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Biological Conservation
Journal Prestige (SJR): 2.397
Citation Impact (citeScore): 5
Number of Followers: 321  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 0006-3207
Published by Elsevier Homepage  [3158 journals]
  • Addendum to “Estimating habitat loss due to wind turbine avoidance by
           bats: Implications for European siting guidance” [Biol. Conserv.] 226,
           205–214: Wind turbine impact on bat activity is not driven by siting
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 235Author(s): Kévin Barré, Isabelle Le Viol, Yves Bas, Romain Julliard, Christian Kerbiriou
  • A multicriteria decision making approach to prioritise vascular plants for
           species-based conservation
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 234Author(s): Udayangani Liu, Siobhan Kenney, Elinor Breman, Tiziana Antonella Cossu There is a growing demand for species-based conservation to be strategic and deliver the greatest possible benefits for the money and resources invested. There is no global consensus on what constitutes an important species, but many biodiversity conservation initiatives prioritise the most rare, unique, vulnerable and/or useful as deserving attention. Currently, a wide range of prioritisation methods using varied criteria are available, but it can be difficult for conservation managers to choose the appropriate protocol best suited to their conservation purposes, and to combine the protocols that are available.The prioritisation process proposed here is integrative, adaptable, straightforward and transparent, and open to refinement by interested parties. Based on the availability of taxon level data, from an initial list of 337,137 accepted scientific names, we produced a conservation priority list for 25,025 vascular plant taxa (pteridophytes, gymnosperms and angiosperms) that accounts for their geographic rarity or endemism, taxonomic rarity or uniqueness, vulnerability to extinction and natural capital value by means of a multicriteria decision making approach. This list represents about 4.47% of pteridophyte, 36.12% of gymnosperm and 7.41% of angiosperm global diversity. The list consisted of a high percentage of taxa from South America (30%), Africa (23%) and North America (22%) followed by Asia-Temperate and Europe (each 15%) and Asia-Tropical (14%) with a low percentage from Australasia (6%), the Pacific (5%) and Antarctic (~2%). The occurrence of some taxa was reported from more than one geographic continent.We found 573 taxa (2%) had a high priority status, 21,707 taxa (87%) had a medium priority status and 2745 taxa (11%) had a low priority status for conservation. Results were validated against existing prioritisation schemes with a global or continental focus. The resulting list of plants with priority status along with their geographical distribution patterns should complement, not replace, existing conservation plans. Our method can be used as a rapid and preliminary assessment technique in prioritising vascular plants and has the scope to be used globally across various conservation activities.
  • Integrating Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi) conservation into
           development and restoration planning in Sabah (Borneo)
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 235Author(s): Żaneta Kaszta, Samuel A. Cushman, Andrew J. Hearn, Dawn Burnham, Ewan A. Macdonald, Benoit Goossens, Senthilvel K.S.S. Nathan, David W. Macdonald Changes in land use/cover are the main drivers of global biodiversity loss, and thus tools to evaluate effects of landscape change on biodiversity are crucial. In this study we integrated several methods from landscape ecology and landscape genetics into a GIS-based analytical framework, and evaluated the impacts of development and forest restoration scenarios on landscape connectivity, population dynamics and genetic diversity of Sunda clouded leopard in the Malaysian state of Sabah. We also investigated the separate and interactive effects of changing mortality risk and connectivity. Our study suggested that the current clouded leopard population size is larger (+26%) than the current carrying capacity of the landscape due to time lag effects and extinction debt. Additionally, we predicted that proposed developments in Sabah may decrease landscape connectivity by 23% and, when including the increased mortality risk associated with these developments, result in a 40–63% decrease in population size and substantial reduction in genetic diversity. These negative impacts could be mitigated only to a very limited degree through extensive and targeted forest restoration. Our results suggest that realignment of roads and railways based on resistance to movement, without including mortality risk, might be misleading and may in some cases lead to decrease in population size. We therefore recommend that efforts to optimally plan road and railway locations base the optimization on effects of development on population size, density and distribution rather than solely on population connectivity.
  • Major roads have important negative effects on insectivorous bat activity
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 235Author(s): Fabien Claireau, Yves Bas, Julie Pauwels, Kévin Barré, Nathalie Machon, Benjamin Allegrini, Sébastien J. Puechmaille, Christian Kerbiriou The development of transportation infrastructure has been identified as one of the main pressures on biodiversity. The effects of transport infrastructure are more documented for terrestrial mammals, birds and amphibians than for bats. To assess the impacts of roads on bat activity, we carried out full-night acoustic recordings of bat calls at 306 sampling points at different distances from a major road at three study sites in France. To assess the relationship between bat activity and the distance to the major road, we performed generalized linear mixed model analyses for thirteen different species or groups and additionally explored the non-linear effect with generalized additive mixed models. Our results showed that low-flying species are more affected than high-flying species. Indeed, we found a significant negative effect of major roads on bat activity for the ‘clutter-adapted’ species, Eptesicus serotinus, Myotis spp., Pipistrellus pipistrellus and Rhinolophus hipposideros. These results demonstrate that the road-effect zone of major roads extends up to five kilometres. Extrapolating those road-effects zones to the major roads in the European Union, we estimated that 35% of the European Union is potentially negatively impacted. Finally, it seems urgent to consider these road effects with the cumulative effects of other roads by improving habitat connectivity and foraging areas in land use policies. Additionally, to implement drastic conservation practices for species of conservation concern in environmental impact assessment studies, efficient mitigation and offset measures implemented should be sized proportionally to the disturbance caused.
  • Non-consumptive effects of predation in large terrestrial mammals: Mapping
           our knowledge and revealing the tip of the iceberg
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 235Author(s): Elise Say-Sallaz, Simon Chamaillé-Jammes, Hervé Fritz, Marion Valeix Studies on invertebrates and small vertebrates demonstrated the underappreciated importance of the non-consumptive effects (NCE) of predators on their prey. Recently, there has been a growing interest for such effects in large vertebrates. Here, we review the empirical literature on large carnivore-ungulate systems to map our knowledge of predation NCE (from trait modification to the consequences on prey populations), and identify the gaps in our approaches that need to be fulfilled to reach a comprehensive understanding of these NCE. This review reveals (i) biases in the studies towards North American (and to a lesser extent African) ecosystems, protected areas, and investigation of NCE by wolf Canis lupus (and to a lesser extent African lion Panthera leo); (ii) a diversification of the systems studied in the past decade, which led to contrasted conclusions about the existence of NCE; (iii) that most existing work studied the effects caused by one predator only, even in ecosystems characterized by a rich carnivore community; and (iv) that the majority of the literature on NCE focused on the anti-predator behavioural responses of prey, whereas this is only the tip of the iceberg of NCE. Indeed, little is known on the other NCE components (energetic costs, stress, reproduction, survival, and population dynamics) and the links between the different components. Linking anti-predator behavioural responses to demography is thus the key challenge ahead of us to fully understand the NCE of predators on their prey in large mammals.
  • Collapsing foundations: The ecology of the British oak, implications of
           its decline and mitigation options
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 15 April 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): R.J. Mitchell, P.E. Bellamy, C.J. Ellis, R.L. Hewison, N.G. Hodgetts, G.R. Iason, N.A. Littlewood, S. Newey, J.A. Stockan, A.F.S. Taylor Oak (Quercus spp.) is declining globally due to a variety of pests, pathogens and climate change. Assessments of the impact of losing keystone species such as oak, should include the impact on associated biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, and consider mitigation options. Here, we assess the potential ecological implications of a decline in Quercus petraea/robur within the UK. We collated a database of 2300 species associated with Q. petraea/robur of which 326 were found to be obligate associates (only found on Q. petraea/robur).One potential mitigating measure for lessening the impact of oak decline on associated biodiversity would be establishing alternative tree species. However, of 30 alternative tree species assessed, none supported a high proportion of the oak-associated species (maximum 28% by Fraxinus excelsior ash, which is currently declining due to Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, a fungus). However, the functioning of oak (leaf litter/soil chemistry and decomposition) was potentially replicable owing to its similarities with other tree species.The impact on the four main oak woodland communities within the UK, of a theoretical 50% decline in oak on ecosystem functioning and associated species was explored for five scenarios, that differed in the selection of replacement tree species. The most resilient woodland communities (in all the aspects assessed) were those capable of supporting the greatest diversity of tree species and when the currently occurring tree species replaced oak. The greatest change was predicted where F. excelsior was lost in addition to a decline in oak, and if only one species, particularly Acer pseudoplantanus sycamore, filled the canopy gaps.Graphical abstractUnlabelled Image
  • Species splitting increases estimates of evolutionary history at risk
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 235Author(s): Marine Robuchon, Daniel P. Faith, Romain Julliard, Boris Leroy, Roseli Pellens, Alexandre Robert, Charles Thévenin, Simon Véron, Sandrine Pavoine Changes in species concepts and the rapid advances in DNA-based taxonomy and phylogeny of the past decades have led to increasing splits of single species into several new species. The consequences of such splits include the delineation of post-split species that may have restricted ranges and potentially increased extinction risks. Species splitting also leads to a re-evaluation of phylogenetic trees, with post-split trees having more species, but species that are less evolutionarily distinctive compared to pre-split trees. Such changes in extinction risks and distinctiveness may influence strategies for the conservation of phylogenetic diversity (PD). In this study, we evaluated the effect of splitting a species into two sister species on two widely used measures to evaluate PD at risk: (i) the expected loss of phylogenetic diversity associated with a set of species and, (ii) for each species, the gain in the expected phylogenetic diversity if the species is saved from extinction. We developed theoretical predictions and then explored these in a real-world case study of species splitting in the Rhinocerotidae family. Species splitting increases both of our measures related to PD at risk, implying underestimation of PD at risk when valid species splitting is not recognised. This bias may lead to suboptimal conservation decisions: the subset of species or sites given priority for conservation may be different from the subset that actually deserves priority conservation attention. We discuss how our findings can be applied to more complex studies and the perspectives this highlights for accommodating new taxonomic knowledge in conservation strategies.
  • Top 100 research questions for biodiversity conservation in Southeast Asia
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 234Author(s): J.L. Coleman, J.S. Ascher, D. Bickford, D. Buchori, A. Cabanban, R.A. Chisholm, K.Y. Chong, P. Christie, G.R. Clements, T.E.E. dela Cruz, W. Dressler, D.P. Edwards, C.M. Francis, D.A. Friess, X. Giam, L. Gibson, D. Huang, A.C. Hughes, Z. Jaafar, A. Jain Southeast (SE) Asia holds high regional biodiversity and endemism levels but is also one of the world's most threatened regions. Local, regional and global threats could have severe consequences for the future survival of many species and the provision of ecosystem services.In the face of myriad pressing environmental problems, we carried out a research prioritisation exercise involving 64 experts whose research relates to conservation biology and sustainability in SE Asia. Experts proposed the most pressing research questions which, if answered, would advance the goals of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in SE Asia. We received a total of 333 questions through three rounds of elicitation, ranked them (by votes) following a workshop and grouped them into themes.The top 100 questions depict SE Asia as a region where strong pressures on biodiversity interact in complex and poorly understood ways. They point to a lack of information about multiple facets of the environment, while exposing the many threats to biodiversity and human wellbeing. The themes that emerged indicate the need to evaluate specific drivers of biodiversity loss (wildlife harvesting, agricultural expansion, climate change, infrastructure development, pollution) and even to identify which species and habitats are most at risk. They also suggest the need to study the effectiveness of practice-based solutions (protected areas, ecological restoration), the human dimension (social interventions, organisational systems and processes and, the impacts of biodiversity loss and conservation interventions on people). Finally, they highlight gaps in fundamental knowledge of ecosystem function. These 100 questions should help prioritise and coordinate research, conservation, education and outreach activities and the distribution of scarce conservation resources in SE Asia.
  • Modelling biodiversity change in agricultural landscape scenarios - A
           review and prospects for future research
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 235Author(s): Pierre Chopin, Göran Bergkvist, Laure Hossard Increased intensity of agriculture and landscape homogenization are threatening biodiversity in landscapes. We reviewed 67 case studies addressing the impact of agriculture on biodiversity in model based scenario approaches and compared the information they provide on biodiversity, spatial characteristics, scenarios, and landscapes. We found an overall large diversity of approaches that we summarized statistically into six groups. “Biodiversity based agent based models”, “Expert based exploration of land use change with GIS” and “Land use approaches of biodiversity with spatially explicit statistical model” are specialized biodiversity studies with high complexity in terms of biodiversity modelling with agent-based models or mechanistic models. On the other hand, “Bioeconomic modelling of policy impacts in favor of restoration of beneficial habitats”, “Participatory simulation studies of landscape futures” and “Large scale multi criteria studies of innovative scenarios with optimization” do not consider species' behavior or landscape configuration, but do address a large range of socioeconomic and environmental issues. As a contribution to developing quantitative and policy-relevant biodiversity conservation studies in landscape, we present the advantages and disadvantages of each approach. We then suggest combining different approaches, particularly with the use of agent-based models and mechanistic models, integrating spatially explicit drivers of biodiversity change and the socio-economic context of farming in a participatory manner. We give recommendations on the inclusion of more taxa in future studies and collaboration between scientists from different disciplines to develop innovative solutions that can halt the biodiversity decline in agricultural landscapes.
  • Interpersonal competencies define effective conservation leadership
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 235Author(s): Eve Englefield, Simon A. Black, Jamieson A. Copsey, Andrew T. Knight Effective leadership is considered essential for conservation success, but there is currently not enough understanding of what conservation leaders are doing, and what they should be doing, in order to be effective. Other sectors, such as health, commerce, education, industry and the military have studied leadership for decades, and have a good knowledge of particular styles and suitable instruments for measuring leadership effectiveness. This study uses the perspectives of conservation professionals through interviews, a focus group and an online survey, to help develop a more comprehensive picture of the role of leaders, and leadership, within the discipline. The study concludes that competencies that relate to interpersonal leadership skills are key for effectiveness, particularly building trust amongst followers. However, leaders in conservation are not showing these to the same extent as they are showing more technical skills. Future conservation training schemes should incorporate these competencies to ensure leaders are effective. Greater understanding can help inform conservation professionals who wish to invest in leadership development schemes to improve effectiveness across conservation initiatives.
  • Attitudes towards returning wolves (Canis lupus) in Germany: Exposure,
           information sources and trust matter
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 234Author(s): Ugo Arbieu, Marion Mehring, Nils Bunnefeld, Petra Kaczensky, Ilka Reinhardt, Hermann Ansorge, Katrin Böhning-Gaese, Jenny A. Glikman, Gesa Kluth, Carsten Nowak, Thomas Müller Understanding how exposure and information affect public attitudes towards returning large carnivores in Europe is critical for human-carnivore coexistence, especially for developing efficient and de-escalating communication strategies. The ongoing recolonization of wolves (Canis lupus) in Germany provides a unique opportunity to test the role of different information sources and trust on people's attitudes towards wolves. We conducted a phone survey (n = 1250) and compared country-wide attitudes towards wolves with attitudes in a specific region where wolves initially recolonized and have been present since 2000. In particular, we investigate the relationship between information sources, trust and people's attitudes while accounting for factors like knowledge, exposure and socio-cultural determinants of respondents. We found significant differences in attitudes and knowledge about wolves as well as in the use and frequency of information sources between the two population samples. Higher knowledge, information from books and films, science-based information, and higher trust in information sources related positively with positive attitudes towards wolves. Comparatively, information from press or TV news was associated with more negative attitudes. Providing science-based information to the public and building trust in information is likely to be one measure, among others, to dampen extreme attitudes and improve people's appreciation of costs and benefits of human-carnivore coexistence. Management of conflictual situations emerging from large carnivore recolonization in Europe and beyond should consider incorporating assessments of people's use of and trust in information in addition to existing tools to pave new ways for constructive human-carnivore coexistence.
  • Hearing ourselves (and acting in consequence): A commentary on Bekessy et
           al. from a bird-handling environmental education perspective
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 April 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Ulises Balza, Gimena Pizzarello In this comment, we outline our own experience in almost 10 years of educational talks using birds of prey as ambassadors of their wild populations in the large metropolis of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Based on the ideas settled in the Bekkessy et al. (2018) paper, we account for our discursive change over the years, from a sustained development-based one, to a holistic, nature-based one, in which we highlight the same values that led us into getting involved in conservation actions. We discuss to what extent we believe the prevailing discursive paradigm is helping people to become involved in real conservation actions.
  • Pathways to strategic communication for biodiversity conservation:
           Response to “Hearing ourselves (and acting in consequence): A commentary
           on Bekessy et al. from a bird-handling environmental education
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 April 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): A.M. Kusmanoff, M.C. Runge, D.A. Keith, B.A. Wintle, S.A. Bekessy
  • Eric Duffey OBE DSc (1922–2019), a conservation pioneer
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 234Author(s): Rob H. Marrs, John Sheail
  • The next widespread bamboo flowering poses a massive risk to the giant
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 234Author(s): Zhaoxue Tian, Xuehua Liu, Zhiyong Fan, Jianguo Liu, Stuart L. Pimm, Lanmei Liu, Claude Garcia, Melissa Songer, Xiaoming Shao, Andrew Skidmore, Tiejun Wang, Yuke Zhang, Youde Chang, Xuelin Jin, Minghao Gong, Lingguo Zhou, Xiangbo He, Gaodi Dang, Yun Zhu, Qiong Cai The IUCN Red List has downgraded several species from “endangered” to “vulnerable” that still have largely unknown extinction risks. We consider one of those downgraded species, the giant panda, a bamboo specialist. Massive bamboo flowering could be a natural disaster for giant pandas. Using scenario analysis, we explored possible impacts of the next bamboo flowering in the Qinling and Minshan Mountains that are home to most giant pandas. Our results showed that the Qinling Mountains could experience large-scale bamboo flowering leading to a high risk of widespread food shortages for the giant pandas by 2020. The Minshan Mountains could similarly experience a large-scale bamboo flowering with a high risk for giant pandas between 2020 and 2030 without suitable alternative habitat in the surrounding areas. These scenarios highlight thus-far unforeseen dangers of conserving giant pandas in a fragmented habitat. We recommend advance measures to protect giant panda from severe population crashes when flowering happens. This study also suggests the need to anticipate and manage long-term risks to other downgraded species.
  • Tropical logging and deforestation impacts multiple scales of weevil
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 234Author(s): Adam C. Sharp, Maxwell V.L. Barclay, Arthur Y.C. Chung, Robert M. Ewers Half of Borneo's forest has been logged and oil palm plantations have replaced millions of hectares of forest since the 1970's. While this extensive land-use change has been shown to reduce species richness across landscapes, there is limited current knowledge on how deforestation affects the spatial arrangement of ecological communities. Identifying responses of beta-diversity to land-use change may reveal processes which could mitigate total biodiversity loss. We sampled weevils (superfamily: Curculionoidea) at multiple spatial scales across a land-use gradient at the Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems (SAFE) Project in Sabah, Malaysia, in 2011–2012. We caught 160 taxa of weevil and calculated the response of alpha-diversity (1-ha scale) and beta-diversity (10-, 100-, and 1000-ha scales) to disturbance. Alpha-diversity of weevils was greatest in unlogged forest but landscape-level beta-diversity (100- and 1000-ha scale) was maintained across logged and unlogged due to high rates of spatial turnover. Turnover at smallest spatial scales (10-ha) in unlogged forest was highest in rough, flat terrain but smooth, sloping terrain had highest turnover in logged forest. Logging of flat terrain at small spatial scales has potential to decrease beta-diversity at greater scales. Beta-diversity at landscape-level in oil palm plantation remained high but was propagated by abundance shifts of few species instead of spatial turnover of many species. High temporal beta-diversity in unlogged forest was evident through periodic fluxes in abundance of many weevil species. We conclude that unlogged forest is irreplaceable for high beetle biodiversity but increased spatial turnover in some terrains may help conserve beetle communities in heavily-degraded landscapes.
  • Population trends for two Malagasy fruit bats
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 234Author(s): Cara E. Brook, Hafaliana C. Ranaivoson, Daudet Andriafidison, Mahefatiana Ralisata, Julie Razafimanahaka, Jean-Michel Héraud, Andrew P. Dobson, C. Jessica Metcalf Madagascar is home to three endemic species of Old World Fruit Bat, which are important pollinators and seed dispersers. We aimed to quantitatively assess population trajectories for the two largest of these species, the IUCN-listed ‘Vulnerable’ Eidolon dupreanum and Pteropus rufus. To this end, we conducted a longitudinal field study, in which we live-captured E. dupreanum and P. rufus, estimated species-specific fecundity rates, and generated age-frequency data via histological analysis of cementum annuli layering in tooth samples extracted from a subset of individuals. We fit exponential models to resulting data to estimate annual survival probabilities for adult bats (sA = .794 for E. dupreanum; sA = .511 for P. rufus), then applied Lefkovitch modeling techniques to infer the minimum required juvenile survival rate needed to permit longterm population persistence. Given estimated adult survival, population persistence was only possible for E. dupreanum when field-based fecundity estimates were replaced by higher values reported in the literature for related species. For P. rufus, tooth-derived estimates of adult survival were so low that even assumptions of perfect (100%) juvenile annual survival would not permit stable population trajectories. Age-based survival analyses were further supported by longitudinal exit counts carried out from 2013 to 2018 at three local P. rufus roost sites, which demonstrated a statistically significant, faintly negative time trend, indicative of subtle regional population declines. These results suggest that Malagasy fruit bat species face significant threats to population viability, with P. rufus particularly imperiled. Immediate conservation interventions, including habitat restoration and cessation of legally sanctioned bat hunting, are needed to protect Madagascar's fruit bats into the future.
  • Conservation of data deficient species under multiple threats: Lessons
           from an iconic tropical butterfly (Teinopalpus aureus)
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 234Author(s): Shuang Xing, Tsun Fung Au, Pauline C. Dufour, Wenda Cheng, Felix Landry Yuan, Fenghai Jia, Lien Van Vu, Min Wang, Timothy C. Bonebrake With increasing pressure from wildlife trade, conservation efforts must balance deficiencies in distribution data for species (the Wallacean shortfall) with the risk of increasing accessibility of locality for collectors. The Golden Kaiser-I-Hind (Teinopalpus aureus Mell) is an iconic butterfly restricted to Southeast Asia, popular in trade markets but lacking in ecological and conservation information. We compiled occurrence records and used them to assess multiple threats of T. aureus distribution-wide and at the national level. Results of species distribution models suggest that suitable habitats of T. aureus are montane forests in mid to high elevations in Southern China, Laos and Vietnam. However, habitat networks for the species are poorly connected, with some portions of its distribution experiencing intensive deforestation and threatened by climate change. The trade assessment results showed specimens of T. aureus were available for sale with high prices, indicating potential pressure from trade markets. We also found different conservation statuses and efforts to protect T. aureus across countries; the species is under strict protection in China, moderate protection in Vietnam and has no protection in Laos. Both recorded locations and projected distribution in the three countries were poorly covered by protected areas. These results together demonstrate the importance of distribution data in conservation management of threatened species while highlighting trade-offs inherent in not making location information widely available when trade pressure is present. Finally, we strongly encourage cross-border cooperation in sharing ecological information for consistent conservation management of species under multiple threats from habitat loss, climate change and illegal wildlife trade.
  • Improving reintroduction success in large carnivores through
           individual-based modelling: How to reintroduce Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx)
           to Scotland
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 234Author(s): Thomas S. Ovenden, Stephen C.F. Palmer, Justin M.J. Travis, John R. Healey Globally, large carnivores have been heavily affected by habitat loss, fragmentation and persecution, sometimes resulting in local extinctions. With increasing recognition of top-down trophic cascades and complex predator-prey dynamics, reintroductions are of growing interest for restoration of ecosystem functioning. Many reintroductions have however failed, in part due to poor planning and inability to model complex eco-evolutionary processes to give reliable predictions. Using the case study of Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), a large predator being considered for reintroduction to Scotland, we demonstrate how an individual-based model that integrates demography with three distinct phases of dispersal (emigration, transfer and settlement) can be used to explore the relative suitability of three geographically-distant potential reintroduction sites, multi-site reintroductions and two founding population sizes. For a single-site reintroduction of 10 lynx, our simulation results show a clear hierarchy of suitability across all metrics. Reintroduction in the Kintyre Peninsula (west coast) consistently performed best, with a probability of population persistence at year 100 of 83%, and the Scottish component of Kielder Forest (southern Scotland) worst, with only a 21% chance of population persistence to year 100. Simultaneous two-site reintroduction in the Kintyre Peninsula and in Aberdeenshire (near the east coast) of 32 lynx gave a 96% persistence at 100 years. Our model was highly sensitive to survival, particularly of adults, highlighting this parameter's importance for reintroduction success. The results strongly indicate the potential viability of Eurasian lynx reintroduction to Scotland given the current cover of suitable woodland habitat. More generally, our work demonstrates how emerging modelling approaches incorporating increased realism in representing species' demography, ecology and dispersal can have high value for quick, inexpensive assessment of likely reintroduction success and for selection between alternative strategies.
  • African wild dogs: Genetic viability of translocated populations across
           South Africa
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 234Author(s): Laura Tensen, Bettine Jansen van Vuuren, Cole du Plessis, David G. Marneweck South Africa holds a viable population of the endangered African wild dog (Lycaon pictus), with almost 500 individuals divided into (1) an unmanaged population in the Kruger National Park (KNP), (2) a free-roaming population, and (3) a managed metapopulation (MTP) that originated from reintroductions. Because metapopulation reserves are geographically isolated, translocations are ongoing to mimic natural dispersal. During this study, we questioned whether the metapopulation management plan for wild dogs has been successful at maintaining healthy levels of genetic diversity and avoiding inbreeding in packs. We evaluated whether the current approach is effective for long-term population viability and assessed whether population admixture occurs between the three populations. To achieve this, we amplified 20 microsatellite loci for genetic analysis. We found high levels of genetic variation, likely resulting from translocations and artificial pack formation. Results showed that in the absence of any management intervention, the MTP would lose 48% of its heterozygosity over a 100-year trajectory, and KNP 12% heterozygosity. Under the current management scenario, the MTP will maintain 95% of its heterozygosity. We found genetic evidence that limited recent dispersal occurs between the MTP and KNP (FST = 0.06). In conclusion, the metapopulation management plan can be considered successful based on the achieved population growth and preservation of genetic diversity. Our study highlights that genetic data form a critical part of conservation management, and that translocations can be a vital tool to restore genetic variability of species.
  • Corrigendum to “Factors determining the home ranges of pet cats: A
           meta-analysis” [Biol. Conserv. 203, 313-320]
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 29 March 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Catherine Hall, Kate Bryant, Kathy Haskard, Taryn Major, Sarah Bruce, Michael Calver
  • Global opportunities and challenges for Shark Large Marine Protected Areas
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 234Author(s): Me'ira Mizrahi, Stephanie Duce, Robert L. Pressey, Colin A. Simpfendorfer, Rebecca Weeks, Amy Diedrich Legislation to ban the targeted fishing of sharks is frequently employed within developing coastal nations. These Shark Large Marine Protected Areas (SLMPAs) are established primarily to alleviate the direct threats that humans pose to sharks through activities such as overfishing and destructive fishing practices. However, despite the anthropogenic nature of these threats, socioeconomic factors are often given less consideration than their ecological counterparts when designating SLMPAs. In this paper, we identified and examined relevant national-level socioeconomic data to determine the challenges and opportunities associated with implementing SLMPAs, focussing on least developed and low income countries. We aimed to use these socioeconomic data to identify nations where SLMPAs are more likely to be successful in providing conservation benefits to sharks. We used principal component analysis to develop two national-level indices that represent these anticipated opportunities and challenges for implementing SLMPAs across 87 coastal nations. The Opportunity Index identifies those nations in which socioeconomic conditions such as adaptive capacity, and strong and fair governance, are favourable for SLMPAs to provide conservation benefits to sharks. The Challenge Index identifies those nations that may not yet be in a position developmentally to support communities to adapt to a loss of access to resources associated with SLMPAs, or to manage and enforce broad scale restrictive legislation. In combination with biophysical considerations, the Challenge and Opportunity indices presented here can support policy makers in deciding whether, and in what cases, SLMPAs are the most appropriate measure to provide conservation benefits to sharks.
  • Perceived entertainment and recreational value motivate illegal hunting in
           Southwest China
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 234Author(s): Charlotte H. Chang, Sophie J. Williams, Mingxia Zhang, Simon A. Levin, David S. Wilcove, Rui-Chang Quan Globally, the overexploitation of wildlife presents one of the greatest challenges for biodiversity conservation and sustainable rural livelihoods. Research on the human dimensions of hunting is critical for identifying potential levers for behavioral change interventions. This is especially true in China where hunting threatens to extirpate avian species such as the green peafowl (Pavo muticus) and great hornbill (Buceros bicornis). Nevertheless, regulations restricting gun ownership and hunting have made interviews on this topic highly sensitive. Direct questions about conservation non-compliance are often affected by response bias such as refusals to answer or self-protective denials.We used the randomized response technique (RRT) to estimate the prevalence and drivers of illegal hunting targeting four focal bird taxa (barbets, bulbuls, partridges, and pheasants). Furthermore, we used statistical models that have recently been introduced to the conservation science literature to perform multivariate analyses for RRT data. We measured economic, demographic, and attitudinal covariates that could be associated with hunting. We found high awareness of laws banning hunting in Southwest China, but we also observed that 29.2% of the adult male population may have hunted birds in the past year.Contrary to previous findings highlighting subsistence and finance as major factors driving hunting, the most important predictors of hunting activity in this landscape were related to attitudes regarding the enjoyment of hunting. Extra-economic motivations, such as the entertainment value of hunting, may be underappreciated drivers of hunting behavior. Behavioral change interventions such as pride campaigns may be a promising approach to regulate bird hunting in Xishuangbanna in collaboration with local communities.
  • Consequences of delaying actions for safeguarding ecosystem services in
           the Brazilian Cerrado
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 234Author(s): Fernando M. Resende, Jérôme Cimon-Morin, Monique Poulin, Leila Meyer, Rafael Loyola In a world of increasing demand for natural resources, conservation actions are frequently postponed, even though this may impair biodiversity and the supply of ecosystem services (ES). Here, we evaluated the consequences of delaying conservation actions to protect ES in the Brazilian Cerrado, the most diverse tropical savanna in the world, which is threatened by rapid expansion of agriculture. We generated land use maps for the present and two future periods (2025 and 2050), using a comprehensive land use model. Based on these maps, we modeled the provision of six ES: water yield, sediment retention, nutrient retention, carbon storage, net primary productivity and wild food provision. We identified priority areas for safeguarding ES to meet four conservation targets (i.e. 10%, 20%, 30% and 40% of each ES). We found that expected land use changes tended to diminish ES provision over time and modify their spatial distribution. Priority areas in the region also tended to differ spatially between present and future. Moreover, priority areas identified for the future will encompass more extensive altered environments than those for present day landscapes. Our study highlights the importance of avoiding delays in conservation actions, as this may exacerbate conflicts between conservation and development. Arguments based on ES could create new incentives to simultaneously conserve both ES and the biodiversity associated with them in the region.
  • Loss of endemic fish species drives impacts on functional richness,
           redundancy and vulnerability in freshwater ecoregions of Sundaland
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 234Author(s): Kenny W.J. Chua, Heok Hui Tan, Darren C.J. Yeo Fishes are a speciose and ecologically important group within severely threatened or impacted freshwater habitats of Sundaland, whose contributions to ecosystem functioning can be inferred from their functional diversity. However, there is limited understanding of the potential impacts of anthropogenic species loss on ichthyofaunal functional diversity in the region. We therefore aimed to characterise the functional diversity of fishes across freshwater ecoregions in Sundaland, and predict potential impacts of anthropogenic species losses on functional diversity, in order to identify priority ecoregions for freshwater fish conservation. To this end, data comprising nine functional traits of 893 Sundaic freshwater fish species were compiled and analysed to compute measures of functional richness, functional redundancy and functional vulnerability. We then modelled the loss of extinction-prone species (identified using a trait-based conditional inference forest approach) within each ecoregion, and quantified the resulting impacts on functional diversity. Both functional richness and functional redundancy scale positively with species richness across ecoregions, but functional vulnerability is widespread. Functional entities comprising moderate- to large-sized omnivores or higher carnivores are particularly vulnerable, and the same is true for fishes with superiorly-oriented and toothed mouthparts. Removal of susceptible endemic species in each ecoregion resulted in the erosion of functional redundancy and exacerbation of functional vulnerability, but functional richness was relatively less impacted. Overall, our findings suggest a trajectory of accelerating impacts on functional diversity (and by extension, ecosystem function) if species losses continue unabated. From these results, we identify the Malay Peninsula Eastern Slope ecoregion as a potential conservation priority.
  • Reciprocity in restoration ecology: When might large carnivore
           reintroduction restore ecosystems'
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 234Author(s): J.M. Alston, B.M. Maitland, B.T. Brito, S. Esmaeili, A.T. Ford, B. Hays, B.R. Jesmer, F.J. Molina, J.R. Goheen Carnivore reintroduction is often expected to revert community and ecosystem properties to their natural states via risk effects and the direct killing of prey. Because large carnivore extirpation and reintroduction are usually believed to have symmetric and offsetting effects, fulfilling this “assumption of reciprocity” is crucial to realizing the potential of large carnivores to passively restore community structure and ecosystem function. We were unable to find any study in which the assumption of reciprocity was rigorously tested in predator-prey systems featuring large carnivores, their ungulate prey, and primary producers through a comprehensive literature search. We therefore used studies involving (1) the reintroduction of any native apex predator (including but not limited to large mammalian carnivores); and (2) the removal of any introduced apex predator (also including but not limited to large mammalian carnivores) to examine the assumption of reciprocity. Reintroduction of native apex predators did not consistently affect any of four trophic groups (mesopredator, omnivore, herbivore, primary producer) in a positive or negative way, but removal of introduced apex predators consistently increased the abundance and biomass of mesopredators. Further, outcomes of apex predator reintroduction and removal were variable across systems, regardless of system complexity (ranging from single predator-single prey to multiple predator-multiple prey systems). We suggest that the assumption of reciprocity—in which predator extirpation and reintroduction are believed to have consistent, counterbalancing effects—is unsupported by current evidence, and perhaps unrealistic. We discuss potential directions for research that might illuminate when and why the assumption of reciprocity would be valid.
  • Where to draw the line' Using movement data to inform protected area
           design and conserve mobile species
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 234Author(s): Chi-Yeung Choi, He-Bo Peng, Peng He, Xiao-Tong Ren, Shen Zhang, Micha V. Jackson, Xiaojing Gan, Ying Chen, Yifei Jia, Maureen Christie, Tony Flaherty, Kar-Sin Katherine Leung, Chenxing Yu, Nicholas J. Murray, Theunis Piersma, Richard A. Fuller, Zhijun Ma Protected areas (PAs) are a cornerstone of modern conservation. For PAs that are established to conserve mobile species, it is important to cover all the key areas regularly used by these species. However, zonation and boundaries of PAs have often been established with limited knowledge of animal movements, leaving the effectiveness of some PAs doubtful. We used radio tracking data to evaluate the extent to which two coastal PAs in mainland China encompassed the full range of habitats used by migratory shorebirds during non-breeding seasons. The core zone (highest restriction on human activities) of the Yalu Jiang Estuary National Nature Reserve (Liaoning) incorporated only 22 ± 6% (n = 34) of the diurnal home range (95% kernel density) of the endangered great knots Calidris tenuirostris. In contrast, the core zone of Chongming Dongtan (Shanghai) incorporated 73 ± 24% (n = 25) of the home range of dunlins Calidris alpina. During high tide, great knots in Yalu Jiang mostly occurred in the experimental zone (least restriction on human activities) or sometimes outside the PA boundary altogether, where the birds could face substantial threats. By investigating satellite tracking records, consulting published literature, interviewing local experts and mapping habitat composition in different coastal PAs in China, we found that wet artificial supratidal habitats were frequently used by migratory shorebirds but the coverage of these habitats in coastal PAs was low. These PA boundaries and/or zonations should be revised to conserve mobile species more effectively. With the increasing number of tracking studies, analysing the spatial relationships between PAs and the movement ranges of mobile species can increasingly inform the development of a representative, comprehensive PA network.
  • Progress, challenges and opportunities for Red Listing
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 234Author(s): Steven P. Bachman, Richard Field, Tom Reader, Domitilla Raimondo, John Donaldson, George E. Schatz, Eimear Nic Lughadha Despite its recognition as an important global resource for conservation, the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species only provides assessments of extinction risk for a small and biased subset of known biodiversity. A more complete Red List can better support species-level conservation by indicating how quickly we need to act on species deemed to be priorities for conservation action.Vascular plants represent one of the Red List knowledge gaps, with only 7% of species currently on the Red List (including in the Data Deficient and Least Concern categories). Using vascular plants as a case study we highlight how recent developments, such as changes to rules, improvements to data management systems, better assessment tools and training, can support Red List assessment activity. We also identify ongoing challenges, such as the need to support regional and national assessment initiatives, the largely voluntary nature of the Red List community, as well as the need to meet core operating costs for the Red List. Finally, we highlight how new opportunities such as automation and batch uploading can fast-track assessments, and how better monitoring of assessment growth can help assess the impact of new developments. Most of our findings are also applicable to other species-rich groups that are under-represented on the Red List.We examine trends in plant Red Listing and conclude that the rate of new assessments has not increased in line with what would be required to reach goals such as the Barometer of Life. This may result partly from a lag between recent changes and their effects, but further progress can be made by realising the opportunities outlined here and by growing the Red List community and strengthening collaboration with IUCN.
  • Response to “Global insect decline: Comments on Sánchez-Bayo
           and Wyckhuys (2019)”
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 23 March 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): Francisco Sanchez-Bayo, Kris A.G. Wyckhuys
  • Beyond protected areas: Private lands and public policy anchor intact
           pathways for multi-species wildlife migration
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 234Author(s): Jason D. Tack, Andrew F. Jakes, Paul F. Jones, Joseph T. Smith, Rebecca E. Newton, Brian H. Martin, Mark Hebblewhite, David E. Naugle Migration is a critical strategy in maintaining populations, and pathways used by individuals lend insight into habitat quality and connectivity. Yet sustaining migration among large-ranging wildlife poses a challenge for conservation, particularly among landscapes that include a diverse matrix of land tenure. Such is the case in the Northern Great Plains (NGP), a sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) steppe and grassland ecosystem that is home to the longest-ever recorded migrations by both pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) and greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). Here, we identify migratory pathways for both species, and measure the ability of current conservation and policy to maintain cross-taxa migration in the face of continued cultivation. Migratory behavior was similar between species in their timing and duration of migration, and in their use of stopovers along the way. Large and intact private and public working lands largely underpinned migratory pathways, whereas protected areas provided another 5% of habitats. Most pathways for sage-grouse were within state- and federally-designated sage-grouse Core Areas, which contain regulatory caps on anthropogenic disturbance on public lands and help guide conservation efforts; these benefits extended to over half of pathways used by pronghorn. Among private lands, both species largely migrated through intact grazing lands, including many that were already perpetually protected from cultivation with conservation easements. Optimization of remaining private parcels provides managers with a spatial tool to prioritize private-lands conservation, and suggests that comprehensive conservation of shared migratory pathways for pronghorn and sage-grouse in the NGP is within reach of completion given the ongoing pace of conservation.
  • A continental scale analysis of threats to orchids
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 234Author(s): Jenna Wraith, Catherine Pickering Thousands of plants are at risk of extinction globally due to human activities, including many species of orchids. In Australia alone there are 184 orchids identified as threatened by the Australian Government, but what threatens them and where are they threatened' Using data derived from listing documents for these orchids, threats were allocated to 28 categories. Then, the distributions of the orchids and hence likely geographic patterns of threats were mapped using 14,651 location records from the Atlas of Living Australia. The most common threats were changes in fire regimes (74% of threatened Australian orchids), invasive species (65%), habitat modification (64%), grazing (63%), tourism and recreation (47%) and illegal collection (46%), which often co-occurred as threat syndromes. Most threatened orchids are terrestrial (165 species), and many occur in temperate forests (96) and temperate shrubland (36). When generalised linear models were used to assess geographic patterns in threats, bioregions with less cover of native vegetation were more likely to have orchids threatened by habitat modification, grazing or weeds (p 
  • Global insect decline: Comments on Sánchez-Bayo and Wyckhuys (2019)
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 19 March 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): David L. Wagner
  • Seasonal competition between sympatric species for a key resource:
           Implications for conservation management
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2019Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 234Author(s): Yonggang Nie, Wenliang Zhou, Kai Gao, Ronald R. Swaisgood, Fuwen Wei Competition often occurs between two or more sympatric species that use similar ecological niches. During competition, a superior species may exclude the competitor from parts of its fundamental niche or make it go extinct. Determining the potential competition between two sympatric species including an endangered one has important implications for conservation management. We evaluated potential food competition between the wild boar and the giant panda in a key national nature reserve established primarily for the giant panda protection. We monitored foraging plots for 9 years, conducted food macronutrient analysis, and combined our analysis with long-term population monitoring results for two species. The wild boar population increased dramatically in the past 18 years, benefiting from conservation policies of the Chinese government, whereas the giant panda population decreased. We found evidence for competition for bamboo shoots, an important seasonally limiting resource. The wild boar had a higher utilization rate at foraging plots than giant panda, which also avoided plots used by wild boar. This study indicates key seasonal food competition may exist between wild boar and giant panda. This competition for a key food resource may have negative impacts on giant panda populations, particularly under the substantial increase of the wild boar, yet this possibility has not figured prominently in conservation planning and policy for panda reserves. We suggest long-term monitoring of this competitive relationship across reserves to determine when and where management intervention is needed. And, we might need more flexible policies instead of the current “one size fits all” one.
  • Satellite-detected forest disturbance forecasts American marten population
           decline: The case for supportive space-based monitoring
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 22 February 2019Source: Biological ConservationAuthor(s): John Clare, Shawn T. McKinney, Erin M. Simons-Legaard, John E. DePue, Cynthia S. Loftin Limited monitoring resources often constrain rigorous monitoring practices to species or populations of conservation concern. Insufficient monitoring can induce a tautology as lack of monitoring resources makes it difficult to determine whether a species or population deserves additional monitoring resources. When in-situ monitoring resources are limited, remote habitat monitoring could be a useful supplementary tool, as linking parameterized species distribution models to spatially explicit time-series of environmental correlates allows iterative prediction of population change. Yet the performance of predictive forecasts or hindcasts has been difficult to evaluate. We paired contemporary field data, historic population estimates, and a remotely-sensed archive of landscape change to evaluate predictions of American marten (Martes americana) population decline owing to habitat loss in Maine, USA. We estimated contemporary spatial patterns in marten density relative to landscape disturbance with spatial capture-recapture models. We compared current density estimates to historical density calculations to evaluate population decline, and compared historical calculations to habitat-based model predictions to evaluate the efficacy of habitat monitoring as a proxy for direct monitoring. Marten density was negatively associated with the proportion of surrounding regenerating forest, and point estimates within focal townships were 50–80% lower than historical calculations. Habitat-based hindcasts of marten density across our entire focal area interest suggested a smaller population decline (roughly 50%) within our focal area. Thus, although habitat-based predictions underpredicted marten decline, they provided correct directional inference. Habitat monitoring and predictions from species distribution models may provide useful inference about population changes given trends in habitat at limited expense when in-situ information is lacking.
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