. The distance between the most distant locations of individual elephants reaches 260km. In this partial migration system influenced by management practices, over 20% of the elephants have wet-season ranges established in Botswana, outside of protected areas in private or communal wildlife management areas. Our results call for the urgent drafting of a regional action plan, involving all stakeholders identified by our study and their neighbours, to predict and react to what would happen if water provision in Hwange NP was to suddenly change because of management practices or extreme climate change. Beyond this critical conservation issue for the world's largest elephant meta-population, our results also highlight the relevance of large-scale conservation areas combined with integrative planning involving national wildlife management institutions and the private and communal sector.

      PubDate: 2017-09-13T17:41:14Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.09.003
      Issue No: Vol. 215 (2017)
       
  • Bat flight height monitored from wind masts predicts mortality risk at
           wind farms
    • Authors: C. Roemer; T. Disca; A. Coulon; Y. Bas
      Pages: 116 - 122
      Abstract: Publication date: November 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 215
      Author(s): C. Roemer, T. Disca, A. Coulon, Y. Bas
      Bat fatalities by collision or barotrauma at wind farms currently raise high conservation concerns. In many countries, pre-installation acoustic surveys are mandatory in order to assess the impacts of wind farm projects. In this purpose, the use of wind masts to estimate bat activity and hence predict collision risk is highly recommended by conservation committees worldwide. Yet, the degree to which collisions may be predicted from acoustic monitoring at wind masts has been strongly debated. To assess this relationship, microphone arrays were installed on 23 wind masts in order to record and locate bat activity on the vertical axis during 3260 nights. For each species, we also calculated a collision susceptibility index, based on fatality data gathered in the literature and corrected for species abundance. We demonstrate that the collision susceptibility index is correlated with the percentage of bat passes at blade height. The acoustic recordings allowed us to establish a reference for the ratios of flight activity above heights of 20–45m high for more than 16 European bat species. The correlation we demonstrate here between the percentage of bat passes at height – recorded from acoustic surveys on wind masts – and bat fatalities strongly supports that activity estimates from wind masts are appropriate for wind turbine impact assessments.

      PubDate: 2017-09-26T00:33:36Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.09.002
      Issue No: Vol. 215 (2017)
       
  • Vertebrate diversity benefiting from carrion provided by pumas and other
           subordinate, apex felids
    • Authors: L. Mark Elbroch; Connor O'Malley; Michelle Peziol; Howard B. Quigley
      Pages: 123 - 131
      Abstract: Publication date: November 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 215
      Author(s): L. Mark Elbroch, Connor O'Malley, Michelle Peziol, Howard B. Quigley
      Carrion promotes biodiversity and ecosystem stability, and large carnivores provide this resource throughout the year. In particular, apex felids subordinate to other carnivores contribute more carrion to ecological communities than other predators. We measured vertebrate scavenger diversity at puma (Puma concolor) kills in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and utilized a model-comparison approach to determine what variables influenced scavenger diversity (Shannon's H) at carcasses. We documented the highest vertebrate scavenger diversity of any study to date (39 birds and mammals). Scavengers represented 10.9% of local birds and 28.3% of local mammals, emphasizing the diversity of food-web vectors supported by pumas, and the positive contributions of pumas and potentially other subordinate, apex felids to ecological stability. Scavenger diversity at carcasses was most influenced by the length of time the carcass was sampled, and the biological variables, temperature and prey weight. Nevertheless, diversity was relatively consistent across carcasses. We also identified six additional stalk-and-ambush carnivores weighing >20kg, that feed on prey larger than themselves, and are subordinate to other predators. Together with pumas, these seven felids may provide distinctive ecological functions through their disproportionate production of carrion and subsequent contributions to biodiversity. We urge conservation managers to increase support for these species, as a means of prioritizing resources to best ensure the persistence of carrion in natural systems.

      PubDate: 2017-09-26T00:33:36Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.08.026
      Issue No: Vol. 215 (2017)
       
  • Conservation potential of apex predator tourism
    • Authors: Catherine Macdonald; Austin J. Gallagher; Adam Barnett; Juerg Brunnschweiler; David S. Shiffman; Neil Hammerschlag
      Pages: 132 - 141
      Abstract: Publication date: November 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 215
      Author(s): Catherine Macdonald, Austin J. Gallagher, Adam Barnett, Juerg Brunnschweiler, David S. Shiffman, Neil Hammerschlag
      In recent decades, public interest in apex predators has led to the creation and expansion of predator-focused wildlife tourism. As wildlife tourism has become an increasing topic of study for both social and biological scientists, researchers have debated whether these activities serve conservation goals by providing non-consumptive values for wildlife. Discussion of predator tourism requires additional recognition of predator-specific biological and ecological characteristics, consideration of human safety concerns, and mitigation of human-wildlife conflict. By reviewing tourism activities centered on both aquatic and terrestrial predators from diverse taxa (sharks, crocodiles, and big cats), we evaluate the potential benefits and conservation challenges associated with predator tourism. Our review suggests that positive conservation outcomes are possible, but not assured given historical, cultural, and ecological complexities. We explore some of the factors which determine whether tourism contributes to conservation outcomes, including (1) effective protection of animals and habitats, (2) avoidance and mitigation of human-wildlife conflict, (3) quality of associated educational interpretation and outreach, (4) collaboration with local stakeholders, and (5) use of generated funds to advance conservation goals. Our findings suggest tourism is most likely to support predator conservation and/or recovery when the industry has both public and political support and under conditions of effective regulation focused on management, monitoring and enforcement by local, national, and international bodies.

      PubDate: 2017-09-26T00:33:36Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.07.013
      Issue No: Vol. 215 (2017)
       
  • Projecting the performance of conservation interventions
    • Authors: Elizabeth A. Law; Paul J. Ferraro; Peter Arcese; Brett A. Bryan; Katrina Davis; Ascelin Gordon; Matthew H. Holden; Gwenllian Iacona; Raymundo Marcos Martinez; Clive A. McAlpine; Jonathan R. Rhodes; Jocelyne S. Sze; Kerrie A. Wilson
      Pages: 142 - 151
      Abstract: Publication date: November 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 215
      Author(s): Elizabeth A. Law, Paul J. Ferraro, Peter Arcese, Brett A. Bryan, Katrina Davis, Ascelin Gordon, Matthew H. Holden, Gwenllian Iacona, Raymundo Marcos Martinez, Clive A. McAlpine, Jonathan R. Rhodes, Jocelyne S. Sze, Kerrie A. Wilson
      Successful decision-making for environmental management requires evidence of the performance and efficacy of proposed conservation interventions. Projecting the future impacts of prospective conservation policies and programs is challenging due to a range of complex ecological, economic, social and ethical factors, and in particular the need to extrapolate models to novel contexts. Yet many extrapolation techniques currently employed are limited by unfounded assumptions of causality and a reliance on potentially biased inferences drawn from limited data. We show how these restrictions can be overcome by established and emerging techniques from causal inference, scenario analysis, systematic review, expert elicitation, and global sensitivity analysis. These technical advances provide avenues to untangle cause from correlation, evaluate and transfer models between contexts, characterize uncertainty, and address imperfect data. With more rigorous projections of prospective performance of interventions, scientists can deliver policy and program advice that is more scientifically credible.

      PubDate: 2017-09-26T00:33:36Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.08.029
      Issue No: Vol. 215 (2017)
       
  • Preliminary assessment of ecosystem risk based on IUCN criteria in a
           hierarchy of spatial domains: A case study in Southwestern China
    • Authors: Jianbo Tan; Ainong Li; Guangbin Lei; Jinhu Bian; Guoke Chen; Keping Ma
      Pages: 152 - 161
      Abstract: Publication date: November 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 215
      Author(s): Jianbo Tan, Ainong Li, Guangbin Lei, Jinhu Bian, Guoke Chen, Keping Ma
      World ecosystems are suffering great losses from anthropogenic and natural pressures. To meet the demand of ecosystem-level risk assessment for biodiversity conservation, the IUCN has adopted a global standard to assess the risk to ecosystems. The IUCN Red List of Ecosystems (IUCN RLE) is a growing tool to raise the public awareness of ecosystem conservation and provide reasonable strategies to managers. As for managing ecosystems with the RLE, the spatial information of degraded patches is important for the efficient allocation of conservation resources. In this paper, a method for assessment across hierarchy of spatial domains was designed to provide spatial information for the IUCN RLE. 105 natural ecosystems of vegetation in Southwestern China were systematically assessed at the hierarchy of spatial domains. According to the results, the declining distributions of most ecosystems have slowed down recently due to protection policies. All vegetative ecosystems containing nationally protected species are threatened, supporting the robustness of this protocol. Limited distributions and degradation in area are the key risk to threatened ecosystems, as threatened ecosystems account for only 1.55% of the total area and the mean of its degradation in area is almost 45%. With the assessment in the hierarchy of spatial domains, the IUCN RLE was featured with spatial information of degraded patches. The hierarchical assessment markedly improved the practical applications of RLE and led to an efficient allocation of conservation resources. The scale effect of hierarchical assessment was significant and the representativeness of ecosystems in systematic assessments is extremely valuable.

      PubDate: 2017-09-26T00:33:36Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.09.011
      Issue No: Vol. 215 (2017)
       
  • Conservation aquaculture: Shifting the narrative and paradigm of
           aquaculture's role in resource management
    • Authors: Halley E. Froehlich; Rebecca R. Gentry; Benjamin S. Halpern
      Pages: 162 - 168
      Abstract: Publication date: November 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 215
      Author(s): Halley E. Froehlich, Rebecca R. Gentry, Benjamin S. Halpern
      In the 21st century, aquaculture is generally characterized as a foe to conservation efforts. Yet, much has changed in the two seemingly disparate practices over the last two decades, motivating an updated evaluation of the scientific evidence for how aquaculture currently impacts conservation, as well as prospects for further alignment and research. Here we present a new perspective on conservation aquaculture, which we redefine as “the use of human cultivation of an aquatic organism for the planned management and protection of a natural resource.” Looking across scales of conservation aquaculture that include single species to ecosystem level benefits (and limitations), we highlight ways aquaculture has historically, and is currently being integrated into conservation (e.g., habitat restoration of oyster beds) and areas that could be improved for the protection of critical species and habitats (e.g., aquarium trade of coral reef species). With a more strategic focus, there appears to be notable conservation aquaculture potential via the cultivation of species for harvest that could provide wild harvest alleviation through replacement or supplement – particularly for over-exploited species – and/or ecosystem services, such as improved water quality and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Given that aquaculture is the fastest growing food industry on the planet, aligning farming practices with conservation objectives is particularly pressing to ensure that growth happens in the service of conservation in the most effective and sustainable way possible. The sheer potential of conservation aquaculture suggests a tale of redemption for aquaculture and opportunity for conservationists to bring in a new age of collaborative practices to address global issues.

      PubDate: 2017-09-26T00:33:36Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.09.012
      Issue No: Vol. 215 (2017)
       
  • Toward functional pollinator abundance and diversity: Comparing policy
           response for neonicotinoid use to demonstrate a need for cautious and
           well-planned policy
    • Authors: Melissa Anne Beryl Vogt
      Pages: 196 - 212
      Abstract: Publication date: November 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 215
      Author(s): Melissa Anne Beryl Vogt
      Functional pollinator abundance and diversity reflects global ecosystem health. Declines imply consequences for ecosystems, food production and human health. While broader objectives away from monoculture conventional agriculture is not addressed smaller scale approaches for land management require analysis to improve pollinator conservation outcomes. Policy response to neonicotinoid use can provide valuable lessons for developing well-informed, cautious and planned policy that encourages pollinator abundance and diversity. Response is inconsistent around the world with harm considered scientifically inconclusive by companies, governments and policy makers, and varied responses reflecting this position. Bans demonstrate how strong precautionary policy can assist pollination conservation despite a multitude of contrasting stakeholder opinions. Approach to implementation of such bans influences longevity and influence on conservation. This article presents findings from analysis of policy response by country to neonicotinoid use and suggests that variation in response be attributed to three non-exclusive areas; translation of research findings – influencing how inconclusive research findings could increase motivation for strong precaution, vested interest and approach to implementation. Scholarly articles and research findings clarifying information available to inform policy decisions are summarised through literature review, organised by key theme of article and additionally-mentioned themes. Meta-analysis of the scholarly articles provides statistical representation of mention rates indicative of how pollinator research is considering multiple stressors, associated or concurrent as contributing to declines. The policy process for neonicotinoid use is suggested as a space for learning where other conservation approaches, including introducing new species becomes relevant for policy.

      PubDate: 2017-09-26T00:33:36Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.09.006
      Issue No: Vol. 215 (2017)
       
  • Bias and perspectives in insect conservation: A European scale analysis
    • Authors: Camila Leandro; Pierre Jay-Robert; Alan Vergnes
      Pages: 213 - 224
      Abstract: Publication date: November 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 215
      Author(s): Camila Leandro, Pierre Jay-Robert, Alan Vergnes
      Insects are among the most diverse and abundant organisms on Earth, and they play a major role in ecosystem functioning. To protect them from decline, some conservation measures have been put in place, based primarily on threatened species lists. This is the case in Europe, where 123 of the 105,000 known European insect species are currently protected. Yet how were these few species selected' Are those species representative of the European entomofauna' Is it possible for a conservation policy based on the protection of only 0.12% of described species to be effective' In this study, we aimed to measure bias in the selection of species for conservation by comparing protected and unprotected species in Europe. To this end, we considered 15 characteristics divided into five main categories: ‘Taxonomy’, ‘Morphology’, ‘Diet’, ‘Knowledge’ and ‘Distribution’. We investigated bias in species selection and found that protected species were significantly larger, better known, more widespread and more multicoloured than a randomly selected set of unprotected species. Moreover, butterflies, dragonflies and grasshoppers were overrepresented, as were nectarivorous and saproxylophagous species. In contrast, Hymenopterans and Dipterans, together representing >40% of European entomofauna, do not appear on the current list of protected species. To address this bias, we propose recommendations to improve the protection of insects at the European scale, including making lists more ‘dynamic’, introducing new criteria, and a paradigm shift towards conserving assemblages and ecological function. Existing technical and societal means could be used to achieve an integrative conservation approach for insects.

      PubDate: 2017-09-26T00:33:36Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.07.033
      Issue No: Vol. 215 (2017)
       
  • Environmental DNA characterization of amphibian communities in the
           Brazilian Atlantic forest: Potential application for conservation of a
           rich and threatened fauna
    • Authors: Thais Sasso; Carla M. Lopes; Alice Valentini; Tony Dejean; Kelly R. Zamudio; Célio F.B. Haddad; Marcio Martins
      Pages: 225 - 232
      Abstract: Publication date: November 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 215
      Author(s): Thais Sasso, Carla M. Lopes, Alice Valentini, Tony Dejean, Kelly R. Zamudio, Célio F.B. Haddad, Marcio Martins
      The Brazilian Atlantic forest is a highly threatened biodiversity hotspot, harboring one of the highest levels of amphibian species richness in the world. Amphibian conservation in Neotropical biomes is critical because freshwater ecosystems typically experience sharp declines in biodiversity before much is known about species that depend on those environments. Environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis is a new approach for monitoring aquatic organisms and provides valuable information on species occurrence in freshwater ecosystems. Here, we assess community diversity in Neotropical streams using eDNA metabarcoding. We compare data from a five-year traditional field survey with results from a short-term eDNA analysis in four streams of the Atlantic forest of southeastern Brazil. We recorded 19 species over 5years using visual-acoustic methods, of which 10 species are associated with the streams during at least one life stage (egg, tadpole or post-metamorphic). We were able to detect nine of the latter species using eDNA metabarcoding from water samples collected over 4days. Amphibian community composition as measured by both methods showed high similarity in three streams, but was not perfect, as eDNA failed to detect known species in a fourth stream. Furthermore, in one stream we detected through eDNA metabarcoding a species (Aplastodiscus eugenioi) found only once during the 5-year traditional survey in that stream. Also, three species (Cycloramphus boraceiensis, Hylodes asper, and Hylodes phyllodes) with the highest dependence on aquatic habitat showed the highest number of positive PCR detections on eDNA samples. Our results showed that eDNA metabarcoding can be a useful tool to assess community diversity in tropical streams, and although not perfect in detection, this method can potentially improve our ability to conserve Neotropical amphibians.

      PubDate: 2017-09-26T00:33:36Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.09.015
      Issue No: Vol. 215 (2017)
       
  • Accounting for ecosystem services in compensating for the costs of
           effective conservation in protected areas
    • Authors: Xiaodong Chen; Frank Lupi; Jianguo Liu
      Pages: 233 - 240
      Abstract: Publication date: November 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 215
      Author(s): Xiaodong Chen, Frank Lupi, Jianguo Liu
      Protected areas are a major approach for conserving ecosystem services globally. Effective conservation in protected areas must integrate human livelihoods into the design and management of conservation. Although ecosystem services can contribute to reducing local people's costs of conservation, exploitation of ecosystem services often results in ecosystem degradation. One important ecosystem service is fuelwood, which is used by >2.5 billion people worldwide. Conservation policy design needs information on the demand for and values of fuelwood that can be extracted without compromising conservation goals of protected areas. We estimated local people's willingness to pay (WTP) for access to fuelwood in China's Wolong Nature Reserve, which is undergoing a net increase in forest area. Forest recovery in Wolong resulted from both the protection of the reserve and conservation under China's Natural Forest Conservation Program (NFCP). The estimated mean WTP for access to fuelwood accounted for about 21% of the payment under the NFCP. Among household characteristics, the cultural practice of cooking pig fodder, for which there were poor substitutes, played a major role in driving the demand for fuelwood. Although fuelwood collection can be prevented through increased conservation payments, fuelwood collection under forest management that fulfills conservation goals of the reserve can substantially reduce the costs of conservation. In addition, many other ecosystem services are also important to local people's livelihoods, and the combined values of different ecosystem services can substantially lower the costs of effective conservation in Wolong and many other protected areas around the world.

      PubDate: 2017-09-26T00:33:36Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.09.013
      Issue No: Vol. 215 (2017)
       
  • Factors associated with bat mortality at wind energy facilities in the
           United States
    • Authors: Maureen Thompson; Julie A. Beston; Matthew Etterson; Jay E. Diffendorfer; Scott R. Loss
      Pages: 241 - 245
      Abstract: Publication date: November 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 215
      Author(s): Maureen Thompson, Julie A. Beston, Matthew Etterson, Jay E. Diffendorfer, Scott R. Loss
      Hundreds of thousands of bats are killed annually by colliding with wind turbines in the U.S., yet little is known about factors causing variation in mortality across wind energy facilities. We conducted a quantitative synthesis of bat collision mortality with wind turbines by reviewing 218 North American studies representing 100 wind energy facilities. This data set, the largest compiled for bats to date, provides further evidence that collision mortality is greatest for migratory tree-roosting species (Hoary Bat [Lasiurus cinereus], Eastern Red Bat [Lasiurus borealis], Silver-haired Bat [Lasionycteris noctivagans]) and from July to October. Based on 40 U.S. studies meeting inclusion criteria and analyzed under a common statistical framework to account for methodological variation, we found support for an inverse relationship between bat mortality and percent grassland cover surrounding wind energy facilities. At a national scale, grassland cover may best reflect openness of the landscape, a factor generally associated with reduced activity and abundance of tree-roosting species that may also reduce turbine collisions. Further representative sampling of wind energy facilities is required to validate this pattern. Ecologically informed placement of wind energy facilities involves multiple considerations, including not only factors associated with bat mortality, but also factors associated with bird collision mortality, indirect habitat-related impacts to all species, and overall ecosystem impacts.

      PubDate: 2017-09-26T00:33:36Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.09.014
      Issue No: Vol. 215 (2017)
       
  • Unexpected genetic composition of a reintroduced carnivore population
    • Authors: Jennifer A. Grauer; Jonathan H. Gilbert; James E. Woodford; Daniel Eklund; Scott Anderson; Jonathan N. Pauli
      Pages: 246 - 253
      Abstract: Publication date: November 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 215
      Author(s): Jennifer A. Grauer, Jonathan H. Gilbert, James E. Woodford, Daniel Eklund, Scott Anderson, Jonathan N. Pauli
      In an attempt to maximize genetic diversity, species reintroductions often target numerous source groups and occur over multiple years. However, the serial introduction of individuals from disparate locations can create unique patterns of genetic structure, with potential implications for demography and population connectivity. To investigate the genetic structure and connectedness of contemporary populations of serially reintroduced American martens (Martes americana) in Wisconsin, we sampled the source populations of Colorado, Minnesota, and Ontario, and the two reintroduction sites within the state. In a relatively small area (~7000km2), we detected six distinct genetic clusters, partitioned according to the original source groups. Source groups exhibited differing degrees of success, with Minnesota and Ontario signatures persisting and Colorado disappearing from the landscape. Two of the genetic clusters had unknown sources not attributable to the reintroduced populations, potentially arising from an early reintroduction attempt or the persistence of a cryptic native population of martens. Limited admixture between clusters was detected, yet we found evidence for the occasional dispersal of martens from each site to the other. Our results suggest that reintroductions can create strong and novel patterns of genetic structure − unseen for this species elsewhere or other vertebrates in the region − across small spatial scales.

      PubDate: 2017-09-26T00:33:36Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.09.016
      Issue No: Vol. 215 (2017)
       
  • Prescribed burning impacts avian diversity and disadvantages
           woodland-specialist birds unless long-unburnt habitat is retained
    • Authors: Thomas A.A. Prowse; Stuart J. Collard; Alice Blackwood; Patrick J. O'Connor; Steven Delean; Megan Barnes; Phillip Cassey; Hugh P. Possingham
      Pages: 268 - 276
      Abstract: Publication date: November 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 215
      Author(s): Thomas A.A. Prowse, Stuart J. Collard, Alice Blackwood, Patrick J. O'Connor, Steven Delean, Megan Barnes, Phillip Cassey, Hugh P. Possingham
      Prescribed burning is a commonly adopted fire-management strategy that attempts to protect human life and assets by removing accumulated, flammable biomass. Heterogeneous burning patterns are often favoured in an attempt to balance fuel-reduction and biodiversity goals under the ‘pyrodiversity begets biodiversity’ paradigm. Using comprehensive spatiotemporal monitoring data, we quantified the impacts of fire on bird assemblages in the peri-urban temperate woodlands of the Mount Lofty Ranges, South Australia, where the frequency of prescribed burning is increasing. After accounting for regional trends and site effects, sites burnt 20years previously accommodated 15% fewer birds than unburnt sites, while sites burnt in the preceding year had 22% fewer birds. Fire also modified bird assemblages, favouring generalists and ground-feeding species. Of 60 species considered, 37% were both declining and negatively impacted by recent burning, while burning reinforced increasing trends in 30% of species, particularly large, common birds (e.g., magpies, ravens, wattlebirds). Simulations of avian alpha-, beta- and gamma-diversity under different fire-management scenarios predicted higher avian diversity for scenarios that retained unburnt woodlands relative to those that managed all sites. Relative to a no-fire scenario, for example, burning sites once every 10years was simulated to reduce the abundance of woodland generalists by 7% and woodland specialists by 10%, while retaining some long-unburnt woodland ameliorated these effects. There is a trade-off between fuel-reduction burning and conservation goals; to maximise avian diversity and avert the replacement of woodland bird species with generalists, fire-management planning should preserve long-unburnt woodland habitat.

      PubDate: 2017-10-04T09:42:20Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.09.005
      Issue No: Vol. 215 (2017)
       
  • Global patterns and determinants of the economic importance of bushmeat
    • Authors: Martin Reinhardt Nielsen; Mariève Pouliot; Henrik Meilby; Carsten Smith-Hall; Arild Angelsen
      Pages: 277 - 287
      Abstract: Publication date: November 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 215
      Author(s): Martin Reinhardt Nielsen, Mariève Pouliot, Henrik Meilby, Carsten Smith-Hall, Arild Angelsen
      Knowledge about the economic role of bushmeat in rural livelihoods mainly stems from small case studies in sites characterised by high hunting intensities, challenging the formation of national-level conservation and development policies. We use the global Poverty Environment Network data to analyse the economic importance of bushmeat to rural households in sites selected with no consideration of the level of bushmeat hunting. Data were gathered from 7978 households in 333 communities across 24 tropical and sub-tropical countries in Latin America, Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. We report prevalence of hunting; absolute bushmeat income (both cash and subsistence income); share of bushmeat income in total household income; and share of bushmeat income obtained in cash. We investigate patterns and determinants of these variables at the community mean level using generalized linear models, focusing on six general hypothesis identified from the literature. Hunting is more prevalent than generally assumed (39%) but contributes less to rural household income than expected (2%) and mainly through own consumption (87%). Bushmeat is more important in smaller and more remote communities, in communities in the middle of the cash income distribution, communities with few domestic animals, in countries characterised by poor governance, and with rising costs of living. We argue that bushmeat is likely to be most important to rural households as a source of protein and micronutrients unavailable through own domestic animal and staple crop production. Wildlife conservation therefore would benefit from policies simultaneously addressing household-level food and nutritional security.

      PubDate: 2017-10-11T17:42:51Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.08.036
      Issue No: Vol. 215 (2017)
       
  • Citizens promote the conservation of flagship species more than ecosystem
           services in wetland restoration
    • Authors: Masayuki Senzaki; Yuichi Yamaura; Yasushi Shoji; Takahiro Kubo; Futoshi Nakamura
      Pages: 1 - 5
      Abstract: Publication date: October 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 214
      Author(s): Masayuki Senzaki, Yuichi Yamaura, Yasushi Shoji, Takahiro Kubo, Futoshi Nakamura
      Assessing the non-market value of biodiversity conservation is crucial to justify it economically. Using a choice experiment on wetland restoration in Hokkaido, northern Japan, we assessed the willingness of citizens to pay for different ecological statuses of a flagship species (absence, occasional occupancy, permanent occupancy, and breeding) and other principal conservation targets (establishment of a birdwatching station and wetland sizes). The results showed that the fundraising potential of the flagship species surpassed those of other conservation targets, irrespective of its ecological status, highlighting the superior publicity generated by charismatic species. We also showed that upgrading ecological status from occupancy to breeding did not result in additional financial support. Our study emphasizes that, although publicizing ecologically important statuses such as breeding is critical for successful conservation efforts, focusing much effort on flagship species rather than other conservation targets may be important to increase the economic value of conservation practices if such species are available.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2017-08-03T09:32:09Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.07.025
      Issue No: Vol. 214 (2017)
       
  • Thirty years of species conservation banking in the U.S.: Comparing policy
           to practice
    • Authors: Maria Jose Carreras Gamarra; Theodore P. Toombs
      Pages: 6 - 12
      Abstract: Publication date: October 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 214
      Author(s): Maria Jose Carreras Gamarra, Theodore P. Toombs
      Thirteen years after the release of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service “Guidance for the establishment, use, and operation of conservation banks”, a draft “Endangered Species Act Compensatory Mitigation Policy” has been released. Understanding whether this draft Policy improves the existing Guidance and incorporates lessons learned requires a review of the practices of currently approved banks. We assess the practices that species conservation banks report, compare them with the 2003 Guidance and international biodiversity offset principles, and assess the degree to which the draft Policy advances conservation banking policy. Results show that banks have generally been well aligned to the recommendations of the 2003 Guidance, but fall significantly short when compared to the analyzed offset principles. Although the draft Policy significantly advances conservation banking policy, future policy updates that provide clear minimum standards on accounting methods, estimation of counterfactual scenarios and monitoring practices are still necessary, together with a greater transparency through reporting and the adoption of new methods and tools to meet the no net loss/net benefit goal.

      PubDate: 2017-09-19T20:30:58Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.07.021
      Issue No: Vol. 214 (2017)
       
  • Effects of roads and roadside fencing on movements, space use, and
           carapace temperatures of a threatened tortoise
    • Authors: J. Mark Peaden; A. Justin Nowakowski; Tracey D. Tuberville; Kurt A. Buhlmann; Brian D. Todd
      Pages: 13 - 22
      Abstract: Publication date: October 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 214
      Author(s): J. Mark Peaden, A. Justin Nowakowski, Tracey D. Tuberville, Kurt A. Buhlmann, Brian D. Todd
      Roads are widespread features of many landscapes that can negatively affect wildlife, most notably through animal-vehicle collisions. Roadside fencing has increasingly been installed to help eliminate this source of mortality. While fencing may reduce road mortality, other types of wildlife responses to this novel barrier are not well understood. Here, we examined the movement behavior, space use, and carapace temperatures of Mojave Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) as they interacted with a roadside fence and an unfenced road. Using GPS loggers, we tracked tortoise movements for two years at 15-min intervals. We found that carapace temperatures were greater near structures (fence or unfenced road) than away from structures; tortoises near the unfenced road had higher mean carapace temperatures, but tortoises along the fence experienced more extreme upper temperatures that approached the species' thermal limit. Movement speeds were also higher along the structures than away from them. Tortoise home range sizes decreased with proximity to the fence or road; fragmentation of home ranges and road-crossing avoidance may have contributed to smaller home ranges along the fenced and unfenced road, respectively. While tortoises crossed the road significantly less than expected by chance, they did so primarily in May and July and in areas with washes, indicating that placement of roadside fencing and animal underpasses could be optimized by targeting areas where roads intersect washes. Taken together, our results suggest that roadside fencing can affect behavior, space use, and thermal ecology of tortoises, which may require refinements to future conservation strategies involving roadside fencing.

      PubDate: 2017-09-02T13:40:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.07.022
      Issue No: Vol. 214 (2017)
       
  • Monitoring the biodiversity of regions: Key principles and possible
           pitfalls
    • Authors: S.T. Buckland; A. Johnston
      Pages: 23 - 34
      Abstract: Publication date: October 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 214
      Author(s): S.T. Buckland, A. Johnston
      Through the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) 2010 and 2020 biodiversity targets, nations committed to reducing the rate of loss of biodiversity. This requires calculating the biodiversity trends in nations, whereas previously, most academic research on quantifying biodiversity concerned communities within relatively small sites. We consider design and analysis issues that CBD targets raise and explore the potential pitfalls for managers of monitoring schemes when statistical principles yield to practical constraints. We list five main criteria that well-designed monitoring programmes should meet: representative sampling locations, sufficient sample size, sufficient detections of target species, a representative sample of species, and a sound temporal sampling scheme. We examine the implications of biodiversity assessments that fail to meet these criteria and suggest ways to alleviate these implications through analytical approaches. We discuss the remarkable potential for wide-scale biodiversity monitoring offered by technological advances and by the rise of citizen science.

      PubDate: 2017-09-02T13:40:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.07.034
      Issue No: Vol. 214 (2017)
       
  • Towards a biodiversity offsetting approach for coastal land reclamation:
           Coastal management implications
    • Authors: Shuling Yu; Baoshan Cui; Philip Gibbons; Jiaguo Yan; Xu Ma; Tian Xie; Guoxiang Song; Yuxuan Zou; Xiaojing Shao
      Pages: 35 - 45
      Abstract: Publication date: October 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 214
      Author(s): Shuling Yu, Baoshan Cui, Philip Gibbons, Jiaguo Yan, Xu Ma, Tian Xie, Guoxiang Song, Yuxuan Zou, Xiaojing Shao
      Reclamation of coastal wetlands has a major impact on biodiversity globally. However, important questions remain regarding biodiversity offsets to such anthropogenic modifications. Generally, while formal and accurate quantifications of the residual impacts from development and the gain from offsets are essential, they are usually designated on an arbitrary score. Particularly, a general baseline with uncertainties defined across a dynamic scope has rarely been reported. In this study, a mathematical model was developed to quantify the loss from coastal land reclamation and gain from offsets. It considered the correlation between biodiversity effect size and reclamation, and the risk of failure in restoration based on the offset ratios theory, to determine the optimal amount of offsetting by calculating the biodiversity ratios between damaged and compensated habitat areas. The Yellow River Delta in China was used as a case study. Fuzzy sets or discrete intervals of references were used as the baseline. Minimum offset ratios were calculated for different baselines and values of counterfactual scenarios accounting for time lags for different types of coastal land reclamation. Therefore, no net loss was feasible when biodiversity could be compensated within the offset delay time. In this study, unlike previous methods, designation of an arbitrary score to measure the habitat or biodiversity value was avoided. Instead, this method was based on the change in biodiversity and was grounded in ecological theory. A more science-based approach is proposed, which is supported with a novel formula and existing data sets. These findings will help in the design of biodiversity offsets for coastal land reclamation based on their different impacts on biodiversity. This will inform policy makers about realistic minimal offsetting ratios or offset area requirements accounting for the offsetting delay time, the value of counterfactual scenarios, the correlation between biodiversity effect size and reclamation, the risk of failure in restoration, and the gross quantity of restoration. These results have important implications for the ecological restoration and compensation of coastal wetlands in the face of coastal land reclamation.

      PubDate: 2017-09-02T13:40:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.07.016
      Issue No: Vol. 214 (2017)
       
  • Restoration of riparian systems through clearing of invasive plant species
           improves functional diversity of Odonate assemblages
    • Authors: Rifilwe Victor Modiba; Grant Stuart Joseph; Colleen Lynda Seymour; Paul Fouché; Stefan Hendrik Foord
      Pages: 46 - 54
      Abstract: Publication date: October 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 214
      Author(s): Rifilwe Victor Modiba, Grant Stuart Joseph, Colleen Lynda Seymour, Paul Fouché, Stefan Hendrik Foord
      Riparian systems are threatened globally, but contribute disproportionately to biodiversity and ecosystem function. Restoration to reverse their loss is costly, and requires careful monitoring and evaluation. Odonates are amongst the most reliable arthropod bio-indicators for monitoring riparian ecosystems. Despite functional diversity (FD) reflecting ecosystem pattern and processes better than taxonomic diversity, Odonate FD has yet to be used in evaluating riparian conservation and restoration outcomes. We surveyed 45 sites across six river-systems in northeastern South Africa, to compare Odonate FD and standardised effect size of Odonate FD (sesFD) in riparian systems that had been invaded by alien plants, cleared of alien invasives, and sites that had never been invaded (15 sites each). Although species richness did not differ between treatments, Odonate sesFD was lower in invaded sites than those that had been cleared of alien riparian vegetation and those that had never been invaded. Clearance of 40% of alien riparian vegetation was associated with sesFD greater than that of invaded sites by almost two standard deviations. Representation of traits varied between treatments but was similar between cleared and natural sites, suggesting that invasion by alien plants directly impacts food webs, and that clearance can restore ecosystem processes and ecological services. This study confirms that Odonate FD can respond to restoration efforts. Secondary impacts of restoration to complete suites of functional groups can be anticipated to enhance ecological services and impact food webs at a range of scales.

      PubDate: 2017-09-19T20:30:58Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.07.031
      Issue No: Vol. 214 (2017)
       
  • Non-random lizard extinctions in land-bridge Amazonian forest islands
           after 28years of isolation
    • Authors: Ana Filipa Palmeirim; Marcus Vinícius Vieira; Carlos A. Peres
      Pages: 55 - 65
      Abstract: Publication date: October 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 214
      Author(s): Ana Filipa Palmeirim, Marcus Vinícius Vieira, Carlos A. Peres
      Major hydropower infrastructure has become a leading driver of biodiversity loss in the lowland tropics. Terrestrial species typically become stranded in post-isolation land-bridge islands within hydroelectric reservoirs. Understanding the resulting extinction dynamics of insular communities is critical to inform, if not to avert, the ongoing blitzkrieg of dam development. Here we assess the effects of forest patch and landscape metrics on diurnal lizard species richness and composition within the Balbina Hydroelectric Dam and surrounding areas in the Central Brazilian Amazon. This 28-yr-old dam created a reservoir of ~4438km2, comprising 3546 islands. We sampled 25 of these islands (0.83–1466ha) and five mainland continuous forest sites, one of which placed along stream banks. We further related morpho-ecological traits and the geographic distribution of lizard species to the spatial metrics of islands where they occurred. Using 100L-pitfall traps operated over 5447 trap-days, we recorded 1123 lizards from 17 taxa, two of which exclusively found along stream banks within continuous forest. Island area was the best predictor of species richness and composition. Small islands (≤2ha) harboured fewer than a third of all species typically observed in larger islands and continuous forest (≥8 species), and only islands ≥100ha retained nearly complete lizard faunas. Lizard assemblages inhabiting small, isolated islands consisted almost exclusively of an oversimplified set of widely distributed, large-bodied, habitat generalist, heliophile species associated with open areas and forest edges, and that feed on a wide spectrum of prey sizes. These wholesale changes in lizard community structure were characterized by severe losses in functional traits, and may profoundly affect ecosystem functioning.

      PubDate: 2017-09-02T13:40:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.08.002
      Issue No: Vol. 214 (2017)
       
  • Regional connectivity for recolonizing American black bears (Ursus
           americanus) in southcentral USA
    • Authors: M.G. Gantchoff; J.L. Belant
      Pages: 66 - 75
      Abstract: Publication date: October 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 214
      Author(s): M.G. Gantchoff, J.L. Belant
      Landscape connectivity is vital for species conservation in human-modified landscapes, lessening population declines and genetic depression caused by habitat loss and fragmentation. We used concepts from electronic circuit theory to identify potential areas for American black bears (Ursus americanus) that facilitate connectivity between key federally protected areas, determined if black bears used higher quality habitat than available, and examined their distribution relative to human disturbance. We developed a regional (Mississippi, Louisiana, eastern Texas, Arkansas, and Missouri, USA) model estimating landscape resistance to movement using GIS-based features considered to affect black bear space use: land cover type, distance to major rivers, road density, and highway presence. We selected national forests and national wildlife refuges as patches among which to model potential movement. Using citizen-reported black bear sightings from Mississippi and Missouri, we evaluated land cover selection at fine and coarse scales, and validated our model comparing current density between bear sightings and random locations. Black bear sightings occurred in areas of higher current density compared to random locations (p <0.001), suggesting our connectivity model had good performance for characterizing areas bears will use at a coarse scale. However, black bears did not always choose high quality habitat for movement at a coarse scale, and avoided areas of human disturbance at a finer spatial scale. Contiguous forested areas outside protected areas and riparian corridors along major rivers were identified as most likely to facilitate connectivity. The relative importance of protected areas in maintaining regional connectivity was influenced by size, location, and amount of forest cover. Highways appeared as semi-permeable barriers to movement that intersected several connectivity pinch points. Management to maintain or improve connectivity in identified high connectivity areas, including forest retention, preservation of riparian buffers, and highway mitigation techniques at pinch points, may facilitate black bear recolonization and aid broader conservation objectives.

      PubDate: 2017-09-02T13:40:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.07.023
      Issue No: Vol. 214 (2017)
       
  • A guide for ecologists: Detecting the role of disease in faunal declines
           and managing population recovery
    • Authors: Noel D. Preece; Sandra E. Abell; Laura Grogan; Adrian Wayne; Lee F. Skerratt; Penny van Oosterzee; Amy L. Shima; Peter Daszak; Hume Field; Andrea Reiss; Lee Berger; Tasmin L. Rymer; Diana O. Fisher; Michael J. Lawes; Susan G. Laurance; Hamish McCallum; Carol Esson; Jon H. Epstein
      Pages: 136 - 146
      Abstract: Publication date: October 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 214
      Author(s): Noel D. Preece, Sandra E. Abell, Laura Grogan, Adrian Wayne, Lee F. Skerratt, Penny van Oosterzee, Amy L. Shima, Peter Daszak, Hume Field, Andrea Reiss, Lee Berger, Tasmin L. Rymer, Diana O. Fisher, Michael J. Lawes, Susan G. Laurance, Hamish McCallum, Carol Esson, Jon H. Epstein
      Biodiversity is declining at an alarming rate, especially among vertebrates. Disease is commonly ignored or dismissed in investigations of wildlife declines, partly because there is often little or no obvious clinical evidence of illness. We argue that disease has the potential to cause many species declines and extinctions and that there is mounting evidence that this is a more important cause of declines than has been appreciated. We summarise case studies of diseases that have affected wildlife to the point of extinction and bring together the experiences of wildlife managers, veterinarians, epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists, zoologists and ecologists to provide an investigation framework to help ecologists and wildlife managers address disease as a factor in wildlife declines. Catastrophic declines of wildlife may be the result of single or multiple synergistic causes, and disease should always be one factor under consideration, unless proven otherwise. In a rapidly changing world where emerging infectious diseases have become increasingly common, the need to consider diseases has never been more important.

      PubDate: 2017-09-02T13:40:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.08.014
      Issue No: Vol. 214 (2017)
       
  • Wild pathways of inclusive conservation
    • Authors: Martyn Murray
      Pages: 206 - 212
      Abstract: Publication date: October 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 214
      Author(s): Martyn Murray
      Despite growing popularity rewilding has yet to make significant inroads within the conservation mainstream which currently embraces the biodiversity and economic narratives; some ecologists dismiss it as being little more than a rebranding of ecosystem rehabilitation. If it is to gain greater influence over policy and planning, rewilding will need to showcase the unique contribution of wild values to society and demonstrate how they may be integrated with other conservation narratives. In this perspective, I frame a wild revival strategy in four interrelated questions: What do we mean by the wild' Why should humans pursue wild-life conservation' If they do, what pathways to the wild may be pursued' What kinds of outcomes result from different conservation strategies' In answering these questions, eight strategic pathways are presented which elucidate both the wild values of nature and different ways in which the wild can be enhanced, ranging from rehabilitation of vermin to ecosystem restoration. Wild ecosystems are more dynamic with greater biological expression; dewilded ones are either degraded or, paradoxically, more highly managed. The pathways provide a framework for resolving conflicts between multiple conservation narratives by facilitating agreement at the level of specific conservation actions.

      PubDate: 2017-09-02T13:40:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.08.028
      Issue No: Vol. 214 (2017)
       
  • Floodplain habitat is disproportionately important for bats in a large
           river basin
    • Authors: Rachel V. Blakey; Brad S. Law; Richard T. Kingsford; Jakub Stoklosa
      Pages: 40 - 51
      Abstract: Publication date: November 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 215
      Author(s): Rachel V. Blakey, Richard T. Kingsford, Brad S. Law, Jakub Stoklosa
      Floodplain ecosystems across the world have declined with river regulation and floodplain development, reducing flood frequency and extent and fragmenting flood-dependent vegetation. There is growing evidence that these changes to flooding disproportionately affect terrestrial taxa, such as bats. We compared bat activity and insect abundance across the floodplain mosaic (river, lake, vegetated wetland, floodplain forest, floodplain woodland) representing decreasing flooding histories, and two dry habitats (dry vegetation, agricultural). We replicated these habitats in each of six floodplain systems of the Murray-Darling Basin, a large semi-arid river basin (1,042,730km2) in south-eastern Australia. Our sites were spread across >400,000km2, traversing climatic and hydrological gradients. Rivers and lakes with open water and riparian trees had greater total activity (5 times), foraging activity (14 times) and bat richness (1.5 times) than dry vegetation. Activities of all mesic bat species, as well as some widespread and arid-adapted bat species, were positively associated with floodplain habitats when compared with dry vegetation. Lowest overall total activity, foraging activity and richness were observed in dry agricultural (cropping, grazing and fallow) habitats, with two of six threatened species in our study area never recorded in agricultural habitats. Prey abundance was not correlated with bat activity or habitat. The mosaic of floodplain habitats appears to be of disproportionate value for bat communities compared to dominant land covers of agricultural and dry vegetation. Loss of floodplain habitats through continued river regulation and floodplain development are likely reduce diversity and abundance of bats that rely on floodplains for foraging and roosting. Lags in bat roost formation and forest structure mean these changes could take over a century to reverse. To sustain bat communities, we recommend increasing environmental flows to floodplains during the bat lactating season, implementing stronger protection of floodplains from river regulation and floodplain development and where possible, restoring floodplains affected by agriculture into functioning wetlands.

      PubDate: 2017-10-11T17:42:51Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2017.05.038
      Issue No: Vol. 198 (2017)
       
  • Severe decline and partial recovery of a rare butterfly on an active
           military training area
    • Authors: Konstantina Zografou; Mark Swartz Virginia Tilden Erika McKinney Julie Eckenrode
      Abstract: Publication date: December 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 216
      Author(s): Konstantina Zografou, Mark T. Swartz, Virginia P. Tilden, Erika N. McKinney, Julie A. Eckenrode, Brent J. Sewall
      Global patterns of land-use change have led conservationists to rely increasingly on human-dominated landscapes for biodiversity conservation. One set of such landscapes, military training areas, hold promise for conservation as they are widespread and often harbor rare habitat types. However, military training areas are often heavily impacted and are not managed primarily for conservation. We sought to evaluate the effectiveness of a military training area for conservation by assessing the population of an extremely rare butterfly, the eastern regal fritillary (Speyeria idalia idalia), for which the sole viable population is within Fort Indiantown Gap National Guard Training Center in Pennsylvania, USA. Long-term monitoring data exist for this butterfly, but analysis has been complicated by the non-conformity of count data to standard statistical assumptions, the natural history of these butterflies, and challenges inherent to monitoring on a military training area. To address these complications, we used a novel multi-step process with zero-inflated generalized additive mixed models in a Bayesian framework. Data included 23,492 transect walks over 18years. Our results provide the first comprehensive analysis of population trajectories for S. i.idalia, and indicate that after a long decline, populations have increased and, more recently, levelled. Temporal concordance of the increase with the onset of intensive logging and prescribed burning suggests the importance of large-scale, active management efforts. These results further clarify that, with active management of an appropriate scale, even the busiest military training areas can serve as effective sites for conservation. Thus, such areas may be underexploited for biodiversity conservation.

      PubDate: 2017-10-11T17:42:51Z
       
  • Grassland management in agricultural vs. forested landscapes drives
           butterfly and bird diversity
    • Authors: Lunja Ernst; Teja Tscharntke
      Abstract: Publication date: December 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 216
      Author(s): Lunja M. Ernst, Teja Tscharntke, Péter Batáry
      Calcareous grasslands and orchard meadows are among the most species-rich semi-natural habitats in Europe, but they are severely threatened by intensified land use and abandonment. Here, we focus on the effects of management vs. abandonment of these grasslands in agricultural vs. forest-dominated landscapes of Germany. We recorded butterflies and birds and classified them in farmland and woodland species according to their habitat preferences. Species richness and abundance of farmland butterflies were higher on calcareous grasslands than orchard meadows and benefited from forested landscapes in case of orchard meadows. Species richness of woodland butterflies was higher on abandoned than managed grasslands, independent of habitat type and landscape context. Richness and abundance of farmland birds benefited from managed orchard meadows, and were more abundant in agricultural landscapes. On calcareous grasslands, however, the abandonment led to higher richness and abundance of farmland birds. Woodland birds exhibited higher species richness in abandoned than managed grasslands, especially in orchard meadows. Woodland birds and butterflies appeared to be less affected by habitat type, management or landscape context than farmland species. Calcareous grasslands were much more important for butterfly diversity than orchard meadows, but suitability of orchards for butterflies was improved when embedded in forested landscapes. In contrast to butterflies, bird diversity benefited more from orchard meadows than calcareous grasslands, which had higher diversity when management was abandoned. In conclusion, landscape context can shape communities in these two grassland habitat types, so conservation management should consider reserves in both agricultural and forested landscapes and thereby, diversify regional biota.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2017-10-11T17:42:51Z
       
  • Population dynamics of Paeonia officinalis in relation to forest closure:
           From model predictions to practical conservation management
    • Authors: Emilie Andrieu; Besnard Valentine Vaudey Perrine Gauthier John Thompson Max
      Abstract: Publication date: November 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 215
      Author(s): Emilie Andrieu, Aurélien Besnard, Hélène Fréville, Valentine Vaudey, Perrine Gauthier, John D. Thompson, Max Debussche
      In Europe, the abandonment of agricultural activities and traditional forest usages have led to forest spread, which eventually affects the population ecology of open habitat species. This is particularly apparent in the Mediterranean hinterland, which hosts many endemic and/or rare species. In this study we explored the effects of forest spread on the population dynamics of Paeonia officinalis, a long-lived perennial species protected in France. We also simulated the effects of different forest management regimes, by projecting the dynamics of populations under different sylvicultural cycle lengths. From 2003 to 2009, we monitored individual plants in four sites in Southern France, where each population occurs in a woodland and in an adjacent open habitat. We found that forest encroachment negatively impacted population dynamics, manifested by reduced reproduction and germination and a marked stasis of vegetative demographic stages. Using matrix models with demographic and environmental stochasticity, we showed that for two sites, populations were only viable in the open habitat but not in the woodland. In one site, populations were viable both habitats, whereas in one site, populations were non-viable in both habitats. Tree cuttings positively affected the four populations either by increasing population stochastic growth rate or by decreasing extinction rate. However, the effectiveness of forest management depended on local ecological conditions, such as the identity of the dominant tree species (evergreen vs deciduous) and sylvicultural system (coppice vs exotic plantation). Our study highlights the need for of tailor-made rather general management recommendations in perennial plant conservation.

      PubDate: 2017-10-11T17:42:51Z
       
  • Large-scale citizen science improves assessment of risk posed by wind
           farms to bats in southern Scotland
    • Authors: Stuart Newson; Hazel Evans Simon Gillings David Jarrett Robert Raynor
      Abstract: Publication date: November 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 215
      Author(s): Stuart E. Newson, Hazel E. Evans, Simon Gillings, David Jarrett, Robert Raynor, Mark W. Wilson
      Minimising future impacts of wind farm developments on bats requires the identification of areas where new wind farm construction is likely to have the greatest impact. This requires surveys and analyses that are able to deliver a robust understanding of large-scale patterns in species' distributions and abundance. We demonstrate that extensive presence-absence survey data can be collected for bats across a large (>20,000km2) region of southern Scotland using volunteers supplemented with additional fieldworker effort in remote areas. We advocate a survey design that allows data to be collected for all bat species, but provide more focused analyses on three species (Leisler's bat, noctule and Nathusius' pipistrelle) that are currently considered to be at highest risk from wind turbines. We estimate that between 16% and 24% of the regional populations of these three high risk species are exposed to existing and approved wind farms, with 50% of this exposure concentrated at just 10% of wind farms. This emphasises the importance of new wind farm placement to minimise impact on these species. We have stratified the region according to the potential impact on bats of future wind farm development, highlighting those areas in the top 1%, 5% and 10% of risk. We conclude that there is a need for higher quality data of this type in order to inform spatial models of bat distribution and activity. As a minimum standard, researchers working on bats should prioritise the collection and use of presence-absence data with consideration of the underlying survey design and representativeness of the data collected. This can be achieved most cost-effectively by working with the public to develop large-scale acoustic monitoring schemes.

      PubDate: 2017-10-11T17:42:51Z
       
  • Intensive forest management affects bryophyte diversity in the western
           Pyrenean silver fir-beech forests
    • Authors: Vlatka Horvat; Patxi Heras Itziar Idoia Biurrun
      Abstract: Publication date: November 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 215
      Author(s): Vlatka Horvat, Patxi Heras, Itziar García-Mijangos, Idoia Biurrun
      Understanding how bryophytes respond to management gradients in temperate forests is an important issue for their conservation and has major implications for forest management. This is especially true for western Pyrenean silver fir-beech forests, where high bryophyte turnover, as well as species loss, has been reported in the last 30years. This study is the first to explore bryophyte diversity patterns across western Pyrenean silver fir-beech forests with different management intensities. Our specific aims were to determine the main drivers of bryophyte richness and turnover and explore which bryophyte species can be used as indicators of management intensity. The effect of management was assessed on the overall bryophyte diversity as well as on the bryophyte groups based on taxonomy, life cycle strategy, sensitivity to forest management intensity and habitat preference. Bryophyte diversity was analyzed by generalized linear mixed models and multiple regression analysis on distance matrices. The results suggest that bryophyte richness in the Pyrenean forests is decreasing with intensive forest management. The bryophyte richness decrease on highly disturbed stands can be attributed to a loss of suitable microhabitats, such as large trees. Elevational gradient, as a proxy of climatic factors, is also an important driver of bryophyte species richness in the studied area. Long-lived and epiphytic bryophytes decreased on steep slopes. Turnover was driven by elevation and percentage of large gaps, which might be linked with forest management. The results also suggest that Dierssen's classification of bryophytes regarding sensitivity to forest management is not suitable for the evaluation of the effects of forest management in the studied region. Our main recommendation for bryophyte conservation is to avoid intensive forest management and to minimize the forest practices in steep slopes which are prone to soil erosion.

      PubDate: 2017-10-11T17:42:51Z
       
  • Assessing the risk for an obligate scavenger to be dependent on
           predictable feeding sources
    • Authors: Julie Fluhr; Simon Benhamou Louise Riotte-Lambert Olivier Duriez
      Abstract: Publication date: November 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 215
      Author(s): Julie Fluhr, Simon Benhamou, Louise Riotte-Lambert, Olivier Duriez
      For scavenging species that evolved to search for ephemeral and unpredictable resources, supplementary feeding may act as an ecological trap. Increasing food predictability may lead to the emergence of foraging routines liable to make individuals too dependent on human-mediated feeding. Using recent methodologies (Fourier, Wavelet and conditional entropy-based analyses), we investigated the degree of routine movement behaviour in a population of Eurasian Griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) that mostly feed on livestock carrion provided at Supplementary Feeding Stations (SFS). Overall, the levels of routine behaviour were low. Only 10% of the SFS included within an individual's home range were periodically visited for some time, with a period ranging from 1 to 6days. The closer a SFS to the nest and the higher the frequency of food supply, the more likely was a vulture to visit this SFS periodically. Vultures also tended to repeatedly visit some series of SFS more often than expected if they would forage at random, but the levels of routine remained relatively low. Our results suggest that the management of supplementary food through a network of numerous small SFS does not substantially disrupt the natural foraging behaviour of vultures, whereas large, frequently replenished SFS tend to artificially increase their level of routine. We thus recommend managers to preferentially rely on a system of dilution of carcasses across the environment to protect the opportunistic behaviour typical of wild vultures.

      PubDate: 2017-10-11T17:42:51Z
       
  • Thirsty peaks: Drought events drive keystone shrub decline in an oceanic
           island mountain
    • Authors: Miguel Olano; Patricia Brito Luis Miguel Vicente Rozas
      Abstract: Publication date: November 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 215
      Author(s): José Miguel Olano, Patricia Brito, Águeda Mª. González-Rodríguez, José Luis Martín-Esquivel, Miguel García-Hidalgo, Vicente Rozas
      Oceanic islands ecosystems are among the most endangered in the world, as the effects of ongoing climate change may potentially combine with other pre-existing drivers of plant population decline. In the Canary Islands, nitrogen-fixing Teide broom (Spartocytisus supranubius) is a keystone species in the Teide National Park high mountain ecosystem. However, recruitment failure due to introduced herbivores and dieback episodes are decimating its populations. We explored the role of climate as a potential driver of Teide broom mortality. We analyzed annual rings of Teide broom to reconstruct the impact of climate on secondary growth, intrinsic water use efficiency (iWUE) and mortality, and to explore the potential for growth rates and levels of resilience to act as indicators of mortality risk. We found that higher precipitation from October to February improved Teide broom secondary growth, whereas iWUE increased with high July–August temperatures. Extreme drought events in 2001 and 2012 strongly reduced secondary growth and resulted in subsequent plant death. Individuals that subsequently died had lower growth rates, poorer capacity for growth recovery after drought events and marginally higher iWUE than those which survived. More frequent recurrence of extreme drought events in the future would increase the frequency of dieback episodes, and the combination of a decline in mature individuals and lower recruitment rates due to exotic herbivore pressure would mean an uncertain future for the Teide broom. Our results indicate how global change may impact keystone species in protected areas and highlight the need for urgent implementation of proactive conservation policies.

      PubDate: 2017-10-11T17:42:51Z
       
  • Quantifying the effects of an invasive thief ant on the reproductive
           success of rare Hawaiian picture-winged flies
    • Authors: Paul Krushelnycky; Cassandra Ogura-Yamada Kelvin Kanegawa Kenneth Kaneshiro Karl Magnacca
      Abstract: Publication date: November 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 215
      Author(s): Paul D. Krushelnycky, Cassandra S. Ogura-Yamada, Kelvin M. Kanegawa, Kenneth Y. Kaneshiro, Karl N. Magnacca
      Threats to endangered insect species that act independently of those associated with habitat loss are often suspected, but are rarely confirmed or quantified. This may hinder the development of the most effective recovery strategies, which are increasingly needed for listed insects. Since 2006, 14 species of flies within the large, showy Hawaiian picture-winged Drosophila group have been added to the US threatened and endangered species list. Many of these species are thought to be limited by host plant rarity, but also by predation on immature stages by invasive ants. We tested the latter hypothesis with a field experiment involving Drosophila crucigera, a more common surrogate for sympatric endangered species, and the invasive ant Solenopsis papuana, on the island of Oʻahu. We established ant suppression and control plots across three forest sites. Within each plot we placed a host plant branch piece, into which lab-reared flies had oviposited, and subsequently tracked weekly emergence of adults. Numbers of flies that emerged were 2.4 times higher in ant-suppressed plots than in control plots; this 58% reduction in survival from egg to adult in the presence of ants was similar across all three sites. Among plots, numbers of emerged flies exhibited a pattern suggesting that the detrimental effect of ants is density dependent. These results confirm that S. papuana, and possibly other invasive ant species, can strongly impact the reproductive success of Hawaiian picture-winged Drosophila. They also point to several management actions, beyond habitat restoration, that may improve the recovery of these imperiled flies.

      PubDate: 2017-10-11T17:42:51Z
       
  • Evidence of reproductive senescence of released individuals in a
           reinforced bird population
    • Authors: Bacon Yves; Hingrat Alexandre Robert
      Abstract: Publication date: November 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 215
      Author(s): Léo Bacon, Yves Hingrat, Alexandre Robert
      In free-ranging populations, age-dependent variation in fitness related parameters, in particular the pattern of senescence, has major eco-evolutionary implications and potential influence on population dynamics. Despite the recent surge of studies of senescence in the wild, senescence patterns in species for which population dynamics assessments are crucial, such as translocated populations, remain virtually unexplored. Based on a 15-year nest survey of a North-African Houbara bustard population in Morocco, we investigated age variation in the breeding performance of captive-bred females released in the wild. We identified 781 females, from 1 to 10years of age, on 1094 nests. We examined how age influenced nest initiation date, clutch size, egg volume, daily nest survival and daily brood survival, as well as whether age-dependent patterns varied according to environmental conditions. Most breeding parameters exhibited variation, suggesting an increase in breeding performance with age in young females (those from 1 to 3years old). In older females (>7–8years old), the egg volume and clutch size decreased with age, in concordance with expectations from senescence theories and previous empirical results obtained from captive Houbara bustards. Finally, our analysis uncovered a significant interaction between age and the amount of precipitation prior to the breeding season on clutch size, suggesting differential abilities of females of different ages to increase their breeding investment. Our study suggests that life histories in translocated individuals are not affected by translocation protocols and provides insights for implementing age dependencies in population viability assessments.

      PubDate: 2017-10-11T17:42:51Z
       
  • Inside Front Cover - Editorial Board Page
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2017
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 214


      PubDate: 2017-09-19T20:30:58Z
       
 
 
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