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Journal Cover Biological Conservation
  [SJR: 2.593]   [H-I: 138]   [293 followers]  Follow
    
   Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
   ISSN (Print) 0006-3207
   Published by Elsevier Homepage  [3123 journals]
  • Long-term genetic consequences of mammal reintroductions into an
           Australian conservation reserve
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 219
      Author(s): Lauren C. White, Katherine E. Moseby, Vicki A. Thomson, Stephen C. Donnellan, Jeremy J. Austin
      Reintroduction programs aim to restore self-sustaining populations of threatened species to their historic range. However, demographic restoration may not reflect genetic restoration, which is necessary for the long-term persistence of populations. Four threatened Australian mammals, the greater stick-nest rat (Leporillus conditor), greater bilby (Macrotis lagotis), burrowing bettong (Bettongia lesueur) and western barred bandicoot (Perameles bougainville), were reintroduced at Arid Recovery Reserve in northern South Australia over the last 18years. These reintroductions have been deemed successful based on population growth and persistence, however the genetic consequences of the reintroductions are not known. We generated large single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) datasets for each species currently at Arid Recovery and compared them to samples collected from founders. We found that average genetic diversity in all populations at the Arid Recovery Reserve are close to, or exceeding, the levels measured in the founders. Increased genetic diversity in two species was achieved by admixing slightly diverged and inbred source populations. Our results suggest that genetic diversity in translocated populations can be improved or maintained over relatively long time frames, even in small conservation reserves, and highlight the power of admixture as a tool for conservation management.

      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Amazon protected areas and its ability to protect stream-dwelling fish
           fauna
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 219
      Author(s): Renata Guimarães Frederico, Jansen Zuanon, Paulo De Marco
      Large protected areas have been created in Brazilian Amazon intending to safeguard as much of its biodiversity as possible. Despite these intentions, such megareserves were created predominantly focusing on terrestrial organisms and ecosystems. Here, we assessed the ability of the current Brazilian Amazon protected areas network to efficiently safeguard its stream-dwelling fish fauna. Ecological niche models were built for 138 stream fish species using MaxEnt software. We performed a gap analysis and spatial prioritization under three different Amazon protected areas scenarios: (1) strictly protected areas (SPAs) only; (2) SPA plus sustainable use areas (SPA+SUA); and (3) SPA+SUA plus indigenous territories (SPA+SUA+IT). The species were classified according to their distribution range size and required representation targets. Widespread species usually had lower area under the curve (AUC) and true skill statistics (TSS) values, which would be expected for large and heterogeneous areas such as the Amazon. Only partial gap species were found, with 20% to 90% of required representation targets included in PAs, which was not enough for a complete protection. Most of the officially protected areas in the Brazilian Amazon do not correspond to areas with high direct conservation values for stream fishes, once the priority areas for these species conservation were outside the PAs, leaving a high portion of the regional vertebrate fauna inadequately protected. We conclude that fishes and other freshwater organisms and habitats should be explicitly included during systematic conservation planning in order to thoroughly protect the Brazilian Amazon biodiversity.

      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Measuring progress in marine protection: A new set of metrics to evaluate
           the strength of marine protected area networks
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 219
      Author(s): Kelsey E. Roberts, Rebecca S. Valkan, Carly N. Cook
      Marine protected areas (MPAs) have proven to be a valuable tool for both promoting the sustainable use of marine resources and long-term biodiversity conservation outcomes. Targets for marine protection under the Convention on Biological Diversity have seen rapid growth in MPAs globally, with progress judged using targets for total area protected rather than evaluating growth based on the capacity to protect biodiversity. The value of a MPA network to biodiversity conservation depends on a range of attributes of both individual MPAs and portfolios of MPAs, which are not captured by simple area-based targets. Therefore, a clear and efficient set of metrics are needed to effectively evaluate progress towards building MPA networks, considering the representation and adequacy of protection for biodiversity. We developed a universally applicable set of metrics that can evaluate network structure in relation to its capacity to conserve marine biodiversity. These metrics combine properties of effective individual MPAs with metrics for their capacity to function collectively as a network. To demonstrate the value of these metrics, we apply them to the Australian MPA network, the largest in the world. Collectively, the indicators suggest that while Australia has made significant progress in building a representative and well-structured MPA network, the level of protection offered to marine biodiversity is generally low, with insufficient coverage of no-take MPAs across many bioregions. The metrics reveal how the current value of the MPA network could be greatly increased by reducing the prevalence of multi-use zones that allow extractive activities known to negatively impact biodiversity.

      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Remote electronic monitoring as a potential alternative to on-board
           observers in small-scale fisheries
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 219
      Author(s): David C. Bartholomew, Jeffrey C. Mangel, Joanna Alfaro-Shigueto, Sergio Pingo, Astrid Jimenez, Brendan J. Godley
      Small-scale fisheries can greatly impact threatened marine fauna. Peru's small-scale elasmobranch gillnet fishery captures thousands of sharks and rays each year, and incidentally captures sea turtles, marine mammals and seabirds. We assessed the ability of a dedicated fisheries remote electronic monitoring (REM) camera to identify and quantify captures in this fishery by comparing its performance to on-board observer reports. Cameras were installed across five boats with a total of 228 fishing sets monitored. Of these, 169 sets also had on-board fisheries observers present. The cameras were shown to be an effective tool for identifying catch, with >90% detection rates for 9 of 12 species of elasmobranchs caught. Detection rates of incidental catch were more variable (sea turtle=50%; cetacean=80%; pinniped=100%). The ability to quantify target catch from camera imagery degraded for fish quantities exceeding 15 individuals. Cameras were more effective at quantifying rays than sharks for small catch quantities (x≤15 fish), whereas size affected camera performance for large catches (x>15 fish). Our study showed REM to be effective in detecting and quantifying elasmobranch target catch and pinniped bycatch in Peru's small-scale fishery, but not, without modification, in detecting and quantifying sea turtle and cetacean bycatch. We showed REM can provide a time- and cost-effective method to monitor target catch in small-scale fisheries and can be used to overcome some deficiencies in observer reports. With modifications to the camera specifications, we expect performance to improve for all target catch and bycatch species.

      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Invisible barriers: Differential sanitary regulations constrain vulture
           movements across country borders
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 219
      Author(s): Eneko Arrondo, Marcos Moleón, Ainara Cortés-Avizanda, José Jiménez, Pedro Beja, José A. Sánchez-Zapata, José A. Donázar
      Political boundaries may represent ecological barriers due to differences in wildlife management policies. In the European Union, it might be expected that these differences should be highly diluted, because all countries have to comply with common directives issued by the European Commission. However, the subsidiarity principle may lead to the uneven uptake of European Union regulations, which can impact on biodiversity conservation due to unequal legislation in neighboring countries, particularly in the case of highly mobile organisms. Here we address this issue, by analyzing how EU regulations issued in response to the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) crisis differentially affected vulture conservation in Portugal and Spain. Taking advantage of the intensive GPS-tracking of 60 griffon (Gyps fulvus) and 11 cinereous vultures (Aegypius monachus) from Spain, we found that the Spanish-Portuguese border acts as a quasi-impermeable barrier. In fact, there was an abrupt decline in the number of vulture locations across the Spanish-Portuguese border, with modelling showing that this was unlikely to be related to differences in land cover or topography. Instead, the pattern found was likely due to differences in trophic resource availability, namely carcasses from extensive livestock husbandry, resulting from the differential application of European sanitary legislation regarding the mandatory removal of dead livestock from the field. Overall, our results should be seen as a warning signal to policy makers and conservation managers, highlighting the need for a stronger integration of sanitary and environmental policies at the European level.

      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Protected area connectivity: Shortfalls in global targets and
           country-level priorities
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 219
      Author(s): Santiago Saura, Bastian Bertzky, Lucy Bastin, Luca Battistella, Andrea Mandrici, Grégoire Dubois
      Connectivity of protected areas (PAs) is crucial for meeting their conservation goals. We provide the first global evaluation of countries' progress towards Aichi Target 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity that is to have at least 17% of the land covered by well-connected PA systems by 2020. We quantify how well the terrestrial PA systems of countries are designed to promote connectivity, using the Protected Connected (ProtConn) indicator. We refine ProtConn to focus on the part of PA connectivity that is in the power of a country to influence, i.e. not penalizing countries for PA isolation due to the sea and to foreign lands. We found that globally only 7.5% of the area of the countries is covered by protected connected lands, which is about half of the global PA coverage of 14.7%, and that only 30% of the countries currently meet the Aichi Target 11 connectivity element. These findings suggest the need for considerable efforts to improve PA connectivity globally. We further identify the main priorities for improving or sustaining PA connectivity in each country: general increase of PA coverage, targeted designation of PAs in strategic locations for connectivity, ensuring permeability of the unprotected landscapes between PAs, coordinated management of neighbouring PAs within the country, and/or transnational coordination with PAs in other countries. Our assessment provides a key contribution to evaluate progress towards global PA connectivity targets and to highlight important strengths and weaknesses of the design of PA systems for connectivity in the world's countries and regions.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Analysis of species attributes to determine dominant environmental
           drivers, illustrated by species decline in the Netherlands since the 1950s
           
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 219
      Author(s): C.J.M. Musters, Peter M. van Bodegom
      The relative impact of climate change and land use change on biodiversity loss is still under discussion. To alleviate drawbacks related to the use of observed species distributions, we introduce a novel approach to separate the effects of climate change and land use change, the latter split into fragmentation, agricultural intensification and reforestation. This approach, coined the Attribute Importance Analysis (AIA), uses the ability of species attributes to explain population declines. Through the a priori association between attributes and individual drivers, the relative importance of the drivers in causing the species decline can be assessed. We tested this approach on the population decline of vertebrate, insect, vascular plant, and fungi species in the Netherlands since the 1950s. Fragmentation was clearly the strongest driver of species decline for vertebrates and plants, and this may also be true for insects. For fungi, climate change seems the only driver. We found a weak signal of the importance of agricultural intensification for the decline of vertebrates only. We ascribe this unexpected low importance of agricultural intensification to our partitioning of agricultural effects into fragmentation and intensification. Our generic approach can offer valuable quantitative information on the relative importance of drivers that change local community composition without the need for spatial explicit information. Without data on temporal trends in drivers, including local climate and land use change, accurate information on species decline, species attribute values and association of attributes with drivers can give insights into the causes of species decline, which, in turn, can be used to adapt nature management accordingly.

      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Too much of a good thing; successful reintroduction leads to
           overpopulation in a threatened mammal
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 219
      Author(s): K.E. Moseby, G.W. Lollback, C.E. Lynch
      The failure of broadscale management to protect some threatened species has led to an increase in the use of islands and fenced reserves as translocation sites or foci for intensive threat mitigation. Although highly successful at excluding some threats, these sites may be prone to ecosystem imbalance due to the absence or removal of predators and competitors. We documented population trends and environmental impacts of the burrowing bettong, (Bettongia lesueur), a threatened herbivorous macropod reintroduced to a 1400 ha fenced reserve in arid Australia for 17 years after release. The population increased from 30 individuals to an estimated 1532 individuals (1.09 per ha), a density up to ten times higher than wild populations. There was little evidence that population growth was density dependent, the average intrinsic rate of increase (r) was 0.125 and population size was unrelated to rainfall, body condition or reproductive output. Browse damage on palatable plant species increased, and cover of palatable shrub species decreased, with increased abundance of bettongs. Activity of another reintroduced herbivore, the greater stick-nest rat, (Leporillus conditor), declined as bettong abundance increased while a reintroduced species not reliant on herbage was unaffected. The burrowing bettong has been successfully reintroduced to the Arid Recovery fenced reserve but the positive average intrinsic rate of increase, inflated population density and impacts to resident plant and animal species suggests the population is now overabundant. This is the first documented case of overpopulation of a reintroduced species at a restricted site in Australia, highlighting the importance of preparing overpopulation management plans and considering reintroductions of species from all trophic levels including native predators.

      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Hydrological effects of paddy improvement and abandonment on amphibian
           populations; long-term trends of the Japanese brown frog, Rana japonica
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 219
      Author(s): Noriko Kidera, Taku Kadoya, Hiroya Yamano, Noriko Takamura, Daiichi Ogano, Takashi Wakabayashi, Masato Takezawa, Masami Hasegawa
      In rice fields, the cultivation area itself can play an essential role as a habitat for wetland organisms. Many previous studies showed negative impact of agricultural intensification and abandonment on biodiversity in wet farmland ecosystems. However, verification of the direct impact of aquatic environmental change by the paddy improvement and abandonment still remains. Here, we investigated the effects of the intensification and abandonment on the area of wet fields remaining in paddies during the fallow season, as well as the factors driving the population decline of the Japanese brown frog (Rana japonica), using data of long-term monitoring numbers of egg masses at multiple sites. To quantitatively estimate the spatial and temporal variation in saturated areas with water in the paddies where the frogs spawn in early spring, we used infrared bands of Landsat images. Both paddy improvements and abandonment have affected R. japonica populations through the reduction of wet areas in the fields. Furthermore, the frog's population size was positively associated with the area of surrounding forest. Our findings suggest that conservation in wet farmland requires appropriate water management inside the cultivation area as well as in other landscape elements that serve as secondary habitats.

      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Aboriginal burning promotes fine-scale pyrodiversity and native predators
           in Australia's Western Desert
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 219
      Author(s): Rebecca Bliege Bird, Douglas W. Bird, Luis E. Fernandez, Nyalanka Taylor, Wakka Taylor, Dale Nimmo
      Both invasive mesopredators and altered fire regimes impact populations of vulnerable native species. Understanding how these forces interact is critical for designing better conservation measures for endangered species. This study draws on Indigenous ecological knowledge and practice to explore heterogeneity in faunal responses to Indigenously managed landscapes in the Western Desert of Australia. Using track plot surveys and satellite image analysis of fire histories, we find evidence that pyrodiversity increases activity measures of dingoes and monitor lizards. Dingoes were more active in recently burnt patches, while foxes were more active in slightly older burnt patches. These results add to previous work showing significant effects of pyrodiversity on kangaroo populations in the region. Together, the findings suggest that Aboriginal burning not only creates diverse niches for native animals, it helps to facilitate the ecological role of species that are themselves functionally vital. This work adds to a growing body of research suggesting that the loss of Aboriginal burning can cascade through ecosystems by transforming and simplifying ecological networks, thus contributing to the decline and extinction of vulnerable species.

      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • The ecological benefit of tigers (Panthera tigris) to farmers in reducing
           crop and livestock losses in the eastern Himalayas: Implications for
           conservation of large apex predators
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 219
      Author(s): Phuntsho Thinley, Rajanathan Rajaratnam, James P. Lassoie, Stephen J. Morreale, Paul D. Curtis, Karl Vernes, Leki Leki, Sonam Phuntsho, Tshering Dorji, Pema Dorji
      Ecologists have primarily focused their attention on how predator loss influences ecosystem structure and function in intact ecosystems, but rarely tested these ecological concepts in agricultural landscapes. We conducted a study in western Bhutan on the inter-specific dynamics between tigers, leopards, and dholes, and their subsequent impact on livestock and crop losses faced by agro-pastoralists. We found that when a tiger was present in forests surrounding villages, leopards and dholes occupied areas closer to village croplands and preyed on a higher relative abundance of wild herbivore crop raiders, thereby significantly reducing crop (β = −2.25, p < .0001) and livestock losses (β = −2.39, p ≤.0001). In contrast, leopards and dholes occupied areas in deep forests farther from croplands when a tiger was absent in the village vicinity, leading to increased predation on a higher abundance of untended free-ranging livestock. We posit that justifications for large predator conservation based on their iconic status is not persuasive to rural farmers residing close to their habitat and suffering crop and livestock loss. There is a need to determine ecological services from apex predators to farmers which may dissuade them from retaliatory killings. We recommend conservation practitioners conserve large apex predators to maintain optimal inter-specific interactions in a large predator guild to benefit rural socio-economy.

      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Changes and drivers of freshwater mussel diversity and distribution in
           northern Borneo
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 219
      Author(s): Alexandra Zieritz, Arthur E. Bogan, Khairul Adha A. Rahim, Ronaldo Sousa, Leonardo Jainih, Sahana Harun, Nabilah Fatin Abd Razak, Belinda Gallardo, Suzanne McGowan, Ruhana Hassan, Manuel Lopes-Lima
      Human activities are threatening Borneo's unique biodiversity, but little is known on the status of freshwater invertebrates. We assessed changes in diversity and distribution of freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionida) in northern Borneo, and identified drivers of present distribution and threats. Past distribution data were collected from literature and museum resources. Present distribution data were collected from 21 river basins, and 47 water quality, climatic, landscape and human variables explored as potential predictors of species presence/absence. Species delimitations were identified by morphology and COI barcoding, and haplotype networks generated. Our data indicate that over the past 50 years, four of originally five native species have become very rare or possibly locally extirpated. Since these four species are endemic to Borneo, other Bornean river basins should urgently be surveyed to identify any remaining populations. In the same time span, the non-native Sinanodonta woodiana has become the most widespread freshwater mussel in northern Borneo. The fifth native species was identified as Rectidens sumatrensis and found in four Sarawakian river basins, thus contradicting previous assumptions of an endemic Bornean Rectidens species. Although a number of stable R. sumatrensis populations are retained across Sarawak, the species' strong spatial contraction in mainland Sundaland and apparent low tolerance to eutrophication suggest that it is vulnerable to further habitat alteration. Our results indicate that Borneo's (endemic) freshwater invertebrate biodiversity is declining rapidly. Comprehensive surveys targeting an array of invertebrate and vertebrate taxa are needed to identify Borneo's freshwater biodiversity hotspots, where conservation efforts should be concentrated.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Assigning indicator taxa based on assemblage patterns: Beware of the
           effort and the objective!
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 219
      Author(s): Asko Lõhmus, Kadri Runnel
      Environmental managers often use indicator taxa to monitor full biodiversity and hidden environmental factors. For identifying practical indicators from assemblage data collected in the field, it is crucial to remove irrelevant variation, which unfortunately is not a common practice. We demonstrate, based on field data from Estonian forests, (i) how an attractive indicator group of macrofungi, perennial polypores, loses its apparent indicator value when variation in study effort and conspicuous environmental factors have been reduced; (ii) that simply including survey effort variation is sufficient to create significant covariation between species richness of taxon groups, which has often been taken as a justification for indicator assignment. These results imply that standardizing study effort should become a requirement for any field study that reports indicator taxa based on covariance patterns. We encourage researchers to be explicit and critical about the practical value of indicator taxa when compared with direct measurement of habitat conditions.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • What the ecosystem approach does to conservation practices
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 219
      Author(s): Isabelle Arpin, Arnaud Cosson


      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Predicting the impacts of co-extinctions on phylogenetic diversity in
           mutualistic networks
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 219
      Author(s): S. Veron, C. Fontaine, N. Dubos, P. Clergeau, S. Pavoine
      An important bias in the estimations of threatened evolutionary history is that extinctions are considered as independent events. However, the extinction of a given species may affect the vulnerability of its partners and cause extinction cascades. Co-extinctions are likely not random in the tree of life and may cause the loss of large amounts of unique evolutionary history. Here, we propose a method to assess the consequences of co-extinctions for the loss of evolutionary history and to identify conservation priorities. We advise considering both the complexity of the interaction networks and the phylogenetic complementarities of extinction risks among species. Using this approach, we demonstrated how co-extinction events can prune the tree of life using various species loss scenarios. As a case study, we identified pollinators for which extinctions would greatly impact plant phylogenetic diversity within local pollination networks from Europe. We also identified species features that may result in the highest losses of phylogenetic diversity. Our approach highlights the consequences of co-extinctions on the loss of evolutionary history and may help address various conservation issues related to co-extinctions and their impacts on biodiversity.

      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • In the wake of bulldozers: Identifying threatened species in a habitat
           decimated by rapid clearance
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 219
      Author(s): R.J. Fensham, B. Laffineur, J.L. Silcock
      Where habitat loss is rapid, formerly common species may be at risk of extinction. We provide a method for using habitat mapping data and herbarium records to identify plant species that are threatened by the rapid conversion of brigalow forest, a widespread habitat type in eastern Australia that has been decimated over the last 60years. The method weights species depending on the strength of their association with the brigalow forest habitat and their association with the Brigalow Belt region where the clearance of native vegetation has been extensive. The process identifies 56 out of a total of 1229 plant species that are at greatest potential risk. Twenty of the 56 species also occur in habitats that have not been extensively cleared. Of the remaining 36 species, 11 are closely associated with brigalow forest, which in general has been more extensively cleared than other habitats. The method revealed several species potentially imperilled by habitat loss that have not previously been identified by formal listing of threatened species. The rate of habitat loss for the target species can be clearly documented, although further survey is required to determine the potential persistence of species in habitat that has been modified by clearing and an estimate of generation length of the plant species is required in order to assess this decline against IUCN threat categories. The method has broad application in situations where there are records of species and documentation of habitat loss.

      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Promoting restoration of fish communities using artificial habitats in
           coastal marinas
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 219
      Author(s): Mohamed Selfati, Najib El Ouamari, Philippe Lenfant, Amélie Fontcuberta, Gilles Lecaillon, Abdelhakim Mesfioui, Pierre Boissery, Hocein Bazairi
      Rapid urbanization has become an area of crucial concern in conservation, owing to urban infrastructure impacts on natural ecosystems. Urban infrastructures are often poor surrogates for natural habitats, and a diversity of eco-engineering approaches has been trialed to enhance their ecological value. Marinas are among the most common human-made infrastructures found on the shoreline, and cause substantial habitat destruction within the sheltered coastal areas previously used as nursery grounds by many fish species. The present study aimed at testing the suitability of installing artificial habitats (Biohut®) in marinas to reinforce the nursery function of the Marchica coastal lagoon, which historically hosts many species of juvenile groupers, including the endangered dusky grouper Epinephelus marginatus. Our hypothesis – that artificial habitats, by increasing habitat complexity, enhance the ecological value of a marina – was strongly supported by our results. The Biohuts hosted a high relative density of juvenile dusky and comb groupers in comparison with natural habitats. They can, therefore, be considered as a reservoir for juvenile groupers, including the endangered dusky grouper, and are suitable to reinforce the nursery function of this coastal lagoon. Subsequently, Biohuts can act as a ready-made nursery area to support the creation of small marine reserves that can reinforce the grouper population re-colonization along the coast of North Africa, which is considered to be the region from which the individuals populating the north western Mediterranean originated, and thus provide for long-term recovery of the endangered dusky grouper.

      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Asia's economic growth and its impact on Indonesia's tigers
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 219
      Author(s): Matthew Linkie, Debbie Martyr, Abishek Harihar, Sofi Mardiah, Timothy Hodgetts, Dian Risdianto, Moehd Subchaan, David Macdonald
      Illegal wildlife trade represents a major threat to biodiversity. Recent wildlife consumption trends across Asia have shown shifts in preference towards new species, such as Sunda pangolin, and increased volumes of consumption for longer-traded species, such as tiger. These trends are widely thought to be a result of the higher levels of wealth generated from the impressive economic growth experienced across Asia. This raises important questions regarding the role that economic growth plays as a driver of poaching on source populations of highly-prized species. As a first step to answering these, we investigate trade dynamics related to the poaching of tigers and their principal prey using a long-term biological and economic data set. The fluctuating poaching patterns recorded for tiger prey, which are locally consumed for their meat, showed no association with rising domestic beef prices, the most likely substitutable protein source. However for tiger, annual poaching rates were positively and significantly correlated with changes in local tiger skin prices that, in turn, were closely correlated with annual GDP changes in the key consumer countries. Our preliminary analysis raises further questions around the causal pathways through which rising affluence and extinction risk are linked; a question that should be posed for a wide set of species. Thus, the strong regional leadership that has enabled high economic growth across Asia and lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty should now be urgently directed to tackling illegal wildlife trade and, as a priority, to closing domestic and international trafficking routes.

      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Mild burning, not apex predators, can restore dynamic stability in
           ecosystems: A response to Rees et al.
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Vic Jurskis


      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Over-simplifying evidence synthesis' A response to Cook et al., 2017
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Neal R. Haddaway, Lynn V. Dicks


      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Cutting through the complexity to aid evidence synthesis. A response to
           Haddaway and Dicks
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Carly N. Cook, Susan J. Nichols, J. Angus Webb, Richard A. Fuller, Rob M. Richards


      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • A reply to Balmford et al. (2017)
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): David O'Byrne, Ellinor Isgren, Chad Stephen Boda


      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • A response to O'Byrne et al.
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Andrew Balmford, Lizzy Cole, Chris Sandbrook, Brendan Fisher


      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Vanishing of the common species: Empty habitats and the role of genetic
           diversity
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Jan Christian Habel, Thomas Schmitt
      Biodiversity is declining, with major causes identified as habitat loss and a reduction of habitat quality. Recent studies have shown that particularly species with specific habitat demands are suffering in this way. Accordingly, habitat specialists have been nominated as umbrella species, which because they represent a much larger number of species, are thought best to fulfil the requirements of nature conservation. However, species which are ecologically intermediate between habitat specialists and generalists, and typically form networks of populations on adjoining habitats, might suffer even more severely under rapid habitat fragmentation than those specialists which had for a long time already occurred as discrete populations. Today, most of these formerly more widely distributed intermediate species also exist only as small and isolated populations which, because of their increasing geographic isolation, cannot counterbalance local extinctions by recolonisation. Furthermore, these species are mostly equipped with relatively high genetic diversity that is maintained by continual exchange of individuals between local populations. However, this high level of genetic variability frequently decreases after the collapse of population networks – with negative effects on the viability of these species. Thus, factors at the population and molecular levels may lead that formerly common species vanish in the near future.

      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Prioritizing actions for the recovery of endangered species: Emergent
           insights from Greater Sage-grouse simulation modeling
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Julie A. Heinrichs, Cameron L. Aldridge, David L. Gummer, Adrian P. Monroe, Nathan H. Schumaker
      Urgent conservation situations require immediate action informed by existing data and information. Model-based analyses are well suited to rapidly identifying and evaluating alternative actions but often lack explicit linkages between habitat conditions and population outcomes. We provide an example of how spatially explicit population modeling can uniquely inform conservation planning by integrating changes in habitat conditions with population responses. Using a case study of the critically endangered Greater Sage-grouse in Canada, we integrated habitat selection maps, demography and demographic risk maps, movement, and behavior into a predictive individual-based modeling framework. We used this framework to simulate population dynamics, evaluate demographic sensitivities, assess source-sink dynamics, and compared the population gains from restoring different types (strengths) of sinks. Sensitivity analysis results underscored the need for multiple, simultaneous population recovery actions to stabilize the population, including improving chick and adult survival. Strong source-sink dynamics were an emergent property of simulations, driven by the maladaptive selection of habitats with low chick survival and nest success. Simulated habitat restorations improving chick survival conditions in strong sinks were more effective at increasing abundance than actions targeting all sinks, or removing sinks. Spatially explicit population modeling can be an informative means of predicting and comparing potential population responses to habitat restoration and population recovery options. Individual-based modeling can uniquely evaluate habitat-population dynamics and can be particularly useful for critically endangered species, when too few animals or time remains to conduct field experiments.

      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Assessment and prioritisation of plant species at risk from myrtle rust
           (Austropuccinia psidii) under current and future climates in Australia
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): K. Berthon, M. Esperon-Rodriguez, L.J. Beaumont, A.J. Carnegie, M.R. Leishman
      Myrtle rust (Austropuccinia psidii) is an invasive rust fungus that attacks species of the Myrtaceae family, one of the most dominant plant families in Australia. The potential extent of myrtle rust affected areas and the high number of potential host species make a species prioritisation scheme essential to direct conservation and management efforts. This study builds on previous work by: compiling an up-to-date list of myrtle rust occurrences and host species; mapping current and future climate suitability for myrtle rust; and identifying host species at risk based on range overlaps and susceptibility data. Suitable habitat for myrtle rust is restricted to eastern and southern coastal areas of Australia, with minor areas in the Northern Territory and Western Australia. This coastal distribution remains present under future climates, with some extension in inland New South Wales and Tasmania, and a reduction of suitable habitat in northern Queensland and Western Australia. Contrary to previous studies, our results indicate that south-west Western Australia has low climatic suitability for myrtle rust. Under current climate, 1285 Myrtaceae species are at risk of exposure to myrtle rust. This number decreases to 1224 species under future climate. We divide species exposed to myrtle rust into three priority categories, giving highest priority to species with at least 70% of their range overlapping regions climatically suitable for myrtle rust under current or future climates. We find 23 species are of high priority for conservation action. Finally, we provide a series of recommendations for management of species within each priority category.

      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Stakeholders perceptions of the endangered Egyptian vulture: Insights for
           conservation
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Ainara Cortés-Avizanda, Berta Martín-López, Olga Ceballos, Henrique M. Pereira
      The inclusion of perceptions, interests and needs of stakeholders in biodiversity conservation is critical for the long-term protection of endangered species. Yet, the social dimensions of endangered species conservation are often overlooked. We examined the social perceptions of the conservational importance of the globally endangered Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) in one of the most important breeding areas worldwide: the Bardenas Reales Protected Area, northern Spain. We assessed the factors that influence the stakeholders' views of its conservation importance and identified the management strategies that would have social support. We found that the understandings of the Egyptian vulture differed among stakeholders. Hunters had the highest level of knowledge about its presence, threatened status and role as provider of ecosystem services. Livestock keepers recognized the worth of the Egyptian vulture for carcass removal, whereas other regulating services (e.g. biological control) were frequently acknowledged by tourists. Hunters and livestock keepers were more critical about the effectiveness of ongoing conservation strategies for preserving the Egyptian vulture than tourists. Moreover, each stakeholder group identified different actions for the conservation of the Egyptian vulture in the area. The consideration of the diversity of conservation actions suggested by stakeholders could catalyze broader support for the preservation of the Egyptian vulture.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Maintaining tiger connectivity and minimizing extinction into the next
           century: Insights from landscape genetics and spatially-explicit
           simulations
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Prachi Thatte, Aditya Joshi, Srinivas Vaidyanathan, Erin Landguth, Uma Ramakrishnan
      Habitat loss is the greatest threat to large carnivores around the world. Maintenance of functional connectivity in fragmented landscapes is important for long-term species persistence. Here, we merge landscape genetics analyses and spatially-explicit simulations to understand future persistence and extinction of tigers (Panthera tigris) in Central India. Tigers in this landscape are restricted to Protected Areas (PAs) and forest fragments embedded within a mosaic of agricultural fields and human settlements. We examined current population connectivity of tigers across nine reserves (using 116 non-invasively sampled individuals and 12 microsatellites). Genetic data was used to infer resistance-to-movement. Our results suggest that dense human settlements and roads with high traffic are detrimental to tiger movement. We used landscape genetic simulations to model 86 different scenarios that incorporated impacts of future land-use change on inferred population connectivity and extinction. Our results confirm that genetic variability (heterozygosity) will decrease in the future and small and/or isolated PAs will have a high risk of local extinction. The average extinction risk of small PAs will reduce by 23–70% if a 5km buffer is added around existing boundaries. Unplanned development will result in 35% lower heterozygosity and 56% higher average extinction probability for tigers within protected areas. Increasing tiger numbers in such a scenario will decrease extinction probability just by 12% (from 56% to 44%). Scenarios where habitat connectivity was enhanced and maintained, stepping-stone populations were introduced/maintained, and tiger numbers were increased, led to low overall extinction probability (between 3 and 21%). Our simulations provide a means to quantitatively evaluate the effects of different land-use change scenarios on connectivity and extinction, linking basic science to land-use change policy and planned infrastructure development.

      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Functional recovery of Amazonian bat assemblages following secondary
           forest succession
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Fábio Z. Farneda, Ricardo Rocha, Adrià López-Baucells, Erica M. Sampaio, Jorge M. Palmeirim, Paulo E.D. Bobrowiec, Carlos E.V. Grelle, Christoph F.J. Meyer
      Regenerating forests occupy large areas in the tropics, mostly as a result of deforestation for livestock and agriculture, followed by land abandonment. Despite the importance of regenerating secondary forests for tropical biodiversity conservation, studies of temporal effects of matrix regeneration on species responses in fragmented landscapes are scarce. Here, we used an Amazonian whole-ecosystem fragmentation experiment to investigate how changes in matrix quality over time through secondary forest regeneration affect bat assemblages from a functional perspective. We found that forest regeneration in the matrix positively affected functional α diversity, as well as species- and community-level functional uniqueness, reflecting an increase of species that perform different ecological functions in secondary forest over time. According to functional trait composition, animalivorous species showed the clearest signs of recovery associated with matrix regeneration. Consequently, between-period differences in functional β-diversity were highest in secondary forest compared to fragments and continuous forest, determined mainly by trait gains. However, ~30years of secondary forest regeneration were not sufficient for the functional recovery of bat assemblages to levels observed in continuous forest. Restoring degraded habitats while protecting primary forest will be an important strategy for safeguarding high functional diversity of bats and their vital contributions to ecosystem functioning in fragmented tropical landscapes.

      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Bat diversity in Carajás National Forest (Eastern Amazon) and potential
           impacts on ecosystem services under climate change
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Wilian França Costa, Mariane Ribeiro, Antonio Mauro Saraiva, Vera Lucia Imperatriz-Fonseca, Tereza Cristina Giannini
      Anthropogenic climate change is one of the main current threats to biodiversity, and it has been linked to species decline. Bats deserve attention because they occupy different trophic niches and perform different functions in nature, acting as flower pollinators (nectarivores), seed dispersers (frugivores), and pest controllers (insectivores). The effects of climate change on the distribution of bat species occurring in the Carajás National Forest (Eastern Amazon, southeastern Pará state, Brazil) was examined by modeling species distributions. A total of 83 species of bats providing the above mentioned services were analyzed for the years 2050 and 2070 to answer the following two questions: (i) Which species are potentially more sensitive to climate changes and will not be able to find suitable areas in Carajás in the future, and (ii) Which are the priority areas that protect the greatest number of species from climate change. Of the total species analyzed, 47 (57%) will potentially not find suitable areas in Carajás under the scenarios employed. Pollinators, seed dispersers, and more-generalist (omnivorous) bats will potentially be the most affected, suffering a 28–36% decrease in suitable area under the 2070 scenario, which may have implications for the plants with which those species interact. According to the scenarios employed, the Carajás National Forest, as well as other conservation units in Pará, will not protect most species in the future. The most suitable areas are located mainly to the north and west of the state and under varying degrees of conservation: from well-preserved protected areas to areas degraded due to different anthropogenic impacts. This study emphasizes that the possible effect of climate change and the location of species protection areas need to be analyzed together to ensure that the areas that will act as potential climate refuges for species in the future are indeed protected.

      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Conservation professionals agree on challenges to coexisting with large
           carnivores but not on solutions
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Michelle L. Lute, Neil H. Carter, José V. López-Bao, John D.C. Linnell
      Although many studies explore characteristics of stakeholders or publics “for” or “against” large carnivores, disagreements among conservation professionals advocating different conservation strategies also occur, but are not well recognized. Differing viewpoints on whether and how humans can share landscapes with large carnivores can influence conservation policies. To characterize current viewpoints about terrestrial large carnivore conservation, we conducted an online survey assessing a wide range of viewpoints about large carnivore conservation among international professionals (n =505). We explored how variation in viewpoints was related to expertise, background, and broader institutional contexts in which one lives and works. The majority of participants agreed people and large carnivores can share the same landscapes (86%). Human adaptation to carnivores (95% agreement) and acceptance of some conflict (93%) were the highest ranked requirements for human-carnivore coexistence. We found broad consensus regarding intrinsic value of carnivores, reasons carnivores are imperilled, conflict drivers, and importance of proactive solutions, such as adopting preventative livestock husbandry methods or avoiding situations that put people at risk. The greatest polarization was observed in issues related to lethal control, where we only found broad consensus for killing carnivores in situations where humans are in immediate risk. Participants opposed the killing of large carnivores when objectives were to decrease population sizes or increase human tolerance, profits, livelihoods, or fear of humans. Results point to considerable diversity, perhaps driven by local context, concerning how to proceed with large carnivore conservation in the increasingly human-influenced landscapes of the Anthropocene. The different observed viewpoints represent both different strategies about how to best conserve, but also different moral platforms about what, how, where, and for whom conservation should occur. Our study underlines that challenges to adopting and implementing long-lasting carnivore conservation strategies may well occur as much within the conservation community as outside it.

      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Reserves as double-edged sword: Avoidance behavior in an urban-adjacent
           wildland
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Michael A. Patten, Jutta C. Burger
      Human activities affect wildlife in a variety of direct (e.g., hunting, supplemental feeding, and culling) and indirect (e.g., displacement from habitat loss, competition with introduced invasive species, and avoidance of human-dominated landscapes) ways. Even ostensibly benign activities such as hiking or horseback riding in established parks may affect the spatial and temporal activity patterns of wildlife species. Characterization and quantification of effects is essential if parks and other protected areas are to balance the dual needs to nurture an appreciation of wildlands or satisfy a need to encounter nature (sensu the biophilia hypotheses) and to ensure that wild animals can survive and reproduce. We explored how human presence affects wildlife presence in a spatially extensive system of camera traps established in various protected areas in coastal southern California. To characterize and quantify effects we developed a conceptual framework on the basis of joint probabilities of occurrence on a per-camera basis and created a novel statistical approach to assess whether observed probabilities of co-occurrence differed from expected probabilities of co-occurrence. We found that same-day co-occurrence of wildlife and humans was significantly lower than expected at >90% of the cameras established. This pattern held across sites, across the seven species of large and medium-sized mammals (Bobcat Lynx rufus, Mountain Lion Puma concolor, Gray Fox Urocyon cinereoargenteus, Coyote Canis latrans, Striped Skunk Mephitis mephitis, Northern Raccoon Procyon lotor, and Mule Deer Odocoileis hemionus), and across the five types of human disturbance examined (hikers, bicyclists, domestic dogs, vehicles, and equestrians). Our results demonstrate that human presence acutely affects same-day wildlife detections in protected areas, supporting the hypothesis that avoidance behaviour is a type of “mortality-free predation.” Adaptive and flexible management plans need to be established, evaluated, and updated regularly to facilitate the human nature experience while lessening as much as possible long-term degradation of wildlife habitat. Wildlife in urban-adjacent preserves constitute a major part of the nature experience by humans and require effective management of pressures for use and recreation along aside those for wildlife habitat needs.

      PubDate: 2018-02-05T16:01:50Z
       
  • Social integration and acclimation of translocated bighorn sheep (Ovis
           canadensis)
    • Authors: Marc-Antoine Poirier; Marco Festa-Bianchet
      Pages: 1 - 9
      Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Marc-Antoine Poirier, Marco Festa-Bianchet
      Translocation of animals to reinforce small populations is a widespread technique in conservation biology. Recent reviews of translocation science underline the need to monitor translocated individuals. We sought to quantify social integration within the resident population and acclimation to a new environment of translocated bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) in a wild population in Alberta, Canada. We used precise metrics to evaluate post-release sociality, behavior and growth of translocated individuals. We observed a gradual assimilation of relocated sheep in the local population through increased social network centrality and decreased avoidance of residents. Translocated sheep spent more time vigilant and increased vigilance when forming groups with local residents. The initial social integration of translocated individuals involved high rates of received aggression. Translocated sheep gained 19% less mass than residents during the first summer following translocation. Females did not give birth until the third year following translocation. Our results suggest that translocated sheep required one year to acclimate to their new environment and socially integrate into the local population. This study provides empirical quantification of both social integration and temporal acclimation processes for population reinforcement programs of large mammals. It increases our understanding of post-release processes and will assist in evaluating future conservation actions.

      PubDate: 2017-12-13T03:07:10Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.11.031
      Issue No: Vol. 218 (2017)
       
  • Combining different spatio-temporal resolution images to depict landscape
           dynamics and guide wildlife management
    • Authors: Panteleimon Xofis; Konstantinos Poirazidis
      Pages: 10 - 17
      Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Panteleimon Xofis, Konstantinos Poirazidis
      Raptors are emblematic species of high conservation value and significant ecological role. Their conservation is of particular importance and it relies on the conservation of their habitats and the constant monitoring of their dynamics. In the current study we investigate land cover changes over the period 2001–2011, in one of the most important reserves for raptor conservation in Europe, the Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli Forest National Park. Very high and high spatial resolution satellite data were integrated in a single analysis, in order to exploit the high spatial accuracy of the former and the high temporal and spectral resolution of the latter. The results suggest that the applied method increases the overall accuracy of the mapping product from 73% to 89%, providing a tool to land managers and conservationists to study landscape dynamics and guide wildlife management. The analysis of land use changes revealed that wildfires of high intensity and large extent, constitute a new threat for the ecological integrity of the reserve. If the currently observed trend of wildfire behavior in Greece and southern Europe continues it is likely to affect the core zones of forest reserve, which consist primarily by dense forests with high fuel load, with detrimental effects for wildlife. The most important land cover change observed is the significant reduction of open areas, which form the main hunting areas for raptors. Open areas appear to be encroached by forest, leading to loss of heterogeneity which has been reported to be associated with high biodiversity. The results reveal the need for more active management measures that would decrease the risk of large stand replacing fires and would ensure a suitable landscape structure for raptors.

      PubDate: 2017-12-27T07:12:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.12.003
      Issue No: Vol. 218 (2017)
       
  • Disperse or die: Colonisation of transient open habitats in production
           forests is only weakly dispersal-limited in butterflies
    • Authors: Mari-Liis Viljur; Tiit Teder
      Pages: 32 - 40
      Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Mari-Liis Viljur, Tiit Teder
      Evaluating ecological processes that assemble local animal communities from available species pools has remained a challenging task. At a time of drastic decline of natural and seminatural grasslands, contemporary production forests provide various novel types of open spaces (clear-cuts, power line corridors, etc.) that are potentially suitable habitats for many grassland species, such as butterflies. On the other hand, grassland butterflies are known to perceive forest as a dispersal barrier, potentially limiting the utility of such alternative habitats. We evaluated the role of dispersal limitation in structuring local butterfly assemblages in conventionally managed forest landscapes in which clear-cutting generates varyingly isolated transient open habitats within the forest matrix. We compared butterfly species richness and composition in clear-cuts at opposite ends of a connectivity gradient: sites completely surrounded by forest (isolated clear-cuts) vs. sites connected to the network of other forest clearings by open corridors (non-isolated clear-cuts). We found only a slight difference in the species richness between isolated and non-isolated clear-cuts, both when all open-habitat species and when the subset of grassland species was compared. The frequencies of individual butterfly species in isolated and non-isolated sites were strongly correlated, regardless of their presumed dispersal ability. Our results indicate that, in large areas of production forests in Northern Europe, the formation of local butterfly assemblages is not significantly limited by dispersal. This study contributes to emerging evidence that open spaces in managed forest landscapes can be regarded as alternative habitat for a substantial share of species traditionally considered to be associated with grasslands.

      PubDate: 2017-12-13T03:07:10Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.12.006
      Issue No: Vol. 218 (2017)
       
  • Range expansion as an explanation for introgression in European wildcats
    • Authors: B. Nussberger; M. Currat; C.S. Quilodran; N. Ponta; L.F. Keller
      Pages: 49 - 56
      Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): B. Nussberger, M. Currat, C.S. Quilodran, N. Ponta, L.F. Keller
      Introgression between domestic and wild taxa is a conservation issue because it can lead to the genetic extinction of wild taxa. Understanding the causes of introgression is thus a crucial task for conservation biologists. Here we provide evidence from biparentally, paternally and maternally inherited genetic markers in hybridizing European wildcats (Felis silvestris silvestris) and domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus) that one cause of introgression can be range expansion of the threatened species. We analyzed 68 autosomal, two Y-chromosomal and four mitochondrial diagnostic single nucleotide polymorphisms, and a sequence of 384 base pair of mitochondrial DNA, in 224 wild- and domestic cats from the Jura region of eastern Switzerland and western France. Using Bayesian estimation approaches, we found more gene flow from domestic cats to wildcats than vice versa (0.017 and 0.003 migrants per generation). Introgression of maternally inherited markers was higher than of paternally inherited markers. To test if these observed introgression patterns might be explained by wildcat expansion, we simulated neutral genetic data under various models of hybridization including spatial features such as range expansion. The most likely scenario represented an expansion of wildcats into domestic cat range. We also explored the geographic distribution of wildcats and hybrids. In comparison to wildcats, hybrids were found closer to the edge of the wildcat distribution range. Overall, the patterns we observed are compatible with the hypothesis that introgression is caused by wildcat range expansion, rather than by domestic cat invasion of wildcat habitat. That the threatened European wildcat is expanding is a positive sign, but careful monitoring of introgression and its fitness consequences is needed to ensure that the wildcat does not go genetically extinct in the generations to come.

      PubDate: 2017-12-27T07:12:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.12.009
      Issue No: Vol. 218 (2017)
       
  • Private conservation funding from wildlife tourism enterprises in
           sub-Saharan Africa: Conservation marketing beliefs and practices
    • Authors: Ralf Buckley; Alexa Mossaz
      Pages: 57 - 63
      Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Ralf Buckley, Alexa Mossaz
      Conservation finance in many African countries relies heavily on tourism. Some commercial tourism companies provide substantial funding for private reserves, communal conservancies, and public protected areas, and for anti-poaching, breeding, and translocation programs. They also provide local employment, which generates community support for conservation. To generate funds, they must attract clients. This relies on marketing, which we analysed using staff interviews, marketing materials, and client comments. We found that they market: wildlife viewing opportunities first; luxury and exclusiveness second; and conservation projects third. They focus on flagship species such as the African big cats, and they market directly to tourists, and to specialist rather than generalist travel agents. In their view, conservation projects influence purchases significantly for some clients, but not for the majority, nor for travel agents. Therefore, maximum contributions to future conservation finance can be achieved through differential marketing to these two groups. Mainstream marketing is targeted at tourists who want the best wildlife viewing in the greatest comfort. Conservation marketing is targeted at tourists who purchase products that contribute to conservation. If these tourists were identified during marketing and booking, then conservation tourism enterprises could notify conservation trusts to seek donations.

      PubDate: 2017-12-27T07:12:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.12.001
      Issue No: Vol. 218 (2017)
       
  • Data transparency regarding the implementation of European ‘no net
           loss’ biodiversity policies
    • Authors: Joseph W. Bull; Kerstin Brauneder; Marianne Darbi; Astrid J.A. Van Teeffelen; Fabien Quétier; Sharon E. Brooks; Sebastian Dunnett; Niels Strange
      Pages: 64 - 72
      Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Joseph W. Bull, Kerstin Brauneder, Marianne Darbi, Astrid J.A. Van Teeffelen, Fabien Quétier, Sharon E. Brooks, Sebastian Dunnett, Niels Strange
      ‘No net loss’ (NNL) conservation policies seek to address development impacts on biodiversity. There have been no peer-reviewed multinational assessments concerning the actual implementation of NNL policies to date. Such assessments would facilitate more informed debates on the validity of NNL for conservation, but assessing implementation requires data. Here, we explore data transparency concerning NNL implementation, with four European countries providing a case study. Biodiversity offsets (offsets) are the most tangible outcome of NNL policy. Using an expert network to locate all offset datasets available within the public domain, we collated information on offset projects implemented in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. Implementation data for offsets were found to be non-transparent, but the degree of transparency varies widely by country. We discuss barriers preventing data transparency — including a perceived lack of necessity, lack of common protocols for collecting data, and a lack of resources to do so. For the data we collected we find that most offsets in Europe: are not within protected areas; involve active restoration; and, compensate for infrastructure development. The area occupied by European offsets is at least of the order ~102 km2. Transparent national NNL databases are essential for meeting good practice NNL principles, but are not currently available in Europe. We discuss what such databases might require to support evaluation of NNL policy effectiveness by researchers, the conservation community and policymakers.

      PubDate: 2017-12-27T07:12:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.12.002
      Issue No: Vol. 218 (2017)
       
  • Models for the collaborative management of Africa's protected areas
    • Authors: Mujon Baghai; Jennifer R.B. Miller; Lisa J. Blanken; Holly T. Dublin; Kathleen H. Fitzgerald; Patience Gandiwa; Karen Laurenson; James Milanzi; Alastair Nelson; Peter Lindsey
      Pages: 73 - 82
      Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Mujon Baghai, Jennifer R.B. Miller, Lisa J. Blanken, Holly T. Dublin, Kathleen H. Fitzgerald, Patience Gandiwa, Karen Laurenson, James Milanzi, Alastair Nelson, Peter Lindsey
      Africa's protected areas (PAs) are under severe and growing anthropogenic pressure. Resources for PA management are a small fraction of what is necessary in most countries, and many PAs are failing to fulfil their ecological, economic or social potential as a result. Collaborative management partnerships (CMPs), where non-profit organisations partner with state wildlife authorities, have the ability to improve PA management by facilitating long-term financial and technical support. While many have demonstrated success, there are barriers to setting up CMPs, including concern among some states that some partnerships may undermine sovereignty or appear an admission of failure. We interviewed 69 experts from state and non-profit partners about 43 PAs covering 473,861km2 in 16 African countries and analysed responses with principle component analysis to identify how partnerships differ, particularly in how they allocate governance and management responsibility. We identified three main CMP organisational structures: 1) delegated management, where a non-profit shares governance responsibility with the state and is delegated full management authority; 2) co-management, where a non-profit shares governance and management responsibility with the state; and 3) financial and technical support (advisory or implementary), where a non-profit assists the state with aspects of management without formal decision-making authority. Delegated models were associated with higher funding than co-management and financial-technical support partnerships, but models did not differ in PA land area size. Our study identifies the strengths and weaknesses of each model and offers recommendations for implementing successful CMPs, many of which are already playing a significant, positive role in conservation.

      PubDate: 2017-12-27T07:12:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.11.025
      Issue No: Vol. 218 (2017)
       
  • Using footprints to identify and sex giant pandas
    • Authors: Binbin V. Li; Sky Alibhai; Zoe Jewell; Desheng Li; Hemin Zhang
      Pages: 83 - 90
      Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Binbin V. Li, Sky Alibhai, Zoe Jewell, Desheng Li, Hemin Zhang
      Data on numbers and distribution of free-ranging giant panda are essential to the formulation of effective conservation strategies. There is still no ideal method to identify individuals and sex this species. The traditional bite-size method using bamboo fragments in their feces lacks accuracy. The modern DNA-based estimation is expensive and demands fresh samples. The lack of identifiable individual features on panda pelage and no apparent sexual dimorphism impede reliable estimation from camera trap images. Here, we propose an innovative and non-invasive technique to identify and sex this species using a footprint identification technique (FIT). It is based on a pairwise comparison of trails (unbroken series of footprints) using discriminant analysis, with a Ward's clustering method. We collected footprints from 30 captive animals to train our algorithm and used another 11 animals for model validation. The accuracy for individual identification was >90% for individuals with more than six footprints and 89% with fewer footprints per trail. The accuracy for sex discrimination was about 84% using a single footprint and 91% using trails. This cost-effective method provides a promising future for monitoring wild panda populations and understanding their dynamics and especially useful for monitoring reintroduced animals after the detachment of GPS collars. The data collection protocol is straightforward and accessible to citizen scientists and conservation professionals alike.

      PubDate: 2017-12-27T07:12:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.11.029
      Issue No: Vol. 218 (2017)
       
  • Why did the elephant cross the road' The complex response of wild
           elephants to a major road in Peninsular Malaysia
    • Authors: Jamie Wadey; Hawthorne L. Beyer; Salman Saaban; Nasharuddin Othman; Peter Leimgruber; Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz
      Pages: 91 - 98
      Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Jamie Wadey, Hawthorne L. Beyer, Salman Saaban, Nasharuddin Othman, Peter Leimgruber, Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz
      Roads cause negative impacts on wildlife by directly and indirectly facilitating habitat destruction and wildlife mortality. We used GPS telemetry to study the movements of 17 wild Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and a mechanistic modelling framework to analyse elephant response to a road bisecting their habitat in Belum-Temengor, northern Peninsular Malaysia. Our objectives were to (1) describe patterns of road crossing, (2) quantify road effects on movement patterns and habitat preference, and (3) quantify individual variation in elephant responses to the road. Elephants crossed the road on average 3.9±0.6 times a month, mostly (81% of times) at night, and crossing was not evenly distributed in space. The road caused a strong and consistent barrier effect for elephants, reducing permeability an average of 79.5%. Elephants, however, were attracted to the proximity to the road, where secondary forest and open habitats are more abundant and contain more food resources for elephants. Although the road acts as a strong barrier to movement (a direct effect), local changes to vegetation communities near roads attract elephants (an indirect effect). Given that risk of mortality (from poaching and vehicle collisions) increases near roads, roads may, therefore, create attractive sinks for elephants. To mitigate the impact of this road we recommend avoiding further road expansion, reducing and enforcing speed limits, limiting traffic volume at night, managing habitat near the road and, importantly, enhancing patrolling and other anti-poaching efforts. Our results are relevant for landscapes throughout Asia and Africa, where existing or planned roads fragment elephant habitats.

      PubDate: 2017-12-27T07:12:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.11.036
      Issue No: Vol. 218 (2017)
       
  • Preserving genetic connectivity in the European Alps protected area
           network
    • Authors: Sean D. Schoville; Alicia Dalongeville; Gaëlle Viennois; Felix Gugerli; Pierre Taberlet; Benoît Lequette; Nadir Alvarez; Stéphanie Manel
      Pages: 99 - 109
      Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Sean D. Schoville, Alicia Dalongeville, Gaëlle Viennois, Felix Gugerli, Pierre Taberlet, Benoît Lequette, Nadir Alvarez, Stéphanie Manel
      Due to their static nature, protected areas (PAs) are vulnerable to global change, and resident species will likely need to colonize new sites and exchange migrants to sustain viable local populations. Alpine habitats often have a high level of protection, yet extensive environmental heterogeneity and the limited dispersal ability of many endemic species makes it unclear whether PA networks provide sufficient connectivity to protect vulnerable species. We assess landscape connectivity in the European alpine PA network by combining measures of habitat and genetic connectivity using community landscape genetics approaches. Examining 27 plant species, we compare levels of genetic diversity in PA and non-PA sites, and rank non-PA sites for their potential value in facilitating genetic and habitat connectivity, as well as preserving species richness in 893 alpine plants. Non-PA sites do not significantly enhance overall levels of genetic variability across species. However, spatial genetic turnover (allele frequency variation across space) is influenced by geographical and environmental distance, suggesting that genetic connectivity, and by extension landscape connectivity, is impacted by gaps in the PA network. A subset of non-PA sites, when measured for habitat connectivity, genetic connectivity and species richness using spatial graphs, substantially increase landscape connectivity for alpine plants, although there are discrepancies among metrics in ranking sites. We provide the first example of the evaluation and prediction of new PAs including levels of intraspecific genetic diversity for a whole community. This has significance for the management and extension of the European alpine network, especially in identifying valuable unprotected sites.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2017-12-27T07:12:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.12.017
      Issue No: Vol. 218 (2017)
       
 
 
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