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  Subjects -> CONSERVATION (Total: 142 journals)
Showing 1 - 37 of 37 Journals sorted alphabetically
Advanced Sustainable Systems     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 5)
African Journal of Ecology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 16)
African Journal of Range & Forage Science     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 13)
African Journal of Wildlife Research     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 7)
AICCM Bulletin     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 1)
Ambiens. Revista Iberoamericana Universitaria en Ambiente, Sociedad y Sustentabilidad     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
American Journal of Rural Development     Open Access   (Followers: 9)
American Museum Novitates     Open Access   (Followers: 5)
Animal Conservation     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 48)
Aquaculture, Aquarium, Conservation & Legislation - International Journal of the Bioflux Society     Open Access   (Followers: 7)
Aquatic Conservation Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 43)
Arcada : Revista de conservación del patrimonio cultural     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Archeomatica     Open Access   (Followers: 9)
Arid Land Research and Management     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 10)
Asian Journal of Sustainability and Social Responsibility     Open Access   (Followers: 4)
Australasian Plant Conservation: Journal of the Australian Network for Plant Conservation     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 4)
Biodiversity and Conservation     Open Access   (Followers: 246)
Biological Conservation     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 383)
Business Strategy and the Environment     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 13)
Catalysis for Sustainable Energy     Open Access   (Followers: 11)
Challenges in Sustainability     Open Access   (Followers: 11)
Chelonian Conservation and Biology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 9)
Conservación Vegetal     Open Access  
Conservation     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 29)
Conservation Biology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 342)
Conservation Genetics     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 21)
Conservation Science     Open Access   (Followers: 28)
Conservation Science and Practice     Open Access  
Diversity and Distributions     Open Access   (Followers: 44)
Earth's Future     Open Access   (Followers: 5)
Eastern European Countryside     Open Access   (Followers: 2)
Eco-Entrepreneur     Open Access  
Ecological Economics     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 207)
Ecological Psychology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 3)
Ecological Restoration     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 23)
Ecology and Evolution     Open Access   (Followers: 100)
Ecology and Society     Open Access   (Followers: 52)
Environment and Natural Resources Journal     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Environment and Planning E : Nature and Space     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 1)
Environmental and Resource Economics     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 26)
Environmental and Sustainability Indicators     Open Access   (Followers: 3)
Environmental Conservation     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 61)
Ethnobiology and Conservation     Open Access   (Followers: 3)
European Countryside     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Forest Policy and Economics     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 23)
Forum Journal     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 1)
Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution     Open Access   (Followers: 45)
Functional Ecology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 52)
Future Anterior     Full-text available via subscription  
Global Ecology and Biogeography     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 74)
Global Ecology and Conservation     Open Access   (Followers: 17)
Human Dimensions of Wildlife: An International Journal     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 6)
Ideas in Ecology and Evolution     Open Access   (Followers: 11)
In Situ. Revue des patrimoines     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Indonesian Journal of Conservation     Open Access  
Indonesian Journal of Sustainability Accounting and Management     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Interações (Campo Grande)     Open Access  
Interdisciplinary Environmental Review     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 3)
International Journal of Architectural Heritage: Conservation, Analysis, and Restoration     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 10)
International Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation     Open Access   (Followers: 4)
International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management     Open Access   (Followers: 9)
International Journal of Environment and Pollution     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 3)
International Journal of Global Energy Issues     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 8)
International Journal of Social Ecology and Sustainable Development     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 10)
International Journal of Sustainable Development     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 17)
International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 14)
International Soil and Water Conservation Research     Open Access   (Followers: 3)
Intervención     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Journal for Nature Conservation     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 31)
Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 13)
Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 10)
Journal of East African Natural History     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 7)
Journal of Ecology and The Natural Environment     Open Access   (Followers: 4)
Journal of Industrial Ecology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 15)
Journal of International Wildlife Law & Policy     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 4)
Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 10)
Journal of Paper Conservation     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 3)
Journal of Rural Studies     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 18)
Journal of Sustainable Mining     Open Access   (Followers: 3)
Journal of the American Institute for Conservation     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 4)
Journal of the Institute of Conservation     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 28)
Journal of Threatened Taxa     Open Access   (Followers: 2)
Journal of Urban Ecology     Open Access   (Followers: 5)
Julius-Kühn-Archiv     Open Access  
Lakes & Reservoirs Research & Management     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 14)
Landscape and Urban Planning     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 34)
Madagascar Conservation & Development     Open Access   (Followers: 3)
Madera y Bosques     Open Access  
Media Konservasi     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Monographs of the Western North American Naturalist     Full-text available via subscription  
Natural Resources and Conservation     Open Access   (Followers: 5)
Natural Resources Forum     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 7)
Nature Conservation     Open Access   (Followers: 36)
Nature Sustainability     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 12)
Natureza & Conservação : Brazilian Journal of Nature Conservation     Open Access  
Neotropical Biology and Conservation     Open Access   (Followers: 2)
Nepalese Journal of Development and Rural Studies     Open Access  
Northeastern Naturalist     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 3)
Northwestern Naturalist     Full-text available via subscription  
Novos Cadernos NAEA     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
npj Urban Sustainability     Open Access   (Followers: 2)
Nusantara Bioscience     Open Access   (Followers: 4)
Ocean Acidification     Open Access   (Followers: 6)
One Ecosystem     Open Access  
Oryx     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 18)
Pacific Conservation Biology     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 2)
Park Watch     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 1)
Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 4)
Process Integration and Optimization for Sustainability     Hybrid Journal  
Rangeland Journal     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 4)
Recursos Rurais     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Recycling     Open Access  
Resources, Conservation & Recycling     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 24)
Resources, Conservation & Recycling : X     Open Access   (Followers: 2)
Restoration Ecology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 47)
Revista de Ciencias Ambientales     Open Access   (Followers: 2)
Revista de Direito e Sustentabilidade     Open Access  
Revista Meio Ambiente e Sustentabilidade     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Revista Memorare     Open Access  
Rural Sustainability Research     Open Access   (Followers: 4)
Savana Cendana     Open Access  
Society & Natural Resources: An International Journal     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 21)
Socio-Ecological Practice Research     Hybrid Journal  
Soil Ecology Letters     Hybrid Journal  
Southeastern Naturalist     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 3)
Southern Forests : a Journal of Forest Science     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 4)
Studies in Conservation     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 14)
Sustainable Earth     Open Access  
Sustainable Environment Agricultural Science (SEAS)     Open Access  
Sustentabilidade em Debate     Open Access  
Tanzania Journal of Forestry and Nature Conservation     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 2)
The American Midland Naturalist     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 11)
The Southwestern Naturalist     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 3)
Tropical Conservation Science     Open Access   (Followers: 2)
Tropical Ecology     Hybrid Journal  
VITRUVIO : International Journal of Architectural Technology and Sustainability     Open Access  
Water Conservation Science and Engineering     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 2)
Western North American Naturalist     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 1)
Wildfowl     Open Access   (Followers: 11)
Wildlife Australia     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 1)
Wildlife Research     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 15)
World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 3)

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Journal Cover
Nature Conservation
Journal Prestige (SJR): 0.614
Citation Impact (citeScore): 2
Number of Followers: 36  

  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 1314-6947 - ISSN (Online) 1314-3301
Published by Pensoft Homepage  [45 journals]
  • Plant diversity assessment of karst limestone, a case study of
           Malaysia’s Batu Caves

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 44: 21-49
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.44.60175
      Authors : Ruth Kiew, Rafidah Abdul Rahman : Batu Caves hill is typical of karst hills in Peninsular Malaysia due to its small size and high biodiversity. It harbours 366 vascular plant species that represent about 25% of the Peninsula’s limestone flora. Five species are endemic to Batu Caves and 23 are threatened species. This high biodiversity is the result of many microhabitats, each with their own assemblages of species. Threats are especially severe as the area of Batu Caves is surrounded by urbanisation that encroaches to the foot of cliffs, is vulnerable to fire, habitat disturbance and, formerly, by quarrying. Assigning a Conservation Importance Score (CIS) to all species is quantitative and accurate, can be implemented rapidly and produces reproducible results. Species with highest CIS are native species of primary vegetation, restricted to limestone substrates, endangered conservation status and, in this case, endemic to Batu Caves. It allows not only species, but microhabitats, sites within a hill and different hills to be compared. By identifying and surveying all microhabitats and focusing on locating endemic and threatened species, maximum biodiversity can be captured. Of the 16 microhabitats identified, the most threatened were the buffer zone, lower levels of steep earth-covered slopes and cave entrances. Application of this method provides a scientific basis for balancing the need to protect microhabitats and sites with the highest CIS, with their multiple uses by various stakeholders, which, at Batu Caves, include the activities of cave temples and eco-recreation. It also provides a scientific quantitative method to compare hills to ensure that those hills with highest CIS are not released for mining. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Tue, 11 May 2021 10:06:30 +030
  • The contribution to wildlife conservation of an Italian Recovery Centre

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 44: 1-20
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.44.65528
      Authors : Gabriele Dessalvi, Enrico Borgo, Loris Galli : Wildlife recovery centres are widespread worldwide and their goal is the rehabilitation of wildlife and the subsequent release of healthy animals to appropriate habitats in the wild. The activity of the Genoese Wildlife Recovery Centre (CRAS) from 2015 to 2020 was analysed to assess its contribution to the conservation of biodiversity and to determine the main factors affecting the survival rate of the most abundant species. In particular, the analyses focused upon the cause, provenance and species of hospitalised animals, the seasonal distribution of recoveries and the outcomes of hospitalisation in the different species. In addition, an in-depth analysis of the anthropogenic causes was conducted, with a particular focus on attempts of predation by domestic animals, especially cats. Significantly, 96.8% of animals hospitalised came from Liguria, the region in north-western Italy where CRAS is located, with 44.8% coming from the most populated and urbanised areas of Genoa, indicating a positive correlation between population density and the number of recoveries. A total of 5881 wild animals belonging to 162 species were transferred to CRAS during the six years study period. The presence of summer migratory bird species and the high reproductive rates of most animals in summer resulted in a corresponding seasonal peak of treated animals. Birds represented 80.9% of entries; mammals accounted for 18.6% of hospitalisations; and about 0.5% of the entries were represented by reptiles and amphibians. Species protected by CITES and/or in IUCN Red List amounted to 8% of the total number of individuals. Consistent with results recorded elsewhere from Italy and other European countries, 53.9% of the specimens treated were released in nature; 4.7% were euthanised and 41.4% died. There was a significant difference between taxa in the frequency of individuals that were released, died or euthanised due to the intrinsic characteristics of species (more resistant or more adaptable to captivity than others) and/or to the types of debilitative occurrences common to each species (e.g. infections, wounds, traumas, fractures). A total of 14.2% of wildlife recovery was from injuries caused with certainty by people or domestic animals (human impact), with 54.3% of these hospitalised animals having been victims of predation attempts by domestic animals, mainly cats. The percentage of release in nature of animals hospitalised following human impact was significantly lower than overall cases (31.2% vs. 53.9%) due to the greater severity of the injuries. The percentage of animals released showed a further reduction to 27.1% amongst victims of predation attempts by pets. The work of Rehabilitation/Recovery Centres contributes to wildlife conservation. In particular, the CRAS in Genoa is a Centre with an increasing level of activity concerning the rehabilitation of species under CITES protection and/or included on the IUCN Red List. The contribution and experience of CRAS operators is critical for the success of ‘information campaigns’ aimed at limiting the number of stray dogs and cats because of their impact on wildlife. Therefore, the activity of a properly-managed CRAS can significantly contribute both directly and indirectly to wildlife conservation, resulting in important territorial safeguards for the protection of biodiversity. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Mon, 10 May 2021 08:47:19 +030
  • Genetic variability and conservation of the endangered Pannonian root vole
           in fragmented habitats of an agricultural landscape

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 43: 167-191
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.43.58798
      Authors : Krisztina A. Kelemen, Felicita Urzi, Elena Buzan, Győző F. Horváth, Filip Tulis, Ivan Baláž : The distribution of the endangered glacial relict subspecies, the Pannonian root vole Alexandromys oeconomus mehelyi Éhik, 1928, is restricted to scattered localities in south-western Slovakia, which belong to the north-eastern zone of its range. Human-induced changes and fragmentation of the landscape have led to the gradual loss of suitable habitats and threaten its long-term survival. The study area in the Danubian Lowland is characterised by small habitat fragments and temporal fluctuations of the habitat area. Root voles were sampled at nine sites to study the level of genetic variability and structure of local subpopulations by scoring 13 microsatellite loci in 69 individuals. Genetic differentiation varied amongst local populations and we did not find a significant isolation-by-distance pattern. Bayesian clustering analysis suggested that dispersal effectively prevents marked genetic subdivision between studied habitat fragments. Significant pairwise differentiation between some subpopulations, however, may be the result of putatively suppressed gene flow. Low genetic diversity in the recent populations probably reflects the isolated location of the study area in the agricultural landscape, suggesting that long-term survival may not be assured. In order to maintain genetic diversity, it is essential to preserve (or even restore) habitats and ensure the possibility of gene flow; habitat protection is, therefore, recommended. Continuous assessment is necessary for effective conservation management and to predict the long-term survival chances of the Pannonian root vole in the study area. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 7 May 2021 10:04:41 +0300
  • Potential changes in the distribution of Delphinium bolosii and related
           taxa of the series Fissa from the Iberian Peninsula under future climate
           change scenarios

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 43: 147-166
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.43.63876
      Authors : Rubén Ramírez-Rodríguez, Manuel Melendo-Luque, Juan Diego Rus-Moreno, Francisco Amich : A particular threat posed by climate change for biodiversity conservation, one which has scarcely been studied, is the overlap of the potential distribution areas in phylogenetically closely related species. In this study, Species Distribution Modelling (SDM) was used to investigate the potential changes in the distribution of Delphinium bolosii and D. fissum subsp. sordidum under future climatic scenarios. These two closely related and endangered endemic species from the Iberian Peninsula do not have complete reproductive barriers between them. The two models selected different predictors with a similar effect in the biological cycle. Both taxa need low winter temperatures to break seed dormancy and sufficient rainfall to complete the flowering and fruiting stages. The current potential distribution areas of both taxa do not currently overlap. However, the results showed that potential changes may take place in the species’ distribution range under future climate scenarios. The models predict a reduction of the potential distribution area of D. bolosii while, conversely, the potential distribution area of D. fissum subsp. sordidum increased. In both cases, the predicted contraction in range is very high, and loss of habitat suitability in some current localities is worrying. Notwithstanding, the models do not predict overlaps of potential areas under climate change scenarios. Our findings can be used to define areas and populations of high priority for conservation or to take action against the impacts of climate change on these endangered species. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Tue, 27 Apr 2021 09:52:06 +030
  • Genetic diversity and morphological characterisation of three turbot
           (Scophthalmus maximus L., 1758) populations along the Bulgarian Black Sea

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 43: 123-146
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.43.64195
      Authors : Petya Ivanova, Nina Dzhembekova, Ivan Atanassov, Krasimir Rusanov, Violin Raykov, Ivelina Zlateva, Maria Yankova, Yordan Raev, Galin Nikolov : Turbot (Scophthalmus maximus L., 1758) is a valuable commercial fish species classified as endangered. The conservation and sustainability of the turbot populations require knowledge of the population’s genetic structure and constant monitoring of its biodiversity. The present study was performed to evaluate the population structure of turbot along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast using seven pairs of microsatellites, two mitochondrial DNA (COIII and CR) and 23 morphological (15 morphometric and 8 meristic) markers. A total of 72 specimens at three locations were genotyped and 59 alleles were identified. The observed number of alleles of microsatellites was more than the effective number of alleles. The overall mean values of observed (Ho) and expected heterogeneity (He) were 0.638 and 0.685. A high rate of migration between turbot populations (overall mean of Nm = 17.484), with the maximum value (19.498) between Shabla and Nesebar locations, was observed. This result corresponded to the low level of genetic differentiation amongst these populations (overall mean Fst = 0.014), but there was no correlation between genetic and geographical distance. A high level of genetic diversity in the populations was also observed. The average Garza-Williamson M index value for all populations was low (0.359), suggesting a reduction in genetic variation due to a founder effect or a genetic bottleneck. Concerning mitochondrial DNA, a total number of 17 haplotypes for COIII and 41 haplotypes for CR were identified. The mitochondrial DNA control region showed patterns with high haplotype diversity and very low nucleotide diversity, indicating a significant number of closely-related haplotypes and suggesting that this population may have undergone a recent expansion. Tajima’s D test and Fu’s FS test suggested recent population growth. Pairwise Fst values were very low. The admixture and lack of genetic structuring found pointed to the populations analysed probably belonging to the same genetic unit. Therefore, a proper understanding and a sound knowledge of the level and distribution of genetic diversity in turbot is an important prerequisite for successful sustainable development and conservation strategies to preserve their evolutionary potential. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 16 Apr 2021 14:02:24 +030
  • Termites’ diversity in a protected park of the northern Sudanian
           savanna of Togo (West Africa)

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 43: 79-91
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.43.59474
      Authors : Toblie Quashie Effowe, Boris Dodji Kasseney, Abdoulaye Baïla Ndiaye, Bassan Banibea Sanbena, Komina Amevoin, Isabelle Adolé Glitho : Termites occur in many ecosystems throughout tropical and subtropical areas. Their distribution is driven by several factors, including landscape and some soil characteristics. This study aims to determine soil organic matter’s role on termites’ diversity in a shrubby savanna park. Termites were sampled across transects in 3 sites of Galangashi park (northern part of Togo). The soil in which termites were harvested was analyzed to check organic matter’s influence on termites’ species richness. A total of 28 termite species belonging to 14 genera and 6 subfamilies were identified. Feeding group II (all fungus-growing termites, grass feeders, and wood feeders) was the most important among the three identified groups. Nine species (with two potentially new species for sciences: Amitermes sp and Eremotermes sp) were recorded for the first time in the country. A strong correlation was found between species richness, total organic matter, and total organic carbon, suggesting the influence of soil richness on termite distribution. The occurrence of the unique member of the feeding group I, Coptotermes intermedius Silvestri, 1912, as well as the occurrence of Fulleritermes tenebricus Silvestri, 1914 (both wood-dwelling termites), was certainly due to the vegetation. The relatively higher species richness as well as the correlation between the species richness and the organic matter of shrub savanna, suggest a better conservation of this landscape. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 9 Apr 2021 10:46:03 +0300
  • Natural strongholds for red squirrel conservation in Scotland

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 43: 93-108
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.43.62864
      Authors : Andrew Slade, Andy White, Kenny Kortland, Peter W. W. Lurz : The Eurasian Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) is under threat from the invasive North American eastern Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) with 80% of the remaining red squirrel populations in the British Isles found in Scotland. In this study we develop a spatially explicit mathematical model of the red and grey squirrel system and use it to assess the population viability of red squirrels across Scotland. In particular, we aim to identify existing forests – natural strongholds for red squirrels – that can successfully support red squirrels under UK Forestry Standard management and protect them from potential disease-mediated competition from grey squirrels. Our model results indicate that if current levels of grey squirrel control, which restrict or reduce the distribution of grey squirrels, are continued then there will be large expanses of forests in northern Scotland that support viable red squirrel populations. Model results that represent (hypothetical) scenarios where grey squirrel control no longer occurred indicated that grey squirrel range expansion and the process of red squirrel replacement would be slow. Model results for an assumed worst-case scenario where grey squirrels have expanded to all regions in Scotland identified forest regions – denoted natural strongholds – that could currently support red squirrels under UK Forestry Standard management practice. The results will be used to inform forest management policy and support a strategic review of red squirrel management by land management agencies and other stakeholders. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 9 Apr 2021 10:02:13 +0300
  • The illegal hunting and exploitation of porcupines for meat and medicine
           in Indonesia

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 43: 109-122
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.43.62750
      Authors : Lalita Gomez : Indonesia is home to five species of porcupines, three of which are island endemics. While all five species are currently assessed as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, impacts of harvest and trade have not been factored in. To gain a fuller understanding of the porcupine trade in Indonesia, this study examines seizure data of porcupines, their parts and derivatives from January 2013 to June 2020. A total of 39 incidents were obtained amounting to an estimated 452 porcupines. Various confiscated commodities revealed porcupines are traded for consumption, traditional medicine, trophies/charms as well as for privately run wildlife/recreational parks. Targeted hunting of porcupines for commercial international trade was also evident. Porcupines are also persecuted as agricultural pests and wildlife traffickers take advantage of such situations to procure animals for trade. What clearly emerges from this study is that porcupines are being illegally hunted and exploited throughout their range in Indonesia facilitated by poor enforcement and legislative weakness. Porcupines are in decline due to habitat loss, retaliatory killings and uncontrolled poaching. It is therefore crucial that effective conservation measures are taken sooner rather than later to prevent further depletion of these species. Including all porcupines as protected species under Indonesian wildlife laws and listing them in Appendix II of CITES to improve regulation, enforcement and monitoring of domestic and international trade trends involving porcupines in Indonesia would contribute significantly towards this end. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 9 Apr 2021 09:00:33 +0300
  • How do red deer react to increased visitor numbers' A case study on
           human-deer encounter probability and its effect on cortisol stress

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 43: 55-78
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.43.56266
      Authors : Gabriel Dixon, Andrew S. Marriott, Graham Stelfox, Chris Dunkerley, Sven P. Batke : The numbers of visitors to greenspaces in the United Kingdom has increased over the last few years as the health benefits of spending time in greenspaces have become better known. This has led to problems for conservation ecologists due to increased numbers of reported human-wildlife encounters. Deer are often found in public spaces and are of particular concern. Previous research suggests elevated levels of stress hormones (e.g., cortisol) in deer is a result of increased human activity. This has been linked to several negative effects on the deer’s health. From a practitioner’s point of view, it is therefore important to implement effective management strategies that are based on scientific evidence to help ensure the welfare of managed deer populations. In an effort to identify the impact of visitor numbers on faecal cortisol concentrations, samples from 2 red deer (Cervus elaphus) herds in Lyme Park (Cheshire), United Kingdom, were collected and analysed. A predictive spatial model was developed based on logistic regression to identify areas within the park of low and high human-deer encounter probability. The faecal cortisol levels were found to be significantly higher on days with a high number of visitors. In addition, landscape features such as buildings and roads increased the probability of human-deer encounters, whereas woodland and scrub decreased the probability. However, human-deer encounter probability changed with distance to the features. By providing local park managers with this scientific data, these findings can directly inform current management efforts to reduce deer stress levels in Lyme Park. In addition, the spatial modelling method has the capacity to be implemented in other parks across the country with minimal cost and effort. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 26 Feb 2021 14:23:03 +020
  • Community perceptions towards nature conservation in the Eastern Cape
           Province, South Africa

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 43: 41-53
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.43.57935
      Authors : Daniel Angwenyi, Martin Potgieter, James Gambiza : Relationships between protected area managers and adjacent communities, as well as communities’ attitudes, views and perceptions of these areas, are critical for the success of conservation efforts. It is important for protected area managers and administrators to understand how local communities view these areas and their management, so that they can build sustainable working rel ationships. This paper is based on a survey of 375 semi-structured questionnaires administered to household heads, living at distances ranging from the edge of the reserves to 50 km away from the reserve boundary across the Great Fish River, Mkambati, Hluleka, and Tsolwana nature reserves in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. The paper provides a longitudinal assessment of households’ knowledge about the role of reserves and the reserves’ impacts on livelihood assets. In addition to households’ knowledge about the role of reserves, the paper also provides an assessment of people’s attitudes towards their location and management, as well as views on the best way to manage the reserves. For 79% of community members, reserves were important as they were seen to conserve biodiversity and valuable ecological systems necessary for sustaining life. Most (75%) respondents indicated that closely located reserves gave them opportunities to learn about nature conservation and to subsidize their incomes through tourism ventures. However, 58% had a problem with reserves’ staff, due to restrictions on resource use, which negatively impacted their livelihoods. Over half (51%) of the households argued that sustainable conservation can only be achieved through an integrated approach where conservation and local communities’ needs are given equal weight. We concluded that reserve managers should look at communities as active partners in the management of protected areas if sustainable conservation objectives are to be realised. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Tue, 23 Feb 2021 11:07:36 +020
  • The illegal exploitation of the Javan Leopard (Panthera pardus melas) and
           Sunda Clouded Leopard (Neofelis diardi) in Indonesia

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 43: 25-39
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.43.59399
      Authors : Lalita Gomez, Chris R. Shepherd : Indonesia is home to the Javan Leopard (Panthera pardus melas) and the Sunda Clouded Leopard (Neofelis diardi), both of which are threatened by habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict issues and the illegal wildlife trade. Leopards and clouded leopards are threatened by the illegal wildlife trade across their range, however, very little is known of the illegal trade in these two species in Indonesia, or of the efforts made to tackle this crime. Both the Javan Leopard and Sunda Clouded Leopard are protected species in Indonesia and both species are listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), meaning commercial international trade is generally prohibited. To better understand the trade, and efforts to end this trade, we collected records of seizures and prosecutions relating to Javan Leopards and Sunda Clouded Leopards in Indonesia for the period 2011–2019. Despite both species being protected by law, this study reveals the prevalence of extensive poaching, illegal domestic trade and international trafficking of both species. A total of 41 seizure records were obtained from 2011 to 2019, which was estimated to amount to approximately 83 animals, which likely represents only a fraction of the total number of cases and therefore the risk may be substantially greater. Approximately half of the cases resulted in successful prosecution and of these, the highest sentence given was 2 years in jail and a fine of IDR50mil (~USD3300). The majority of the penalties handed down for these crimes were far below the maximum potential penalties and are unlikely to be effective deterrents. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Mon, 22 Feb 2021 09:33:49 +020
  • Predicting the effects of climate change on future freshwater fish
           diversity at global scale

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 43: 1-24
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.43.58997
      Authors : Ana Manjarrés-Hernández, Cástor Guisande, Emilio García-Roselló, Juergen Heine, Patricia Pelayo-Villamil, Elisa Pérez-Costas, Luis González-Vilas, Jacinto González-Dacosta, Santiago R. Duque, Carlos Granado-Lorencio, Jorge M. Lobo : The aim of the present study was to predict future changes in biodiversity attributes (richness, rarity, heterogeneity, evenness, functional diversity and taxonomic diversity) of freshwater fish species in river basins around the world, under different climate scenarios. To do this, we use a new methodological approach implemented within the ModestR software (NOO3D) which allows estimating simple species distribution predictions for future climatic scenarios. Data from 16,825 freshwater fish species were used, representing a total of 1,464,232 occurrence records. WorldClim 1.4 variables representing average climate variables for the 1960–1990 period, together with elevation measurements, were used as predictors in these distribution models, as well as in the selection of the most important variables that account for species distribution changes in two scenarios (Representative Concentration Pathways 4.5 and 6.0). The predictions produced suggest the extinction of almost half of current freshwater fish species in the coming decades, with a pronounced decline in tropical regions and a greater extinction likelihood for species with smaller body size and/or limited geographical ranges. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 22 Jan 2021 10:50:18 +020
  • Suitability of contract-based nature conservation in privately-owned
           forests in Germany

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 42: 89-112
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.42.58173
      Authors : Laura Demant, Erwin Bergmeier, Helge Walentowski, Peter Meyer : The successful implementation of contract-based nature conservation in privately-owned forests requires a framework of reasonable operational measures. Our study aimed at developing such a framework by; 1) defining forest conservation objects including structures, processes, and habitat types, 2) assessing their conservation value based on the need for, and worthiness of, protection, 3) reviewing the suitability of contract-based measures for conservation. Overall, we defined 67 conservation objects, with 8 of them used as case studies: deadwood, habitat trees, natural succession after large-scale disturbance, coppice-with-standards, bog and fen woodlands, dry sand pine forests, and beech forests. We considered contract-based conservation suitable if, within the contract period, outcomes of measures resulted in ecological upgrading or avoidance of value loss. We identified contract-based conservation suitable for 42 combinations of objects and measures. Our approach of assessing the potential of contract-based measures for forest conservation is novel with regards to its broad range of objects, defined criteria, and various contract periods. It can help to progress conservation and improve outcomes of measures, especially in privately-owned forests in Germany. Further prerequisites are sufficient financial resources, effective administration, consultancy and the mid- to long-term stability of funding programmes. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Thu, 17 Dec 2020 13:41:12 +020
  • Number and distribution of large old ginkgos in east China: Implications
           for regional conservation

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 42: 71-87
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.42.59284
      Authors : Jie Liu, Ruo-Yan Jiang, Guang-Fu Zhang : Large old ginkgos (LOGs), having important ecological, cultural and historical values, are widely distributed in China. However, little is known regarding their quantity and tree-habitat quality in the mesoscale distribution. Here, the quantity, spatial distribution and conservation status of Ginkgo biloba L. older than 100 years in Jiangsu Province, east China were examined using ArcGIS software and detrended correspondence analysis (DCA). Based on our collated data, Jiangsu Province included 2,123 LOG individuals and 237 LOG groves and both mostly occurred in southern and central Jiangsu. Most LOGs grew well and were distributed in villages, temples and government institutions. Ginkgos’ growth status was largely associated with tree-habitat types. LOGs performed worse in commercial areas, roadsides and residential districts than in other tree-habitat types. To protect these ginkgos, dynamic monitoring and strengthening of scientific management are required, especially for tree-habitats in the process of urban planning and construction. It is also necessary to improve the relationship between religious culture and conservation measures. This is the first study examining LOGs in Jiangsu Province using a unified standard and our findings provide a baseline for future studies and insights into the regional conservation of LOGs. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Tue, 1 Dec 2020 14:11:15 +0200
  • Illegal capture and internal trade of wild Asian elephants (Elephas
           maximus) in Sri Lanka

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 42: 51-69
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.42.57283
      Authors : T. G. Supun Lahiru Prakash, W. A. A. D. Upul Indrajith, A. M. C. P. Aththanayaka, Suranjan Karunarathna, Madhava Botejue, Vincent Nijman, Sujan Henkanaththegedara : The illegal wildlife trade is considered one of the major threats to global biodiversity. Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) have been highly valued by various cultures for use in religious and spiritual contexts, as a draft animal, and more recently, as a tourist attraction. Thus, the demand for captive elephants is high. Wild Asian elephants are taken from the wild, often illegally, to maintain these captive populations due to the unviability of captive breeding programs. For the first time, we documented the extent to which wild elephants are being illegally captured and traded in Sri Lanka between January 2008 and December 2018. We collected data from case records maintained by the Sri Lanka court system where the suspects of illegal elephant trade were prosecuted in addition to information gathered by archives and interviews with various stakeholders. We documented 55 cases where elephants were illegally traded. This is probably an underestimate due to the mortality rate of elephants during capture operations, and challenges in collecting data on this highly organized illicit trade. Nearly equal numbers of male and female elephants were traded and more than 50% of them were juveniles, aged ≤5 years. Significantly more elephants were found to be seized in 2014–2015 than in the other time periods combined. We found evidence of the illegal capture of wild elephants from wildlife protected areas and state forests. More importantly, we identified evidence of corruption of wildlife officers, involvement of politicians and other high-ranking personnel in the illegal wildlife trade, and lack of active enforcement of wildlife law as major challenges to overcome if the illegal capture and domestic trade of wild elephants in Sri Lanka are to be halted. Based on our study, we make a series of recommendations that should result in implementing policy to reduce the trafficking of Asian elephants in Sri Lanka and improve the conservation management of the species. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Tue, 3 Nov 2020 09:24:55 +0200
  • Does public information about wolf (Canis lupus) movements decrease wolf
           attacks on hunting dogs (C. familiaris)'

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 42: 33-49
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.42.48314
      Authors : Mari Tikkunen, Ilpo Kojola : The threat that wolves (Canis lupus) pose to hunting dogs is one reason why Finnish hunters have negative attitudes towards wolves and one of the potential motivations for the illegal killing of wolves. During 2010–2017, wolves killed an average of 38 dogs (range 24–50) per year in Finland. Most of the attacks (91%) were directed at hunting dogs during the hunting season. To decrease the risk of attacks, the last seven positions (one position per hour) of GPS-collared wolves were accessible to the public with a 5 × 5 km resolution during the hunting seasons (from August 20th to February 28th) of 2013/2014 (from September 2nd onwards), 2015/2016, 2016/2017 and 2017/2018. The link was visited more than 1 million times in 3 of the 4 seasons. Fatal attacks on dogs occurred on 17% of the days during the hunting seasons of our study (n = 760 days). Both the attacks and visits peaked in September–November, which is the primary hunting season in Finland. According to the general linear model, the number of daily visits to the website was higher on days when fatal attacks occurred than on other days. Additionally, season and the number of days passed from the first day of the season were significantly related to the daily visits. Visits were temporally auto-correlated, and the parameter values in the model where the dependent variable was the number of visits on the next day were only slightly different from those in the first model. A two-way interaction between season and attack existed, and the least squares means were significantly different in 2017/2018. The change in daily visits between consecutive days was related only to the number of days from the beginning of the season. We examined whether this kind of service decreased dog attacks by wolves. Wolf attacks were recorded in 32% of the wolf territories, where at least one wolf had been collared (n = 22). However, within the territories without any GPS-collared wolves, the proportion of territories with wolf attack(s) was significantly higher than those elsewhere (50%, n = 48). Although public information decreased the risk of attacks, it did not completely protect dogs from wolf attacks and may in some cases increase the risk of illegally killing wolves. The most remarkable benefit of this kind of service to the conservation of the wolf population might be the message to the public that management is not overlooking hunters’ concerns about wolf attacks on their dogs. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 23 Oct 2020 10:56:47 +030
  • Mapping Rocky Mountain ridged mussel beds with preliminary identification
           of overlapping Eurasian watermilfoil within the Canadian range

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 42: 19-31
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.42.51081
      Authors : Joy Wade, Craig Stephen, Colin Robertson : The Rocky Mountain ridged mussel (Gonidea angulata) is a bivalve species whose Canadian range is limited to the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. In 2019, conflicts between habitat protection for the mussel and potential habitat alteration to control the invasive Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) (milfoil), led to a decision to maintain the status of the mussels as Special Concern under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA) rather than classify it as Endangered. Milfoil control can cause direct mortality and/or burial of the mussels, but there had been no systematic study of the impacts of milfoil control on mussel beds. The purpose of this study was to address knowledge gaps by delineating known mussel beds and potential overlap with milfoil to provide information for management decisions that balance the needs of native species protection and invasive species control. Rocky Mountain ridged mussels in three reference locations were enumerated using snorkel surveys. The presence and distribution of milfoil was documented in relation to five sites within these three locations. Milfoil was encroaching on one site, causing some changes to the substrate. At other sites, the differences in the depth and distribution of the mussel and the milfoil could allow milfoil control without damaging the mussel beds. It is recommended that, before milfoil removal near known mussel beds be undertaken, a detailed site evaluation be conducted to determine potential impacts. This study suggests presumed impediments to co-managing the mussels and controlling an invasive species should not preclude classifying the mussels as Endangered and affording protections under SARA. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Wed, 23 Sep 2020 09:19:02 +030
  • Floristic composition and plant diversity in distribution areas of native
           species congeneric with Betula halophila in Xinjiang, northwest China

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 42: 1-17
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.42.54735
      Authors : Jihong Huang, Zhongjun Guo, Suying Tang, Wei Ren, Guangming Chu, Liping Wang, Ling Zhao, Ruoyun Yu, Yue Xu, Yi Ding, Runguo Zang : Betula halophila, a wild plant with extremely small populations, is endemic to Xinjiang, northwest China. Its wild populations have declined severely in the field. Understanding the patterns of floristic composition where congeneric species of B. halophila are distributed and their determinants is a necessary step to restore the wild populations. Based on literature records, specimen information, shared public data and field survey data, the patterns of floristic composition, diversity and environmental conditions of seed flora within the distribution areas of five native species (i.e. B. tianschanica, B. microphylla, B. pendula, B. rotundifolia and B. humilis), congeneric with B. halophila, were examined. The results are as follows. (1) There were 3013 species, 693 genera and 108 families of seed plants in the distribution area of these congeneric species of B. halophila, which accounted for 86.16%, 94.54% and 93.91% of the total seed plants in Xinjiang, respectively. (2) The family composition of seed flora in the distribution area of these congeneric species of B. halophila was mainly cosmopolitan; the genus composition of seed flora was dominated by temperate, mainly of northern temperate and Mediterranean components. (3) There are no significant differences existing in plant richness amongst the areas where each of the five congeneric species (B. tianschanica, B. microphylla, B. pendula, B. rotundifolia and B. humilis) are distributed. (4) The influence of climate factors on species richness is significant across the whole distribution areas of the Betula genus, while the main environmental factors determining species richness are different amongst distribution areas of different species. Climate factors impacted significantly on species richness in distribution areas of tree species, but not in distribution areas of shrub species. This study provides a preliminary guideline for the conservation of B. halophila, a wild plant with extremely small populations in the field. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 18 Sep 2020 13:36:35 +030
  • Threats from wildlife trade: The importance of genetic data in
           safeguarding the endangered Four-eyed Turtle (Sacalia quadriocellata)

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 41: 91-111
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.41.54661
      Authors : Minh Duc Le, Timothy E.M. McCormack, Ha Van Hoang, Ha Thuy Duong, Truong Quang Nguyen, Thomas Ziegler, Hanh Duc Nguyen, Hanh Thi Ngo : Wildlife trade has been considered one of the largest threats to biodiversity in Southeast Asia. Many vertebrates, such as pangolins, elephants and turtles have been heavily hunted as a result of high demand from emerging markets in China and other countries in the region. In Vietnam, over-exploitation of turtles over several decades to supply the international trade has extirpated numerous populations and driven several species to the brink of extinction. To reverse this trend, conservation measures, such as re-introduction of confiscated or captive-bred animals to their native habitats, should be implemented to recover severely declined local populations. For species with a complex phylogeographic structure, however, it is crucial to understand geographic patterns of genetically-distinct populations to avoid releasing animals of unknown origin to wrong localities. In this study, we investigate the phylogeographic pattern of the Four-eyed Turtle (Sacalia quadriocellata), a widely traded species, which occurs in southern China, northern and central Laos and much of Vietnam, using samples with known localities and those collected from the local trade. Our range-wide phylogenetic and network study, based on the complete mitochondrial cytochrome b gene, recovered at least three major clades and seven subclades within the species range. Amongst these, two subclades, one from northern Annamites, Vietnam and the other from north-eastern Laos, are newly discovered. The fine scale phylogeographic analysis helped us to assign misidentified sequences from GenBank and those from confiscated animals with unknown origin to well-defined geographic populations. The results highlight the importance of incorporating samples collected from the local trade and the wild in genetic analyses to support both ex-situ and in-situ conservation programmes of highly-threatened species in accordance with the IUCN’s One Plan Approach. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Thu, 10 Sep 2020 10:55:16 +030
  • Differential responses of prairie rodents to edge effects from
           recreational trails

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 41: 113-140
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.41.52100
      Authors : Cameron M. Shorb, Laur A. Freymiller, Daniel L. Hernandez : Edge effects are a common phenomenon in which an ecological variable changes with respect to distance from a habitat edge. Recreational trails may constitute a habitat edge for prairie rodents because of high human presence, high predator presence, or limited shelter compared to the prairie core. Despite the prevalence of trails in conservation parcels, their effect on wildlife distribution remains largely unstudied. We examined the impacts of recreational trails on small mammal activity in the restored prairies of the Cowling Arboretum at Carleton College. The prairies were restored from 1995 to 2008 and now comprise a contiguous prairie block of approximately 155 ha. Over 2 consecutive summers, we used infrared motion-sensing cameras to record the relative amount of time rodents spend at baited stations placed at different distances from the trail. The results varied between taxa: voles (Microtus spp.) avoided trail edges whereas mouse (Cricetidae and Dipodidae) and thirteen-lined ground squirrel (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) activity was unaffected by trail proximity. Trails may therefore have species-specific effects on small mammals, with potential consequences for the connectivity and distribution of populations. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Thu, 10 Sep 2020 10:04:54 +030
  • Dataset of occurrences and ecological traits of amphibians from Upper
           Paraguay River Basin, central South America

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 41: 71-89
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.41.54265
      Authors : Matheus Oliveira Neves, Hugo Cabral, Mariana Pedrozo, Vanda Lucia Ferreira, Mário Ribeiro Moura, Diego José Santana : There are many gaps in our biodiversity knowledge, especially in highly diverse regions such as the Neotropics. Basic information on species occurrence and traits are scattered throughout different literature sources, which makes it difficult to access data and ultimately delays advances in ecology, evolution, and conservation biology. We provide species occurrence and trait data for amphibian species in the Upper Paraguay River Basin, central South America. The compiled information is made available through two different datasets that hold (i) 17K species occurrence records and (ii) 30 species-level traits for 113 amphibian species. The first dataset includes the species occurrence records and informs specimen id, collection of housing, locality, geographical coordinates, geographic accuracy, collection date, and collector name. The second dataset covers species-level attributes on morphometry, diet, activity, habitat, and breeding strategy. These datasets improve accessibility to spatial and trait data for amphibian species in the Pantanal ecoregion, one of the largest wetlands on Earth. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Wed, 2 Sep 2020 08:47:11 +0300
  • Distribution modelling of the Pudu deer (Pudu puda) in southern Chile

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 41: 47-69
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.41.53748
      Authors : Nelson Colihueque, Aldo Arriagada, Andrea Fuentes : The Pudu deer (Pudu puda) is endemic to the temperate rainforest of Chile and Argentina and currently faces serious conservation problems related to habitat loss. However, studies undertaken on this species are not sufficient to identify suitable areas for conservation purposes across its distribution range. In order to estimate the current and future distribution of the Pudu deer in southern Chile, we modelled the potential distribution of this species, based on occurrence points taken from seven contiguous provinces of this area using the Maxent modelling method. The Pudu deer distribution covered an estimated area of 17,912 km2 (24.1% of the area analysed), using a probability of occurrence above 0.529, according to the threshold that maximises the sum of sensitivity and specificity. In contrast to the Andes mountain range, areas with higher probabilities of occurrence were distributed mainly on the eastern and western slopes of the Coastal Mountain Range, where extensive coverage of native forest persists, as occurs in the provinces of Ranco, Osorno and Llanquihue. Projections to 2070, with global warming scenarios of 2.6 and 8.5 rcp, revealed that large areas will conserve their habitability, especially in the Coastal mountain range. Our results reveal that the Coastal mountain range has a high current and future habitability condition for the Pudu deer, a fact which may have conservation implications for this species. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 28 Aug 2020 10:58:30 +030
  • The extent of the illegal trade with terrestrial vertebrates in markets
           and households in Khammouane Province, Lao PDR

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 41: 25-45
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.41.51888
      Authors : Katharina Kasper, Jonas Schweikhard, Max Lehmann, Cara Leonie Ebert, Petra Erbe, Sengdeuane Wayakone, Truong Q. Nguyen, M. D. Le, Thomas Ziegler : Wildlife is one of the most important food resources in rural areas and popular among all social layers of Lao PDR. Numerous vertebrate species are sold at the local markets, but a comprehensive understanding of people’s involvement and their impact on survival of local populations remains insufficient. This study provides the first interdisciplinary assessment using a questionnaire-based survey approach to investigate both markets and households in Khammouane Province in central Lao PDR. Data were recorded during the dry season (October and November 2017), as well as the rainy season (June and July 2018). We documented 66 traded species, mainly intended for consumption purposes, with more than half of them protected under either national law or international convention/red list. Furthermore, an evaluation of wildlife use from urban to the most accessible rural areas, indicated differences in affordability and trapping behavior. Our results suggest that wildlife availabilities can less and less satisfy the unchanged demands. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Tue, 18 Aug 2020 10:51:33 +030
  • Snakes and ladders: A review of ball python production in West Africa for
           the global pet market

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 41: 1-24
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.41.51270
      Authors : Lauren A. Harrington, Jennah Green, Patrick Muinde, David W. Macdonald, Mark Auliya, Neil D'Cruze : The ball python (Python regius) is the most traded, CITES listed, live animal exported from Africa. Recent studies have raised concerns as to whether production methods in Africa are sustainable, humane and compliant with legislation. To aid future management we explored export patterns, using the CITES and U.S. LEMIS database, for live ball pythons from across their range in West Africa to identify the main exporters and the main markets supplied, and to assess associated trends, and compliance with nationally-established export quotas. We found that export to supply the global pet trade remains almost exclusively carried out by three range countries – Benin, Ghana, and Togo. The USA was the largest importer from all three countries, although Ghana appeared to be less dependent on the USA market than either Togo or Benin, exporting to a more diverse range of countries, particularly in Asia. Between 2003 and 2017 there was a decline in annual importer-reported exports from Benin and from Ghana, but not from Togo. Ghana appears to operate as a regional trade hub, re-exporting ball pythons imported from Benin and Togo, and exports more ball pythons reported as captive-bred. Trade records from all three countries exhibited a switch from predominantly wild-sourced to predominantly ranched individuals. However, at a range-wide level, differences in the use of source codes among exporting range states, and inconsistencies in reporting of trade among range states, as well as inconsistencies in the use of source codes between exporting and importing countries, represent areas of potential concern. We recommend a regional-level policy approach for this highly sought-after species, to safeguard ball pythons and local livelihoods. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Tue, 28 Jul 2020 13:57:13 +030
  • Evaluation and sensitivity analysis of the ecosystem service functions of
           haze absorption by green space based on its quality in China

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 40: 93-141
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.40.23017
      Authors : Ping Zhang, Ning Wang, Lianwei Yang, Xin Zhang, Qi Liu : Evaluation of the ecosystem service functions of haze absorption by green space is important for controlling haze. In this study, the ecosystem service functions of haze absorption by green space in China in 2001, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2018 are analyzed based on green space quality and sensitivity using a geographic information system (GIS) and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) imagery. The results showed that the benchmark ecosystem service functions of haze absorption by green space when considering only the area of green space showed a trend that increases first and then decreases in 2001–2018, with 9000458.55 million Kg, 9145110.75 million Kg and 7734526.75 million Kg in 2001, 2013 and 2018, respectively. However, the corrected functions based on green space quality were 7724215.34 million Kg, 8320301.79 million Kg and 6510132.55 million Kg in the corresponding years. This indicated large differences between ecosystem service functions of haze absorption based on the quality and area of green space; only considering the area of green space to evaluate ecosystem service functions will result in overestimation. In terms of the spatial distribution of the ecosystem service functions of haze absorption by green space, there were greater differences in the benchmark and corrected functions, and the spatial distributions of the maximum, intermediate and minimum ecosystem service functions were notably different. However, the benchmark and corrected functions all showed a consistent trend in the rank of their contribution rates and ecosystem service functions as well as consistent distribution trends: the spatial distribution of ecosystem service functions of haze absorption by green space was very different in the same year, but there was little difference among different years. The change coefficients for the ecosystem service functions of haze absorption by arable land and grass land remained stable, whereas the coefficient of sensitivity for forest cover was elastic. Patch density (PD) and the ecosystem service functions of SO2 absorption, NOx absorption, dust retention and total ecosystem services showed a significant negative correlation, with correlation coefficients of -0.407, -0.511, -.330 and -0.332, respectively. In contrast, the area-weighted mean shape index (SAPE_AM) and ecosystem service functions exhibited significant positive relationships with correlation coefficients of 0.650, 0.634, 0.568 and 0.570, respectively. The results provide an improved method for evaluating the ecosystem service functions of haze absorption by green space as well as a reference for the prevention and control of haze and the coordinated development of regional societies, the economy and the environment. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Tue, 21 Jul 2020 14:22:20 +030
  • Betting the farm: A review of Ball Python and other reptile trade from
           Togo, West Africa

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 40: 65-91
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.40.48046
      Authors : Neil D'Cruze, Lauren A. Harrington, Délagnon Assou, Jennah Green, David W. Macdonald, Delphine Ronfot, Gabriel Hoinsoudé Segniagbeto, Mark Auliya : Our review of the CITES trade database confirmed that the ball python is the most exported species by Togo; with 1,657,814 live individuals – comprising 60% of all live reptiles – reported by importing countries since 1978 (almost 55,000 annually since 1992). In total, 99% of the ball pythons legally exported from Togo under CITES were intended for commercial use, presumably as exotic pets. Since the turn of the century, wild-sourced snakes exported from Togo have been largely replaced with ranched snakes, to the extent that in the last 10 years 95% of these live exports were recorded using CITES source code “R” with the majority destined for the USA. We found discrepancies in the CITES trade database that suggest ball python exports were consistently underestimated by Togo and that both ranched and wild-sourced ball python annual quotas have been exceeded on multiple occasions including as recently as 2017. Furthermore, our field visits to seven of these “python farms” revealed that they are also involved in the commercial trade in at least 46 other reptile species, including eight that are already involved in formal CITES trade reviews due to concerns regarding their sustainability and legality. Ranching operations in West Africa were once thought to provide a degree of protection for the ball python; however, in light of recent research, there is growing concern that ranching may not confer any significant net conservation benefits. Further scrutiny and research are required to ensure the long-term survival of wild ball python and other reptile species populations in Togo. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Wed, 1 Jul 2020 12:41:50 +0300
  • Revised criteria system for a national assessment of threatened habitats
           in Germany

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 40: 39-64
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.40.50656
      Authors : Stefanie Heinze, Peter Finck, Ulrike Raths, Uwe Riecken, Axel Ssymank : The Red List of threatened habitat types in Germany was first published in 1994 and it is updated approximately every ten years. In 2017 the third version was published by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation. In the course of the revision, the criteria system was also extended. In doing so, an attempt was made to find a compromise between the consideration of international developments that had taken place and existing national requirements. In particular, short-term developments should become visible through the German Red List status. In addition to ‘National long-term Threat’, the valuation now also includes ‘Current Trend’ and ‘Rarity’. Following the IUCN’s approach, the collapse risk is now represented on the basis of several criteria. However, in contrast to the IUCN procedure, where the worst evaluated criterion is determinative for Red List status, in our procedure all criteria are included in the evaluation. To counteract misleading signal-effects for management decisions, all significant criteria have an influence on the resulting German Red List status (RLG). They are combined in an assessment scheme. In order to map the overall risk of loss, both the long-term threat as a historical reference value and furthermore the current trend must have an influence on RLG. As a result, 65% of habitat types have differing risk of loss. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Wed, 1 Jul 2020 10:09:29 +0300
  • Polypores, Agrobacterium and ivy damage on Hungarian ancient trees

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 40: 1-38
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.40.51633
      Authors : Márton Takács, Ágnes Szénási, Ákos Malatinszky : Ancient trees are important habitats, confer vital ecological roles and function as cultural legacies. Old trees with large girth are keystone structures in various ecosystems. We aim to present which species amongst the greatest Hungarian trees (and some other phanerophyte plants) are damaged by polypores (the most important agents of wood decay), Agrobacterium tumefaciens (usually causing root tumour) or ivy (competing against the native vegetation and causing windthrow damage) and at what extent and frequency; and whether there is a relationship between these types of damage and the origin of the species (native or adventive) or its situation (solitary or surrounded by other trees). We measured 2,000 trees, belonging to 29 native and 43 non-native species. Polypore infection could be detected in 12.2% of the observed 531 settlements, 22.8% are damaged by Agrobacterium and 29.6% by ivy, while 51.2% by other types of pests and diseases. Altogether, one third of the observed 2000 ancient or veteran trees suffered from one or more types of damage. A total of 33.5% of the native species (519 specimens out of 1550) and 28.7% of the adventives (129 trees out of 450) are damaged by any (or more than one) of the mentioned infections or ivy. Mostly, damage occurred to those old trees that stand in a park or forest, while the single (solitary) trees were usually healthy. The most infected regions are the western and south-western counties, while the Northern Hungarian Mountain Range is much less affected, despite its great sample size. Low damage was detected in the Great Hungarian Plain, but the number of sample areas and veteran trees was also low here. The damage to old trees remains without any management or healing in Hungary, since the only effective solution would be prevention. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Thu, 18 Jun 2020 09:48:18 +030
  • Legacies of past land use challenge grassland recovery – An example from
           dry grasslands on ancient burial mounds

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 39: 113-132
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.39.52798
      Authors : Balázs Deák, Orsolya Valkó, Csaba Albert Tóth, Ágnes Botos, Tibor József Novák : Due to large-scale agricultural intensification, grasslands are often restricted to habitat islands in human-transformed landscapes. There are approximately half a million ancient burial mounds built by nomadic steppic tribes in the Eurasian steppe and forest steppe zones, which act as habitat islands for dry grassland vegetation. Land use intensification, such as arable farming and afforestation by non-native woody species are amongst the major threats for Eurasian dry grasslands, including grasslands on mounds. After the launch of the Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition framework of the European Union, in Hungary there is a tendency for ceasing crop production and cutting non-native woody plantations, in order to conserve these unique landmarks and restore the historical grassland vegetation on the mounds. In this study, restoration prospects of dry grassland habitats were studied on kurgans formerly covered by croplands and Robinia pseudoacacia plantations. Soil and vegetation characteristics were studied in thespontaneously recovering grasslands. The following questions were addressed: 1; How does site history affect the spontaneous grassland recovery' 2; Do residual soil nutrients play a role in grassland recovery' In former croplands, excess phosphorus, while in former Robinia plantations, excess nitrogen was present in the soil even four years after the land use change and grassland vegetation was in an early or mid-successional stage both on the mounds. The results showed that, without proper management measures, recovery of grassland vegetation is slow on mounds formerly used as cropland or black locust plantation. However, restoration efforts, focused on the restoration of mounds formerly covered by croplands, can be more effective compared to the restoration of mounds formerly covered by forest plantations. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Thu, 4 Jun 2020 12:10:37 +0300
  • Stimulating collective action to preserve High Nature Value farming in
           post-transitional settings. A comparative analysis of three Slovenian
           social-ecological systems

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 39: 87-111
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.39.51216
      Authors : Ilona Rac, Luka Juvančič, Emil Erjavec : The main research challenge of this paper is to gain a better understanding of collective action to preserve High Nature Value (HNV) farming in the specific setting of post-transitional EU Member States of Central and Eastern Europe, which we explore using Slovenia as a model country. We apply the Social-ecological Systems (SES) framework and combine participatory and action research in considering different options for stimulating collective action of local actors in three social-ecological systems in Slovenia. We describe the systems, focussing on first-tier variables, and provide a comparison of their characteristics influencing the readiness to engage in collective action. Characteristics of system actors had the greatest influence on outcomes, followed by the social, economic and political setting (macro issues) and governance arrangements. Strong leaders enjoying the community’s trust are needed; rules must be transparent and individuals must have a personal interest to engage in cooperation. In a post-transitional setting, overcoming the issue of lack of trust is a limiting factor when attempting to stimulate collective action. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 22 May 2020 09:42:40 +030
  • A preliminary assessment of bacteria in “ranched” ball pythons (Python
           regius), Togo, West Africa

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 39: 73-86
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.39.48599
      Authors : Neil D'Cruze, Jodie Bates, Délagnon Assou, Delphine Ronfot, Emma Coulthard, Gabriel Hoinsoudé Segniagbeto, Mark Auliya, David Megson, Jennifer Rowntree : Captive reptiles are routinely identified as reservoirs of pathogenic bacteria and reports of reptile-associated infections relating to some species are well documented (e.g., salmonellosis). Currently, relatively little is known about the epidemiology and bacteria of ball pythons. We carried out a survey of ball python farms in Togo, West Africa to assess the presence of any potentially pathogenic bacterial taxa that have been identified in recent scientific literature relating to this species. The presence of bacteria belonging to the genera Acinetobacter, Bacteroides, Citrobacter, Enterobacter, Lysobacter, Proteus, Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus, and Tsukamurella in oral and cloacal samples taken from five individual ball pythons is of potential concern for horizontal transmission given that pathogenic species belonging to these genera have been previously documented. The presence of bacteria belonging to the genera Clostridium, Escherichia, Moraxella, and Stenotrophomonas in the oral and rectal samples taken from five mice used to feed ball pythons suggests that they represent a potential reservoir of infection for wild caught ball pythons and their progeny. Furthermore, possible sources of environmental contamination include other captive amphibians, birds, reptiles and mammals, as well as free ranging birds and small mammals. Additional surveillance of ball pythons in the wild and in captivity at python farms in West Africa will shed light on whether or not this type of commercial activity is increasing pathogen exposure and lowering barriers to transmission. Meanwhile, as a precautionary measure, it is recommended that python farms should immediately establish biosecurity and disease surveillance practices to minimize potential horizontal and vertical bacterial transfer. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Wed, 13 May 2020 15:06:32 +030
  • Snake oil and pangolin scales: insights into wild animal use at “Marché
           des Fétiches” traditional medicine market, Togo

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 39: 45-71
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.39.47879
      Authors : Neil D'Cruze, Délagnon Assou, Emma Coulthard, John Norrey, David Megson, David W. Macdonald, Lauren A. Harrington, Delphine Ronfot, Gabriel H. Segniagbeto, Mark Auliya : Traditional medicine beliefs are culturally important in some West African communities, where there is a thriving domestic consumer demand for wild animal derivatives. Yet, such practices can threaten the conservation of wild populations and negatively impact animal welfare. To identify those species most likely to be affected, we investigated wildlife derivative trade at the largest fetish market of West Africa in Togo. Specifically, we asked what wild animals or animal products were most profitable, which wild animals were perceived by vendors to have increased most in rarity and what they were used for. A key question was whether vendors also sold plant-based alternatives. Vendors provided 36 local animal names, from which we inferred an estimated 281 species. Thirteen percent of these inferred species are categorised on the IUCN Red List as threatened (n = 35); 26% are declining (n = 72). The most commonly cited most profitable wildlife derivatives were “Pangolin” and “Python”; the most commonly cited most profitable live wild animal was “Chameleon”. Overall, wildlife use was predominantly spiritual rather than medicinal. Plant-based alternatives were available, but comprised < 40% of sales and appeared to be considered less important or less useful than wild animal products. The legal status of this domestic trade in Togo is unclear given the existence of potentially conflicting national legislation. In addition to further research focused on the actual impacts on populations and individuals of the species indicated, socio-economic importance of this trade, societal pressures driving consumer demand and an assessment of the feasibility of sustainable plant-based alternatives is warranted. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Mon, 11 May 2020 09:49:47 +030
  • Transformative learning and grassroots climate adaptation: case studies in
           Vietnam’s Mekong delta

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 39: 19-43
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.39.29551
      Authors : Nguyen Minh Quang, Joop de Wit : This paper aims to understand how T-learning helps communities achieve better sustainability outcomes. On the basis of an intensive literature review and field research conducted in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam, the paper proposes a substantial linkage between T-learning and sustainability. It first outlines the environmental changes in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, which appear to serve as “disorienting dilemmas” that force local people to learn and gradually shift their farming practices to align with a climate-resilient development. The paper relies on the outcomes of household surveys, field observations and focus group discussions to explore the impacts of T-learning on building adaptive capacity and sustainability transition in two community-based projects in Can Tho City and Ca Mau province in the Mekong Delta. Our findings reveal that T-learning enables experts and practitioners to introduce new ideas and accordingly mobilize local people to make changes without inciting doubt, dismay or concern. In an ideal T-learning approach, small-scale farmers learn from being under the supervision of experts in “field-based schools” that offer real-life experience and encourage learners to shift their livelihoods to eco-friendly agricultural practices. The paper sheds new light on how a critical approach to education for sustainable development through T-learning can be, under specific conditions, one strategy. It concludes that T-learning should be acknowledged as a potentially important part of the broader approach to climate-resilient development in vulnerable grassroots communities. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Mon, 4 May 2020 15:26:22 +0300
  • Use of underpasses by animals on a fenced expressway in a suburban area in
           western Poland

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 39: 1-18
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.39.33967
      Authors : Agnieszka Ważna, Agnieszka Kaźmierczak, Jan Cichocki, Jacek Bojarski, Grzegorz Gabryś : Expressways act as barriers to animals that block free movement in their habitats, especially when the roads are continuously fenced to prevent collisions between animals and vehicles. Various types of animal passages have been repeatedly studied in terms of their utility, albeit rather less frequently in the suburban environment. We conducted our research in a section of the fenced expressway S3 connecting two closely located cities in western Poland (Lubuskie province). Over the course of one year, we monitored four underpasses intended for small- and medium-sized animals using tracks. The underpasses were inspected weekly. Animal traces most frequently found belonged to roe deer Capreolus capreolus (20.9%), red fox Vulpes vulpes (15.1%), wild boar Sus scrofa (14%), and domestic dog Canis l. familiaris (12.4%). Surprisingly, the results of our study indicate that underpasses for small and medium mammals are also used by ungulate mammals. The use of the underpasses varied seasonally, being the highest in spring (37.9%) and the lowest in winter (10.4%). Moreover, seasonal differences in the use of passages were related to particular species/groups of animal species. We found that 22% of animals that entered the passage did not completely traverse it. People accounted for 17.1% of all stated traces in the underpasses. Stagnant water in the underpasses reduced the number of predatory mammals and wild boars using the underpasses but did not affect the activity of roe deer. These studies indicate that animal underpasses located in suburban areas are used by many species of animals despite the activity of humans and domesticated mammals. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 24 Apr 2020 09:54:37 +030
  • Rocky pine forests in the High Coast Region in Sweden: structure, dynamics
           and history

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 38: 101-130
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.38.34870
      Authors : Jennie Sandström, Mattias Edman, Bengt Gunnar Jonsson : Almost all forests in Sweden are managed and only a small fraction are considered natural. One exception is low productive forests where, due to their limited economical value, natural dynamics still dominate. One example is the Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) forests occurring on rocky and nutrient-poor hilltops. Although these forests represent a regionally common forest type with a high degree of naturalness, their dynamics, structure and history are poorly known. We investigated the structure, human impact and fire history in eight rocky pine forests in the High Coast Area in eastern Sweden, initially identified as good representatives of this forest type. This was done by sampling and measuring tree sizes, -ages, fire-scarred trees, as well as dead wood volumes and quality along three transects at each site. The structure was diverse with a sparse layer of trees (basal area 9 m2 and 640 trees larger than 10 cm ha-1) in various sizes and ages; 13 trees ha-1 were more than 300 years old. Dead wood (DW), snags and logs in all stages of decay, was present and although the actual DW (pine) volume (4.4 m3 ha-1) and number of units (53 ha-1) was low, the DW share of total wood volume was 18% on average. Dead wood can be present for several centuries after death; we found examples of both snags and logs that had been dead more than 300 years. Frequent fires have occurred, with an average cycle of 40 years between fires. Most fires occurred between 1500-1900 and many of them (13) during the 1600s. However, fires were probably small since most fire years were only represented at one site and often only in one or a few samples. The rocky pine forests in the High Coast Area are representative of undisturbed forests with low human impact, exhibiting old-growth characteristics and are valuable habitats for organisms connected to sun-exposed DW. Management of protected rocky pine forests may well include small-scale restoration fires and the limited DW volumes should be protected. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 27 Mar 2020 11:55:22 +020
  • Environmental stress in Parnassius apollo reflected through wing geometric
           morphometrics in a historical collection with a possible connection to
           habitat degradation

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 38: 79-99
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.38.48682
      Authors : Martin Štefánik, Peter Fedor : Monitoring climate changes and habitat degradation in threatened species without negative impact to the populations can pose a considerable challenge. A rare chance to test the morphological response of wing shape and size to environmental factors on the mountain Apollo (Parnassius apollo) collected from 1938 to 1968 at a single location – Strečno mountain pass, N Slovakia presented itself in a historical collection. The canonical variate analysis showed a significant shift from a narrower to broader forewing, with more extremes in either extra broad or narrow forewings in the post- 1960 population. Analysis of existing data was conducted to determine the possible factors affecting this change. Generally, the comparative statistics of temperature and precipitation to morphology of individuals and their fluctuating asymmetry showed no, or weak, correlations. Two extreme weather events (ECEs), identified using the historical weather data, show no correlation of wing morphology to these events. Although no strong correlations can be drawn in case of the available weather data and morphology, the results of this study can be connected to strong anthropogenic effects of a large-scale road development project taking place in the vicinity of the collection site starting in November 1959 causing changes in the available habitat and therefore a shift in the wing morphology. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Wed, 18 Mar 2020 11:06:30 +020
  • Do both habitat and species diversity provide cultural ecosystem
           services' A trial using geo-tagged photos

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 38: 61-77
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.38.36166
      Authors : Takeshi Osawa, Yusuke Ueno, Takaaki Nishida, Jun Nishihiro : Conservation for both biodiversity and ecosystem services are an important issue worldwide. However, knowledge of their relationship remains limited. As habitat structure is strongly related to regional biodiversity, we studied cultural ecosystem services by using habitat structure as a proxy for biodiversity. Specifically, we used human preference, assessed by using photos with location information (i.e. geo-tagged digital pictures) as an index of a cultural ecosystem service. We conducted nature walks in semi-natural environments for cognitively-impaired students from a local special school and studied the photos they took during the walks. We analysed the habitat preferences inferred from the photo locations and the composition of the photos—whether they were close-up, scenic or landscape views. The results showed that levels of human preference and biodiversity, indicated by habitat structure, had a positive relationship. During spring to autumn, when levels of biological activity are higher, people tended to show more preference in close-up views (i.e. the subject of the photo was the species itself). In winter, they tended to be interested in scenic views that were not strongly influenced by species diversity. Additionally, photos taken in areas with threatened species almost always included close-up views, although not of the threatened species themselves. Areas with high species diversity therefore appeared to be more appealing to the participants. These results suggest that habitat diversity could not only contribute to biodiversity, but also provide cultural ecosystem services. Habitat conservation for semi-natural environments could be synergised for both biodiversity conservation and general human well-being. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Wed, 18 Mar 2020 10:44:31 +020
  • Social media photo content for Sierra Nevada: a dataset to support the
           assessment of cultural ecosystem services in protected areas

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 38: 1-12
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.38.38325
      Authors : Andrea Ros-Candeira, Ricardo Moreno-Llorca, Domingo Alcaraz-Segura, Francisco Javier Bonet-García, Ana Sofia Vaz : This dataset provides crowd-sourced and georeferenced information useful for the assessment of cultural ecosystem services in the Sierra Nevada Biosphere Reserve (southern Spain). Data were collected within the European project ECOPOTENTIAL focused on Earth observations of ecosystem services. The dataset comprises 778 records expressing the results of the content analysis of social media photos published in Flickr. Our dataset is illustrated in this data paper with density maps for different types of information. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 13 Mar 2020 14:09:57 +020
  • The first genetic assessment of wild and farmed ball pythons (Reptilia,
           Serpentes, Pythonidae) in southern Togo

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 38: 37-59
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.38.49478
      Authors : Mark Auliya, Sylvia Hofmann, Gabriel H. Segniagbeto, Délagnon Assou, Delphine Ronfot, Jonas J. Astrin, Sophia Forat, Guillaume Koffivi K. Ketoh, Neil D’Cruze : The ball python (Python regius) is the world’s most commonly traded python species for the “exotic” pet industry. The majority of these live snakes are produced via a number of python farms in West Africa that have been in operation since the 1960s and involved with “ranching” operations since the 1990s. However, to date no thorough taxonomic review or genetic studies have been conducted within its range, despite the fact that the evaluation of a species’ genetic variability is generally considered mandatory for effective management. We used mtDNA sequence data and eight polymorphic microsatellite markers to assess the underlying population genetic structure and to test the potential of the nuclear markers to assign farm individuals to wild reference populations in southern Togo. Despite the relatively large distances between sample locations, no significant genetic population structure was found, either in mtDNA sequence data or in the microsatellite data. Instead, our data indicate considerable gene flow among the locations. The absence of a distinct population subdivision may have resulted from an anthropogenic driven admixture of populations associated with commercial wildlife trade activity in recent decades. Given the ongoing largely unregulated nature of the commercial ranching of ball pythons in West Africa, should a wild release component continue, as a first measure we recommend that the Management Authorities should develop an action plan with specific release protocols for python farms to minimise any potential negative conservation impacts resulting from admixture (genetic pollution) between farmed and wild individuals. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 13 Mar 2020 11:38:53 +020
  • Searching for snakes: ball python hunting in southern Togo, West Africa

    • Abstract: Nature Conservation 38: 13-36
      DOI : 10.3897/natureconservation.38.47864
      Authors : Neil D’Cruze, Lauren A. Harrington, Délagnon Assou, Delphine Ronfot, David W. Macdonald, Gabriel H. Segniagbeto, Mark Auliya : The ball python (Python regius) is the single most exported live CITES-listed species from Africa, with a large proportion of snakes being sourced from Togo, West Africa, officially via a system reported nationally as “ranching”. This study represents the first in-depth review of ball python hunting being carried out by rural communities in Togo for nearly 15 years. Our approach, focused at the bottom of the trade chain, permitted extensive detailed data to be collected from hunters, and provides a unique insight into the practices, drivers and impacts associated with this type of large-scale commercial wildlife trade activity. We show that ball python hunting remains an economically valuable endeavour for these rural hunters. However, it also highlights a number of potential legal, conservation and animal welfare issues associated with the current hunting practices being carried out in Togo (and neighbouring range States) to supply the snake farms and ultimately the international exotic pet trade. Our findings suggest that the methods applied on the ground do not accurately reflect those being reported to national authorities and international regulatory mechanisms such as CITES. This irregular, if not illegal, trade may also be unsustainable, as suggested by hunters reporting that there are fewer ball pythons in the wild than there were five years previously. We recommend that additional scientific investigation (focusing on the size and status of the wild population), better management, and enforcement of regulations, are required to ensure that ball python populations are managed in a sustainable, legal and traceable way. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 13 Mar 2020 10:26:50 +020
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