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Biological Conservation
Journal Prestige (SJR): 2.397
Citation Impact (citeScore): 5
Number of Followers: 311  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 0006-3207
Published by Elsevier Homepage  [3157 journals]
  • The importance of spatiotemporal fish population dynamics in barrier
           mitigation planning
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 231Author(s): Christina Ioannidou, Jesse R. O’Hanley In this study, we propose a novel framework combining spatially explicit population viability analysis and optimization for prioritizing fish passage barrier mitigation decisions. Our model aims to maximize the equilibrium population size, or alternatively minimize the extinction risk, of a target fish species subject to a budget on the total cost of barrier mitigation. A case study involving a wild coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) population from the Tillamook basin, Oregon, USA is used to illustrate the benefits of our approach. We consider two different spawning adult dispersal patterns, river and reach level homing, as well as straying. Under density dependent population growth, we find that homing behavior type has a significant effect on barrier mitigation decisions. In particular, with reach homing, our model produces virtually the same population sizes as a more traditional barrier prioritization procedure designed to maximize accessible habitat. With river homing, however, we find that it is not necessary to remove all barriers in order to maximize equilibrium population size. Indeed, a stochastic version of our model reveals that removing all barriers actually results in a marginal increase in quasi-extinction risk. We hypothesize that this is due to a population thinning effect of barriers, resulting in a surplus of recruits in areas of low spawner density. Our findings highlights the importance of considering spatiotemporal fish population dynamics in river connectivity restoration planning. By adding greater biological realism, models such as ours can help conservation managers to more strategically allocate limited resources, resulting in both cost savings and improved population status for a focal species.
  • Holidays' Not for all. Eagles have larger home ranges on holidays as a
           consequence of human disturbance
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 231Author(s): Arturo M. Perona, Vicente Urios, Pascual López-López Human-wildlife conflicts are the object of raising concern in conservation biology. People living in urban areas are rapidly increasing worldwide and consequently the temporal pattern of occupation of natural areas for recreation is changing as well, resulting in an ever-increasing concentration of people during weekends and holidays. This is particularly evident in affluent societies, where more recreationists visit natural areas on holidays and weekends, causing disturbance to wildlife in the so-called “weekend effect”. Here, we tested the response to disturbance of 30 Bonelli's eagles tracked by high-frequency GPS/GSM telemetry. We analysed daily home-range size, a measure of changing behaviour that integrates their vital requirements, throughout the annual cycle, considering three different levels (95%, 75% and 50% kernel density estimators). Our results showed that eagles made a higher ranging effort on weekends and holidays throughout the annual cycle. This was particularly evident during the non-breeding period, when larger home-ranges were observed. Higher ranging effort can lead to conservation problems such as extra energy expenditure, hunting interference, and eventually nest and/or territory abandonment, decreasing eagles' fitness. Measures aimed at reducing human-wildlife conflicts including spatio-temporal limitation of leisure activities particularly during the most critical periods (i.e., incubation, chick rearing) are urgently needed. Finally, where possible, high quality information of animal movement should be incorporated into conservation plans in order to delineate efficient spatially-explicit management measures.
  • Converting arable land into flowering fields changes functional and
           phylogenetic community structure in ground beetles
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 231Author(s): D. Baulechner, T. Diekötter, V. Wolters, F. Jauker Agri-environmental schemes aim to promote biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. However, knowledge about the impact of these measures on diversity components beyond species richness, especially for non-target species and their ecological functions, is still very poor. Here, we investigated the response of ground beetle communities to the conversion of arable land into flowering fields, which are primarily installed to counteract pollinator loss in agricultural landscapes. We are focusing on the relationship between biodiversity components and the evolutionary relationship among functional groups.Land-use conversion from arable land to flowering fields has changed the phylogenetic community composition of ground beetles towards a phylogenetically clustered community. This is due to an increase in closely related medium-sized herbivorous species and a decrease in evolutionarily distinct small carnivorous species. Phylogenetic clustering did not result in a reduction of functional richness, but it increased the number of unique trait combinations of species within the local communities. This suggests a low ecological redundancy among herbivorous species. Because species richness, functional richness and phylogenetic diversity were unaffected by conversion, phylogenetic community structuring was predominantly driven by species turnover rather than by numerical changes.Flowering fields can act as refuges for herbivorous carabids that potentially affect the surrounding agricultural landscape by providing important ecosystem services such as weed control. To understand the impact of habitat transformation on carabid biodiversity, it was more informative to relate response traits to phylogenic and functional diversity than to use single diversity measures such as species richness. This conclusion might also apply to many other taxa.
  • Climate change, grazing, and collecting accelerate habitat contraction in
           an endangered primate
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 231Author(s): Xumao Zhao, Baoping Ren, Dayong Li, Paul A. Garber, Pingfen Zhu, Zuofu Xiang, Cyril C. Grueter, Zhijin Liu, Ming Li Correlational models are widely used to predict changes in species' distribution, but generally have failed to address the comprehensive effects of anthropogenic activities, climate change, habitat connectivity and gene flow on wildlife sustainability. Here, we used integrated approaches (MAXENT model, circuit model and genetic analysis) to assess and predict the effects of climate change and anthropogenic activities on the distribution, habitat connectivity, and genetic diversity of an endangered primate, Rhinopithecus bieti, from 2000 to 2050. We created six scenarios: climatic factors only (scenario-a), anthropogenic activities only (scenario-b), climatic factors and anthropogenic activities (scenario-c), plus three additional scenarios that included climatic factors and anthropogenic activities but controlled for individual anthropogenic activities (scenario-d: grazing, scenario-e: collecting, and scenario-f: grazing and collecting). The results indicate that areas of suitable habitat for R. bieti are expected to decline by 8.0%–22.4% from 2000 to 2050, with the collection of local forest products and the grazing of domesticated cattle as the primary drivers of landscape fragmentation and range contraction. If these anthropogenic activities are strictly controlled, however, the area of suitable habitat is predicted to increase by10.4%–14.3%. We also found that habitats vulnerable to human disturbance were principally located in areas of low habitat connectivity resulting in limited migration opportunities and increased loss of genetic diversity among R. bieti living in these isolated subpopulations. Thus, we suggest that effective management policies to protect this species include prohibiting both livestock grazing and the collecting of forest products. Although our study focuses on a single primate species, the conservation modeling approaches we presented have wide applicability to a broad range of threatened mammalian and avian taxa that currently inhabit a limited geographic range and are affected by anthropogenic activities (e.g. collecting, grazing, hunting), loss of habitat connectivity, reduced genetic diversity, and the effects of climate change.
  • Research priorities for freshwater mussel conservation assessment
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 231Author(s): Noé Ferreira-Rodríguez, Yoshihiro B. Akiyama, Olga V. Aksenova, Rafael Araujo, M. Christopher Barnhart, Yulia V. Bespalaya, Arthur E. Bogan, Ivan N. Bolotov, Prem B. Budha, Cristhian Clavijo, Susan J. Clearwater, Gustavo Darrigran, Van Tu Do, Karel Douda, Elsa Froufe, Clemens Gumpinger, Lennart Henrikson, Chris L. Humphrey, Nathan A. Johnson, Olga Klishko Freshwater mussels are declining globally, and effective conservation requires prioritizing research and actions to identify and mitigate threats impacting mussel species. Conservation priorities vary widely, ranging from preventing imminent extinction to maintaining abundant populations. Here, we develop a portfolio of priority research topics for freshwater mussel conservation assessment. To address these topics, we group research priorities into two categories: intrinsic or extrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors are indicators of organismal or population status, while extrinsic factors encompass environmental variables and threats. An understanding of intrinsic factors is useful in monitoring, and of extrinsic factors are important to understand ongoing and potential impacts on conservation status. This dual approach can guide conservation status assessments prior to the establishment of priority species and implementation of conservation management actions.
  • An evidence-based approach to specifying survey effort in ecological
           assessments of bat activity
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 231Author(s): Suzanne M. Richardson, Paul R. Lintott, David J. Hosken, Fiona Mathews Robust ecological assessments are fundamental for effective wildlife conservation. Owing to the high legal protection of bats, surveys are frequently required as part of ecological assessments. Yet there is uncertainty about the amount of survey effort that should be deployed to facilitate bat protection. Bat activity can be extremely variable, and capturing periods of high activity can be as important as estimating parameters such as the median activity level. However the frequency and intensity of surveys required to capture the required information is unknown. Here we assessed the probability that acoustic surveys of differing durations would detect periods of high activity within a focal site and the importance of a site relative to others in a regional or national context. We randomly subsampled from 660 nights of activity data collected from 33 wind farm sites across Britain. The minimum surveying effort required to classify bat activity accurately varied between species and was dependent on weather conditions. We found that the survey periods required to give reasonable certainty in assessing risk exceeded those currently recommended in Europe. The approach of using bat activity accumulation curves, as described here, is transferrable to other situations where determining surveying effort and risk is necessary to ensure that ecological assessments provide a robust evidence base, whilst minimising the time and expense of surveys.
  • Corrigendum to “A general method for assessing the risks and benefits of
           secrecy in conserving ‘Lazarus species” [Biol. Cons. 203, 186–187]
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 230Author(s): Gerard E. Ryan, Christopher M. Baker
  • Plant-hummingbird interaction networks in urban areas: Generalization and
           the importance of trees with specialized flowers as a nectar resource for
           pollinator conservation
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 230Author(s): Pietro Kiyoshi Maruyama, Camila Bonizário, Amanda Perin Marcon, Giulia D'Angelo, Monique Maianne da Silva, Edvaldo Nunes da Silva Neto, Paulo Eugênio Oliveira, Ivan Sazima, Marlies Sazima, Jeferson Vizentin-Bugoni, Luiz dos Anjos, Ana M. Rui, Oswaldo Marçal Júnior Cities harbour considerable biodiversity and there has been an increased concern about the conservation of pollinators in urban environments. Here, we evaluated how urbanization affects plant-hummingbird interactions at two spatial scales. First, in a medium-sized city from southeastern Brazil (>600,000 inhabitants), we contrasted interaction networks from urban and natural areas, and used artificial nectar feeder stations to evaluate changes in the composition of hummingbird assemblages across an urbanization gradient. Second, we compiled data on six urban plant-hummingbird interaction networks from south and southeastern Brazil to identify the characteristics associated with the most important plants. Locally, urbanization affected hummingbird communities by promoting higher generalization and dominance by more aggressive hummingbirds. Notably, specialized long-billed hermits were absent both in the urban interaction network and at feeder stations from more urbanized areas. Across networks, trees were more important for hummingbirds than shrubs/herbs as were specialized ornithophilous flowers in relation to non-ornithophilous flowers. Plant origin (native or exotic) did not matter. Our results indicate that urban plant-hummingbird communities are organized differently than their counterparts from natural areas, which usually feature key hermits and few trees. Since hermits provide important pollination services, especially for specialized ornithophilous plants, initiatives such as green corridors and preference for native plants with specialized hummingbird-pollinated flowers in urban landscaping may contribute to community restoration and ecosystem functioning.
  • Value-oriented criteria, indicators and targets for conservation and
           production: A multi-party approach to forest management planning
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 230Author(s): Jillian Spies, Tahia Devisscher, Janette Bulkan, James Tansey, Verena C. Griess Criteria and indicator (C&I) frameworks are frequently used for assessing sustainable forest management. Despite their suitability to assess performance, less attention is given to translating them into strategic forest management planning processes and practices that are of cross-cultural compatibility. Such compatibility is particularly relevant in landscape-level plans that involve Indigenous communities, or multiple groups with various interests. Our study addresses this gap by developing targets and compatible practices that can complement C&I suitable for integrating Indigenous forest management goals and timber production interests.The process for developing C&I is informed by values expressed by four Indigenous communities in central British Columbia (BC) through close revision of traditional use studies, land use plans developed by communities, one focus group discussion, and validation of the results by community representatives. The set of targets and compatible forest management practices we propose are based on a precautionary approach and a synthesis of technical studies conducted in BC. The outcomes are suited to inform both stand- and landscape-level forest management planning and can be considered a reference system to monitor change and facilitate the resolution of multiple interests on the land, reconciling holistic Indigenous values and timber production.
  • Drivers of survival in a small mammal of conservation concern: An
           assessment using extensive genetic non-invasive sampling in fragmented
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 230Author(s): António Proença-Ferreira, Clara Ferreira, Inês Leitão, Joana Paupério, Helena Sabino-Marques, Soraia Barbosa, Xavier Lambin, Paulo Célio Alves, Pedro Beja, Francisco Moreira, António Mira, Ricardo Pita Although important to guide conservation management, detailed demographic studies on rare or elusive species inhabiting fragmented, human-dominated landscapes are often hampered by the species' low densities, and the logistic and ethical constraints in obtaining reliable information covering large areas. Genetic non-invasive sampling (gNIS) provides cost-effective access to demographic information, though its application to small mammals is still scarce. We used gNIS to infer on the demography of an endemic small mammal, the Cabrera vole (Microtus cabrerae), occurring as a spatially-structured population in a 462-ha Mediterranean farmland landscape. We intensively sampled fresh vole feces in four seasons, extracted the DNA, and performed individual identification based on genotypes built using nine microsatellites. We then estimated population size and individual survival relative to environmental variables, controlling for heterogeneity in capture probabilities using capture-mark-recapture modelling. Population size increased during the wet season and decreased during the dry season, while survival remained constant across the study period. Individuals captured along road-verges and around water-bodies survived longer than those captured near agricultural fields. The use of gNIS on a heterogeneous landscape such as our study area allowed us to demonstrate that human land-use activities affect Cabrera vole demographic parameters in Mediterranean farmland, with implications for conservation planning towards its long-term persistence. Our approach can be widely applied to other elusive small mammals of conservation concern, but for which informative demographic data are still scarce.
  • At what spatial scale should risk screenings of translocated freshwater
           fishes be undertaken - River basin district or climo-geographic
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 230Author(s): Jennifer A. Dodd, Lorenzo Vilizzi, Colin W. Bean, Phil I. Davison, Gordon H. Copp To inform aquatic conservation policy and management decisions, translocated freshwater fish species, i.e. those native to part but not all of Great Britain (GB), were assessed with the Aquatic Species Invasiveness Screening Kit (AS-ISK) at two spatial levels (River Basin District [RBD] and GB overall), the outcome scores calibrated and analysed to determine the relevance of geographical scale (GB, RBD and freshwater ecoregion) on AS-ISK outcome score rankings. The 16 species assessed received scores that showed limited among-RBD variation, with all but only one species (silver bream Blicca bjoerkna) receiving the same risk ranking across all RBDs for which they were assessed. A trend of increasing AS-ISK score with decreasing RBD latitudinal location was observed, with two species (bleak Alburnus alburnus and tench Tinca tinca) found to have significantly higher AS-ISK scores in west-coast RBDs than in RBDs to the north and east, and one species (bleak Alburnus alburnus) to have significantly higher AS-ISK scores in southern RBDs than in northern RBDs. The Water Framework Directive classification of Scotland was found to be inconsistent with the latitudinal gradients in that country's environmental conditions, which are better reflected in the distinction of northern and southern freshwater ecoregions. The ramifications of these legislative classifications for aquatic conservation are discussed.
  • Proactive conservation of high-value habitat for woodland caribou and
           grizzly bears in the boreal zone of British Columbia, Canada
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 230Author(s): Nobuya Suzuki, Katherine L. Parker Unspoiled wildlands of boreal landscapes provide critical habitats for wildlife. With the increase in resource development across Canada's boreal zone, woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) and grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) are at risk of population declines. We used 4 planning scenarios with variants of these in decision-support software Marxan to allocate potential conservation priority areas for caribou and grizzly bears in boreal wildlands of the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area in northeast British Columbia, Canada. For caribou and grizzly bears across their seasonal habitats, priority areas allocated to preserve connectivity of habitat patches maintained more intact high-value habitats, with moderate opportunity cost for resource development, than those allocated under other scenarios. In winter when high-value habitats of caribou tend to coincide with resource-rich areas, priority areas allocated to preserve areas that are more vulnerable to development maintained more intact high-value habitats with higher opportunity cost (therefore greater adverse economic consequences) than those allocated in areas with lower resource potential. In growing-season (non-winter) habitats of caribou and grizzly bears, allocating priority areas toward either more vulnerable or less vulnerable areas did not substantially affect patch and landscape characteristics of conserved habitats. Priority areas intended to avoid predation risk for caribou were not effective in maintaining intact high-value habitats for caribou in these undeveloped wildlands. Conserving connectivity would best maintain most intact habitats for both species across seasons; conserving habitats most vulnerable to development also would discourage future development outside of the conserved areas in winter habitats of caribou. Findings from these conservation planning scenarios have implications globally to other areas where sensitive species are threatened by pending resource developments.
  • Multi-century periods since fire in an intact woodland landscape favour
           bird species declining in an adjacent agricultural region
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 230Author(s): Carl R. Gosper, Elizabeth Fox, Allan H. Burbidge, Michael D. Craig, Tegan K. Douglas, James A. Fitzsimons, Shapelle McNee, A.O. Nicholls, James O'Connor, Suzanne M. Prober, David M. Watson, Simon J. Watson, Colin J. Yates Habitat modification by fire and habitat loss via anthropogenic vegetation clearance and fragmentation both impact animal populations. Yet, there has been limited investigation as to whether animals that decline under one of these types of habitat change also decline under the other, and how their cumulative impacts affect the status of species and communities. Using a ~400-year chronosequence in the world's largest extant temperate woodland in south-western Australia, we examine how time since fire affects bird community richness, reporting rates and composition, and whether taxa grouped on the basis of responses to vegetation clearance and fragmentation in an adjoining agricultural landscape are associated with either recently-burnt or long-unburnt woodlands. Consistent with substantial changes in vegetation composition and structure after fire in obligate-seeder eucalypt woodlands, woodland bird communities were strongly affected by fire. Species richness and total reporting rates increased with time since fire, and community composition changed across the entire multi-century span of the chronosequence. Woodland birds most negatively impacted by vegetation clearance and fragmentation were strongly associated with long-unburnt woodlands. In a regional south-western Australian context, where extensive vegetation clearance has substantially reduced the range and populations of many woodland bird species, the ability of remaining unfragmented woodlands to support populations of these species will be strongly contingent on appropriate fire management. Specifically, as stand-replacement fires have affected 25–30% of extant woodland over recent decades, management to limit the extent of fire in remaining long-unburnt woodlands would appear a priority for conservation of woodland bird diversity.
  • Collapse of a protector species drives secondary endangerment in waterbird
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 230Author(s): Hannu Pöysä, Esa Lammi, Silvo Pöysä, Veli-Matti Väänänen Interactions and dependence between species can transmit the effects of species declines within and between trophic levels, resulting in secondary endangerments and, in some cases, extinctions. Many mixed-species avian breeding aggregations commonly have a protector species whose aggressive nest defense is used by other species to defend their nests. Disappearance of the protector species may have population demographic consequences on the dependent species. Aggressive nest defense behavior of small colonial gulls, such as the black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus), is used by many waterbird species to gain protection against predators. We used data from 15 local waterbird communities in Finland to study long-term changes and dynamics of breeding numbers of other waterbirds as a response to long-term changes and dynamics of black-headed gull colonies. We found that breeding numbers of many species tracked long-term changes in the size of black-headed gull colonies. This was true even after controlling for a common trend in the size of the black-headed gull colony and the breeding numbers of the other species. The trend-controlled positive temporal association with black-headed gull was relatively stronger in species that nest in similar habitats of a lake as the black-headed gull, and in species that have a more critical conservation status due to drastic population decline. Our results suggest that the overall decline of black-headed gull colonies has resulted in secondary endangerment of many other species in waterbird communities.
  • Regulation of lead fishing weights results in mute swan population
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 230Author(s): Kevin A. Wood, Martin J. Brown, Ruth L. Cromie, Geoff M. Hilton, Conor Mackenzie, Julia L. Newth, Deborah J. Pain, Christopher M. Perrins, Eileen C. Rees Legal regulation of human activities is a key mechanism for alleviating anthropogenic impacts on wildlife populations. Conservationists frequently request the regulation of toxic substances such as lead, which can be harmful to animals even at low levels of exposure. However, without assessments of the effectiveness of legislation, such regulations may be undermined or revoked and opportunities to make amendments to improve the legislation may be missed. Here we carried out a population-level study of the effectiveness of regulating the use of lead. We show that the increase in population size of a charismatic waterbird (the mute swan Cygnus olor) in Great Britain over 39 years was best explained by the regulation of lead fishing weights, rather than by changes in food supplies, habitat quality, or winter temperature. The proportion of individuals dying of lead poisoning dropped following regulation, from 0.34 to 0.06, suggesting that higher survival rates were the demographic driver of increased population size. Legal restriction therefore succeeded in alleviating, although not eliminating, the impact of poisoning on mute swans. Restrictions on the use of toxic substances, and their release into the environment, would provide an effective conservation mechanism for reducing negative effects of human activities on wildlife populations. At a time when many policy makers prefer to rely on voluntary actions or market forces to achieve change, our study highlights that legal regulations on human activities can be an effective means of alleviating anthropogenic impacts on wildlife.
  • Host fish status of native and invasive species for the freshwater mussel
           Anodonta anatina (Linnaeus, 1758)
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 230Author(s): Verena Huber, Juergen Geist The worldwide extinction of species especially affects freshwater ecosystems. Even widespread species like the European freshwater duck mussel Anodonta anatina face population declines in many countries and regions. Due to an obligate parasitic phase in its life cycle, knowledge on host fish use is essential for effective conservation of A. anatina. Therefore, in this study host suitability of ten different fish species (native and invasive to Europe) from four different fish families was tested by simultaneously infesting them with the glochidia of A. anatina. Nine out of ten fish species were identified as suitable hosts, but infestation rates, duration of metamorphosis phase as well as duration and rate of juvenile mussel excystment differed significantly between all host species. The bitterling (Rhodeus amarus) was the only fish species with no juvenile mussel excystment. Surprisingly, one of the tested invasive fish (Ctenopharyngodon idella) turned out to be the second best host for the larvae of A. anatina, suggesting that the general assumption that non-native fishes would be a threat to native mussel populations no longer holds true. Compared to the second native Anodonta species in Europe (Anodonta cygnea), this study revealed that A. anatina had higher infestation rates and rates of juvenile mussels excystment as well as a different host compatibility than A. cygnea. These findings illustrate that species-specific assessments of host suitability form an urgent basis for evidence-based conservation and restoration of freshwater mussel populations and the ecosystem services they provide.
  • Promoting species protection with predictive modelling: Effects of
           habitat, predators and climate on the occurrence of the Siberian flying
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 230Author(s): Maarit Jokinen, Ilpo Hanski, Elina Numminen, Jari Valkama, Vesa Selonen Species distribution models (SDMs) can be used to predict species occurrence and to seek insight into the factors behind observed spatial patterns in occurrence, and thus can be a valuable tool in species conservation. In this study, we used MaxEnt software to explain the occurrence of a protected forest-dwelling species, the Siberian flying squirrel. We produce occurrence maps covering the main distribution area for the species in the European Union. Using an exceptionally extensive presence-absence dataset collected with a standardized method, we evaluated the relative role of predation pressure, climate, and amount of habitat affecting flying squirrel occurrence. We found that regional variation in mean winter temperature had relatively large predictive power for flying squirrel occurrence. In addition, the regional abundance of flying squirrels was partly explained by differences in predation pressure. The results also support the conclusion that areas with older forests and nearby agricultural areas are optimal for the species. Our study shows that multiple factors affect the species' occurrence in large spatial scales. We also conclude that climate is having a large effect on species occurrence, and thus the changing climate has to be taken into account in conservation planning. Our results help conservation managers in targeting surveys and protection measures on various spatial scales, and decision makers in focusing on the factors that drive the species' occurrence. Our results also indicate that we would need additional tools and measures in the EU for achieving a favourable conservation status of those species that occur in commercial forests.
  • Developing a global indicator for Aichi Target 1 by merging online data
           sources to measure biodiversity awareness and engagement
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 230Author(s): Matthew W. Cooper, Enrico Di Minin, Anna Hausmann, Siyu Qin, Aaron J. Schwartz, Ricardo Aleixo Correia Due to the importance of public support in fostering positive outcomes for biodiversity, Aichi Biodiversity Target 1 aims to increase public awareness of the value of biodiversity and actions that help to conserve it. However, indicators for this critical target have historically relied on public-opinion surveys that are time-consuming, geographically restricted, and expensive. Here, we present an alternative approach based on tracking the use of biodiversity-related keywords in 31 different languages in online newspapers, social media, and internet searches to monitor Aichi Target 1 in real-time, at a global scale, and at relatively low cost. By implementing the indicator, we show global patterns associated with spatio-temporal variability in public engagement with biodiversity topics, such as a clear drop in conversations around weekends and biodiversity-related topic congruence across culturally similar countries. Highly divergent scores across platforms for each country highlight the importance of sourcing information from multiple data streams. The data behind this global indicator is visualized and publicly available at and can be used by countries party to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to report on their progress towards meeting Aichi Target 1 to the Secretariat. Continued and expanded monitoring using this indicator will provide further insights for better targeting of public awareness campaigns.
  • High critical forest habitat thresholds of native bird communities in
           Afrotropical agroforestry landscapes
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 230Author(s): Denis Kupsch, Elleni Vendras, Carolina Ocampo-Ariza, Péter Batáry, Francis Njie Motombi, Kadiri Serge Bobo, Matthias Waltert Our knowledge on the relationship between tropical forest cover and biotic communities is still limited. Understanding the relationship between forest cover and bird functional guilds may serve as a valuable tool to assess how much forest is necessary to conserve significant portions of typical forest assemblages. We sampled birds (198 species, 6883 encounters) along a full gradient of deforestation across 4000 km2 of forest-dominated landscapes in Southwest Cameroon and applied multivariate adaptive regression splines to model α-, β- and γ-richness of guilds in relation to forest cover. Overall, β- and γ-richness remained constant above 42% forest cover. However, total α-richness as well as all richness partitions of Guinea-Congo biome-restricted, large-bodied arboreal foliage gleaning, tree nesting, and frugivorous species declined when forest cover was below 74%. Moreover, ant-followers and terrestrial insectivores showed their highest diversity at zero deforestation. In contrast, open-land, granivorous, opportunistic insectivorous and widespread species strongly increased below 42% forest cover. High β-diversity at intermediate deforestation conditions indicate that the sharp decline of original forest bird diversity may only be compensated by habitat and foraging generalists, which benefit from high habitat heterogeneity. Our study implies that Afrotropical forest bird diversity decreases non-linearly with forest loss. Critical habitat thresholds estimated by us at above 70% are much higher than those previously reported and highlight the need to integrate substantial proportions of natural vegetation within wildlife friendly farming schemes.
  • Regional extinction risks for marine bony fishes occurring in the
           Persian/Arabian Gulf
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 230Author(s): Jack R. Buchanan, Gina M. Ralph, Friedhelm Krupp, Heather Harwell, Mohamed Abdallah, Ebrahim Abdulqader, Mohsen Al-Husaini, James M. Bishop, John A. Burt, John H. Choat, Bruce B. Collette, David A. Feary, Stanley A. Hartmann, Yukio Iwatsuki, Farhad Kaymaram, Helen K. Larson, Keiichi Matsuura, Hiroyuki Motomura, Thomas Munroe, Barry Russell The Persian/Arabian Gulf (hereafter, ‘the Gulf’) is an environmentally extreme sea that is being increasingly affected by climate change and anthropogenic stressors, and concern is growing about the future of marine biodiversity in the region. However, identification of species and habitats most in need of conservation is challenging as comprehensive information on species-specific threats and population statuses is lacking. Through application of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List methodology – the global accepted standard for classifying extinction risk at the species level – we evaluated the regional conservation status of 471 species of marine bony fishes in the Gulf. The best estimate of the proportion of regionally threatened marine bony fishes, based on all species for which sufficient data were available for assessment, is 8.2%; this is at least twice the proportion of other regions where such assessments have been undertaken. Primary threats include those related to fisheries and harvesting and those related to coastal development and loss of habitat, impacting 47% and 32% of marine bony fishes, respectively. Such threats are particularly acute in nearshore areas where spatial analyses indicated high species richness. The future of Gulf ecosystems, and the survival of the marine bony fishes, will depend on concerted, collaborative efforts among all Gulf States to develop efficient and effective local and regional marine conservation practices and policies, particularly for species assessed as regionally threatened.
  • Progress of implementation on the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation
           in (2011–2020) China
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 230Author(s): Hai Ren, Haining Qin, Zhiyun Ouyang, Xiangying Wen, Xiaohua Jin, Hong Liu, Hongfang Lu, Hongxiao Liu, Ju Zhou, Yan Zeng, Paul Smith, Peter W. Jackson, Joachim Gratzfeld, Suzanne Sharrock, Haigen Xu, Zhixiang Zhang, Qinfeng Guo, Weibang Sun, Jinshuang Ma, Yonghong Hu Plants are essential resources for the earth and human survival. Many plant species are threatened by human disturbance and are now in danger of extinction. The Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) seeks to halt the continuing loss of plant diversity and species across the globe. China endorsed the GSPC in 2002, and launched a national plant conservation strategy related to the GSPC in 2008. This paper assesses the progress of GSPC implementation in China. The results show that Targets 1, 2, 4, 5, and 7 of the GSPC were achieved in China before 2018, and substantial progress has been made toward meeting Targets 3, 8, 9, 14, and 16 by 2020. Limited progress has been made so far in reaching Targets 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 15. Although GSPC implementation has promoted the conservation and restoration of plant diversity in China, China needs to scale up and accelerate its actions related to conserving and/or restoring on both ecological region and vegetation type dimensions in the long run, including integrated in and ex situ native species recovery programs.
  • Spatial modelling for predicting potential wildlife distributions and
           human impacts in the Dja Forest Reserve, Cameroon
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 230Author(s): Migue Angel Farfán, Alisa Aliaga-Samanez, Jesus Olivero, David Williams, Jef Dupain, Zokoe Guian, John E. Fa Protected areas (PAs) are currently the cornerstones for biodiversity conservation in many regions of the world. Within Africa's moist forest areas, however, numerous PAs are under significant threats from anthropogenic activities. Adequate technical and human resources are required to manage the wildlife within PAs satisfactorily. SMART (Spatial Monitoring And Reporting Tool) software has been developed to aid in fluidly displaying, managing, and reporting on ranger patrol data. These data can be analysed using spatial modelling to inform decision-making. Here we use Favourability Function modelling to generate risk maps from the data gathered on threats (fire, poaching and deforestation) and the presence of Western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla), chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) and African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) in the Dja Forest Reserve (DFR), southern Cameroon. We show that the more favourable areas for the three study species are found within the core of the DFR, particularly for elephant. Favourable areas for fires and deforestation are mostly along the periphery of the reserve, but highly favourable areas for poaching are concentrated in the middle of the reserve, tracking the favourable areas for wildlife. Models such as the ones we use here can provide valuable insights to managers to highlight vulnerable areas within protected areas and guide actions on the ground.
  • How does habitat fragmentation affect biodiversity' A controversial
           question at the core of conservation biology
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 17 January 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Abraham J. Miller-Rushing, Richard B. Primack, Vincent Devictor, Richard T. Corlett, Graeme S. Cumming, Rafael Loyola, Bea Maas, Liba Pejchar
  • Do biodiversity offsets achieve No Net Loss' An evaluation of offsets
           in a French department
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 231Author(s): Lucie Bezombes, Christian Kerbiriou, Thomas Spiegelberger Biodiversity offsetting is a policy approach that compensates for the ecological losses from development projects affecting biodiversity with equivalent gains through offsets, aiming at “No Net Loss” (NNL). Although offsets seem appealing in theory, several concerns have been raised about the difficulties reaching NNL in practice. While most of the discussion about offsets improvement is based on principles and strategies, we evaluated empirical evidence of offsets implemented, both from the procedure files (protected species and wetlands) and field surveys. Our objective was to evaluate whether offsets achieve NNL based on 91 procedure files in the Isère department in France. We identified that necessary data for assessing offsets gains, such as the location and offset sites' initial state, were not available in part (location) or all (initial state) procedure files investigated. We evaluated 59 offsets implemented for 22 development projects and where minimum data for monitoring offsets were available; we surveyed the presence or absence of target species and habitat from the offset site. The type of offsets (restoration, creation or maintenance of target habitat) was one of the characteristics that helped to explain both species and habitat absence, implying offset failure. Based on our analysis, we suggest three principal angles for progressing in NNL achievement: (i) collecting and publishing a set of essential information on offsets, (ii) requiring a management plan for each offset, and (iii) accumulating empirical evidence of offsets failure and success.
  • Exploring relationships between land use intensity, habitat heterogeneity
           and biodiversity to identify and monitor areas of High Nature Value
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 231Author(s): L.C. Maskell, M. Botham, P. Henrys, S. Jarvis, D. Maxwell, D.A. Robinson, C.S. Rowland, G. Siriwardena, S. Smart, J. Skates, E.J. Tebbs, G.M. Tordoff, B.A. Emmett Understanding how species richness is distributed across landscapes and which variables may be used as predictors is important for spatially targeting management interventions. This study uses finely resolved data over a large geographical area to explore relationships between land-use intensity, habitat heterogeneity and species richness of multiple taxa. It aims to identify surrogate landscape metrics, valid for a range of taxa, which can be used to map and monitor High Nature Value farmland (HNV).Results show that variation in species richness is distributed along two axes: land-use intensity and habitat heterogeneity. At low intensity land-use, species rich groups include wetland plants, plant habitat indicators, upland birds and rare invertebrates, whilst richness of other species groups (farmland birds, butterflies, bees) was associated with higher land-use intensity. Habitat heterogeneity (broadleaved woodland connectivity, hedgerows, habitat diversity) was positively related to species richness of many taxa, both generalists (plants, butterflies, bees) and specialists (rare birds, woodland birds, plants, butterflies).The results were used to create maps of HNV farmland. The proportion of semi-natural vegetation is a useful metric for identifying HNV type 1. HNV type 2 (defined as a mosaic of low-intensity habitats and structural elements) is more difficult to predict from surrogate variables, due to complex relationships between biodiversity and habitat heterogeneity and inadequacies of current remotely sensed data.This approach, using fine-scaled field survey data collected at regular intervals, in conjunction with remotely sensed data offers potential for extrapolating modelled results nationally, and importantly, can be used to assess change over time.
  • Does nature experience matter' Why not to care too much about the link
           between nature experience and valuing nature
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 231Author(s): Stijn Neuteleers, Glenn Deliège
  • Increasing the proportion and quality of land under agri-environment
           schemes promotes birds and butterflies at the landscape scale
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 231Author(s): Silvia Zingg, Eva Ritschard, Raphaël Arlettaz, Jean-Yves Humbert The intensification of agricultural practices that Western nations have experienced after World War II has led to an alarming decline in farmland biodiversity. With the aim of stopping and even reversing this decline, agri-environment schemes (AES) have been implemented in many European countries since the 1990s. In Switzerland, farmers are required to manage at least 7% of their land in the form of biodiversity promotion areas (BPA), which are extensively managed, wildlife-friendly farmland habitats such as hay meadows and traditional orchards. We investigated how the occurrence and characteristics of these BPA influence birds and butterflies in the Swiss lowlands. Butterfly species richness and abundance increased by 22% and 60%, respectively, when the proportion of BPA in the landscape increased from 5% to 15%. Likewise, bird species richness increased, but to a lesser extent, with the proportion of BPA in the landscape. For birds, the proportion of BPA characterized by a high ecological quality played a role in promoting both priority-farmland and red-listed species. For both taxonomic groups, the amount and quality of BPA habitats contributed more to species richness than their spatial configuration, connectivity included. This study shows that AES measures implemented at the field scale have positive effects on mobile species that are noticeable at the landscape scale, and that the fraction of AES in the cultivated landscape matters more than their spatial configuration, which has strong implications for designing multi-functional agro-ecosystems.
  • Ground flora recovery in disused pheasant pens is limited and affected by
           pheasant release density
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 January 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Lucy A. Capstick, Rufus B. Sage, Andrew Hoodless The release of large numbers of juvenile pheasants into open-topped release pens in woodlands is a common part of game management in the UK. Previous research has shown this practice modifies the soil conditions and ground flora community of these release pens. However, it is not currently known if and how these changes to soil and ground flora reverse once the pens are no longer used. We compared the soil chemistry, ground flora structure and community composition of disused release pen sites in ancient semi-natural woodlands with paired control sites. Some of the changes seen within release pens in active use persisted in disused pens; soil fertility and cover of species that prefer fertile soils were higher in disused pens, whereas winter green perennials, richness of species of ancient semi-natural woodland and overall species richness were lower. Total species richness and richness of ancient semi-natural woodland plants showed signs of recovery in pens that had been disused for longer than ten years, but this recovery only occurred in pens where ≤1000 pheasants/ha had been released. Pheasant release pens are sometimes relocated within woodland to reduce disease incidence but, as the flora within disused pens does not recover quickly, this practice may cause cumulative habitat damage. We recommend that release pen relocation should be minimised and suggest other management strategies that could reduce the need to relocate pens and increase the floral recovery in disused pens, such as reducing the density of pheasants released.
  • Implications of the shared socioeconomic pathways for tiger (Panthera
    ) conservation
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 231Author(s): Eric W. Sanderson, Jesse Moy, Courtney Rose, Kim Fisher, Bryan Jones, Deborah Balk, Peter Clyne, Dale Miquelle, Joseph Walston Over the last century, numbers of wild tigers (Panthera tigris) have crashed, while human populations have boomed. Here we investigate future trajectories of human population within tiger range through analysis of the shared socio-economic pathways (SSPs). These five pathways describe urban, rural and total population distributions by decade through 2100, based on plausible but contrasting scenarios of economic, education, migration, and urbanization policy. In 2010 approximately 57 million people lived in regions defined as “tiger conservation landscapes” (or TCLs); 8% of sympatric people lived in towns and cities that occupied 4% of tiger range. We show that tigers could share these same geographies with as few as 40 million (30% decline compared to 2010) or as many as 106 million people (an increase of 85%) by 2100. Those populations could be as much as 64%, or as little as 17%, urbanized, depending on the pathway. Urban areas are likely to expand, displacing between 6 and 22% of tiger's current range, depending on how urban growth is managed. Human population density thresholds compatible with tigers vary by region, from 140 persons/km2 in the Indian subcontinent, to 10 persons/km2 in the Russian Far East and northern China. SSP3, a future where nations indulge regional rivalries, would make conservation more difficult, whereas SSP1, with a focus on well-managed urbanization and education, could help relieve pressures. Tigers are a conservation-reliant species and will likely remain so through the 21st century, therefore we suggest coupling continued site-level protection with efforts to develop constituencies for conservation in Asia's burgeoning cities.
  • The response of wild bees to tree cover and rural land use is mediated by
           species' traits
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 231Author(s): Mark A. Hall, Dale G. Nimmo, Saul A. Cunningham, Kenneth Walker, Andrew F. Bennett Worldwide, bees have an important role in ecosystem function and the provision of ecosystem services through their role as pollinators. The diversity of bee species in rural landscapes is influenced by the type of landscape features present, and by land-use and management practices. A key challenge is to understand and predict how species vary across the landscape; and the role of functional traits in determining compositional patterns. We systematically sampled wild bees in four types of landscape feature – open farmland, scattered farmland trees, roadside vegetation and streamside vegetation – in rural landscapes in southern Australia. Landscapes were selected to represent wooded or non-wooded combinations of these site types (e.g. roadside vegetation with or without trees), embedded in farmland with different land-uses (e.g. cropping, grazing). The species richness and abundance of bees was greater at sites containing little or no tree cover; and the cumulative richness of species was greater for tree-less sites than for those with trees. In contrast, species evenness was greatest in wooded site types, indicating these were less dominated by abundant generalist species. Open farmland and treeless roadsides had greater functional diversity (based on species traits) than wooded site types. Strong species trait associations were more numerous with open parts of the landscape, reflecting the greater functional diversity of open site types. These results suggest that a suite of the extant bee fauna can exploit large-scale transformation from former extensively wooded ecosystems to open agricultural landscapes. However, not all species are able to exploit modified landscapes and may disappear with further loss of wooded vegetation. Trait-based approaches provide insight into how changes in landscape pattern affect the bee fauna. Failure to adequately cater for multiple functional groups of bees across all landscape features could mean a substantial loss in species that rely on more natural cover, thus affecting ecosystem function.
  • Reply: Modeling scenarios of population response to roads as a
           conservation risk assessment strategy
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 27 December 2018Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Clara Grilo, Fernando A.S. Pinto, Richard Andrášik, Henrique M. Pereira, Anthony P. Clevenger
  • Important step to understanding the CITES Trade Database: A reply to
           Pavitt et al.
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 24 December 2018Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Michal Berec, Irena Šetlíková The CITES Trade Database aims to be the largest public dataset regarding the wildlife trade in the world, providing data for the monitoring and conservation of taxa. Nevertheless, its use is associated with complications resulting from the aggregation of confidential primary shipment records. An overview of data handling and data utilization methods is provided in light of the new non-public data. Although Pavitt et al. (2018) reported some more detailed insights into data processing, they still did not provide any way to correctly calculate the volume of trade in endangered plant and animal species.
  • Validation data is needed to support modelling in Road Ecology
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 23 December 2018Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Fernando Ascensão, Marcello D'Amico, Rafael Barrientos
  • What is the reality of wildlife trade volume' Understanding CITES
           trade data — A response to Berec et al.
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 23 December 2018Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Aly Pavitt, Ciara Stafford, Oliver Tallowin, Emma Vovk, Becky Price, Sophie Banks, Pablo Sinovas, Kelly Malsch
  • Fifty years of biological conservation
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 21 December 2018Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Robin J. Pakeman, Amanda Bates, Richard T. Corlett, Graeme S. Cumming, David Johns, Lian Pin Koh, Rafael Loyola, Bea Maas, Liba Pejchar, Richard B. Primack, Tracey J. Regan, Robin Roth, Laurent Godet, Danielle Descoteaux, Vincent Devictor
  • Patterns of habitat use by three threatened mammals 10 years after
           reintroduction into a fenced reserve free of introduced predators
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 230Author(s): L.E. Berry, F.A. L' Hotellier, A. Carter, L. Kemp, R.P. Kavanagh, D.A. Roshier Introduced predators are a major driver of global biodiversity loss. Over the last 200 years, the distribution and abundance of critical-weight-range mammals in Australia has declined, with many species now locally extinct or confined to small isolated refuges. From 2004 onwards as part of a major conservation initiative, the Australian Wildlife Conservancy reintroduced three threatened mammal species, the Greater Bilby (Macrotis lagotis), Bridled Nailtail Wallaby (Onychogalea fraenata) and Numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus), into an 8000-hectare area protected by conservation fencing at Scotia Sanctuary in semi-arid New South Wales. Our study examined habitat selection for these species following multiple generations in a fenced area free of introduced predators.We used nocturnal spotlighting and diurnal search transect data collected over a two-year period to identify habitat preferences for these species, a decade after release. We used a Distance Sampling approach to examine differences in detectability between vegetation types, and Chi-Squared tests to identify differences in habitat use relative to availability. We used a Utilization Distribution (UD) analysis to identify how the spatial distribution of habitat affected its usage at Scotia Sanctuary. Habitat use of each species was compared with the results of a study conducted shortly after initial releases.We found that patterns of habitat use for these species differed to those identified following their initial release. We found a strong preference for shrub vegetation communities for all species relative to availability, as well as some variation in habitat preferences between two fenced areas (Stage 1 and Stage 2). The UD analysis revealed patterns of habitat use for one species (Bilby) that were not apparent from Chi-squared analysis, highlighting the importance of considering the spatial heterogeneity and proximity of different vegetation types when identifying species preferences.Our results demonstrate that in the absence of introduced predators these threatened species are able to use all of the vegetation types available, and by altering their habitat use over time, to persist following reintroduction into contemporary contexts within their historic ranges.
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