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Biodiversity and Conservation
Journal Prestige (SJR): 1.243
Citation Impact (citeScore): 3
Number of Followers: 191  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 0960-3115 - ISSN (Online) 1572-9710
Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2351 journals]
  • Ginseng plantations threaten China’s forests
    • Authors: Liang-Jun Hu; Zhenxing Zhang; Weina Wang; Lu Wang; Haijun Yang
      Pages: 2093 - 2095
      PubDate: 2018-07-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1530-1
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 8 (2018)
  • Similar effects of different mowing frequencies on the conservation value
           of semi-natural grasslands in Europe
    • Authors: Malin Tälle; Balázs Deák; Peter Poschlod; Orsolya Valkó; Lars Westerberg; Per Milberg
      Pages: 2451 - 2475
      Abstract: Both agricultural intensification and abandonment have led to the loss of European semi-natural grasslands. Nature conservation management measures like mowing are essential for preserving the biodiversity of remaining grasslands. However, there are no conclusive results from studies examining effects of different mowing frequencies across Europe. To fill this gap, we evaluated data from European studies comparing mowing frequencies to determine which are the most beneficial from a nature conservation viewpoint. We searched literature for short- and long-term studies comparing the effects of different mowing frequencies on outcome measures relevant for biodiversity conservation. We found 29 relevant studies where mowing once per year was compared to higher or lower mowing frequencies. The studies covered various grassland types and organisms. The effects were analysed using response ratios, where mowing once per year, i.e. the traditional mowing frequency in semi-natural grasslands, was compared to mowing every fifth, third or second year and mowing two, three or four times a year. Overall, we found similar effects of the different mowing frequencies on the biodiversity of flora and fauna. More frequent mowing generally had a more positive effect, but differences between frequencies were small. Effects were habitat-specific, differing between site and study conditions. For example, a higher mowing frequency was more beneficial in more productive grasslands. These results suggest that in most European semi-natural grasslands, mowing less frequently is a way of using the limited funds available for management more efficiently while still maintaining grassland conservation values, but e.g. site productivity must be considered when determining a suitable mowing frequency.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1562-6
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 10 (2018)
  • Survival histories of marsupial carnivores on Australian continental shelf
           islands highlight climate change and Europeans as likely extirpation
           factors: implications for island predator restoration
    • Authors: David E. Peacock; Bronwyn A. Fancourt; Matthew C. McDowell; Ian Abbott
      Pages: 2477 - 2494
      Abstract: Predators are critical components of ecosystems, but large marsupial carnivores have suffered major declines and extinctions in Australia. To inform predator restoration efforts on Kangaroo Island (South Australia) we examined the survival histories and potential extirpation factors of large marsupial carnivores that previously occurred on Kangaroo Island, King Island and Flinders Island, located off the southern coastline of the Australian mainland. Through a review of historical accounts and fossil evidence, we determined that the pattern of species persistence and extirpation on Kangaroo Island parallels that observed on King and Flinders Islands. Fossil data supports the terminal Pleistocene–early Holocene extinction of the thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus) from Kangaroo Island and the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) from both Kangaroo and Flinders Islands. Though eastern quoll (Dasyurus viverrinus) fossils have been found on both Kangaroo and Flinders Islands, and western quoll (D. geoffroii) on Kangaroo Island, contemporary evidence for their post-European persistence is unclear. In contrast, fossil, museum and anecdotal data supports the presence of the spotted-tailed quoll (D. maculatus) on all three islands and, contrary to established knowledge, its post-European persistence on Kangaroo Island. The loss of T. cynocephalus, S. harrisii, D. geoffroii and D. viverrinus from these islands appears to be commensurate with late to terminal Pleistocene–early Holocene climate change and associated changes in vegetation communities. In contrast, anthropogenic persecution of D. maculatus appears to be the principal cause of its post-European extirpation. We recommend D. maculatus as a suitable candidate marsupial carnivore for reintroduction to Kangaroo Island.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1546-6
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 10 (2018)
  • Empty forests: safeguarding a sinking flagship in a biodiversity hotspot
    • Authors: Ivon Cuadros-Casanova; Camilo Zamora; Werner Ulrich; Sebastian Seibold; Jan C. Habel
      Pages: 2495 - 2506
      Abstract: Anthropogenic activities caused a severe loss of pristine habitats alongside with fragmentation of remaining habitats and the deterioration of habitat quality. The Arabuko Sokoke forest represents the largest remnant of East African coastal forest. Despite conservation efforts to maintain biodiversity in this forest, populations of several species are declining, including flagship species like the endemic Sokoke Scops Owl Otus ireneae. In this study, we assessed the presence of O. ireneae based on playback technique to identify the occurrence of this species across the forest. We then analysed habitat parameters at sites occupied and non-occupied by the owl species. Our data show that O. ireneae occurs restricted to one single forest type, the Cynometra woodland. Results obtained from parametric one-way ANOVA and structural equation modelling reveal that large old Cynometra webberi trees and dead wood are key requirements for the occurrence of this owl species. However, large C. webberi trees are currently illegally logged by the forest adjacent human population to produce timber, carvings, poles. Charcoal and dead wood represents a major energy source for households. Otus ireneae, being the smallest owl of East Africa may serve as a charismatic flag ship species to promote conservation of this endangered coastal forest, and furthermore as umbrella to conserve other forest species with similar habitat requirements.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1548-4
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 10 (2018)
  • Red deer structure the ground-dwelling beetle community in boreal forest
    • Authors: Marte Synnøve Lilleeng; Knut Rydgren; Rune Halvorsen; Stein R. Moe; Stein Joar Hegland
      Pages: 2507 - 2525
      Abstract: Changes in large herbivore distribution and abundance can have effects that potentially cascade throughout the trophic structure of an ecosystem. Little is known about these indirect trophic effects of ungulate herbivory, so the aim of this study was to investigate the role of red deer (Cervus elaphus) in determining the distribution and diversity of ground-dwelling beetles. We collected > 9000 beetles belonging to 149 species in a Western Norway boreal forest by pitfall trapping inside and outside red-deer exclosures placed along a gradient in herbivory intensity. Our study showed that red deer herbivory had a significant effect on structuring ground beetle communities in this boreal ecosystem. Key findings were that: (1) out of 17 beetle species represented by more than 100 specimens, four species benefited from red deer herbivory and associated impacts, while two were detrimentally affected; 2) red deer herbivory did not affect beetle abundance or alpha diversity, but increased local variation in beetle community structure (higher beta diversity); and 3) red deer browsing is important for the composition of the ground-beetle fauna. Herbivory improved the explanation of variation in beetle species composition on the forest floor by 40%. Given that herbivory is an indirect but central predictor of ground-dwelling beetle communities, it should be included in future studies or monitoring programs of red listed or keystone ground-dwelling beetles.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1550-x
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 10 (2018)
  • Plant traits and population characteristics predict extinctions in a
           long-term survey of Mediterranean annual plants
    • Authors: Arne Saatkamp; Laurence Affre; Thierry Dutoit; Peter Poschlod
      Pages: 2527 - 2540
      Abstract: Global and local environmental changes lead to frequent plant extinctions many of which occur in man-made habitats such as agricultural fields. Plant traits and site conditions modify risks of extinction, but strength and sense of their effect are not known yet. Here, we present a long-term survey of population sizes for Mediterranean annual plants that we revisited 20 years after their first record to evaluate climate, population size, traits and habitat requirements as drivers of local extinctions. Small populations had an increased probability of extinction in our data-set. Our analyses revealed that seed production and survival of seeds in the soil seed bank decreased extinction rate, whereas plant size increased extinction probability. Mean annual temperature increased extinction rates of annual plants in cereal fields. We discuss these effects as a response to recent and ongoing habitat changes, and discuss how traits may be used to guide conservation practices in the face of local extinctions.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1551-9
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 10 (2018)
  • Increasing the conservation value of powerline corridors for wild bees
           through vegetation management: an experimental approach
    • Authors: K. N. Russell; G. J. Russell; K. L. Kaplan; S. Mian; S. Kornbluth
      Pages: 2541 - 2565
      Abstract: Mounting evidence suggests declines in the abundance and diversity of wild bees. Increasing habitat that provides forage and nesting sites could boost struggling populations, particularly in urban, suburban and agricultural landscapes. The millions of acres beneath aerial electric transmission lines, sometimes referred to as easements or rights-of-way, must be kept free of tall-growing vegetation and hence have the potential to provide suitable habitat for many native species. Prior work has demonstrated that bee communities in easements managed using alternatives to episodic mowing were more diverse than in nearby open areas, however true control sites within the easements were unavailable. In order to compare vegetation management protocols, we conducted a two-year study which enabled us to directly compare transmission line easements in three locations currently undergoing Integrated Vegetation Management—a dynamic form of management involving spot removal and herbicide treatment of unwanted species (treatment) with nearby sites undergoing standard management protocols of yearly or biyearly mowing (control). Results show that treatment sites had significantly higher abundance and species richness than controls. Seasonal differences were pronounced, with the spring fauna most affected by differences in vegetation management. In addition, the older treatment sites house more social bees, more parasitic species and a more even distribution of bees across nesting guilds. Finally, we established that treatment sites had distinct bee communities, further increasing their value as sources for native bee populations in the landscape. Overall, the data clearly show the value of implementing alternative active vegetation management in the land under powerlines to achieve an increase in the abundance and diversity of wild bees.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1552-8
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 10 (2018)
  • Global Island Monitoring Scheme (GIMS): a proposal for the long-term
           coordinated survey and monitoring of native island forest biota
    • Authors: Paulo A. V. Borges; Pedro Cardoso; Holger Kreft; Robert J. Whittaker; Simone Fattorini; Brent C. Emerson; Artur Gil; Rosemary G. Gillespie; Thomas J. Matthews; Ana M. C. Santos; Manuel J. Steinbauer; Christophe Thébaud; Claudine Ah-Peng; Isabel R. Amorim; Silvia Calvo Aranda; Ana Moura Arroz; José Manuel N. Azevedo; Mário Boieiro; Luís Borda-de-Água; José Carlos Carvalho; Rui B. Elias; José María Fernández-Palacios; Margarita Florencio; Juana M. González-Mancebo; Lawrence R. Heaney; Joaquín Hortal; Christoph Kueffer; Benoit Lequette; José Luis Martín-Esquivel; Heriberto López; Lucas Lamelas-López; José Marcelino; Rui Nunes; Pedro Oromí; Jairo Patiño; Antonio J. Pérez; Carla Rego; Sérvio P. Ribeiro; François Rigal; Pedro Rodrigues; Andrew J. Rominger; Margarida Santos-Reis; Hanno Schaefer; Cecília Sérgio; Artur R. M. Serrano; Manuela Sim-Sim; P. J. Stephenson; António O. Soares; Dominique Strasberg; Alain Vanderporten; Virgílio Vieira; Rosalina Gabriel
      Pages: 2567 - 2586
      Abstract: Islands harbour evolutionary and ecologically unique biota, which are currently disproportionately threatened by a multitude of anthropogenic factors, including habitat loss, invasive species and climate change. Native forests on oceanic islands are important refugia for endemic species, many of which are rare and highly threatened. Long-term monitoring schemes for those biota and ecosystems are urgently needed: (i) to provide quantitative baselines for detecting changes within island ecosystems, (ii) to evaluate the effectiveness of conservation and management actions, and (iii) to identify general ecological patterns and processes using multiple island systems as repeated ‘natural experiments’. In this contribution, we call for a Global Island Monitoring Scheme (GIMS) for monitoring the remaining native island forests, using bryophytes, vascular plants, selected groups of arthropods and vertebrates as model taxa. As a basis for the GIMS, we also present new, optimized monitoring protocols for bryophytes and arthropods that were developed based on former standardized inventory protocols. Effective inventorying and monitoring of native island forests will require: (i) permanent plots covering diverse ecological gradients (e.g. elevation, age of terrain, anthropogenic disturbance); (ii) a multiple-taxa approach that is based on standardized and replicable protocols; (iii) a common set of indicator taxa and community properties that are indicative of native island forests’ welfare, building on, and harmonized with existing sampling and monitoring efforts; (iv) capacity building and training of local researchers, collaboration and continuous dialogue with local stakeholders; and (v) long-term commitment by funding agencies to maintain a global network of native island forest monitoring plots.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1553-7
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 10 (2018)
  • The deadly route to collapse and the uncertain fate of Brazilian
           rupestrian grasslands
    • Authors: G. Wilson Fernandes; N. P. U. Barbosa; B. Alberton; A. Barbieri; R. Dirzo; F. Goulart; T. J. Guerra; L. P. C. Morellato; R. R. C. Solar
      Pages: 2587 - 2603
      Abstract: Rupestrian grasslands are biodiverse, evolutionary old vegetation complexes that harbor more than 5000 species of vascular plants and one of the highest levels of plant endemism in the world. Growing on nutrient–impoverished soils and under harsh environmental conditions, these mountaintop ecosystems were once spared from major human interventions of agriculture and intensive cattle ranching. However, in Brazil, rupestrian grasslands have experienced one of the most extreme land use changes among all Brazilian ecosystems, suffering from ill policies leading to intense mining activities, uncontrolled tourism, and unplanned road construction. Indeed, the discovery of large mineral reserves, the adoption of ineffective conservation policies, and, going forward, climate change, are threatening this hyper-diverse ecosystem. Here, we shed light on the severe threats imposed by land-use changes in this ecosystem, modeling its future distribution under different scenarios. We uncover a catastrophic forecast that, if not halted, will lead to the loss of 82% of this unique ecosystem in the future, impacting ecosystem services at regional scales, including water and food security potentially affecting more than 50 million persons.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1556-4
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 10 (2018)
  • Linear habitats in rural landscapes have complementary roles in bird
    • Authors: Mark Hall; Dale Nimmo; Simon Watson; Andrew F. Bennett
      Pages: 2605 - 2623
      Abstract: Linear strips of vegetation (e.g., hedges, roadsides) are characteristic of rural environments worldwide. Different types of linear features have distinct structure and landscape context, suggesting they each may offer unique opportunities for conservation in modified landscapes. We compared the avifauna of 76 streamside (riparian) sites and 33 sites in roadside vegetation—two distinctive types of linear features of rural landscapes in southern Australia. There was a marked difference in the composition of the avifauna between these linear features, reflecting their individual context within the landscape. For all response groups—woodland bird species, non-woodland species, waterbirds—riparian vegetation supported a greater species richness per site, and greater cumulative richness across multiple sites, than did roadside vegetation. For woodland species, the assemblage of greatest conservation concern, richness in both riparian and roadside sites increased with increasing width, and decreased with increasing abundance of an aggressive avian competitor. The ubiquity of linear features worldwide means that measures that enhance their conservation value will have widespread benefits. Our results demonstrate that: (1) linear features offer habitat for a broad range of species in rural environments; (2) by supporting distinct assemblages, different types of linear features have complementary roles in nature conservation; (3) wider linear features have a positive influence on species that require vegetated cover; and (4) the fauna of linear features are vulnerable to biotic influences, in this case a native avian competitor.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1557-3
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 10 (2018)
  • Temporal variation in abundance of leaf litter beetles and ants in an
           Australian lowland tropical rainforest is driven by climate and litter
    • Authors: Peter S. Grimbacher; Will Edwards; Michael J. Liddell; Paul N. Nelson; Cassandra Nichols; Carl W. Wardhaugh; Nigel E. Stork
      Pages: 2625 - 2640
      Abstract: Determining if the seasonality of leaf litter invertebrate populations in tropical rainforests is driven by climate or availability of litter, or both, is important to more accurately predict the vulnerability of litter invertebrates to climate change. Here we used two approaches to disentangle these effects. First, the influence of climatic seasonality was quantified by sampling a fixed volume of litter monthly over 4 years and counting extracted beetles and ants. Second, litter volume was experimentally manipulated (addition and exclusion) to test the influence of litter quantity independently of climatic variation. There were significant seasonal peaks for both beetle and ant abundance and these were positively correlated with rainfall, temperature and litter volume. As abundance was measured on a ‘per litter volume’ basis we conclude that there was a significant effect of climate on abundance. The litter manipulation experiment showed that beetle and ant abundance per litter volume were also influenced by litter volume, when it was low. We recognise that other factors such as litter structure or complexity may have affected temporal ant abundance. Beetle and ant abundance were depressed in litter exclusion plots but did not differ significantly between control and addition plots, suggesting a possible ceiling in the effect of litter volume on population sizes. We conclude that seasonality in climate and litter quantity are driving most temporal variation in insect abundance and that there may be some resilience among leaf litter insects to cope with higher temperatures. However, future responses by plants to increased climatic variability and higher CO2 concentrations may alter litter fall dynamics and thus temporal patterns in litter insect abundances.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1558-2
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 10 (2018)
  • Antarctic Specially Protected Areas (ASPA): a case study at Rothera Point
           providing tools and perspectives for the implementation of the ASPA
    • Authors: N. Cannone; P. Convey; F. Malfasi
      Pages: 2641 - 2660
      Abstract: Antarctica is considered among the world’s last great wildernesses, but its current network of Antarctic Specially Protected Areas (ASPAs) is inadequate, unrepresentative and at risk, needing urgent expansion due to the vulnerability of Antarctica to increasing threats from climate change and human activities. Among the existing ASPAs, no. 129 Rothera Point is unique because its designation related specifically to the monitoring of the impacts associated with the neighbouring Rothera Research Station, operated by the United Kingdom. The station is located on Adelaide Island (Antarctic Peninsula) in Antarctic Conservation Biogeographic Region 3 (ACBR3). We aim here to: (1) provide an improved description of the botanical values of the ASPA, and detailed vegetation mapping as for the establishment of future monitoring, (2) assess the representativeness of the ASPA vegetation within a wider geographical context encompassing Marguerite Bay and Adelaide Island and, (3) use this case study as a contribution to the ongoing discussion within the Antarctic Treaty System on the future development of the continent-wide ASPA network. Even though this specific ASPA was not initially designated for its biodiversity value, a higher species richness was recorded within the ASPA than outside the protected area on Rothera Point. Within the local geographic context, based on the available data, Rothera Point is characterized by high biodiversity and, above all, Léonie Island exhibits the greatest floristic richness within Marguerite Bay and Adelaide Island, being a biodiversity hot-spot of exceptional value. This case study emphasizes the continued existence of significant knowledge gaps relating to Antarctic terrestrial biodiversity, and the urgent need for large-scale assessment of the biological values of Antarctica, as one of the main challenges for the implementation of a robust and representative system of protected areas in terrestrial Antarctica, to protect this global natural heritage in the face of current and predicted future environmental change.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1559-1
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 10 (2018)
  • Differences in the community composition of nocturnal Lepidoptera between
           native and invaded forests are linked to the habitat structure
    • Authors: Tomáš Kadlec; Martin Štrobl; Jan Hanzelka; Martin Hejda; Jiří Reif
      Pages: 2661 - 2680
      Abstract: Non-native invasive plants are among the main threats to global biodiversity, including insects, and it is thus important to understand the mechanisms of how invasive plants impact native species. The community composition of nocturnal Lepidoptera was studied in the Czech Republic (Central Europe) in stands of native deciduous trees and in stands dominated by the invasive tree Robinia pseudoacacia, using automatic portable light traps together with an assessment of habitat characteristics. Native stands had more closed canopies and poorly developed understories. Conversely, R. pseudoacacia stands were more open and heterogeneous, with sparse canopies, well-developed shrub layers and a higher cover of taller herbs. Moth species richness, abundance and biomass were lower in R. pseudoacacia, likely due to the low richness of canopy herbivores not adapted to feed on the exotic host. However, feeding guilds associated with the understorey were more represented in stands of R. pseudoacacia, likely due to the more heterogeneous habitat structure. The Lepidopteran communities observed in stands of R. pseudoacacia resembled communities of open-forests or forest-steppe habitats. In contrast, native stands were dominated by Lepidoptera associated with trees, including forest specialists but also habitat generalists. From a conservation perspective, it appears that the invasive R. pseudoacacia created structurally more heterogeneous environment and more Lepidopteran open-forest guilds were associated with this habitat. However, further spread of R. pseudoacacia should be prevented because it reduces the species richness of Lepidoptera. Simultaneously, we recommend increasing the habitat heterogeneity of native forests to support functionally more diverse Lepidopteran communities.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1560-8
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 10 (2018)
  • Landscape heterogeneity shapes taxonomic diversity of non-breeding birds
           across fragmented savanna landscapes
    • Authors: Alison Ke; Muzi D. Sibiya; Chevonne Reynolds; Robert A. McCleery; Ara Monadjem; Robert J. Fletcher
      Pages: 2681 - 2698
      Abstract: There is an ongoing need to integrate agricultural production with wildlife conservation to maintain biodiversity, especially in developing countries. The landscape heterogeneity hypothesis identifies a potential means for promoting biodiversity in agricultural landscapes by emphasizing that increasing heterogeneity can increase biodiversity. However, the importance of landscape heterogeneity relative to habitat amount and vegetation structure is poorly understood, particularly regarding the relative importance of different components of landscape heterogeneity. We investigated how taxonomic, functional, and phylogenetic diversity of non-breeding birds responded to two components of landscape heterogeneity, compositional and configurational heterogeneity, and compared the importance of the landscape heterogeneity hypothesis relative to the habitat amount hypothesis and vegetation structural heterogeneity hypothesis. To do so, we conducted point counts at 80 plots across 16 landscapes during June–July 2016 in northeastern Swaziland, a sub-tropical savanna. We found a positive effect of landscape heterogeneity on taxonomic diversity, but no effect of habitat amount or vegetation structure. In contrast to taxonomic diversity, we found a positive trend between the amount of savanna habitat and phylogenetic diversity. In agricultural mosaics in subtropical savannas, conservation value may be created if landscape compositional heterogeneity, landscape configurational heterogeneity, and large areas of habitat are incorporated into land planning. Our findings show that it is important to use multiple measures of diversity in conjunction with various landscape and habitat measures when designing conservation management strategies.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1561-7
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 10 (2018)
  • Nonlinear relationship between biodiversity and human population density:
           evidence from Southeast Asia
    • Authors: Emmanuel Paradis
      Pages: 2699 - 2712
      Abstract: The geographical distribution of terrestrial vertebrate biodiversity was assessed in Southeast Asia, an area characterized by highly heterogeneous human population densities (HPDs). We tested the hypothesis that recent (between 1990 and 2000) population increases may result in increased threats to biodiversity. GIS data were compiled from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, BirdLife, and the Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center. Polygon data sets were transformed into rasters with different resolutions from 2.5 \('\) to 1 \(^{\circ }.\) Relationships between species diversity were assessed globally and separately for terrestrial vertebrates (mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians) and for five countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam). The number of species within a 20 km \(^{2}\) -cell varied greatly and reached a maximum of 801. The species-rich cells ( \(>700\) species) were located in a single, almost continuous area across Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and South China. The relationship between vertebrate biodiversity and population density showed that biodiversity increased with HPD until around 10 persons km \(^{-2},\) then decreased until around 200 persons km \(^{-2}\) where it stabilized. This relationship was mediated by land cover and protection status with significant interactions between these variables and with population density. The areas with moderately increasing populations between 1990 and 2000 were those with the highest overall diversity (median 607) whereas those with decreasing populations were those with the lowest diversity (median 479). Our results suggest that population pressure on biodiversity has increased between 1990 and 2000 and this is a relatively widespread phenomenon. The presence of a continuous area of high vertebrate biodiversity calls for international action at a regional scale involving China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1563-5
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 10 (2018)
  • Low overlaps between hotspots and complementary sets of vertebrate and
           plant species in China
    • Authors: Haigen Xu; Yi Wu; Yun Cao; Mingchang Cao; Wenjun Tong; Zhifang Le; Xiaoqiang Lu; Jiaqi Li; Fangzhou Ma; Li Liu; Feilong Hu; Mengmeng Chen; Yimin Li
      Pages: 2713 - 2727
      Abstract: Hotspots and complementary sets have been widely used to identify conservation priorities. It is pivotal to detect the congruence among priority areas for diverse taxa. However, congruence between hotspots and complementary sets of vertebrates and vascular plants in China is poorly understood. Here, we made a comprehensive assessment of the congruence between hotspots and complementary sets for 15,521 wild woody plant, fern, amphibian, reptile, bird and mammal species from 2376 counties in the terrestrial and inland water ecosystems of China. Our results showed the extensive incongruence among hotspots of vertebrates and plants, inconcordance among the complementary sets of the six taxa, and little coincidence between hotspots and complementary sets in China. Our findings suggest that diverse taxa should be considered for identification of priority conservation areas according to their different ecological requirements and life histories using different methods.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1564-4
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 10 (2018)
  • Rapid risk assessment to harvesting of wild medicinal and aromatic plant
           species in Morocco for conservation and sustainable management purposes
    • Authors: Mostafa Lamrani-Alaoui; Rachida Hassikou
      Pages: 2729 - 2745
      Abstract: The increased demand for natural products from wild aromatic and medicinal plants has stimulated several research projects focusing on phytochemistry, ethnobotany, pharmacognosy and many other sub-disciplines related to medicine and pharmacy or cosmetology and chemical industry in general. Morocco is one of the richest Mediterranean countries whose flora is well known and many of its plant resources and products very demanded by consumers and manufacturers but there is an urgent need to deal with wild medicinal and aromatic plants namely found on public lands. In this study, we attempt to identify and assess the wild species to overharvesting especially those in forest lands and then identify priority ones. A rapid vulnerability assessment approach was applied to 182 species inventoried referring to its biological, ecological and chorological criteria then combined to trade data. We obtained three groups of MAP species depending on its vulnerability ranked from high to very low vulnerability and their availability at national level. A list of 25 priority species was sorted on its economic value for export and then only the most representative ones within each region was identified to analyze its corresponding actions. These insights could be applied to improve the conservation policies and guide the sustainable management and economic valuation plans to implement the Moroccan Medicinal and aromatic plants strategy.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1565-3
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 10 (2018)
  • Improving the role of global conservation treaties in addressing
           contemporary threats to lions
    • Authors: Timothy Hodgetts; Melissa Lewis; Hans Bauer; Dawn Burnham; Amy Dickman; Ewan Macdonald; David Macdonald; Arie Trouwborst
      Pages: 2747 - 2765
      Abstract: Despite their iconic status, lion (Panthera leo) populations continue to decline across the majority of their range. In the light of the recent decision (in October 2017) to add lions to the Appendices of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), this paper identifies the new and existing legal protections afforded to lions through five global treaties, and maps these protections against the most critical contemporary threats facing the species. It thus offers a new analysis of the CMS listing, and draws on existing legal reviews, to highlight the ways in which global treaties offer differing forms of protection for lions. It then combines multiple concordant assessments of lion populations, to highlight nine categories of threat: human-lion conflict, bushmeat poaching, human encroachment, trophy hunting, trade in lion bones, unpredictable environmental events, socio-economic factors, policy failures, and governance/institutional weakness. The paper assesses how the various treaties each address these different categories of threat. The analysis identifies two pathways for improving legal protection: expanding the application of global treaties in respect of lions and their habitats (the paper considers the CMS listing in these terms), and improving the implementation of treaty commitments through local and national-scale actions. Furthermore, it identifies local implementation challenges that include the local knowledge of rules, compliance with rules and enforcement capacity, alongside the variety in local contexts and situations, and suggests where global treaties might provide support in meeting these challenges. We suggest that this analysis has wider implications for how treaty protection can and is utilised to protect various species of large-bodied, wide-ranging animals.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1567-1
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 10 (2018)
  • Conserving elephants depend on a total ban of ivory trade globally
    • Authors: Achyut Aryal; Craig G. Morley; Ian G. McLean
      Pages: 2767 - 2775
      Abstract: Despite the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) 1989 ban on trading ivory internationally, poaching for ivory has intensified in both Africa and Asia. Populations of African elephant (Loxodonta spp.) and Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) have declined drastically. In response to the rapid decline, the USA and some other CITES countries have banned commercial ivory trading in ivory. The country with the highest ivory consumption, the People’s Republic of China, recently shut down its legal ivory trade at the end of 2017. Nepal has turned the tide of elephant poaching, with no loss of elephants in the last 4 years. This remarkable success has been achieved by imposing a total ban on trade in ivory, supported by strict national legislation that includes significant fines and incarceration for poachers, traders and officials. Elsewhere, elephant poaching continues to increase despite the numerous disincentives already in place. Thus, we propose a global ban on trade in ivory as the only realistic solution to the current unsustainable rate of loss of elephants. The ban should be extended to trade in all products from endangered wildlife.
      PubDate: 2018-08-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1534-x
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 10 (2018)
  • Influence of macroclimate and local conservation measures on taxonomic,
           functional, and phylogenetic diversities of saproxylic beetles and
           wood-inhabiting fungi
    • Authors: Simon Thorn; Bernhard Förster; Christoph Heibl; Jörg Müller; Claus Bässler
      Abstract: Wood-inhabiting fungi and saproxylic beetles are threatened by habitat degradation. Our understanding of the importance of macroclimate and local factors determining their taxonomic diversity has increased, but determinants of functional and phylogenetic diversity are poorly understood. We investigated assemblages of wood-inhabiting fungi and saproxylic beetles along a 1000 m elevational gradient of a temperate low mountain range. We (i) tested the relative importance of macroclimate (i.e. elevation) and local variables (microclimate, i.e. canopy closure, amount and diversity of dead wood) in determining observed and rarefied diversities and (ii) explored whether determinants of observed functional and phylogenetic diversities match those of taxonomic diversity. For both taxa, the determinants of observed phylogenetic and functional diversities largely matched those of taxonomic diversity. The diversity of wood-inhabiting fungi was predominantly determined by local variables, whereas that of saproxylic beetles was determined by both local variables and elevation. Taxonomic and phylogenetic diversities of saproxylic beetles decreased with increasing elevation, but standardized functional richness and entropy of both groups increased with increasing elevation. Diversities of wood-inhabiting fungi increased with canopy closure, while diversities of saproxylic beetles decreased with increasing canopy closure. Microclimate and dead-wood amount and diversity affected the observed and rarefied diversity of both saproxylic taxa, which justifies conservation actions that focus on attributes of dead wood and canopy cover. The contrasting responses of fungi and beetles highlight the need for amounts of diverse dead wood in the various microclimates to preserve functional and phylogenetic diversities of saproxylic organisms.
      PubDate: 2018-07-05
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1592-0
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