Journal Cover Conservation Biology
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   Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
   ISSN (Print) 0888-8892 - ISSN (Online) 1523-1739
   Published by John Wiley and Sons Homepage  [1592 journals]
  • The perpetual state of emergency that sacrifices protected areas in a
           changing climate
    • Authors: Dirac Twidwell; Carissa L. Wonkka, Christine H. Bielski, Craig R. Allen, David G. Angeler, Jacob Drozda, Ahjond S. Garmestani, Julia Johnson, Larkin A. Powell, Caleb P. Roberts
      Abstract: A modern challenge for conservation biology is to assess the consequences of policies that adhere to assumptions of stationarity (e.g. historic norms) in an era of global environmental change. Such policies may result in unexpected and surprising levels of mitigation given future climate change trajectories, especially as agriculture looks to protected areas to buffer against production losses during periods of environmental extremes. Here, we conduct a scenario impact assessment to determine the potential impact of climate change scenarios on the rates at which lands enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands are authorized for emergency biomass removal. Grassland biomass on CRP lands is authorized for ‘emergency’ harvesting for agricultural use when precipitation for the last four months falls below 40 percent of the normal, or ‘historical’ mean, precipitation for that four-month period. We develop and analyze scenarios under the condition that policy will continue to operate under assumptions of stationarity, thereby authorizing emergency biomass harvesting solely as a function of precipitation departure from historic norms. Model projections show the historical likelihood of authorizing emergency biomass harvesting in any given year in the northern Great Plains was 33.28 ± 0.96%, according to long-term weather records. Emergency biomass harvesting became the norm (>50% of years) in the scenario reflecting continued increases in emissions and a decrease in growing season precipitation, and areas in the Great Plains with higher historical mean annual rainfall were disproportionately affected and experienced a greater increase in emergency biomass removal. Emergency biomass harvesting decreased only in the scenario reflecting rapid reductions in emissions. Our scenario impact analysis indicates that biomass from lands enrolled in the CRP will be used primarily as a buffer for agriculture in an era of climatic change, unless policy guidelines are adapted or climate change projections significantly depart from the current consensus.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2018-02-23T03:50:23.725362-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13099
  • Cost shifting and other perverse incentives in biodiversity offsetting in
    • Authors: Divya Narain; Martine Maron
      Abstract: Biodiversity offsetting aims to compensate for development-induced biodiversity loss through commensurate conservation gains and is gaining traction among governments and businesses. However, cost shifting (i.e., diversion of offset funds to other conservation programs) and other perverse incentives can undermine the effectiveness of biodiversity offsetting. Additionality – the requirement that biodiversity offsets result in conservation outcomes that would not have been achieved otherwise – is fundamental to biodiversity offsetting. Cost shifting and violation of additionality can go hand in hand. India's national offsetting program is a case in point. Recent legislation allows the diversion of offset funds to meet the country's preexisting commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). With such diversions, no additional conservation takes place and development impacts remain uncompensated. Temporary additionality cannot be conceded in light of paucity of funds for preexisting commitments unless there is open acknowledgement that fulfilment of such commitments is contingent on offset funds. Two other examples of perverse incentives related to offsetting in India are the touting of inherently neutral offsetting outcomes as conservation gains, a tactic that breeds false complacency and results in reduced incentive for additional conservation efforts, and the clearing of native vegetation for commercial plantations in the name of compensatory afforestation, a practice that leads to biodiversity decline. The risks accompanying cost shifting and other perverse incentives, if not preempted and addressed, will result in net loss of forest cover in India. We recommend accurate baselines, transparent accounting, and open reporting of offset outcomes to ensure biodiversity offsetting achieves adequate and additional compensation for impacts of development.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2018-02-23T02:50:46.87002-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13100
  • Predicting reintroduction outcomes for highly vulnerable species that do
           not currently coexist with their key threats
    • Authors: Elizabeth H. Parlato; Doug P. Armstrong
      Abstract: Predicting reintroduction outcomes before populations are released is inherently challenging. It becomes even more difficult when the species being considered for reintroduction no longer co-exists with the key threats limiting its distribution. However, data from other species facing the same threats can be used to make predictions under these circumstances. We present an integrated Bayesian modelling approach for predicting growth of a reintroduced population at a range of predator densities when no data are available for the species in the presence of that predator. North Island saddlebacks (Philesturnus rufusater) were extirpated from mainland New Zealand by exotic mammalian predators, particularly ship rats (black rats, Rattus rattus), but are now being considered for reintroduction to sites with intensive predator control, creating an opportunity to develop this approach. We initially modeled data from previous saddleback reintroductions to predator-free sites to predict population growth at a new predator-free site while accounting for random variation in vital rates among sites. We then predict population growth at different rat tracking rates (an index of rat density) by incorporating a previously modelled relationship between rat tracking and vital rates of another predator-sensitive species, the North Island robin (Petroica longipes), and account for the greater vulnerability of saddlebacks to rat predation using information on historical declines of both species. The results allow population growth to be predicted as a function of management effort while accounting for uncertainty, allowing formal decision analysis to be used to decide whether to proceed with a reintroduction. Similar approaches could potentially be applied to other situations where data on the species of interest are limited, providing an alternative to decision making based solely on expert judgment.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2018-02-17T21:50:31.67631-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13096
  • Challenges of analyzing the global trade in CITES-listed wildlife
    • Authors: Janine E. Robinson; Pablo Sinovas
      Abstract: International wildlife trade can represent a major threat to biodiversity conservation. Annually, billions of plants, animals and their products are traded across international borders, with legal trade alone estimated to be worth over 320 billion USD per annum (TRAFFIC 2009).This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2018-02-17T21:50:27.701155-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13095
  • Long-Term Consequences of European Invasions
    • Authors: Julianne Farrell; Myron P. Zalucki
      PubDate: 2018-02-13T11:35:37.813614-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13080
  • Past, present, and future of a freshwater fish metapopulation in a
           threatened landscape
    • Authors: Iván Vera-Escalona; Shreeram Senthivasan, Daniel E Ruzzante, Evelyn Habit
      Abstract: We used a multitemporal approach to identify the main attributes of a fish metapopulation, detect priority areas for conservation, and assess the consequences of landscape intervention (construction of hydropower plants). We used a freshwater fish from Patagonia as a case of study. The multitemporal analyses suggest a) that historical gene flow has recently declined, b) that populations are highly susceptible to changes in landscape, and c) a potential rapid reduction of number of alleles/population size as a consequence of the construction of hydropower plants affecting connectivity. This three-prong approach, combining backward-in-time, contemporary and forward-in-time analyses revealed that gene flow among populations is critical for the maintenance of population sizes. More generally, we show how a multitemporal approach to the analyses of empirical genetic data can be an important tool for conservation. This multitemporal approach can provide policy makers with information on the potential impacts of landscape changes and thus lead to more robust conservation measures than otherwise.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2018-02-12T08:20:40.257412-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13093
  • Book Reviewers, January-December 2017
    • PubDate: 2018-02-10T06:55:28.463144-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13086
  • Conserving and managing the subnivium
    • Authors: Benjamin Zuckerberg; Jonathan N. Pauli
      Abstract: The climate is changing rapidly, and this is especially true during the winter months of the Northern Hemisphere. Because of warming winters, we are witnessing reductions in the depth, duration, and extent of snowpack in regions where snowfall was historically a defining seasonal characteristic of the landscape. These changes have not gone undocumented, yet most management and conservation has focused on how aboveground wildlife will be affected by altered snow conditions, even though the majority of species that persist through the winter do so underneath the snowpack in a thermally stable refugium: the subnivium. Herein, we review how shortening winters, forest management practices, and winter recreation can alter subnivium conditions by increasing snow compaction and compromising thermal stability at the soil-snow interface. Natural resource managers are increasingly faced with the challenge of developing new approaches in climate change adaptation; managing the subnivium represents a novel and unexplored conservation problem. We offer three approaches that managers should consider to help slow the loss of the subnivium in the face of rapidly changing winter conditions: 1) adopt regional conservation plans for identifying threatened snow-covered environments; 2) measure and predict the effect that land cover and habitat management has on mediating local subnivium conditions and; 3) control the timing and distribution of activities that disturb and compact snow cover (e.g., silvicultural practices, snow recreation, and road and trail maintenance). We present a case study depicting how predicting the subnivium within a national forest can identify landscapes where winter recreation and management practices threaten potentially important areas for subnivium persistence. Climate projections are in accord that the future snow season will change rapidly in many regions. Given the implications of a dramatically altered future winter, we advocate for the immediate recognition, conservation and management of the subnivium and its dependent species.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2018-02-08T12:05:35.607525-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13091
  • Solutions to wildlife laundering in Indonesia: reply to Janssen and Chng
    • Authors: Daniel James Deans Natusch
      Abstract: Article impact statement: Promotion of legal and sustainable harvesting of selected wild species may help address wildlife laundering in Indonesia.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2018-02-07T07:50:19.701924-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13090
  • Effects of temperature and precipitation on grassland bird nesting success
           as mediated by patch size
    • Authors: Benjamin Zuckerberg; Christine A. Ribic, Lisa A. McCauley
      Abstract: Grassland birds are declining faster than any other guild of bird species across North America. Shrinking ranges and population declines have been attributed to widespread habitat loss and increasingly fragmented landscapes of agriculture and other land-use practices that are misaligned with grassland bird conservation. Concurrent with habitat loss and degradation, temperate grasslands have experienced disproportionally faster rates of climate change compared to other terrestrial biomes. Grassland bird distributions and abundances often correlate with gradients in climate, but few studies have explored the consequences of weather on the demography of multiple grassland birds inhabiting a range of grassland fragments. To do so, we modeled the effects of temperature and precipitation on nesting success rates for a dozen grassland bird species comprising 21,000 nests from 81 individual studies across North America. We found that higher amounts of precipitation in the preceding year (bioyear) were associated with higher nesting success, but wetter conditions during the active breeding season reduced nesting success. In terms of temperature, extreme cold and hot springs were associated with lower rates of nesting success. Notably, the direct and indirect influence of temperature and precipitation on nesting success was moderated by grassland patch size. The positive effects of bioyear precipitation on nesting success were strongest for birds occupying smaller grassland patches, with little effect in larger grasslands. Conversely, warmer spring temperatures reduced nesting success in small grassland patches, but increased nesting success in the larger grasslands. Mechanisms underlying these differences may be patch-size induced variation in microclimates and predator activity. While the exact cause is not clear, large grassland patches, the most common metric of grassland conservation, appears to moderate the consequences of weather on grassland bird demography and could be an effective component of climate change adaptation.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2018-02-06T06:05:02.260609-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13089
  • Lessons from Białowieża Forest on the history of protection and the
           world's first reintroduction of a large carnivore
    • Authors: Tomasz Samojlik; Nuria Selva, Piotr Daszkiewicz, Anastasia Fedotova, Adam Wajrak, Dries Pieter Jan Kuijper
      Abstract: Understanding how the relationships between large carnivores and humans have evolved and have been managed through centuries can provide relevant insights for wildlife conservation. The management history of many large carnivores has followed a similar pattern, from game reserved for nobility, to persecuted pests, to conservation targets. We reconstructed the history of brown bear (Ursus arctos) management in Białowieża Forest (Poland and Belarus) based on a detailed survey of historical literature and Russian archives. From the end of the Middle Ages to the end of 18th century, the brown bear was considered animalia superiora (i.e., game exclusively reserved for nobility and protected by law). Bears, also a source of public entertainment, were not regarded as a threat. Effective measures to prevent damages to traditional forest beekeeping were already in practice. In the beginning of 19th century, new game-management approaches allowed most forest officials to hunt bears, which became the primary target of hunters due to their valuable pelt. This, together with an effective anticarnivore policy enhanced by bounties, led to bear extirpation in 1879. Different approaches to scientific game management appeared (planned extermination of predators and hunting levels that would maintain stable populations), as did the first initiatives to protect bears from cruel treatment in captivity. Bear reintroduction in Białowieża Forest began in 1937 and represented the world's first reintroduction of a large carnivore motivated by conservation goals. The outbreak of World War II spoiled what might have been a successful project; reproduction in the wild was documented for 8 years and bear presence for 13. Soft release of cubs born in captivity inside the forest but freely roaming with minimal human contact proved successful. Release of captive human-habituated bears, feeding of these bears, and a lack of involvement of local communities were weaknesses of the project. Large carnivores are key components of ecosystem-function restoration, and site-specific histories provide important lessons in how to preserve them for the future.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2018-02-01T05:40:53.833753-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13088
  • Dispersal ecology of deadwood organisms and connectivity conservation
    • Authors: Atte Komonen; Jörg Müller
      Abstract: Limited dispersal knowledge for most organisms hampers effective connectivity conservation in fragmented landscapes. In forest ecosystems, dead-wood dependent organisms (i.e. saproxylics) suffer from forest management and degradation globally. We review the empirical evidence on dispersal ecology of saproxylic insects and fungi. We focus on direct studies (e.g. mark-recapture, radio telemetry), field experiments and population genetic analyses. Our review revealed two somewhat opposite results: based on direct methods and experiments dispersal is limited within a few kilometers, whereas genetic studies generally find little genetic structure over tens of kilometers, indicating long-distance dispersal. Direct dispersal studies and field experiments, however, suffered from a small study extent and thus could not have detected long-distance dispersal. Particularly for fungi there is obvious need for more studies at management-relevant scales (1 to 10 km). Genetic studies in turn suffered from now outdated markers, small number of loci investigated, and the inherent difficulties in inferring dispersal from genetic population structure. Although there were systematic and species-specific differences in dispersal ability, fungi being better dispersers than insects, it seems that in both groups colonization and establishment, not dispersal per se, are limiting their occurrence at management relevant scales. Because most studies were from forest landscapes in Europe, particularly from the boreal region, more data are needed from non-forested landscapes, in which fragmentation effects are likely to be more pronounced. Given the potential for long-distance dispersal and the logical necessity of habitat area being a more fundamental landscape attribute than the spatial arrangement of habitat patches (i.e. connectivity sensu strict), retaining high quality dead-wood habitat is more important than explicit connectivity conservation in many cases.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2018-02-01T04:26:13.429004-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13087
  • Toward an integrative molecular approach to wildlife disease
    • Authors: Alexandra L. DeCandia; Andrew P. Dobson, Bridgett M. vonHoldt
      Abstract: Pathogens pose serious threats to human health, agricultural investment, and biodiversity conservation through the emergence of zoonoses, spillover to domestic livestock, and epizootic outbreaks. As such, wildlife managers are often tasked with mitigating the negative effects of disease. Yet parasites form a major component of biodiversity that often persist. Not only is this due to logistical challenges of implementing management strategies, but also to insufficient understanding of host-parasite dynamics. Here, we advocate for an inclusive understanding of molecular diversity in driving parasite infection and variable host disease states in wildlife systems. We discuss the roles of genetic, epigenetic, and commensal microbial variation in disease pathogenesis, and highlight key case studies that exemplify the broad range of questions that can be addressed by examining different facets of molecular diversity. For particularly complex systems, integrative molecular analyses present a promising frontier that can provide critical insights necessary to elucidate disease dynamics operating across scales. These insights enable more accurate risk assessment, reconstruction of transmission pathways, discernment of optimal intervention strategies, and development of more effective and ecologically sound treatments that minimize damage to the host population and environment. Such measures are crucial when mitigating threats posed by wildlife disease to humans, domestic animals, and species of conservation concern.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2018-01-29T21:20:30.727674-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13083
  • Resemblance of a model species and its mimic: Reply to Valkonen and Mappes
    • Authors: Stanisław Bury; Mariusz Cichoń
      PubDate: 2018-01-29T11:55:22.325848-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13069
  • Merchants of doubt in the free-ranging cat conflict
    • Authors: Scott R. Loss; Peter P. Marra
      Abstract: Separating fact from misinformation is a major barrier to public understanding of science and institutional adoption of evidence-based policy (UCS 2017). As described in Merchants of Doubt (Oreskes & Conway 2010), there are myriad examples of industry and special interests manufacturing doubt about scientific consensus to keep controversies alive and hinder policy changes regarding environmental and public health issues such as DDT, cigarette smoking, and climate change.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2018-01-29T03:22:47.319093-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13085
  • Landscape consequences of aggregation rules for functional equivalence in
           compensatory mitigation programs
    • Authors: Francesco Accatino; Irena F. Creed, Marian Weber
      Abstract: Mitigation and offset programs designed to compensate for ecosystem function losses due to development must balance losses from affected ecosystems and gains in restored ecosystems. Aggregation rules applied to ecosystem functions to assess site equivalence are based on implicit assumptions about the substitutability of functions among sites and can profoundly influence the distribution of restored ecosystem functions on the landscape. We investigated the consequences of rules applied to aggregation of ecosystem functions for wetland offsets in the Beaverhill watershed in Alberta, Canada. We considered the fate of 3 ecosystem functions: hydrology, water purification, and biodiversity. We set up an affect-and-offset algorithm to simulate the effect of aggregation rules on ecosystem function for wetland offsets. Cobenefits and trade-offs among functions and the constraints posed by the quantity and quality of restorable sites resulted in a redistribution of functions between affected and offset wetlands. Hydrology and water-purification functions were positively correlated and negatively correlated with biodiversity function. Weighted-average rules did not replace functions in proportion to their weights. Rules prioritizing biodiversity function led to more monofunctional wetlands and landscapes. The minimum rule, for which the wetland score was equal to the worst performing function, promoted multifunctional wetlands and landscapes. The maximum rule, for which the wetland score was equal to the best performing function, promoted monofunctional wetlands and multifunctional landscapes. Because of implicit trade-offs among ecosystem functions, no-net-loss objectives for multiple functions should be constructed within a landscape context. Based on our results, we suggest criteria for the design of aggregation rules for no net loss of ecosystem functions within a landscape context include the concepts of substitutability, cobenefits and trade-offs, landscape constraints, heterogeneity, and the precautionary principle.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2018-01-26T09:04:07.457368-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13084
  • Noted with Interest
    • PubDate: 2018-01-25T06:16:51.078569-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13078
  • Political populations of large carnivores
    • Authors: Chris T. Darimont; Paul C. Paquet, Adrian Treves, Kyle A. Artelle, Guillaume Chapron
      Abstract: Article impact statement: Reporting of population data and associated policies are prone to political influence.
      PubDate: 2018-01-24T00:01:04.463595-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13065
  • Participatory development of incentives to coexist with jaguars and pumas
    • Authors: Ronit Amit; Susan K. Jacobson
      Abstract: Reducing costs and increasing benefits for rural communities coexisting with large carnivores is necessary for conservation of jaguar (Panthera onca) and puma (Puma concolor). To design acceptable incentives, stakeholders must be involved in the process. We conducted an innovative structured group communication process, based on a Delphi technique, as a template for identifying potential incentives. Community workshops with 133 members of 7 communities and iterative surveys with 25 multidisciplinary experts from government, NGOs and academia provided iterative data to design a plan of incentives through 4 rounds of discussion. The final product integrated 862 ideas into 6 types of incentives: organization of communities, mechanisms for improved dialogue, citizen technical assistance, green labeling for community products, payment for the ecosystem service of biodiversity, and an assessment of financial alternatives. We used quantitative and qualitative techniques to indicate support for decisions about the design of incentives, reducing researchers’ subjectivity. The diverse incentives developed and the cooperation from multiple stakeholders resulted in a wildlife management incentives plan that integrated issues of governance, equity, and social norms.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2018-01-22T03:03:46.116913-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13082
  • Effects of uncertainty and variability on population declines and IUCN Red
           List classifications
    • Authors: Pamela Rueda-Cediel; Kurt E. Anderson, Tracey J. Regan, Helen M. Regan
      Abstract: The IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria is a quantitative framework for classifying species according to extinction risk. Population models may be used to estimate extinction risk or population declines. Uncertainty and variability arise in threat classifications through measurement and process error in empirical data and uncertainty in the models used to estimate extinction risk and population declines. Furthermore, species traits are known to affect extinction risk. We investigated the effects of measurement and process error, model type, population growth rate, and age at first reproduction on the reliability of risk classifications based on projected population declines on IUCN Red List classifications. We used an age-structured population model to simulate “true” population trajectories with different growth rates, reproductive ages and levels of variation, and subjected them to measurement error. We evaluated the ability of scalar and matrix models parameterized with these simulated time series to accurately capture the IUCN Red List classification generated with “true” population declines. Five major insights were revealed: 1) under all measurement error levels tested and low process error classifications were reasonably accurate, 2) scalar and matrix models give roughly the same rate of misclassifications but the distribution of errors differs, 3) matrix models lead to greater over-estimation of extinction risk than under-estimations, 4) process error tends to contribute to misclassifications to a greater extent than measurement error, and 5) more misclassifications occur for fast, rather than slow, life histories. These results indicate that classifications of highly threatened taxa, i.e. taxa with low growth rates, under criterion A are more likely to be reliable than for less threatened taxa when assessed with population models. Greater scrutiny needs to be placed on data used to parameterize population models for species with high growth rates, particularly when available evidence indicates a potential transition to higher risk categories.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2018-01-22T01:50:54.733154-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13081
  • An experimental test of alternative population augmentation scenarios
    • Authors: J. A. Kronenberger; J. C. Gerberich, S. W. Fitzpatrick, E. D. Broder, L. M. Angeloni, W. C. Funk
      Abstract: Human land use is fragmenting habitats worldwide and inhibiting dispersal among previously connected populations of organisms, often leading to inbreeding depression and reduced evolutionary potential in the face of rapid environmental change. One management practice used to combat this is the augmentation of isolated populations with immigrants as a means of demographic and genetic rescue. Augmentation with immigrants that are genetically and adaptively similar to the target population is highly effective at increasing population fitness, but if immigrants are very genetically or adaptively divergent, augmentation can lead to outbreeding depression. Despite well-cited guidelines for the “best practice” selection of immigrant sources, often only highly divergent populations remain, and experimental tests of these “riskier” augmentation scenarios are essentially nonexistent. Here, we present results from a mesocosm experiment in which we used Trinidadian guppies to test the multigenerational demographic and genetic effects of augmenting two target populations with three types of divergent immigrants. We found no evidence for demographic rescue, but we did observe genetic rescue in one population. Specifically, divergent immigrant treatments tended to maintain greater genetic diversity, abundance, and hybrid fitness than controls that received immigrants from the source used to seed the mesocosms. In the second population, divergent immigrants had a slightly negative effect in one treatment, and the benefits of augmentation were less apparent overall, likely because this population started with higher genetic diversity and a lower reproductive rate that limited genetic admixture. Our results add to a growing consensus that gene flow can increase population fitness even when immigrants are more highly divergent, helping to reduce uncertainty about the use of augmentation in applied conservation.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2018-01-19T04:51:28.722335-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13076
  • Resemblance of a model species and its mimic: Response to Bury and
    • Authors: Janne K. Valkonen; Johanna Mappes
      PubDate: 2018-01-16T07:25:20.9233-05:00
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13070
  • Estimating the footprint of pollution on coral reefs with models of
           species turnover
    • Authors: Christopher J. Brown; Richard Hamilton
      Abstract: Ecological communities typically change along gradients of human impact, though it is difficult to estimate the footprint of impacts for diffuse threats like pollution. Here we develop a joint model of benthic habitats on lagoonal coral reefs and use it to infer change in benthic composition along a gradient of distance from logging operations. The model estimates both changes in abundances of benthic groups and their compositional turn-over, a type of beta-diversity. We detect compositional turnover across the gradient and use the model to predict the footprint of turbidity impacts from logging. We then apply the model to predict impacts of recent logging activities, finding recent impacts to be small, because recent logging has occurred far from lagoonal reefs. Our model can be used more generally to estimate the footprint of human impacts on ecosystems and evaluate the benefits of conservation actions for ecosystems.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2018-01-15T03:02:18.835124-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13079
  • Ecological design to shape new urbanities
    • Authors: Chiara Catalano
      PubDate: 2018-01-13T02:45:21.831064-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13072
  • Noted with Interest
    • PubDate: 2018-01-12T04:55:23.535232-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13063
  • Cover Caption
    • PubDate: 2018-01-04T15:01:14.051562-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13073
  • Assessment of the conservation measures partnership's effort to improve
           conservation outcomes through adaptive management
    • Authors: Kent H. Redford; Kristin B. Hulvey, Matthew Williamson, Mark W. Schwartz
      Abstract: Conservation practice has demonstrated an increasing desire for accountability of actions, particularly with respect to effectiveness, efficiency, and impact to specified objectives. This has been accompanied by increased attention to achieving adaptive management. In 2003 practitioners representing several prominent conservation non-governmental organizations (NGO's) launched a community of practice called the Conservation Measures Partnership (CMP). This organization has worked to establish standards of conservation practice to improve accountability of conservation actions through adaptive management. The focal organizing entity for the CMP has been the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation (OS). We present results of an evaluation, using an online survey and personal interviews, of the first decade of CMP and the OS. We find that the CMP, has garnered a positive reputation among the leading scientists across conservation NGO's and succeeded at developing a large user base of the OS. However, the CMP has not fully achieved its goal of making the OS standard operating procedure for the large NGO's. This lack of institutionalization is attributable to multiple causes, including an increase in the number of competing decision support frameworks and challenges achieving full cycle adaptive management. We find that users strongly feel that the OS fosters better conservation practice and highly value the OS for improving their practice. A primary objective of the OS is to assist practitioners to achieve full cycle adaptive management in order to better integrate learning into improving the effectiveness and efficiency of actions. However, we find that most practitioners have not yet achieved cycle completion for their projects. We summarize recommendations for improving effectiveness of the CMP, OS, and generally for conservation practice.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2018-01-03T07:01:21.299965-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13077
  • Issue Information - TOC
    • Pages: 1 - 3
      PubDate: 2018-01-04T15:01:13.502604-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13074
  • Issue Information - Copyright page
    • Pages: 4 - 4
      PubDate: 2018-01-04T15:01:11.599908-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13075
  • Books Received, December 2016–September 2017
    • Pages: 254 - 257
      PubDate: 2018-01-04T15:01:11.482759-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13064
  • Revealing life-history traits by contrasting genetic estimations with
           predictions of effective population size
    • Authors: Gili Greenbaum; Sharon Renan, Alan R. Templeton, Amos Bouskila, David Saltz, Daniel I. Rubenstein, Shirli Bar-David
      Abstract: Effective population size, a central concept in conservation biology, is now routinely estimated from genetic surveys, and can also be theoretically-predicted from demographic, life-history and mating-system hypotheses. However, by evaluating the consistency of theoretical predictions with empirically-estimated effective size, insights can be gained regarding life-history characteristics, as well as the relative impact of different life-history traits on genetic drift. These insights can be used to design and inform management strategies aimed at increasing effective population size. Here we describe and demonstrate this approach by addressing the conservation of a reintroduced population of Asiatic wild ass (Equus hemionus). We estimate the variance effective size (Nev) from genetic data (Nev = 24.3), and we formulate predictions for the impacts on Nev of demography, polygyny, female variance in life-time reproductive success, and heritability of female reproductive success. By contrasting the genetic estimation with theoretical predictions, we find that polygyny is the strongest factor effecting genetic drift, as only when accounting for polygyny were predictions consistent with the genetically-measured Nev, with 10.6% mating males per generation when heritability of female RS was unaccounted for (polygyny responsible for 81% decrease in Nev), and 19.5% when it was accounted for (polygyny responsible for 67% decrease in Nev). Heritability of female reproductive success was also found to affect Nev, with hf2 = 0.91 (heritability responsible for 41% decrease in Nev). The low effective population size is of concern, and we suggest specific management actions focusing on factors identified as strongly affecting Nev—increasing the availability of artificial water sources to increase number of dominant males contributing to the gene pool. This approach – evaluating life-history hypotheses, in light of their impact on effective population size, and contrasting predictions with genetic measurements – is a general, applicable strategy that can be used to inform conservation practice.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-12-22T02:23:51.365662-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13068
  • Quantifying progress toward a conservation assessment for all plants
    • Authors: Steven P. Bachman; Eimear M. Nic Lughadha, Malin C. Rivers
      Abstract: The Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) set an ambitious target to achieve a conservation assessment for all known plant species by 2020. We consolidated digitally available plant conservation assessments and reconciled their scientific names and assessment status to predefined standards to provide a quantitative measure of progress toward this target. The 241,919 plant conservation assessments generated represent 111,824 accepted land plant species (vascular plants and bryophytes, not algae). At least 73,081 and up to 90,321 species have been assessed at the global scale, representing 21–26% of known plant species. Of these plant species, at least 27,148 and up to 32,542 are threatened. Eighty plant families, including some of the largest, such as Asteraceae, Orchidaceae, and Rubiaceae, are underassessed and should be the focus of assessment effort if the GSPC target is to be met by 2020. Our data set is accessible online (ThreatSearch) and is a baseline that can be used to directly support other GSPC targets and plant conservation action. Although around one-quarter of a million plant assessments have been compiled, the majority of plants are still unassessed. The challenge now is to build on this progress and redouble efforts to document conservation status of unassessed plants to better inform conservation decisions and conserve the most threatened species.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-12-21T02:29:42.667862-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13071
  • Why conservation scientists should re-embrace their ecocentric roots
    • Authors: John J. Piccolo; Haydn Washington, Helen Kopnina, Bron Taylor
      Abstract: In this Diversity article we take a closer look at the explicit ecocentric roots of conservation biology, and we note that a growing number of conservationists have recently voiced support for ecocentric natural value. We argue that although ecosystem services arguments may play an important role in stemming our biodiversity crisis, a true transformation of our relationship with nature ought to be based in part on ecocentric valuation; conservation biologists ought to continue to play a role in leading such a transformation.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-12-15T03:45:19.944983-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13067
  • A sideways look at conservation and consistency in tourism policy
    • Authors: Amy Dickman; Craig Packer, Paul J. Johnson, David W. Macdonald
      Abstract: Consistency is widely believed to be a virtue. Some of the hottest fires of hell, according to Dante's Inferno, are reserved for those who transgress: the hypocrites.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-12-15T03:37:56.243413-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13066
  • A test of the substitution-habitat hypothesis in amphibians
    • Authors: Alejandro Martínez-Abraín; Pedro Galán
      Abstract: Most examples that support the substitution-habitat hypothesis (human-made habitats act as substitutes of original habitat) deal with birds and mammals. We tested this hypothesis in 14 amphibians by using percentage occupancy as a proxy of habitat quality (i.e., higher occupancy percentages indicate higher quality). We classified water body types as original habitat (no or little human influence) depending on anatomical, behavioral, or physiological adaptations of each amphibian species. Ten species had relatively high probabilities (0.16-0.28) of occurrence in original habitat, moderate probability of occurrence in substitution habitats (0.11-0.14), and low probability of occurrence in refuge habitats (0.05-0.08). Thus, the substitution-habitat hypothesis only partially applies to amphibians because the low occupancy of refuges could be due to the negligible human persecution of this group (indicating good conservation status). However, low occupancy of refuges could also be due to low tolerance of refuge conditions, which could have led to selective extinction or colonization problems due to poor dispersal capabilities. That original habitats had the highest probabilities of occupancy suggests amphibians have a good conservation status in the region. They also appeared highly adaptable to anthropogenic substitution habitats.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-12-08T01:23:05.938221-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13062
  • The Ecology of Urban and Road Infrastructure
    • Authors: Stephen Venn
      PubDate: 2017-12-06T05:00:52.945342-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13051
    • Authors: Kevin J. Gutzwiller; Joseph D. White, Wylie C. Barrow, Lori Johnson-Randall
      PubDate: 2017-12-06T05:00:37.518997-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13055
  • Threshold responses of Amazonian stream fishes to timing and extent of
    • Authors: Gabriel L. Brejão; David J. Hoeinghaus, María Angélica Pérez-Mayorga, Silvio F. B. Ferraz, Lilian Casatti
      Abstract: Deforestation is a primary driver of biodiversity change through habitat loss and fragmentation. Stream biodiversity may not respond to deforestation in a simple linear relationship. Rather, threshold responses to extent and timing of deforestation may occur. Identification of critical deforestation thresholds is needed for effective conservation and management. We tested for threshold responses of fish species and functional groups to degree of watershed and riparian zone deforestation and time since impact in 75 streams in the western Brazilian Amazon. We used remote sensing to assess deforestation from 1984 to 2011. Fish assemblages were sampled with seines and dip nets in a standardized manner. Fish species (n = 84) were classified into 20 functional groups based on ecomorphological traits associated with habitat use, feeding, and locomotion. Threshold responses were quantified using threshold indicator taxa analysis. Negative threshold responses to deforestation were common and consistently occurred at very low levels of deforestation (10 years after impact. Findings were similar at the community level for both taxonomic and functional analyses. Because most negative threshold responses occurred at low levels of deforestation and soon after impact, even minimal change is expected to negatively affect biodiversity. Delayed positive threshold responses to extreme deforestation by a few species do not offset the loss of sensitive taxa and likely contribute to biotic homogenization.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-12-06T04:20:22.965531-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13061
  • National conservation science conferences as a means of bridging
           conservation science and practice
    • Authors: Uri Roll; Takuya Iwamura, Oded Berger-Tal
      Abstract: Scientific meetings are instrumental in driving most scientific fields forward, but are especially important for multidisciplinary fields such as conservation science where the different participants come from a highly diverse array of fields and organizations.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-12-05T05:50:44.779621-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13060
  • Redefining the Heart of Conservation
    • Authors: John M. Halley
      PubDate: 2017-12-05T05:15:23.578381-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13053
  • Research and Conservation on an Artificial Island in a Shipping Lane and
           Elsewhere in the Tropics
    • Authors: Vojtech Novotny; Katerina Sam
      PubDate: 2017-12-05T05:10:23.804669-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13052
  • A multispecies test of source-sink indicators to prioritize habitat for
           declining populations
    • Authors: Julie A. Heinrichs; Joshua J. Lawler, Nathan H. Schumaker, Chad B. Wilsey, Kira Newcomb, Cameron L. Aldridge
      Abstract: For species at risk of decline or extinction in source-sink systems, sources are an obvious target for habitat protection actions. However, the way in which source habitats are identified and prioritized can reduce the effectiveness of conservation actions. Although sources and sinks are conceptually defined using both demographic and movement criteria, simplifications are often required in systems with limited data. To assess the conservation outcomes of alternative source metrics and resulting prioritizations, we simulated population dynamics and extinction risk for three endangered species. Using empirically-based habitat-population models, we linked habitat maps with measured site or habitat-specific demographic conditions, movement abilities, and behaviors. We calculated source-sink metrics over a range of time periods of data collection and prioritized the strongest sources for conservation. We then tested the ability of prioritized patches to identify the most habitats most affecting persistence by removing them and measuring the population response. Our results indicated that conservation decisions based on different source-sink metrics and durations of data collection can impact species persistence. Shorter times series obscured the ability of metrics to identify influential habitats, particularly in temporally variable and slowly declining populations. Data-rich source-sink metrics that included both demography and movement information did not always identify the habitats with the greatest influence on extinction risk. In some declining populations, patch abundance better predicted influential habitats for short-term regional persistence. As source-sink metrics (i.e., births-deaths; births and immigrations – deaths and emigration) describe net population conditions and cancel out gross population counts, they may not adequately identify influential habitats in declining populations. For many non-equilibrium populations, new metrics that maintain the counts of individual births, deaths, and movement may provide additional insight into habitats that most influence persistence.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-11-29T03:20:30.227033-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13058
  • Publication of abstracts in Chinese
    • PubDate: 2017-11-27T07:45:24.639269-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13049
  • The time is ripe for general theory in community ecology
    • Authors: Lars Götzenberger; Jan Lepš
      PubDate: 2017-11-27T07:41:13.804332-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13050
  • Alternatives to biodiversity offsets for mitigating the effects of
           urbanization on stream ecosystems
    • Authors: Myles E. Coker; Nick R. Bond, Yung En Chee, Christopher J. Walsh
      Abstract: Globally, offset schemes have emerged in many statutory frameworks relating to development activities, with the aim of balancing biodiversity conservation and development. While the theory and use of biodiversity offsets in terrestrial environments is broadly documented, little attention has been paid to offsets in stream ecosystems. Here we examine the application of offset schemes to stream ecosystems and explore whether they suffer similar shortcomings to those of offset schemes focused on terrestrial biodiversity. To challenge the applicability of offsets further, we discuss typical trajectories of urban expansion and their cascading physical, chemical and biological impacts on stream ecosystems. We argue that the highly connected nature of stream ecosystems and urban drainage networks can transfer impacts of urbanization across wide areas, complicating the notion of like-for-like exchange and the prospect of effectively mitigating biodiversity loss. Instead, we identify in-catchment options for stormwater control, which can avoid or minimize the impacts of development on downstream ecosystems, while presenting additional public and private benefits. We describe the underlying principles of these alternatives, some of the challenges associated with their uptake, and policy initiatives being trialled to facilitate adoption. In conclusion, we argue that stronger policies to avoid and minimize the impacts of urbanization provide better prospects for protecting downstream ecosystems, and can additionally, stimulate economic opportunities and improve urban liveability.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-11-23T02:20:30.007467-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13057
  • Dynamics in the global protected-area estate since 2004
    • Authors: Edward Lewis; Brian MacSharry, Diego Juffe-Bignoli, Nyeema Harris, Georgina Burrows, Naomi Kingston, Neil D. Burgess
      Abstract: Nations of the world have committed to a number of goals and targets to address the global environmental challenges humanity faces. Protected areas have for centuries been a key strategy in conservation and play a major role in addressing current challenges. The most important tool used to track progress on protected area commitments is the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA). Periodic assessments of the world's protected area estate show steady growth over the last two decades. However, the current method, which uses the latest version of the WDPA, does not show the true dynamic nature of protected areas over time, nor does it provide information on sites removed from the WDPA. In reality, this methodology can only show growth or remain stable. This paper presents a novel approach to assess protected area change over time using twelve temporally distinct versions of the WDPA that quantify area added, and removed, from the WDPA annually from 2004 to 2016. Results show that both the narrative of continual protected area growth and the counter-narrative of protected area removal are overly simplistic. The former because growth has been almost entirely marine and the latter because we demonstrate that some areas removed are re-protected in later years. Analysis indicates that, on average, 2.5 million km2 is added to the WDPA annually and 1.1 million km2 is removed. Reasons for the inclusion and removal of protected areas in the WDPA database are explored and discussed. To meet the 17% land coverage component of Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 by 2020, which stands at 14.7% in 2016, the world will either need to reduce the rate of protected area removal or increase the rate of protected area designation and addition to the WDPA.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-11-23T01:50:30.088199-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13056
  • Exposing ecological and economic costs of the research-implementation gap
           and compromises in decision making
    • Authors: Santtu Kareksela; Atte Moilanen, Olli Ristaniemi, Reima Välivaara, Janne S. Kotiaho
      Abstract: The frequently discussed gap between conservation science and practice is manifest in the gap between spatial conservation prioritization plans and their implementation. We analyzed the research-implementation gap of 1 zoning case by comparing results of a spatial prioritization analysis aimed at avoiding ecological impact of peat mining in a regional zoning process with the final zoning plan. We examined the relatively complex planning process to determine the gaps among research, zoning, and decision making. We quantified the ecological costs of the differing trade-offs between ecological and socioeconomic factors included in the different zoning suggestions by comparing the landscape-level loss of ecological features (species occurrences, habitat area, etc.) between the different solutions for spatial allocation of peat mining. We also discussed with the scientists and planners the reasons for differing zoning suggestions. The implemented plan differed from the scientists suggestion in that its focus was individual ecological features rather than all the ecological features for which there were data; planners and decision makers considered effects of peat mining on areas not included in the prioritization analysis; zoning was not truly seen as a resource-allocation process and emphasized in general minimizing ecological losses while satisfying economic needs (peat-mining potential); and decision makers based their prioritization of sites on site-level information showing high ecological value and on single legislative factors instead of finding a cost-effective landscape-level solution. We believe that if the zoning and decision-making processes are very complex, then the usefulness of science-based prioritization tools is likely to be reduced. Nevertheless, we found that high-end tools were useful in clearly exposing trade-offs between conservation and resource utilization.
      PubDate: 2017-11-15T07:55:28.085402-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13054
  • Why Ecology Matters
    • PubDate: 2017-11-13T06:35:22.740013-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13040
  • Need for multiscale planning for conservation of urban bats
    • Authors: Travis Gallo; Elizabeth W. Lehrer, Mason Fidino, R. Julia Kilgour, Patrick J. Wolff, Seth Magle
      Abstract: For over a century there have been continual efforts to incorporate nature into urban planning. These efforts – known as urban reconciliation– aim to manage and create habitats that support biodiversity within cities. Given that species select habitat at different spatial scales, understanding the scale at which urban species respond to their environment is critical to the success of urban reconciliation efforts. We assessed species-habitat relationships for common bat species at local (50-m), medium (500-m), and broad (1-km) spatial scales in the Chicago metropolitan area and predicted bat activity across the greater Chicago region. We found that habitat characteristics across all measured scales were important predictors of silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans) and eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis) activity, and big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus) activity was significantly lower at urban sites compared to rural sites. We also found that open vegetation had a negative effect on silver-haired bat activity at the local scale but a positive effect at the medium-sized scale, indicating potential shifts in the relative importance of some habitat characteristics at varying scales. These results demonstrate that local-scale effects may be constrained by broader spatial patterns. Our findings highlight the importance of considering scale in urban reconciliation efforts and our landscape predictions provide information that can help prioritize urban conservation work.
      PubDate: 2017-11-10T04:50:36.730448-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13047
  • Illegal fishing and territorial user rights in Chile
    • Authors: Rodrigo Oyanedel; Andres Keim, Juan Carlos Castilla, Stefan Gelcich
      Abstract: Illegal fishing poses a major threat for the conservation of marine resources worldwide. However, there is still limited empirical research that quantifies illegal catch levels. This study uses the Randomized Response Technique to estimate the proportion of divers, and the quantities extracted of illegal “loco” (Concholepas concholepas), a gastropod managed for the past 17 years through a Territorial User Rights for Fisheries system (TURFs) in Chile. Results show that illegal fishing is widespread along the TURFs system, with official reported landings accounting for only 14- 30% of the total loco extraction. Quantitative estimates suggest that ignoring the magnitude of illegal fishing and only considering official landings statistics can mislead conclusions about the status and trends of a TURFs managed fishery. We found evidence of fisher associations authorizing their own members to poach inside TURFs, highlighting the need to design TURFs systems in a way that government agencies and fishers’ incentives and objectives are continually adapting to be in line and not at odds. In the same way, government support for enforcement is a key element for the TURFs system to secure the rights that are in place. This study provides insights on how to improve governance of TURFs in Chile and around the world.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-11-07T23:51:37.250056-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13048
  • Black swans, cognition and the power of learning from failure
    • Authors: Allison S. Catalano; Kent Redford, Richard Margoluis, Andrew T. Knight
      Abstract: Failure carries undeniable stigma and is difficult to confront for individuals, teams, and organizations. Disciplines such as commercial and military aviation, medicine, and business have long histories of grappling with it, beginning with the recognition that failure is inevitable in every human endeavor. While conservation may arguably be more complex, conservation professionals can draw upon the research and experience of these other disciplines to institutionalize activities and attitudes that foster learning from failures, whether they are minor setbacks or major disasters. Understanding the role of individual cognitive biases, team psychological safety, and organizational willingness to support critical self-examination all contribute to creating a cultural shift in conservation to one that is open to the learning opportunity that failure provides. This new approach to managing failure is a necessary next step in the evolution of conservation effectiveness.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-11-01T23:56:17.784245-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13045
  • Using machine learning to disentangle homonyms in large text corpora
    • Authors: Uri Roll; Ricardo A. Correia, Oded Berger-Tal
      Abstract: Systematic reviews are an increasingly popular decision-making tool which provides an unbiased summary of evidence to support conservation action. These reviews bridge the gap between researchers and managers by presenting a comprehensive overview of all studies relating to a particular topic and identify specifically where and under which conditions an effect is present. However, several technical challenges can severely hinder the feasibility and applicability of systematic reviews. One such challenge is the presence of homonyms – terms that share spelling but differ in meaning. Homonyms add a lot of noise to search results but they cannot be easily identified and removed. In this work, we developed a semi-automated approach that can aid in the classification of homonyms between narratives. We used a combination of automated content analysis and artificial neural networks to quickly and accurately sift through large corpora of academic texts and classify them to distinct topics. As an example, we explored the use of the word ‘reintroduction’ in academic texts. Reintroduction is used within the conservation context to indicate the release of organisms to their former native habitat, however a ‘Web of Science’ search using this word returned thousands of publications that use this term with other meanings and contexts. Using our method, we were able to automatically classify a sample of 3000 of these publications with more than 99% accuracy, when compared to a manual classification. Our approach can be easily used with any other homonym terms and greatly facilitate systematic reviews, or any similar cases where homonyms hinder the harnessing of large text corpora. Beyond homonyms we see great promise in the combination of automated content analysis and machine learning methods in handling and screening big data for relevant information in conservation science.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-10-31T02:20:20.942652-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13044
  • Conservation and human–wildlife conflicts on farmland
    • Authors: Gabor Pozsgai
      PubDate: 2017-10-30T07:50:49.793885-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13032
  • A role for selective contraception of individuals in conservation
           management programs
    • Authors: Holly R. Cope; Carolyn J. Hogg, Peter J. White, Catherine A. Herbert
      Abstract: Contraception has an established role to play in managing overabundant populations and preventing undesirable breeding in zoos. We propose that it can also be used strategically and selectively in conservation management programs to increase the genetic and behavioural quality of the animals. In captive breeding programs, it is becoming increasingly important to maximise the retention of genetic diversity by managing the reproductive contribution of each individual, and preventing genetically suboptimal breeding, through the use of selective contraception. Reproductive suppression of selected individuals in conservation programs has further benefits of allowing animals to be group housed in extensive enclosures without interfering with breeding recommendations, thus reducing adaptation to captivity and facilitating the expression of wild behaviours and social structures. Before selective contraception can be incorporated into a breeding program, the most suitable method of fertility control must be selected, and this can be influenced by factors such as species life history, age, ease of treatment, potential for reversibility and desired management outcome for the individual and/or population. Contraception should then be implemented in the population following a step-by-step framework. In this way it can provide crucial, flexible control over breeding in order to promote the physical and genetic health and sustainability of a conservation dependent species held in captivity. Here we present three Australian marsupial examples to illustrate various situations where contraception can benefit conservation, and the importance of contraceptive duration relative to reproductive life, reversibility and predictability of the contraceptive agent being used.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-10-28T01:50:50.082835-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13042
  • Species composition of the international shark fin trade assessed through
           a retail-market survey in Hong Kong
    • Authors: Andrew T. Fields; Gunter A. Fischer, Stanley K. H. Shea, Huarong Zhang, Debra L. Abercrombie, Kevin A. Feldheim, Elizabeth A. Babcock, Demian D. Chapman
      Abstract: The shark fin trade is a major driver of shark exploitation in fisheries all over the world, most of which are not managed on a species-specific basis. Species-specific trade information highlights taxa of particular concern and can be used to assess the efficacy of management measures and anticipate emerging threats. The species composition of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China, one of the world's largest fin trading hubs, was partially assessed in 1999–2001. We randomly selected and genetically identified fin trimmings (n = 4,800), produced during fin processing, from the retail market of Hong Kong in 2014–2015 to assess contemporary species composition of the fin trade. We used nonparametric species estimators to determine that at least 76 species of sharks, batoids, and chimaeras supplied the fin trade and a Bayesian model to determine their relative proportion in the market. The diversity of traded species suggests species substitution could mask depletion of vulnerable species; one-third of identified species face serious risk of extinction. The Bayesian model suggested that 8 species each comprised>1% of the fin trimmings (34.1-64.2% for blue [Prionace glauca]; 0.2-1.2% for bull [Carcharhinus leucas] and shortfin mako [Isurus oxyrinchus]); thus, trade was skewed to a few globally distributed species. Several other coastal sharks, batoids, and chimaeras are in the trade but poorly managed. Fewer than 10 of the species we modeled have sustainably managed fisheries anywhere in their range, including the most common species in trade, the blue shark. Our study and approach serve as a baseline to track changes in composition of species in the fin trade over time to better understand patterns of exploitation and assess the effects of emerging management actions for these animals.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-10-27T08:30:52.097318-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13043
  • The ecological consequences of forest elephant declines for Afrotropical
    • Authors: John R. Poulsen; Cooper Rosin, Amelia Meier, Emily Mills, Chase Nunez, Sally E. Koerner, Emily Blanchard, Jennifer Callejas, Sarah Moore, Mark Sowers
      Abstract: Poaching is rapidly extirpating African forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) from most of their historical range, leaving vast areas of elephant-free tropical forest. Elephants are ecological engineers that create and maintain forest habitat, thus their loss will have strong consequences for the composition and structure of Afrotropical forests. We evaluated the roles of forest elephants in seed dispersal, nutrient recycling, and herbivory and physical damage to predict the cascading ecological effects of their population declines. Loss of seed dispersal by elephants will favor tree species dispersed abiotically and by smaller dispersal agents, with tree species composition depending on the downstream effects of changes in elephant nutrient cycling and browsing. Loss of trampling and herbivory of seedlings and saplings will result in high tree density as they are released from the pressures of browsing. Diminished seed dispersal by elephants and high stem density are likely to reduce the recruitment of large trees, resulting in a more homogeneous forest structure and decreased carbon stocks. In sum, the loss of ecological services by forest elephants will likely transform Central African forests to be more like Neotropical forests, from which megafauna were extirpated thousands of years ago. Without intervention, as much as 96% of Central African forests will have modified species composition and structure as elephants are compressed into remaining protected areas. Stopping elephant poaching is an urgent first step to mitigating these effects, but long-term conservation will require land use planning that incorporates elephant habitat into forested landscapes that are being rapidly transformed by industrial agriculture and logging.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-10-27T01:50:34.737308-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13035
  • Use of long-term data to evaluate loss and endangerment status of Natura
           2000 habitats and effects of protected areas
    • Authors: Marianna Biró; János Bölöni, Zsolt Molnár
      Abstract: Habitat loss is a key driver of biodiversity loss. However, hardly any long-term time series analyses of habitat loss are available above the local scale for finer-level habitat categories. In this paper we analyse, from a long-term perspective, the habitat specificity of habitat area loss, the change in trends since the fall of communism and the impact of protected areas on habitat loss. We studied twenty semi-natural habitat types in 5000 randomly selected localities over seven time periods between 1783 and 2013, using historical maps, archival and recent aerial/satellite imagery, botanical descriptions and field data. We developed a method for estimating habitat types using information transfer between historical sources. Habitat loss trends over time were habitat specific. We found seven types regarding functional form of loss over time: linear, exponential, linear/exponential, delayed, minimum, maximum, and disappearance. Most habitats experienced monotonic area loss; one disappeared completely. After the fall of the communism, average annual habitat loss rates increased, but the trend reversed after 2002. Compared to areas never enjoying protected status, those that were later designated as protected experienced lower habitat loss until 1942, although during the communist era, grassland loss increased severely. Nature conservation measures impacted significantly on habitat loss, halting net losses completely, albeit only inside protected areas. When calculating the degree of endangerment using short-term data (52y), we classified only one habitat as Critically Endangered, but this increased to seven when using long-term data (230y). Hungary will probably reach the global CBD target (to decelerate loss), but will probably not achieve the EU target of halting habitat loss by 2020. We found long-term trend data to be highly useful when interpreting recent habitat loss data in a wider context. Our method could be applied effectively in other countries to augment shorter-term datasets of habitat area trends.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-10-26T07:21:17.973471-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13038
  • Challenges and opportunities for transboundary conservation of migratory
           birds in the East Asian-Australasian flyway
    • Authors: Ding Li Yong; Anuj Jain, Yang Liu, Muhammad Iqbal, Chang-Yong Choi, Nicola J. Crockford, Spike Millington, Jennifer Provencher
      PubDate: 2017-10-26T01:21:40.667963-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13041
  • Leveraging natural capital to solve the shared education and conservation
    • Authors: Kathryn T. Stevenson; M. Nils Peterson, Robert R. Dunn
      Abstract: Education and conservation have a shared crisis: neither fully serves diverse populations. Where poverty, race, and ethnicity covary, those left behind educationally are disproportionately from underrepresented groups. Global achievement gaps associated with socioeconomic and minority status have existed for decades (Morgan et al. 2016). These populations are also underrepresented in conservation professions; thus, conservation decisions often reflect the views of elites (Foster et al. 2014). Conservation and education have shared problems, and we argue they have shared solutions.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-10-25T08:56:13.767098-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13039
  • Threats to biodiversity from cumulative human impacts in one of North
           America's last wildlife frontiers
    • Authors: Nancy Shackelford; Rachel J. Standish, William Ripple, Brian M. Starzomski
      Abstract: Land-use change is the largest proximate threat to biodiversity, yet remains one of the most complex to manage. In British Columbia (BC), where large mammals roam extensive tracts of intact habitat, continued land-use development is of global concern. Extant mammal diversity in BC is unrivalled in North America owing, in part, to its unique position at the intersection of alpine, boreal and temperate biomes. Despite high conservation values, understanding of cumulative ecological impacts from human development is limited. Using cumulative effects assessments (CEAs) methodologies, we assess the current human footprint over 16 regional ecosystems and seven large mammal species. Using historical and current range estimates of the mammals, we investigated impacts of human land-use on species persistence. For ecosystems, we found that Bunchgrass, Coastal Douglas Fir and Ponderosa Pine have experienced over 50% land-use conversion; over 85% of their spatial extent has undergone either direct or estimated indirect impacts. Of the mammals we considered, wolves were the least impacted yet all species have reduced ranges compared with historical estimates. We found evidence for a hard trade-off between development and conservation, most clearly for mammals with large distributions and ecosystems that have experienced high levels of conversion. Rather than serve as a platform to monitor species decline, we strongly advocate these data be used to inform land-use planning and to assess current conservation efforts. More generally, CEAs offer a robust tool to inform wildlife and habitat conservation at scale.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-10-25T07:20:25.019289-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13036
  • Estimating the extinction date of the thylacine with mixed certainty data
    • Authors: Colin J. Carlson; Alexander L. Bond, Kevin R. Burgio
      Abstract: The thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus), one of Australia's most characteristic megafauna, was the largest marsupial carnivore until hunting, and potentially disease, drove it to extinction in 1936. Though thylacines were restricted to Tasmania for two millennia prior to their extinction, recent “plausible” sightings on the Cape York Peninsula in northern Queensland have emerged, leading some to speculate the species may persist, undetected. Here we show that the continued survival of the thylacine is entirely implausible based on most current mathematical theories of extinction. We present a dataset including physical evidence, expert-validated sightings, and unconfirmed sightings leading up to the present day, and use a range of extinction models, focusing on a Bayesian approach that incorporates all three types of data by modelling valid and invalid sightings as independent processes, to evaluate the likelihood of the thylacine's persistence. Although the last captive individual died in September 1936, our analyses suggest the most likely extinction date would be 1940; other extinction models estimated the thylacine's extinction date between 1936 and 1943, and even the most optimistic scenario suggests the species did not persist beyond 1956. The search for the thylacine, much like similar efforts to “rediscover” other recently extinct charismatic taxa, is likely to be fruitless, especially given that persistence on Tasmania would have been no guarantee the species could reappear in regions that had been unoccupied for millennia. The search for the thylacine may become a rallying point for conservation and wildlife biology, and could indirectly help fund and support critical research in understudied areas like Cape York. However, our results suggest that attempts to rediscover the thylacine will likely be unsuccessful.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-10-25T03:20:59.934792-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13037
  • Adaptive social impact management for conservation and environmental
    • Authors: Maery Kaplan-Hallam; Nathan J. Bennett
      Abstract: Concerns about the social consequences of conservation have spurred increased attention the monitoring and evaluation of the social impacts of conservation projects. This has resulted in a growing body of research that demonstrates how conservation can produce both positive and negative social, economic, cultural, health, and governance consequences for local communities. Yet, the results of social monitoring efforts are seldom applied to adaptively manage conservation projects. Greater attention is needed to incorporating the results of social impact assessments in long-term conservation management to minimize negative social consequences and maximize social benefits. We bring together insights from social impact assessment, adaptive management, social learning, knowledge coproduction, cross-scale governance, and environmental planning to propose a definition and framework for adaptive social impact management (ASIM). We define ASIM as the cyclical process of monitoring and adaptively managing social impacts over the life-span of an initiative through the 4 stages of profiling, learning, planning, and implementing. We outline 14 steps associated with the 4 stages of the ASIM cycle and provide guidance and potential methods for social-indicator development, predictive assessments of social impacts, monitoring and evaluation, communication of results, and identification and prioritization of management responses. Successful ASIM will be aided by engaging with best practices – including local engagement and collaboration in the process, transparent communication of results to stakeholders, collective deliberation on and choice of interventions, documentation of shared learning at the site level, and the scaling up of insights to inform higher-level conservation policies-to increase accountability, trust, and perceived legitimacy among stakeholders. The ASIM process is broadly applicable to conservation, environmental management, and development initiatives at various scales and in different contexts.Manejo Adaptativo del Impacto Social para la Conservación y Gestión AmbientalResumenLas preocupaciones sobre las consecuencias sociales de la conservación han generado un incremento en la atención puesta al monitoreo y a la evaluación de los impactos sociales de los proyectos de conservación. Esto ha resultado en un creciente cuerpo de investigación que demuestra cómo la conservación puede producir consecuencias sociales, económicas, culturales, de salud y gobernanza tanto positivas como negativas para las comunidades locales. A pesar de esto, los resultados de los esfuerzos de monitoreo social rara vez se aplican para manejar adaptativamente los proyectos de conservación. Se necesita de mayor atención para incorporar los resultados de las valoraciones del impacto social en el manejo de la conservación a largo plazo para minimizar las consecuencias sociales negativas y maximizar los beneficios sociales. Juntamos el conocimiento de la valoración del impacto social, el manejo adaptativo, el aprendizaje social, la coproducción del conocimiento, la gobernanza a través de escalas, y la planeación ambiental para proponer una definición y un marco de trabajo para el manejo adaptativo del impacto social (ASIM). Definimos el ASIM como el proceso cíclico de monitoreo y manejo adaptativo de los impactos sociales a lo largo de la vida de una iniciativa a través de cuatro etapas de evaluación por perfil, aprendizaje, planeación e implementación. Resumimos 14 pasos asociados con las cuatro etapas del ciclo del ASIM y proporcionamos una guía y métodos potenciales para el desarrollo del indicador social, la valoración predictiva de los impactos sociales, el monitoreo y la evaluación, la comunicación de los resultados, y la identificación y priorización de las respuestas del manejo. Los ASIM exitosos serán apoyados al trabajar con las mejores prácticas – incluyendo al compromiso local y la colaboración en el proceso, la comunicación transparente de los resultados a los accionistas, la deliberación colectiva y la elección de intervenciones, la documentación del aprendizaje compartido a nivel de sitio, y el incremento de conocimiento para informar las políticas de conservación de niveles más altos para incrementar la responsabilidad, confianza y la legitimidad percibida entre los accionistas. El proceso del ASIM es aplicable en general a la conservación, el manejo ambiental y a las iniciativas de desarrollo a varias escalas y en diferentes contextos.
      PubDate: 2017-10-24T00:01:02.578747-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12985
  • Policy and Practice in Restoration
    • Authors: Péter Török
      PubDate: 2017-10-12T06:45:49.893466-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13028
  • The effectiveness of terrestrial protected areas for lake fish community
    • Authors: Cindy Chu; Lucy Ellis, Derrick T. Kerckhove
      Abstract: Protected areas are established globally to conserve biodiversity, and associated ecosystem services and cultural values. However, freshwater protected areas are rare even though freshwater ecosystems and their biodiversity are among the most imperilled in the world. Conservation actions within terrestrial protected areas such as development or resource extraction regulations may spill over to benefit the freshwater ecosystems within their boundaries. Using a dataset of 175 lakes across Ontario (Canada), we compared common fish assemblage status indicators; species richness, Shannon's diversity index, catch-per-unit-effort, and normalized length size spectra, to evaluate whether terrestrial protected areas benefit lake fish assemblages. Nearest neighbour cluster analysis was used to generate pairs of lakes; a) inside versus outside, b) inside versus bordering, and c) bordering versus outside terrestrial protected areas based on lake characteristics. The diversity and abundance indicators did not differ significantly across comparisons but normalized length size spectrum slopes were significantly steeper in lakes outside of parks. The latter indicating assemblage differences (greater abundances of small-bodied species), and less efficient energy transfer through the trophic levels of assemblages outside parks. Although not significantly different, pollution and turbidity tolerant species were more abundant outside parks, while three of the four pollution intolerant species were more abundant within parks. Twenty-one percent of the difference in slopes was related to higher total dissolved solids concentrations and angling pressure. Our results provided marginal support that terrestrial protected areas benefit lake fish assemblages, and suggest that NLSS slopes may be more informative indicators for aquatic protected area evaluations because they represent compositional and functional aspects of communities. With an increasing global effort to establish PAs, we encourage more of these types of studies to improve our understanding of protected area effectiveness and the development of appropriate ecological indicators to monitor them.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-10-08T23:50:24.419053-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13034
  • Biofluorescence as a survey tool for cryptic marine species
    • Authors: Maarten Brauwer; Jean-Paul A. Hobbs, Rohani Ambo-Rappe, Jamaluddin Jompa, Euan S. Harvey, Jennifer L. McIlwain
      Abstract: As ecosystems come under increasing anthropogenic pressure, rare species face the highest risk of extinction. Paradoxically, rare species often lack data necessary to evaluate their conservation status, because of the challenges detecting species with low abundance. One group of fishes subject to this under-sampling bias are those with cryptic body patterns. Twenty-one percent of the cryptic fish species assessed for their extinction risk (IUCN) are data deficient. We developed a non-destructive method for surveying cryptically patterned marine fishes based on the presence of biofluorescence. Blue LED torches were used to investigate how widespread biofluorescence is in cryptic reef fishes in the Coral Triangle region. We recorded 95 reef fish species displaying biofluorescence, 73 of which had not been previously described as biofluorescent. Of those fish with cryptic patterns 87% were biofluorescent compared to 9% for non-cryptic fishes. The probability of species displaying biofluorescence was 70.9 times greater for cryptic species compared to non-cryptic species. The effectiveness of our Underwater Biofluorescence Census (UBC) method in generating abundance data was tested on a data deficient pygmy seahorse species (Hippocampus bargibanti) and compared to data obtained from standard Underwater Visual Census (UVC) surveys. Almost twice the number of H. bargibanti were counted using the UBC compared with UVC. For two triplefin species (Ucla xenogrammus, Enneapterygius tutuilae), the abundance detected with UBC was triple that detected with UVC. The UBC method is effective at finding cryptic species that are otherwise difficult to detect, reducing inter-observer variability inherent to UVC surveys. Biofluorescence is ubiquitous in cryptic fishes, making this method applicable across a wide range of species. Data collected using UBC could be used with multiple IUCN criteria to assess the extinction risk of cryptic species. Adopting this technique will enhance researchers’ ability to survey cryptic species, facilitating management and conservation of cryptic marine species.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-10-06T08:50:33.876196-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13033
  • Long-distance flights and high-risk breeding by nomadic waterbirds on
           desert salt lakes
    • Authors: Reece D. Pedler; Raoul F.H. Ribot, Andrew T.D. Bennett
      Abstract: Understanding and conserving mobile species presents complex challenges, especially for animals in stochastic or changing environments. Nomadic waterbirds must locate temporary water in arid biomes where rainfall is highly unpredictable in space and time. To achieve this they need to travel over vast spatial scales and time arrival to exploit pulses in food resources. How they achieve this is an enduring mystery.  We investigated these challenges in the colonial-nesting Banded Stilt (Cladorhynchus leucocephalus), a nomadic shorebird of conservation concern. Hitherto, Banded Stilts were hypothesized to have only 1–2 chances to breed during their long lifetime, when flooding rain fills desert salt lakes, triggering mass-hatching of brine shrimp. Over 6 years, we satellite tagged 57 individuals, conducted 21 aerial surveys to detect nesting colonies on 14 Australian desert salt lakes, and analyzed 3 decades of Landsat and MODIS satellite imagery to quantify salt-lake flood frequency and extent. Within days of distant inland rainfall, Banded Stilts flew 1,000–2,000 km to reach flooded salt lakes. On arrival, females laid over half their body weight in eggs. We detected nesting episodes across the species’ range at 7 times the frequency reported during the previous 80 years. Nesting colonies of thousands formed following minor floods, yet most were subsequently abandoned when the water rapidly evaporated prior to egg hatching. Satellite imagery revealed twice as many flood events sufficient for breeding-colony initiation as recorded colonies, suggesting that nesting at remote sites has been underdetected. Individuals took risk on uncertain breeding opportunities by responding to frequent minor flood events between infrequent extensive flooding, exemplifying the extreme adaptability and trade-offs of species exploiting unstable environments. The conservation challenges of nest predation by overabundant native gulls and anthropogenic modifications to salt lakes filling frequencies require investigation, as do the physiological and navigational mechanisms that enable such extreme strategies.Vuelos de Larga Distancia y la Reproducción de Alto Riesgo de Aves Acuáticas Nómadas en Lagos Salados de los DesiertosResumenEl entendimiento y la conservación de especies móviles presentan retos complejos, especialmente para animales en ambientes estocásticos o cambiantes. Las aves acuáticas nómadas deben ubicar agua temporal en biomas áridos en los que la precipitación es altamente impredecible en el tiempo y el espacio. Para lograr esto necesitan tiempo de arribo y trasladarse sobre escalas espaciales amplias para explotar los pulsos de recursos alimenticios. Cómo logran esto es un misterio que perdura. Investigamos estos retos con la cigüeñuela pechirroja (Cladorhynchus leucocephalus), un ave costera nómada de anidamiento colonial e interés de conservación. Hasta la fecha se creía que la cigüeñuela pechirroja sólo tenía entre una y dos oportunidades de reproducción a lo largo de su vida cuando la lluvia llena los lagos salados de los desiertos, activando una eclosión masiva de artemias. Durante seis años etiquetamos con satélite a 57 individuos, realizamos 21 censos aéreos para detectar las colonias de anidación en 14 lagos salados del desierto en Australia, y analizamos tres décadas de imágenes satelitales de Landsat y MODIS para cuantificar la frecuencia y extensión de las inundaciones en los lagos salados. A los pocos días de las lluvias distantes tierra adentro, las cigüeñuelas pechirrojas volaron 1,000 – 2,000 km para llegar a los lagos salados inundados. A su llegada, las hembras pusieron más de la mitad de su peso corporal en huevos. Detectamos episodios de anidamiento a lo largo de la extensión de la especie siete veces más que la frecuencia reportada durante los 80 años previos. Se formaron colonias de anidamiento de miles de individuos después de inundaciones menores, aunque la mayoría fueron abandonadas subsecuentemente cuando el agua se evaporó rápidamente antes de la eclosión de los huevos. Las imágenes satelitales revelaron el doble de eventos de inundaciones suficientes para la iniciación de colonias reproductivas que las colonias registradas, lo que sugiere que la anidación en sitios remotos no ha sido detectada. Los individuos tomaron riesgos con oportunidades de reproducción inciertas al responder a eventos frecuentes de inundación menor entre las inundaciones extensivas poco frecuentes, ejemplificando la adaptabilidad extrema y las compensaciones de las especies que explotan los ambientes inestables. Los retos de conservación con la depredación de los nidos por gaviotas nativas sobreabundantes y las modificaciones antropogénicas de las frecuencias de inundación de los lagos salados requieren investigación, así como los mecanismos fisiológicos y de navegación que permiten tales estrategias extremas.
      PubDate: 2017-10-05T12:20:34.817124-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13007
  • Considering connections between Hollywood and biodiversity conservation
    • Authors: Matthew J. Silk; Sarah L. Crowley, Anna J. Woodhead, Ana Nuno
      Abstract: Cinema offers a substantial opportunity to share messages with a wide audience. Given its global range and potentially high impact, there is an urgent need for research that evaluates the effects of this form of visual media on conservation outcomes. Cinema can influence the awareness and behaviours of non-specialist audiences, and could therefore play an important positive and/or negative role in biodiversity conservation through behavioural change and social pressure on key stakeholders and policy makers. Limited awareness about the potential benefits and limitations of cinema for conservation, as well as a lack of evidence about impacts, currently hinder our ability to learn from previous and ongoing initiatives, and to engage productively with the movie industry. We discuss the key opportunities and risks that arise from cinematic representations of conservation issues and species of concern, making use of examples and case studies where they are available. We additionally provide a framework that enables conservationists to better understand and engage with the film industry, highlighting how this can facilitate engagement with the movie industry, harness its potential, and improve work to mitigate any negative consequences. A robust evidence base is key for evaluating and planning these engagements, and for informing related policy and management decisions.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-09-27T23:51:07.250397-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13030
  • The need for spatially explicit quantification of benefits in
           invasive-species management
    • Authors: Stephanie R. Januchowski-Hartley; Vanessa M. Adams, Virgilio Hermoso
      Abstract: Worldwide, invasive species are a leading driver of environmental change across terrestrial, marine, and freshwater environments and cost billions of dollars annually in ecological damages and economic losses. Resources limit invasive-species control, and planning processes are needed to identify cost-effective solutions. Thus, studies are increasingly considering spatially variable natural and socioeconomic assets (e.g., species persistence, recreational fishing) when planning the allocation of actions for invasive-species management. There is a need to improve understanding of how such assets are considered in invasive-species management. We reviewed over 1600 studies focused on management of invasive species, including flora and fauna. Eighty-four of these studies were included in our final analysis because they focused on the prioritization of actions for invasive species management. Forty-five percent (n = 38) of these studies were based on spatial optimization methods, and 35% (n = 13) accounted for spatially variable assets. Across all 84 optimization studies considered, 27% (n = 23) explicitly accounted for spatially variable assets. Based on our findings, we further explored the potential costs and benefits to invasive species management when spatially variable assets are explicitly considered or not. To include spatially variable assets in decision-making processes that guide invasive-species management there is a need to quantify environmental responses to invasive species and to enhance understanding of potential impacts of invasive species on different natural or socioeconomic assets. We suggest these gaps could be filled by systematic reviews, quantifying invasive species impacts on native species at different periods, and broadening sources and enhancing sharing of knowledge.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-09-22T00:20:38.421288-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13031
  • Effects of age and sex ratios on offspring recruitment rates in
           translocated black rhinoceros
    • Authors: Jay V. Gedir; Peter R. Law, Pierre du Preez, Wayne L. Linklater
      Abstract: Success of animal translocations depends on improving post-release demographic rates toward establishment and subsequent growth of released populations. Short-term metrics for evaluating translocation success and its drivers, like post-release survival and fecundity, are unlikely to represent longer-term outcomes. We used information theory to investigate 25 years of black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) translocations using the offspring recruitment rate (ORR) of translocated females – a metric integrating survival, fecundity and offspring recruitment at sexual maturity – to detect determinants of success. Our analyses produced an unambiguous top model (AICω = 0.986), which predicted that ORR increases with female age at release as a function of lower post-release adult rhino sex ratio (males:females). Delay to first post-release reproduction and failure of some females to recruit any calves to sexual maturity most influenced the pattern of ORRs, with the leading causes of recruitment failure being post-release female death (23% of all females) and failure to calve (24% of surviving females). We recommend translocating older females (≥ 6 years old) because they do not have the reproductive delay and low ORRs of juveniles (< 4 years old), nor the higher rates of recruitment failure of juveniles and young adults (4–5.9 years old). Where translocation of juveniles is necessary, they should be released into female-biased populations where they have higher ORRs. Our study offers the unique advantage of a long-term analysis across a large number of replicate populations – a science-by-management experiment as a proxy for a manipulative experiment, and a rare opportunity, particularly for a large, critically-endangered taxon like the black rhinoceros. Our findings differ from previous recommendations and reinforce the importance of longer-term datasets and comprehensive metrics of translocation success, suggesting we shift our attention from ecological to social constraints on population growth and species recovery, particularly when translocating species with polygynous breeding systems.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-09-22T00:20:23.129837-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13029
  • A spatial approach to combatting wildlife crime
    • Authors: Sally C. Faulkner; Michael C.A. Stevens, Stephanie S. Romañach, Peter A. Lindsey, Steven C. Comber
      Abstract: Poaching can have devastating impacts on animal and plant numbers, and in many countries has reached crisis levels, with illegal hunters employing increasingly sophisticated techniques. Here, we show how geographic profiling – a mathematical technique originally developed in criminology and recently applied to animal foraging and epidemiology – can be adapted for use in investigations of wildlife crime, using data from an eight-year study in Savé Valley Conservancy, Zimbabwe that in total includes more than 10,000 incidents of illegal hunting and the deaths of 6,454 wild animals. Using a subset of these data for which the illegal hunters’ identities are known, we show that the model can successfully identify the illegal hunters’ home villages using the spatial locations of hunting incidences (for example, snares) as input, and show how this can be improved by manipulating the probability surface inside the Conservancy to reflect the fact that – although the illegal hunters mostly live outside the Conservancy, the majority of hunting occurs inside (in criminology, ‘commuter crime’). The results of this analysis – combined with rigorous simulations – show for the first time how geographic profiling can be combined with GIS data and applied to situations with more complex spatial patterns – for example, where landscape heterogeneity means that some parts of the study area are unsuitable (e.g. aquatic areas for terrestrial animals, or vice versa), or where landscape permeability differs (for example, forest bats tending not to fly over open areas). More broadly, these results show how geographic profiling can be used to target anti-poaching interventions more effectively and more efficiently, with important implications for the development of management strategies and conservation plans in a range of conservation scenarios.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-09-19T07:50:44.469891-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13027
  • Incorporating fragmentation and non-native species into distribution
           models to inform fluvial fish conservation
    • Authors: Andrew T. Taylor; Monica Papeş, James M. Long
      Abstract: Fluvial fishes face increased imperilment from anthropogenic activities, but the specific factors contributing most to range declines are often poorly understood. For example, the shoal bass (Micropterus cataractae) is a fluvial-specialist species experiencing continual range loss, yet how perceived threats have contributed to range loss is largely unknown. We employed species distribution models (SDMs) to disentangle which factors are contributing most to shoal bass range loss by estimating a potential distribution based on natural abiotic factors and by estimating a series of current, occupied distributions that also incorporated variables characterizing land cover, non-native species, and fragmentation intensity (no fragmentation, dams only, and dams and large impoundments). Model construction allowed for interspecific relationships between non-native congeners and shoal bass to vary across fragmentation intensities. Results from the potential distribution model estimated shoal bass presence throughout much of their native basin, whereas models of current occupied distribution illustrated increased range loss as fragmentation intensified. Response curves from current occupied models indicated a potential interaction between fragmentation intensity and the relationship between shoal bass and non-native congeners, wherein non-natives may be favored at the highest fragmentation intensity. Response curves also suggested that free-flowing fragment lengths of> 100 km were necessary to support shoal bass presence. Model evaluation, including an independent validation, suggested models had favorable predictive and discriminative abilities. Similar approaches that use readily-available, diverse geospatial datasets may deliver insights into the biology and conservation needs of other fluvial species facing similar threats.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-09-06T12:21:07.920637-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13024
  • Equity trade-offs in conservation decision making
    • Authors: Elizabeth A. Law; Nathan J. Bennett, Christopher D. Ives, Rachel Friedman, Katrina J. Davis, Carla Archibald, Kerrie A. Wilson
      Abstract: Conservation decisions increasingly involve multiple environmental and social objectives, which result in complex decision contexts with high potential for trade-offs. Improving social equity is one such objective that is often considered an enabler of successful outcomes and a virtuous ideal in itself. Despite its idealized importance in conservation policy, social equity is often highly simplified or ill-defined and is applied uncritically. What constitutes equitable outcomes and processes is highly normative and subject to ethical deliberation. Different ethical frameworks may lead to different conceptions of equity through alternative perspectives of what is good or right. This can lead to different and potentially conflicting equity objectives in practice. We promote a more transparent, nuanced, and pluralistic conceptualization of equity in conservation decision making that particularly recognizes where multidimensional equity objectives may conflict. To help identify and mitigate ethical conflicts and avoid cases of good intentions producing bad outcomes, we encourage a more analytical incorporation of equity into conservation decision making particularly during mechanistic integration of equity objectives. We recommend that in conservation planning motivations and objectives for equity be made explicit within the problem context, methods used to incorporate equity objectives be applied with respect to stated objectives, and, should objectives dictate, evaluation of equity outcomes and adaptation of strategies be employed during policy implementationThis article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-09-01T03:50:45.633067-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13008
  • A novel application of cultural consensus models to evaluate conservation
           education programs
    • Authors: K.A.I. Nekaris; Sharon McCabe, Denise Spaan, Muhammad Imron Ali, Vincent Nijman
      Abstract: Conservation professionals recognize the need to evaluate education initiatives with a flexible approach that is culturally appropriate. Cultural-consensus theory (CCT) provides a framework for measuring the extent to which beliefs are communally held and has long been applied by social scientists. In a conservation-education context, we applied CCT and used free lists (i.e., a list of items on a topic stated in order of cultural importance) and domain analysis (analysis of how free lists go together within a cultural group) to evaluate a conservation education program in which we used a children's picture book to increase knowledge about and empathy for a critically endangered mammal, the Javan slow loris (Nycticebus javanicus). We extracted free lists of keywords generated by students (n = 580 in 18 schools) from essays they wrote before and after the education program. In 2 classroom sessions conducted approximately 18 weeks apart, we asked students to write an essay about their knowledge of the target species and then presented a book and several activities about slow loris ecology. Prior to the second session, we asked students to write a second essay. We generated free lists from both essays, quantified salience of terms used, and conducted minimal residuals factor analysis to determine presence of cultural domains surrounding slow lorises in each session. Students increased their use of words accurately associated with slow loris ecology and conservation from 43% in initial essays to 76% in final essays . Domain coherence increased from 22% to 47% across schools. Fifteen factors contributed to the domain slow loris. Between the first and second essays, factors that showed the greatest change were feeding ecology and slow loris as a forest protector, which increased 7-fold, and the humancentric factor, which decreased 5-fold. As demonstrated by knowledge retention and creation of unique stories and conservation opinions, children achieved all six levels of Bloom's taxonomy of learning domains. Free from the constraints of questionnaires and surveys, CCT methods provide a promising avenue to evaluate conservation education programs.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-09-01T01:20:38.339641-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13023
  • Patterns and biases of climate-change threats in the IUCN Red List
    • Authors: Nicholas Trull; Monika Böhm, Jamie Carr
      Abstract: International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assessments rely on published data and expert inputs, and biases can be introduced where underlying definitions and concepts are ambiguous. Consideration of climate-change threat is no exception, and recently numerous approaches to assessing the threat of climate change to species have been developed. We explored IUCN Red List assessments of amphibians and birds to determine whether species listed as threatened by climate change display distinct patterns in terms of habitat occupied and additional nonclimatic threats faced. We compared IUCN Red List data with a published data set of species’ biological and ecological traits believed to infer high vulnerability to climate change and determined whether distributions of climate-change-threatened species on the IUCN Red List concur with those of climate-change-threatened species identified with the trait-based approach and whether species possessing these traits are more likely to have climate change listed as a threat on the IUCN Red List. Species in some ecosystems (e.g., grassland, shrubland) and subject to particular threats (e.g., invasive species) were more likely to have climate change as a listed threat. Geographical patterns of climate-change-threatened amphibians and birds on the IUCN Red List were incongruent with patterns of global species richness and patterns identified using trait-based approaches. Certain traits were linked to increases or decreases in the likelihood of a species being threatened by climate change. Broad temperature tolerance of a species was consistently related to an increased likelihood of climate-change threat, indicating counterintuitive relationships in IUCN assessments. To improve the robustness of species assessments of the vulnerability or extinction risk associated with climate change, we suggest IUCN adopt a more cohesive approach whereby specific traits highlighted by our results are considered in red-list assessments. To achieve this and to strengthen the climate-change-vulnerability assessments approach, it is necessary to identify and implement logical avenues for further research into traits that make species vulnerable to climate change (including population-level threats).This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-08-31T23:50:47.168871-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13022
  • Exceptional responders in conservation
    • Authors: Gerald Post; Jonas Geldmann
      Abstract: Conservation operates within complex systems with incomplete knowledge of the system and the interventions. This frequently results in the inability to find generally applicable solutions to the threats faced by Earth's vanishing wildlife. One approach used in medicine, and the social sciences has been to develop a deeper understanding of the positive outliers. Where such outliers share similar characteristics, they may be considered: “exceptional responders”. Here we present a framework for identifying exceptional responders in conservation. We propose four steps: First, identification of the study system; Second, identification of the response structure; Third, identification of the threshold for exceptionalism; Fourth, identification of commonalities amongst outliers. Evaluating exceptional responders is a method to glean additional information that is often ignored in randomized controlled trials and BACI. Interrogating the contextual factors that contribute to an exceptional outcome allow exceptional responders to become valuable pieces of information leading to unexpected discoveries and novel hypotheses.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-08-30T00:20:25.833552-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13006
  • Practitioner and scientist perceptions of successful amphibian
    • Authors: Helen M. R. Meredith; Freya St John, Ben Collen, Simon A. Black, Richard A. Griffiths
      Abstract: Conservation requires successful outcomes. However, success is perceived in many different ways depending on the desired outcome, which can vary according to numerous factors. We analysed perceptions of success among 355 scientists and practitioners working on amphibian conservation from over 150 organisations in more than 50 countries. Respondents identified four types of success: species and habitat improvements (84% of respondents); effective programme management (36%); outreach initiatives such as education and public engagement (25%); and the application of science-based conservation (15%). The most significant factor influencing overall perceived success was reducing threats. Capacity building was rated least important. Perceptions were influenced by experience, professional affiliation, involvement in conservation practice, and country of residence. More experienced conservation practitioners associated success with improvements to species and habitats, and less so with education and engagement initiatives. Whilst science-based conservation was rated as important, this factor declined in importance as the number of programmes a respondent participated in increased, particularly amongst those from Less Economically Developed Countries. The ultimate measure of conservation success – population recovery – may be difficult to measure in many amphibians, difficult to relate to the conservation actions intended to drive it, and difficult to achieve within conventional funding timeframes. The relaunched Amphibian Conservation Action Plan provides a framework for capturing lower-level processes and outcomes, identifying gaps, and measuring progress.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-08-29T23:50:53.424175-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13005
  • Perceived barriers to and drivers of community participation in
           protected-area governance
    • Authors: Caroline Ward; George Holmes, Lindsay Stringer
      Abstract: Protected areas (PAs) are a frequently used conservation strategy, yet their socio-economic impacts on local communities remain contentious. A shift towards increased local community participation in PA governance has sought to deliver benefits for human well-being as well as biodiversity. Although participation is considered critical to the success of PAs, few studies have investigated individuals’ decisions to participate and what this means for how local people experience the costs and benefits of conservation. This paper explores: a) who participates in PA governance associations and why, b) the perceived benefits and costs to participation, and c) how costs and benefits are distributed within and between communities. Methods included focus groups, interviews and questionnaires conducted with 3 communities and other stakeholders in PA governance in Madagascar. The study design is conceptually grounded in the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB), the most commonly applied behaviour model in social psychology. Results show that participation was limited by miscommunication and lack of knowledge about who could get involved and how. Respondents perceived limited benefits and high costs, and uneven distribution of these within and between communities. Men, poorer households and more remote villages reported highest costs. Findings illustrate several challenges related to co-management of PAs: (1) understanding the heterogeneous nature of communities; (2) ensuring all households are represented in governance participation; (3) understanding differences in the meaning of forest protection; and (4) targeting interventions to reach households most in need, avoiding elite capture.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-08-17T23:50:26.897962-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13000
  • Traps and transformations influencing the financial viability of tourism
           on private-land conservation areas
    • Authors: Hayley S. Clements; Graeme S. Cumming
      Abstract: The ability of private conservation organizations to remain financially viable is a key factor influencing their effectiveness. A third of financially-motivated private land conservation areas (PLCAs) surveyed previously in South Africa were found to be unprofitable, raising questions about their ability to effectively adapt their business models to their socioeconomic environment. In any complex system, options for later adaptation can be constrained by starting conditions (‘path dependence’). We tested three hypothesized drivers that might create path dependence in PLCA business models: (H1) land asset size (large mammalian game abundance is constrained by available land area); (H2) infrastructural asset extent (the introduction of charismatic predators, such as lion, requires substantial infrastructural investment); and (H3) productivity (rainfall limits vegetation and thereby game abundance). We further assessed how managing for financial stability (optimized game stocking) or ecological sustainability (allowing game to fluctuate with environmental conditions) influenced a PLCA's ability to overcome path dependence. Using a mechanistic PLCA model based on simple ecological and financial rules, we showed that despite landowner attempts to increase profits, adopted business models after 13 years were differentiated by initial land and infrastructural assets, supporting H1 and H2. A conservation organization's initial assets can cause it to become locked into a financially vulnerable business model. Over a 50-year simulation period, path dependence was overcome by fewer of the landowners who facilitated natural ecological variability than who maintained constant hunting rates and predator numbers, but the latter experienced unsustainably high game densities in low rainfall years. Management for natural variability supports long-term ecological sustainability but not shorter-term socioeconomic sustainability for PLCAs. Our findings highlight tradeoffs between ecological and economic sustainability and suggest a role for governmental support of the private conservation industry in achieving national conservation goals.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-08-17T00:21:33.416295-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12999
  • Understanding implications of consumer behavior for wildlife farming and
           sustainable wildlife trade
    • Authors: A. Nuno; J. M. Blumenthal, T. J. Austin, J. Bothwell, G. Ebanks-Petrie, B. J. Godley, A. C. Broderick
      Abstract: Unsustainable wildlife trade affects biodiversity and the livelihoods of communities dependent upon those resources. Wildlife farming has often been proposed to promote sustainable trade but characterizing markets and understanding consumer behaviour remain neglected, but essential, steps with important implications for its design and evaluation. We used sea turtle trade in the Cayman Islands as a case study – where turtle meat for consumption has been produced for almost 50 years, to explore consumer preferences towards wild-sourced (illegal) and farmed (legal) products and potential conservation implications. Combining methods innovatively (including indirect questioning and choice experiments), we conducted a nationwide trade assessment. Whilst 30% of resident households had consumed turtle in the previous 12 months, the purchase and consumption of wild products was relatively rare (e.g. 64–742 resident households consumed wild turtle meat, representing 0.3-3.5% of resident households), although representing an important threat to wild turtles in the area due to reduced populations. We found marked differences among groups of consumers with price and source of product playing an important role in their decisions. Despite the long-term practice of farming turtle, some consumers showed a strong preference for wild products, demonstrating limitations of wildlife farming as a single tool for sustainable wildlife trade. By using a diversified toolset to investigate demand for wildlife products, we obtained insights about consumer behaviour that can be used to develop conservation demand-focused initiatives. Lack of long-term social-ecological assessments, a common issue worldwide, hinders the evaluation and learning potential of wildlife farming as conservation tool. This information is key to understanding under which conditions different interventions (e.g. bans, wildlife farming, social marketing) are likely to succeed.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-08-16T23:50:30.871763-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12998
  • Fishing-gear restrictions and biomass gains for coral reef fishes in
           marine protected areas
    • Authors: Stuart J. Campbell; Graham J. Edgar, Rick D. Stuart-Smith, German Soler, Amanda E. Bates
      Abstract: Strong empirical evidence supports recovery of reef fish populations with fishery closures. In countries where full exclusion of people from fishing may be perceived as inequitable, fishing gear restrictions on non-selective and destructive gears may offer socially relevant management alternatives to build recovery of fish biomass. Even so, very few studies have statistically compared the responses of tropical reef fisheries to alternative management strategies. Here we test for the effects of fishery closures and fishing gear restrictions on tropical reef fish biomass, at the community and family level, at 1,396 underwater surveys conducted at 617 unique sites across a spatial hierarchy within 22 global marine ecoregions representing five realms. We compare total biomass across local fish assemblages, and among 20 reef fish families inside marine protected areas (MPAs) with different fishing restrictions: no-take, hook and line fishing only, several fishing gears allowed, to sites open to all fishing gears. We include a further category representing remote sites where fishing pressure is low. As expected, full fishery closures, often referred to as ‘no-take’ zones, most benefit community and family level fish biomass in comparison with restrictions on fishing gears and openly fished sites. We further find that although biomass responses to fishery closures are highly variable across families, some fishery targets (e.g., Carcharhinidae, and Lutjanidae) respond positively to multiple restrictions on fishing gears (i.e., where gears other than hook and line fishing are not permitted). Remoteness also imparts a positive influence on the response of community level fish biomass and many fish families. Our findings provide strong support for the role of fishing restrictions in building recovery of fish biomass, and indicate important interactions among fishing gear types on removal of fish biomass among a range of reef fish families.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-08-04T00:50:56.302463-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12996
  • The role of social license in conservation
    • Authors: Dave Kendal; Rebecca M. Ford
      Abstract: “Threatened species programs need a social license to justify public funding” (Zander et al. 2014). Or do they' There is growing acceptance within conservation science that community support for and engagement in ecosystem management programs is likely to lead to better conservation outcomes (Marvier & Wong 2012). However, the language used to characterize relations between conservation and the community is important, and use of the term social license may not always be a useful way to describe this relationship. Since the mid-1990s, the term social license has been widely used in the mining sector to describe implicit acceptance and approval of a mining operation by the community in which it operates (Lacey & Lamont 2014). Other industries such as forestry, aquaculture, and agriculture have begun using the term in a similar way (Edwards & Trafford 2016; Ford & Williams 2016; Moffat et al. 2016). Now social license is beginning to appear in conservation discourse (e.g., Garnett et al., 2015; Oakes et al., 2015). At the same time, the use of social license in other sectors has been criticized (e.g., Owen & Kemp, 2013) because it frames relationships with communities as more singular, binary, and tangible than is feasible or desirable (Parsons & Moffat 2014). The use of social license in conservation needs critical evaluation, particularly given the broad contextual differences between conservation and industries such as mining.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-08-02T02:21:09.77476-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12994
  • Major shifts in amazon wildlife populations from recent climatic
    • Authors: Richard Bodmer; Pedro Mayor, Miguel Antunez, Kimberlyn Chota, Tula Fang, Pablo Puertas, Marlini Pittet, Maire Kirkland, Mike Walkey, Claudia Rios, Pedro Perez-Peña, Peter Henderson, William Bodmer, Andy Bicerra, Joseph Zegarra, Emma Docherty
      Abstract: In the western Amazon basin, recent intensification of river level cycles has increased flooding during the wet seasons and decreased precipitation during the dry season. Greater than normal floods occurred in 2009 and in all years from 2011–2015 during high water seasons, and a drought occurred during the 2010 low water season. During these years, we surveyed populations of terrestrial, arboreal and aquatic wildlife in a seasonally flooded Amazonian forest to study the consequences of intensification of climatic fluctuations to wildlife populations and in turn resource use by traditional people. Intensive floods and droughts have recently resulted in shifts in fish and terrestrial mammal populations in flooded forests, a major landscape in western Amazonia that make up 99,780 km2 of the Loreto region in Peru. The intensive floods caused terrestrial mammal populations to decrease by 95% with ungulates, terrestrial rodents and terrestrial edentates having increased mortality because they were forced onto small patches of land during peak flood pulses, and drowning during the historically high floods of 2012 and 2015. In contrast, fish increased and benefited from longer access to inundated forests, resulting in healthy populations of waterfowl, dolphins, otters and caimans. Arboreal species, including, macaws, game birds, primates, felids and other arboreal mammals had stable populations and were not affected directly by high floods. The drought of 2010 had the opposite consequences with decreases in fish, waterfowl and dolphin populations, and stable populations of terrestrial and arboreal species. Ungulates and large rodents are important wildmeat species for local people and their dramatic decline has shifted resource use of people living in the flooded forests with less reliance on hunting and greater use of fish.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-08-02T01:21:01.830566-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12993
  • Managing conflicts between economic activities and threatened migratory
           marine species toward creating a multiobjective blue economy
    • Authors: Linda R. Harris; Ronel Nel, Herman Oosthuizen, Mike Meyer, Deon Kotze, Darrell Anders, Steven McCue, Santosh Bachoo
      Abstract: Harnessing the economic potential of the oceans is key to combating poverty, enhancing food security, and strengthening economies. But the concomitant risk of intensified resource extraction to migratory species is worrying given that these species contribute to important ecological processes, often underpin alternatively livelihoods, and many are already threatened. We thus sought to quantify the potential conflict between key economic activities (five fisheries and hydrocarbon exploitation) and sea turtle migration corridors in a region with rapid economic development: Southern and East Africa. From 20 loggerhead and 14 leatherback tracks, we used movement-based kernel density estimation to identify three migration corridors for each of the two species. We overlaid these corridors on maps of the distribution and intensity of economic activities, quantified the extent of overlap and threat posed by each activity on each species, and compared the effects. These results were compared to annual bycatch rates in the respective fisheries. Both species’ corridors overlap most with longlining, but the effect is worse for leatherbacks: bycatch rates are substantial (ca. 1500 per annum) relative to the regional population size (80% of the loggerhead population, 33% of the (critically endangered) leatherback population, and their nesting beaches. We support establishing blue economies, but oceans need to be carefully zoned and responsibly managed in both space and time to achieve economic (resource extraction), ecological (conservation, maintain processes) and social (maintain alternative livelihood opportunities, combat poverty) objectives.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-08-02T01:20:58.631847-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12992
  • Matches and mismatches between conservation investments and biodiversity
           values in the European Union
    • Authors: David Sánchez-Fernández; Pedro Abellán, Pedro Aragón, Sara Varela, Mar Cabeza
      Abstract: Recently, the European Commission adopted a new strategy to halt the loss of biodiversity. Member states are expected to favour a more effective collection and redistribution of European Union (EU) funds under the current Multiannual Financial Framework for 2014–2020. Because of the large spatial variation in the distribution of biodiversity and conservation needs at the continental scale, EU instruments should ensure that countries with higher biodiversity values get more funds and resources for the conservation of this biodiversity than other countries. We assess the association between conservation investments and biodiversity values across the member states, accounting for a variety of conservation investment indicators, taxonomic groups (including groups of plants, vertebrates and invertebrates) and biodiversity value indicators. In general, we have found good overall associations between conservation investments and biodiversity variables. However, some mismatches were found in countries receiving more (or less) investments than expected based on their biodiversity values. We also found that the extensive use of birds as unique indicators of conservation effectiveness may be misleading. These results can provide insight to policymakers to aid future decisions regarding funding allocation, allowing a better redistribution of EU funds.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-07-28T22:50:41.243721-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12977
  • Factors influencing property selection for conservation revolving funds
    • Authors: Mathew J. Hardy; James A. Fitzsimons, Sarah A. Bekessy, Ascelin Gordon
      Abstract: Finding sustainable ways to increase the amount of private land protected for biodiversity is a challenge for many conservation organizations. In a number of countries, organizations use ‘revolving fund’ programs, whereby land is purchased, and then on-sold to conservation-minded owners with a condition to enter into a conservation covenant or easement. The proceeds from sale are then used to purchase, protect and on-sell additional properties, incrementally increasing the amount of protected private land. As the effectiveness of this approach relies upon selecting the right properties, we sought to explore the factors currently considered by practitioners and how these are integrated into decision-making. We conducted exploratory, semi-structured interviews with managers from each of the five major revolving funds in Australia. Responses suggest that whilst conservation factors are important, financial and social factors are also highly influential, with a major determinant being whether the property can be on-sold within a reasonable timeframe, and at a price that replenishes the fund. To facilitate the on-sale process, often selected properties include the potential for the construction of a dwelling. Practitioners are faced with clear trade-offs between conservation, financial, amenity and other factors in selecting properties; and three main potential risks: difficulty recovering the costs of acquisition, protection, and resale; difficulty on-selling the property; and difficulty meeting conservation goals. Our findings suggest that the complexity of these decisions may be limiting revolving fund effectiveness. We draw from participant responses to identify potential strategies to mitigate the risks identified, and suggest that managers could benefit from a shared learning and adaptive approach to property selection given the commonalities between programs. Understanding how practitioners are dealing with complex decisions in the implementation of revolving funds helps to identify future research to improve the performance of this conservation tool.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-07-20T03:51:12.993521-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12991
  • Countering resistance to protected-area extension
    • Authors: David Lindenmayer; Simon Thorn, Reed Noss
      Abstract: The establishment of protected areas is a critical strategy for conserving biodiversity. Key policy directives like the Aichi targets seek to expand protected areas to 17% of the earth's land surface, with calls by some conservation biologists for much more. However, in places such as the USA, Germany and Australia, attempts to increase protected areas are meeting strong resistance from communities, industry groups, and governments. Here we provide case studies of such resistance and suggest four ways to tackle this problem: (1) Broaden the case for protected areas beyond just nature conservation, to include the economic, human health, and other benefits, and translate these into a persuasive business case for protected areas. (2) Better communicate the conservation values of protected areas. This should include highlighting how many species, communities, and ecosystems have been conserved by protected areas and also the counterfactual – what would have been lost without protected area establishment. (3) Consider zoning of activities to ensure the maintenance of effective management. And, (4) Remind citizens to think about conservation when they vote, including holding politicians accountable for their environmental promises. Without tackling resistance to expanding the protected estate, it will be impossible to reach conservation targets and this will undermine attempts to stem the global extinction crisis.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-07-19T06:23:07.528449-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12990
  • Mapping social-ecological vulnerability to inform local decision making
    • Authors: Lauric Thiault; Paul Marshall, Stefan Gelcich, Antoine Collin, Frédérique Chlous, Joachim Claudet
      Abstract: An overarching challenge of natural resource management and biodiversity conservation is that relationships between human and nature are difficult to integrate into tools that can effectively guide decision-making. Social-ecological vulnerability offers a valuable framework for identifying and understanding important social-ecological linkages, and the implications of dependencies and other feedback loops in the system. Unfortunately its implementation at local scales has hitherto been limited, due at least in part to the lack of operational tools for spatial representation of social-ecological vulnerability. Here, we develop a method and demonstrate its utility for mapping social-ecological vulnerability using information on human-nature dependencies and ecosystem services at local scales within the context of the small-scale fishery of Moorea, French Polynesia. Our approach produced a spatial analysis that reveals social-ecological vulnerability hotspots that highlight focal areas for management intervention. The results can also inform decisions about where biodiversity conservation strategies are likely to be more effective, and how social impacts from policy decisions can be minimized. This study provides a new perspective on human-nature linkages that can inform efforts to manage for sustainability at local scales. Our approach delivers insights that are distinct from those provided by the emphasis on a single vulnerability component (e.g., exposure), and demonstrates the feasibility and value of operationalizing the social-ecological vulnerability framework for policy, planning and participatory management decisions.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-07-17T07:20:29.786055-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12989
  • Expanding career pathways in conservation science
    • Authors: Erika Zavaleta; Clare Aslan, Wendy Palen, Tom Sisk, Maureen E. Ryan, Brett Dickson
      Abstract: Since its inception, conservation biology has inspired thousands of students, spurred the creation of new initiatives, organizations and agencies, and informed conservation efforts worldwide. Nevertheless, global biodiversity loss is accelerating (Butchart et al. 2010), and our field needs to change to keep pace with mounting challenges. Conservation would benefit if scientists more enthusiastically pushed the institutional boundaries of our field through their efforts to expand their own and others’ career options and professional opportunities. We discuss several key areas of expansion, a critical subset of a longer list of comprehensive solutions. We aim to spark productive conversation and self-reflection to galvanize individual and institutional change in our field.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-07-13T03:50:57.874008-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12987
  • Scaling range sizes to threats for robust predictions of risks to
    • Authors: David A. Keith; H. Resit Akçakaya, Nicholas J. Murray
      Abstract: Assessments of risk to biodiversity often rely on spatial distributions of species and ecosystems. Range size metrics used extensively in these assessments, such as Area of Occupancy (AOO), are sensitive to measurement scale, prompting proposals to measure them at finer scales, or a variery of different scales based on the shape of the distribution or ecological characteristics of the biota. Despite its dominant role in Red List assessments for decades, appropriate spatial scales of AOO for predicting risks of species extinction or ecosystem collapse remain untested and contentious. There are no quantitative evaluations of the scale-sensitivity of AOO as a predictor of risks, the relationship between optimal AOO scale and threat scale, or the effect of grid uncertainty. Here we present new empirical evidence that AOO is a good predictor of risk and performs optimally when measured with grid cells 0.1–1 times the area of the largest plausible threat event. Contrary to previous assertions, finer scale estimates resulted in lower predictive performance; the optimal scale depends on the spatial scales of threats more than the shape or size of biotic distributions. Although we show appreciable potential for grid measurement errors, current IUCN guidelines for estimating AOO neutralize geometric uncertainty and incorporate effective scaling procedures for assessing risks posed by landscape-scale threats to species and ecosystems.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-07-13T03:50:51.839496-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12988
  • Effectiveness of protected areas for vertebrates based on taxonomic and
           phylogenetic diversity
    • Authors: Qing Quan; Xianli Che, Yongjie Wu, Yuchun Wu, Qiang Zhang, Min Zhang, Fasheng Zou
      Abstract: Establishing protected areas is the primary goal and tool for preventing irreversible biodiversity loss. However, the effectiveness of protected areas that target specific species has been questioned for some time, because targeting key species for conservation may impair the integral regional pool of species diversity and phylogenetic and functional diversity are seldom considered. We first assessed the efficacy of protected areas in China for the conservation of phylogenetic diversity using the ranges and phylogenies of 2279 terrestrial vertebrates. We found a strong positive correlation between phylogenetic and taxonomic diversity, and only 12.1%–43.8% of the priority areas are currently covered by protected areas. However, the patterns and coverage of phylogenetic diversity were affected when weighted by species richness. These results indicate that overall in China, protected areas targeting high species richness protected total phylogenetic diversity well, but failed to do so in some regions with more unique and/or threatened communities. For instance, the coastal areas of Eastern China where there are severely threatened avian communities were less protected. Our results suggest that the distributions of the currently protected areas still have room for improvement although most of the areas protect both taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-07-13T03:50:21.021571-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12986
  • Developing an interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral community of practice
           in the domain of forests and livelihoods
    • Authors: Cristy Watkins; Jennifer Zavaleta, Sarah Wilson, Scott Francisco
      Abstract: Although significant resources are being spent researching and fostering the relationship between forests and livelihoods to promote mutually beneficial outcomes, critical gaps in our understanding persist. A core reason for such gaps is that researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers lack the structured space to interact and collaborate, which is essential for effective, interdisciplinary research, practice, and evaluation. Thus, scientific findings, policy recommendations, and measured outcomes have not always been synthesized into deep, systemic understanding; learning from practice and implementation does not easily find its way into scientific analyses­­; and science often fails to influence policy. Communities of practice (CofPs) are dynamic sociocultural systems that bring people together to share and create knowledge around a common topic of interest. CofPs offer participants a space and structure suited to developing new, systemic approaches to multi-dimensional problems around a common theme. Uniquely informed by a systems thinking perspective, and drawing from the scientific and grey literatures and in-depth interviews with representatives of established CofPs in the natural resource management and development domain, we argue that a well-designed and adequately-funded CofP can facilitate interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral relationships and knowledge exchange. Well-designed CofPs integrate a set of core features and processes in order to enhance individual, collective, and domain outcomes; they set out an initial but evolving purpose, encourage diverse leadership, and promote the development of collective identity development. Funding facilitates ideal, effective communication strategies (e.g. face-to-face engagement). This essay is, therefore, a call to colleagues across sectors and disciplines to take advantage of CofPs to advance the domain of forests and livelihoods.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-07-07T07:21:16.538477-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12982
  • Bird community responses to habitat creation in a long-term, large-scale
           natural experiment
    • Authors: Robin C. Whytock; Elisa Fuentes-Montemayor, Kevin Watts, Patanjaly Barbosa De Andrade, Rory Whytock, Paul French, Nicholas Macgregor, Kirsty J. Park
      Abstract: Ecosystem function and resilience are compromised when habitats become fragmented due to land-use change. This has led to national and international conservation strategies aimed at restoring habitat extent and improving functional connectivity (i.e. maintaining dispersal processes). However, biodiversity responses to landscape-scale habitat creation and the relative importance of spatial and temporal scales is poorly understood, and there is disagreement over which conservation strategies should be prioritised. Addressing these knowledge gaps has been challenging because (1) there can be a significant time lag between habitat creation and biodiversity responses, and (2) many taxa respond to landscape characteristics over large spatial scales. These conditions can be difficult to replicate in a controlled setting but can be simulated using ‘natural’ experiments. Here, we used 160 years of historic post-agricultural woodland creation as a natural experiment to evaluate biodiversity responses to landscape-scale habitat creation. Specifically, we disentangle the direct and indirect relationships between bird abundance and diversity, ecological continuity, patch characteristics and landscape structure, and quantify the relative importance of local and landscape scales. Results suggest that ecological continuity has an indirect effect on total bird species richness through its direct effects on stand structure. However, for functional groups most closely associated with woodland habitats, ecological continuity had little influence. This was probably because woodlands were rapidly colonised by woodland generalists in < 10 years (the minimum patch age), but were on average too young (median 50 years) to be colonised by woodland specialists. Local, patch characteristics were relatively more important than landscape characteristics. We conclude that biodiversity responses to habitat creation are dependent on local and landscape-scale factors that interact across time and space. We also suggest that knowledge gained from studies of habitat fragmentation/loss should be used to inform habitat creation with caution, since the two are not necessarily reciprocal.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-07-07T07:20:49.504761-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12983
  • Redistribution of benefits but not defection in a fisheries
           bycatch-reduction management initiative
    • Authors: T.R. McClanahan; J.K. Kosgei
      Abstract: Reducing the capture of small fish, discards, and by-catch is a primary concern of fisheries mangers that propose to maintain high yields, species diversity, and associated ecosystem functions. Modified fishing gear is one of the primary ways to reduce by-catch and capture of small fish. The outcomes of gear modification may depend on competition with other gears using similar fishing grounds and resources and the subsequent adoption or defection of fishers using modified gears. We evaluated the adoption, size, catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE), yield, and income responses among gears in a coral reef fishery where a 3-cm escape gap was introduced into traditional traps. The size of fish increased in the modified traps but the catch of smaller fish increased among the other competing gears. Additionally, there was no change in the overall CPUE, yields, or per area incomes but rather redistributions of yield benefits towards the competing gears. For example, estimated incomes of fishers that adopted the traps remained unchanged but increased for net and spear fishers. Fishers using escape-gap traps had a high proportion of income from larger fish, which may have led to a perception of benefits, high status, and no defections. The less polarizing neutral-win rather than a strong loss-win tradeoff outcome may explain the full adoption of escape-gap traps 3 years after their introduction. Trap fishers showed an interest in negotiating other management improvements, such as increased mesh sizes for nets, which could ultimately lead to catalyzing community-level decisions that would increase their own profits.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-07-05T07:43:02.424053-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12980
  • Examining the relationship between local extinction risk and position in
    • Authors: Elizabeth H. Boakes; Nicholas J.B. Isaac, Richard A. Fuller, Georgina M. Mace, Philip J.K. McGowan
      Abstract: Over half of globally threatened animal species have experienced rapid geographic range loss. Identifying the parts of species’ distributions most vulnerable to extinction would benefit conservation planning. However, previous studies give little consensus on whether ranges decline to the core or edge. Here we build on previous work by using empirical data to examine the position of recent local extinctions within species’ geographic ranges, addressing range position as a continuum and exploring the influence of environmental factors. We aggregated point locality data for 125 species of galliform birds across the Palearctic and Indo-Malaya into equal area half degree grid cells and used a multi-species dynamic Bayesian occupancy model to estimate the rates of local extinctions. Our model provides a novel approach to identify loss of populations from within species ranges. We investigated the relationship between extinction rates and distance from range edge, examining whether patterns were consistent across biogeographic realm and different categories of land-use. In the Palearctic, local extinctions occurred closer to the range edge in both unconverted and human-dominated landscapes. In Indo-Malaya, no pattern was found for unconverted landscapes but in human dominated landscapes extinctions tended to occur closer to the core than the edge. Our results suggest that local and regional factors over-ride any general spatial patterns of recent local extinction within species’ ranges and highlight the difficulty of predicting the parts of a species’ distribution most vulnerable to threat.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-07-05T07:42:58.800013-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12979
  • Biological parameters used in setting captive-breeding quotas for
           Indonesia's breeding facilities
    • Authors: Jordi Janssen; Serene C. L. Chng
      Abstract: The commercial captive breeding of wildlife is often seen as a potential conservation tool to relieve pressure off wild populations, but laundering of wild-sourced specimens as captive-bred can seriously undermine these and provide a false sense of sustainability. Indonesia has been at the centre of such controversy, therefore we examine Indonesia's captive breeding production plan (CBPP) for 2016. A number of the quotas were found to be based on inaccurate and unrealistic biological parameters, and included species with no reported breeding stock. For 38 species, the quota exceeded the number of animals that can be bred based on the biological parameters (range 100% - 540%) using the equations used in the CBPP. A lower reproductive output was calculated for 88 species using published biological parameters compared to the parameters used in the CBPP. The equations used in the production plan also did not appear to account for other factors involved in breeding the proposed large numbers of specimens. We recommend that the captive breeding production plan be adjusted by using realistic published biological parameters, and remove quotas for species for which captive breeding is unlikely or for which no breeding stock is available. The shortcomings in the current captive breeding production plan create loopholes where mammals, reptiles and amphibians from Indonesia declared as captive-bred may have been sourced from the wild.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-07-03T06:20:24.918641-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12978
  • Gaps and opportunities for the World Heritage Convention to contribute to
           global wilderness conservation
    • Authors: James R. Allan; Cyril Kormos, Tilman Jaeger, Oscar Venter, Bastian Bertzky, Yichuan Shi, Brendan Mackey, Remco Merm, Elena Osipova, James E.M. Watson
      Abstract: Wilderness areas are ecologically intact landscapes predominantly free of human uses, especially industrial scale activities, which result in significant biophysical disturbance. This definition does not exclude indigenous peoples and local communities who live in wilderness areas, depending on them for subsistence, and who have developed deep bio-cultural connections. Wilderness areas are important for biodiversity conservation, along with sustaining key ecological processes, and ecosystem services that underpin planetary life-support systems. Despite these widely recognized benefits and values they are insufficiently protected and are consequently being rapidly eroded. There are increasing calls for multilateral environmental agreements to make a greater and more systematic contribution to wilderness conservation before it is too late. We developed updated global maps of terrestrial wilderness and assessed wilderness coverage by the World Heritage Convention, one of the most important international conservation instruments. We found that one quarter of Natural and Mixed World Heritage Sites (WHS) contain wilderness, conserving a total of 545,307 km2 (approximately 1.8% of the world's wilderness extent). Many WHS had excellent wilderness coverage such as the Okavango Delta in Botswana (11,914 km2) and the Central Suriname Nature Reserve in Suriname (16,029 km2). However, 22 (35%) of the world's terrestrial biorealms do not have any wilderness representation within WHS. As an efficient means of filling these gaps, we identify 840 protected areas> 500 km2 in size which are predominantly wilderness (>50% of their area) and represent 18 of these 22 missing biorealms. These offer a starting point for assessing the potential for the designation of new WHS that could help increase wilderness representation on the World Heritage List. We also urge the World Heritage Convention to help ensure that the ecological integrity and Outstanding Universal Value of existing World Heritage Sites with wilderness values is preserved.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-06-30T07:20:25.073835-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12976
  • Monitoring, imperfect detection, and risk optimization of a Tasmanian
           devil insurance population
    • Authors: Tracy M. Rout; Chris Baker, Stewart Huxtable, Brendan A. Wintle
      Abstract: Most species are imperfectly detected during biological surveys, creating uncertainty around their abundance or presence at a given location. Decision-makers managing threatened or pest species are regularly faced with this uncertainty, and there are a growing number of examples of managers dealing with imperfect detection. Wildlife diseases have the potential to drive species to extinction, and as such managing species with disease is an important part of conservation. Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) is one such disease that led to the listing of the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) as endangered. Here we report on the successful use of a state-of-the-art removal modelling approach undertaken in collaboration with practitioners to inform decision-making and facilitate a successful management outcome. We used a Bayesian catch-effort model to estimate population size during removal and monitoring of a diseased Tasmanian devil population. We found it was likely that the population had been successfully removed, even when accounting for a possible introduction of a devil to the site. We then analysed the costs and benefits of declaring the area disease-free prior to reintroduction and establishment of a healthy insurance population. The actions of management, in carrying out additional monitoring prior to this reintroduction, were conservative but prudent given uncertainty and the costs of mistakenly declaring the area disease-free.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-06-28T05:21:04.570111-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12975
  • A novel habitat-based approach to predict impacts of marine protected
           areas on fishers
    • Authors: João B. Teixeira; Rodrigo L. Moura, Morena Mills, Carissa Klein, Christopher J. Brown, Vanessa M. Adams, Hedley Grantham, Matthew Watts, Deborah Faria, Gilberto M. Amado-Filho, Alex C. Bastos, Reinaldo Lourival, Hugh P. Possingham
      Abstract: While marine protected areas (MPAs) can simultaneously contribute to biodiversity conservation and fisheries management, the global network is biased towards particular ecosystem types, as it was largely established in an ad hoc fashion. The optimization of trade-offs between biodiversity benefits and socio-economic values increases implementation success and minimizes enforcement costs in the long run, but is often neglected in marine spatial planning (MSP). Although the acquisition of spatially explicit socioeconomic data is often perceived as a costly/secondary step in MSP, it is critical to account for lost opportunities by people whose activities will be restricted, especially fishers. Here we present an easily-reproducible habitat-based approach to estimate the spatial distribution of opportunity cost to fishers in data poor regions, assuming that the most accessible areas have higher values and their designation as no-take zones represents increased loss of fishing opportunities. Our method requires only habitat and bathymetric maps, a list of target species, the location of ports, and the relative importance for each port and/or vessel/gear type. The potential distribution of fishing resources is estimated from bathymetric ranges and benthic habitat distribution, while the relative importance of the different resources is estimated for each port, considering total catches (kg), revenues and/or stakeholder perception. Finally, the model can combine different cost layers to produce a comprehensive cost layer, and also allows for the evaluation of tradeoffs. The development of FishCake was based on data from a contentious conservation-planning arena (Abrolhos Bank, Brazil) in which attempts to expand MPA coverage failed due to fishers’ resistance. The opportunity cost approach that we introduce herein allows for the incorporation of economic interests of different stakeholders and evaluation of tradeoffs among different stakeholder groups. The novel approach can be directly used to support conservation planning, in Abrolhos and elsewhere, and is expected to facilitate community consultation.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-06-24T05:47:35.612825-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12974
  • Estimating abundance without recaptures of marked pallid sturgeon in the
           Mississippi River
    • Authors: Nicholas A. Friedenberg; Jan J. Hoover, Krista Boysen, K. Jack Killgore
      Abstract: Abundance estimates are essential for estimating the viability of populations and the risks posed by alternative management actions. An effort to estimate abundance via a repeated mark-recapture experiment may fail to recapture marked individuals. We present a framework for obtaining lower bounds on abundance in the absence of recaptures for both panmictic and spatially-structured populations. We applied this nil-recapture method to data from a 12-year survey of pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) in the lower and middle Mississippi River; none of the 241 individuals marked were recaptured in the survey. After accounting for survival and movement, our model-averaged estimate of the total abundance of age 3+ pallid sturgeon in the study area had a 1%, 5%, or 25% chance of being less than 4,600, 7,000, or 15,000, respectively. If we assumed fish were distributed in proportion to survey catch-per-unit-effort, then the furthest downstream reach in the survey hosted at least 4.5-15 fish per river kilometer (rkm), whereas the remainder of the reaches in the lower and middle Mississippi River hosted at least 2.6-8.5 fish rkm−1 for all model variations examined. The lower Mississippi River had an average density of at least 3.0-9.8 age-3+ pallid sturgeon rkm−1. The choice of Bayesian prior was the largest source of uncertainty considered in this study, but did not alter the order of magnitude of lower bounds. Nil-recapture estimates of abundance are highly uncertain and require careful communication but can deliver insights from experiments that might otherwise be considered a failure.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-06-22T01:52:24.671763-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12972
  • Bias in protected-area location and its effects on long-term aspirations
           of biodiversity conventions
    • Authors: Oscar Venter; Ainhoa Magrach, Nick Outram, Carissa Joy Klein, Moreno Di Marco, James E.M. Watson
      Abstract: To contribute to the aspirations of recent international biodiversity conventions, protected areas (PAs) must be strategically located, and not simply established on economically marginal lands as they have in the past. With refined international commitments under the Convention of Biodiversity to target protected areas in places of ‘importance to biodiversity’, this may now be the case. Here we analyze location biases in PAs globally over both historic (pre-2004) and recent time periods. Discouragingly, we find that both old and new protected areas are not targeting places with high concentration of threatened vertebrate species. Instead, they appear to be established in locations that minimize conflict with agriculturally suitable lands. This entrenchment of past trends has significant implications for the contributions these protected areas are making to international commitments to conserve biodiversity. We discover that if protected area growth between 2004 and 2014 had strategically targeted unrepresented threatened vertebrates, it would have been possible to protect>30 times more species (3086 or 2553 potential vs 85 actual new species represented) for the same area or the same cost as the actual expansion that occurred. With the land available for conservation declining, nations must urgently focus new protection on places that provide for the conservation outcomes outlined in international treaties.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-06-21T23:50:58.429205-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12970
  • Determining the drivers of population structure in a highly urbanized
           landscape to inform conservation planning
    • Authors: Henri A. Thomassen; Ryan J. Harrigan, Kathleen Semple Delaney, Seth P.D. Riley, Laurel E. K. Serieys, Katherine Pease, Robert K. Wayne, Thomas B. Smith
      Abstract: Understanding the environmental contributors to population structure is of paramount importance for conservation in urbanized environments. We used spatially-explicit models to determine genetic population structure under current and future environmental conditions across a highly fragmented, human-dominated environment in Southern California to assess the effects of natural ecological variation and urbanization. We focused on seven common species with diverse habitat requirements, home range sizes, and dispersal abilities. We quantified the relative roles of potential barriers, including natural environmental characteristics and an anthropogenic barrier created by a major highway, in shaping genetic variation. The ability to predict genetic variation in our models varied between species: nine to 81% of intraspecific genetic variation was explained by environmental variables. Although an anthropogenically-induced barrier (here a major highway) severely restricts gene flow and movement at broad scales for some species, genetic variation seems to be primarily driven by natural environmental heterogeneity at a local level. Results show how assessing environmentally associated variation (EAV) for multiple species under current and future climate conditions can help to identify priority regions for maximizing population persistence under environmental change in urbanized regions.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-06-20T06:29:20.353953-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12969
  • Prospects for stakeholder coordination by protected-area managers in
    • Authors: Brady J. Mattsson; Harald Vacik
      Abstract: Growing resource demands by humans, invasive species, natural hazards, and a changing climate are creating broad-scale impacts and have created the need for broader-extent conservation activities that span ownerships and even political borders. Implementing regional-scale conservation brings great challenges, and learning how to overcome these challenges is essential for maintaining biodiversity (i.e., richness and evenness of biological communities) and ecosystem functions and services across scales and borders in the face of system change. We administered an online survey to examine factors potentially driving perspectives of protected area (PA) managers regarding coordination with neighboring PAs and other stakeholders (i.e., stakeholder coordination) for conserving biodiversity and ecosystem services during the next decade within diverse regions across Europe. Although>70% of responding PA managers indicated that climate change and invasive species are relevant for their PAs, they gave 60% chance that stakeholder coordination would take place with the aim to improve conservation outcomes. Consistent with the foundation upon which many European PAs was established, managers viewed maintaining or enhancing biodiversity as the most important (>70%) expected benefit. Other important benefits included maintaining or enhancing human resources and environmental education (range of Bayesian credibility intervals [CIs]: 57–93%). The main barriers to stakeholder coordination were the lack of human and economic resources (CI: 59–67% chance of hindering) followed by communication and inter-stakeholder differences in political structures and laws (range of CIs: 51–64% chance of hindering). European policies and strategies that address these hindering factors could be particularly effective means of enabling implementation of green infrastructure networks, with PAs serving as the nodes.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-06-15T03:50:20.810586-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12966
  • Using soundscapes to detect variable degrees of human influence on
           tropical forests in Papua New Guinea
    • Authors: Zuzana Burivalova; Michael Towsey, Tim Boucher, Anthony Truskinger, Cosmas Apelis, Paul Roe, Edward T. Game
      Abstract: There is global concern about tropical forest degradation, in part, because of the associated loss of biodiversity. Communities and indigenous people play a fundamental role in tropical forest management and they are often efficient at preventing forest degradation. However, monitoring changes in biodiversity due to degradation, especially at a scale appropriate to local tropical forest management, is marred with difficulties including the need for expert training, inconsistency across observers, and the lack of baseline or reference data. We used a new biodiversity remote sensing technology, the recording of soundscapes, to test whether the acoustic saturation of a soundscape decreases with increasing land use intensity by the communities that manage the tropical forests in Papua New Guinea. We found that land use zones where forest cover was fully retained had a significantly higher soundscape saturation during peak acoustic activity times, corresponding to the dawn and dusk chorus, compared with land use types with fragmented forest cover. We conclude that, in Papua New Guinea, the relatively simple measure of soundscape saturation may provide a cheap, objective, reproducible, and effective tool to monitor tropical forest deviation from intact state, particularly through detecting the presence of an intact dawn and dusk chorus.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-06-14T07:20:36.978881-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12968
  • The effectiveness of surrogate taxa to conserve freshwater biodiversity
    • Authors: David R. Stewart; Zachary E. Underwood, Frank J. Rahel, Annika W. Walters
      Abstract: Establishing protected areas has long been an effective conservation strategy, and is often based on more readily surveyed species. The potential of any freshwater taxa to be a surrogate of other aquatic groups has not been fully explored. We compiled occurrence data on 72 species of freshwater fish, amphibians, mussels, and aquatic reptiles for the Great Plains, Wyoming. We used hierarchical Bayesian multi-species mixture models and MaxEnt models to describe species distributions, and program Zonation to identify conservation priority areas for each aquatic group. The landscape-scale factors that best characterized aquatic species distributions differed among groups. There was low agreement and congruence among taxa-specific conservation priorities (
      PubDate: 2017-06-14T07:20:22.025676-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12967
  • Use of radar detectors to track attendance of albatrosses at fishing
    • Authors: H. Weimerskirch; D.P. Filippi, J. Collet, S.M. Waugh, S.C. Patrick
      Abstract: Despite international waters covering over 60% of the world's oceans, our understanding of how fisheries in these regions shape ecosystem processes is surprisingly poor. Seabirds are known to forage at fishing vessels, with potential deleterious effects for their population, but the extent of overlap and behavior in relation to ships are poorly known. Using novel biologging devices, which can detect radar emissions to record the position of boats and seabirds, we measured the true extent of the overlap between seabirds and fishing vessels, and generated estimates of the intensity of fishing and distribution of vessels in international waters. During breeding, wandering albatrosses from the Crozet islands patrolled an area of more than 10 million square kilometers and as much as 79.5% of birds equipped with loggers detected vessels, at distances up to 2500 km from the colony, modifying their natural foraging behavior to attend boats. The extent of this overlap has widespread implications for bycatch risk in seabirds and reveals the areas of intense fishing throughout the ocean. We suggest that seabirds equipped with radar detectors are excellent monitors of the presence of vessels in the southern ocean, offering a new way to monitor fisheries. The method used opens new perspectives to monitor the presence of illegal fisheries and to better understand the impact of fisheries on seabirds.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-06-09T07:50:36.355397-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12965
  • Research priorities for conservation and natural resource management in
           Oceania's small island developing states
    • Authors: R. Weeks; V. M. Adams
      Abstract: For conservation science to effectively inform management, research must focus on creating the scientific knowledge required to solve conservation problems. We report the outcomes of an exercise to identify research questions that, if answered, would increase the effectiveness of conservation and natural resource management practice and policy within Oceania's small island developing states. Respondents from academia, government, and nongovernment organizations across the region surveyed online proposed 270 questions, and subsequently identified 38 of these as high priority. High priority questions speak to the particular challenges of undertaking conservation within small island developing states, and the need for a research agenda that is responsive to the socio-cultural context of Oceania. Our comparison with research priorities identified globally and for other regions revealed broad thematic similarities but also highlighted important differences in specific issues that are relevant to particular conservation contexts. This emphasizes the importance of involving local practitioners in the identification of research priorities. We found that priorities were reasonably well aligned between sectoral groups. Only a few questions were widely considered to be already answered; this may indicate a smaller than expected knowledge-action gap. We hope that these questions can act to strengthen research collaborations between scientists and practitioners working to further conservation and natural resource management in this region.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-06-06T00:20:20.27421-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12964
  • Land-use history as a guide for forest conservation and management
    • Authors: Cathy Whitlock; Daniele Colombaroli, Marco Conedera, Willy Tinner
      Abstract: Conservation efforts to protect forested landscapes are challenged by climate projections that suggest significant restructuring of vegetation and disturbance regimes in the future. In this regard, paleoecological records that describe ecosystem responses to past variations in climate, fire and human activity offer critical information for assessing present landscape conditions and future landscape vulnerability. We illustrate this point drawing on eight sites in the northwest U.S., New Zealand, Patagonia, and central and southern Europe that have experienced different levels of climate and land-use change. These sites fall along a gradient of landscape conditions that range from near-pristine (i.e., where vegetation and disturbance have been significantly shaped by past climate and biophysical constraints) to highly altered (i.e., landscapes that have been intensely modified by past human activity). Position on this gradient has implications for understanding the role of natural and anthropogenic disturbance in shaping ecosystem dynamics and assessments of present biodiversity, including recognizing missing or overrepresented species. All the study sites reveal dramatic vegetation reorganization in the past as a result of postglacial climate variations. In nearly-pristine landscapes, like Yellowstone, climate has remained the primary driver of ecosystem change up to the present day. In Europe, natural vegetation-climate-fire linkages were broken ∼6000-8000 years ago with the onset of Neolithic farming, and in New Zealand, natural linkages were first lost ∼700 years ago with arrival of the Māori people. In the northwestern U.S. and Patagonia, greatest landscape alteration has occurred in the last 150 years with Euro-American settlement. Paleoecology is sometimes the best and only tool for evaluating the degree of this alteration and the extent to which landscapes retain natural components. Information on landscape-level history thus helps assess current ecological change, clarify management objectives, and define conservation strategies that seek to protect both “natural” and “cultural” elements.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-06-02T06:20:38.713924-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12960
  • Quantitative tools for implementing the new definition of significant
           portion of the range in the Endangered Species Act
    • Authors: Julia E. Earl; Sam Nicol, Ruscena Wiederholt, Jay E. Diffendorfer, Darius Semmens, D. T. Tyler Flockhart, Brady J. Mattsson, Gary McCracken, D. Ryan Norris, Wayne E. Thogmartin, Laura López-Hoffman
      Abstract: In July 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service announced a new policy interpretation for the Endangered Species Act. According to the Act, a species must be listed as threatened or endangered if it is determined to be threatened or endangered in a significant portion of its range. The 1973 law does not define “significant portion of its range,” leading to concerns that interpretations of “significant” by federal agencies and the courts could be inconsistent. The 2014 policy seeks to provide consistency by establishing that a portion of the range should be considered significant if the associated individuals’ “removal would cause the entire species to become endangered or threatened.” Here, we review quantitative techniques to assess whether a portion of a species’ range is significant according to the new guidance. Our assessments are based on the “3R” criteria – Redundancy (i.e., buffering from catastrophe), Resiliency (i.e., ability to withstand stochasticity), and Representation (i.e., ability to evolve) – that the Fish and Wildlife Service uses to determine if a species merits listing. We identify data needs for each quantitative technique and indicate which methods might be implemented given the data limitations typical of rare species. We also identify proxies that may be used with limited data. To assess potential data availability, we evaluate seven example species by assessing the data in their Species Status Assessments, which document all the information used during a listing decision. Our evaluation suggests that resiliency assessments will likely be most constrained by limited data. While we reviewed quantitative techniques for the US Endangered Species Act, other countries have legislation requiring identification of significant areas that could benefit from this research.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-06-02T06:20:31.857275-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12963
  • Managing conflict between large carnivores and livestock
    • Authors: Lily M. Eeden; Mathew S. Crowther, Chris R. Dickman, David W. Macdonald, William J. Ripple, Euan G. Ritchie, Thomas M. Newsome
      Abstract: Large carnivores are persecuted globally because they threaten human industries and livelihoods. How this conflict is managed has consequences for the conservation of large carnivores and biodiversity more broadly. Mitigating human-predator conflict should be evidence-based and accommodate people's values while also protecting carnivores. Despite much research into human-large carnivore coexistence strategies, there have been limited attempts to document the success of conflict mitigation strategies on a global scale. We present a meta-analysis of global research on conflict mitigation between large carnivores and humans, focusing on conflicts that arise from the threat that large carnivores pose to livestock industries.Overall, research effort and focus varied between continents, aligning with the different histories and cultures that shaped livestock production and attitudes towards carnivores. Of the studies that met our criteria, livestock guardian animals were most effective at reducing livestock losses, followed by lethal control, although the latter exhibited the widest variation in success and the two were not significantly different. Financial incentives have promoted tolerance in some settings, reducing retaliatory killings. In future, coexistence strategies should be location-specific, incorporating cultural values and environmental conditions, and designed such that return on financial investment can be evaluated. Improved monitoring of mitigation measures is urgently required to promote effective evidence-based policy.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-05-29T02:00:26.272633-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12959
  • A condition metric for Eucalyptus woodland derived from expert evaluations
    • Authors: Steve J. Sinclair; Matthew J. Bruce, Peter Griffioen, Amanda Dodd, Matthew D. White
      Abstract: The evaluation of ecosystem quality is important for land management and land-use planning. Evaluation is unavoidably subjective, and robust metrics must be based on consensus and the structured use of observations. This paper presents a means of building and testing metrics based on expert evaluation data, using a transparent and repeatable process.We gather quantitative evaluation data from a defined expert group, about the quality of synthetic (fictional) grassy woodland sites. We use these data to train a model (an ensemble of thirty bagged regression trees) capable of predicting the perceived quality of similar synthetic woodlands using a set of thirteen site variables as inputs. These variables can be measured at any site, and the model implemented in a spreadsheet as a metric of woodland quality.We demonstrate that the model produces evaluations that are similar to those provided by experts. We also investigated the number of experts required to produce a stable metric, and showed that our use of 44 experts was sufficient.To test the metric's performance in the real world, we applied it to thirteen woodland conservation reserves on the periphery of Melbourne, Australia, and asked the managers of these sites to independently evaluate their quality. We assessed metric performance by quantifying its ability to match the mean evaluation of the managers for each site, and comparing this with the ability of each manager in turn to match the mean of the remaining evaluators. The metric performed relatively well. Given it brings the benefits of consensus and repeatability, which no human evaluator can demonstrate, we suggest that the metric is a valuable tool for making evaluations in the real-world context where accountability is required. The basic approaches of development and testing that we demonstrate are applicable to any ecosystem.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-03-31T09:50:23.977812-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12941
  • Conservation and the four Rs, which are rescue, rehabilitation, release,
           and research
    • Authors: Graham H. Pyke; Judit K. Szabo
      Abstract: Vertebrate animals can be injured or threatened with injury through human activities, thus warranting their ‘rescue’. Details of wildlife Rescue, Rehabilitation, Release, and associated Research (our 4 R's) are often recorded in large databases, resulting in a wealth of information. This information has huge research potential and can contribute to our understanding of animal biology, anthropogenic impacts on wildlife, and species conservation. However, such databases have been little used, few studies have evaluated factors influencing success of rehabilitation and/or release, recommended actions to conserve threatened species have rarely arisen, and direct benefits for species conservation are yet to be demonstrated. We therefore recommend additional research based on rescue, rehabilitation and release of animals, broader in scope than previously carried out, which would also maintain support from the general human community.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-03-22T09:51:50.644524-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12937
  • Need for conservation planning in postconflict Colombia
    • Authors: Pablo Jose Negret; James Allan, Alexander Braczkowski, Martine Maron, James E.M. Watson
      Abstract: More than 80% of recent major armed conflicts have taken place in biodiversity hotspots, including the Tropical Andes which is home to the world's highest concentrations of bird, mammal, and amphibian species, and more than ten percent of all vascular plant species (Mittermeier et al. 2004; Hanson et al. 2009). Armed conflicts not only seriously impact social and political systems, but also have important ramifications for biodiversity, from the time preparations for conflict start through to the post-conflict period (Machlis & Hanson 2008). Tropical forests have been identified as particularly vulnerable during the post-conflict period, when areas made inaccessible during hostilities become open to development (McNeely 2003).This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-02-03T00:25:25.21975-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12902
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