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Journal Cover Biodiversity and Conservation
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   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]
  • Environmental drivers of spider community composition at multiple scales
           along an urban gradient
    • Authors: E. C. Lowe; C. G. Threlfall; S. M. Wilder; D. F. Hochuli
      Pages: 829 - 852
      Abstract: Broad-scale modification of natural ecosystems associated with urbanisation often leads to localised extinctions and reduced species richness. Despite this, habitats within the urban matrix are still capable of supporting biodiversity to varying degrees. As species have different responses to anthropogenic habitat modification, the species composition of urban areas can depend greatly on the habitat characteristics of the local and surrounding areas. The aim of this study was to compare the community composition of spiders in private gardens, urban parks, patches of remnant vegetation and continuous bushland sites, so as to identify habitat variables associated with variation in spider populations along and within the urban gradient and matrix. Overall spider abundances and richness were highest in remnant vegetation patches and were associated with increased vegetation cover at microhabitat and landscape-scales. While gardens were not as diverse as remnant patches, they did support a surprisingly high diversity of spiders. We also found that species composition differed significantly between gardens and other urban green spaces. Higher richness within gardens was also associated with greater vegetation cover, indicating the importance of private management decisions on local biodiversity. Differences in community composition between land-use types were driven by a small number of urban-tolerant species, and spider guilds showed different responses to habitat traits such as vegetation cover and human population densities. This study demonstrates that urban land-uses support unique spider communities and that maintaining vegetation cover within the urban matrix is essential in order to support diverse spider communities in cities.
      PubDate: 2018-03-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1466-x
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 4 (2018)
  • Influence of tree hollow characteristics on saproxylic beetle diversity in
           a managed forest
    • Authors: Bastian Schauer; Manuel J. Steinbauer; Lionel S. Vailshery; Jörg Müller; Heike Feldhaar; Elisabeth Obermaier
      Pages: 853 - 869
      Abstract: Tree hollows are key structures in forest ecosystems constituting long-lasting habitats and nutritional resources for many saproxylic arthropod species. Due to diverse microhabitat structures and conditions in tree hollows, they can support a broad range of species. However, in the past intensive management practices in parts of Europe reduced the abundance of tree hollows, resulting in a decrease and endangerment of species specialised in this tree habitat. We investigated 40 beech trees with hollows in 2014 and a subset of 23 of these trees in 2015 in a managed forest landscape in Germany. Using emergence traps we collected 89 beetle species of which 33% were on the Bavarian Red List. We described the tree characteristics, physical hollow characteristics, and their surrounding environment investigating their influence on α-diversity of non-Red List and Red List species. Furthermore, we investigated spatial (between tree hollows) and temporal (same tree hollow but different years) β-diversity, considering the importance of turnover and nestedness components on β-diversity. α-Diversity decreased with increasing decomposition of wood mould and increased with increasing area of hollow entrance in both years. Additional characteristics differed between years and between non-Red List and Red List species. β-Diversity was related to diameter at breast height, number of surrounding tree hollows, area of hollow entrance and a temperature gradient. We found a higher species turnover than nestedness between tree hollows and between years, indicating highly dynamic beetle communities spatially as well as temporally. To support and maintain the diversity of saproxylic beetles inhabiting tree hollows, the heterogeneity of microhabitats is important and should be supported by maintaining the diversity of differently structured and sized tree hollows.
      PubDate: 2018-03-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1467-9
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 4 (2018)
  • Anthropogenic disturbance induces opposing population trends in spotted
           hyenas and African lions
    • Authors: D. S. Green; L. Johnson-Ulrich; H. E. Couraud; K. E. Holekamp
      Pages: 871 - 889
      Abstract: Large carnivore populations are declining worldwide due to direct and indirect conflicts with humans. Protected areas are critical for conserving large carnivores, but increasing human-wildlife conflict, tourism, and human population growth near these sanctuaries may have negative effects on the carnivores within sanctuary borders. Our goals were to investigate how anthropogenic disturbance along the edge of the Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya, influences the demography and space-use of two large carnivore species that engage in intense interspecific competition. Here we document, in one disturbed region of the Reserve, a rapid increase in the population size of one large predator, the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), but a striking concurrent decline in numbers of another, the African lion (Panthera leo). Anthropogenic disturbances negatively affected lion populations, and decreasing lion numbers appear to have a positive effect on hyena populations, indicated here by an increase in juvenile survivorship. We also saw an increase in the number of livestock consumed by hyenas. Our results suggest human population growth and indirect effects of human activity along Reserve boundaries may be effecting a trophic cascade inside the Reserve itself. These results indicate both top-down and bottom-up processes are causing a shift in the carnivore community, and a major disruption of guild structure, inside the boundaries of one of the most spectacular protected areas in Africa.
      PubDate: 2018-03-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1469-7
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 4 (2018)
  • Identifying population thresholds for flowering plant reproductive
           success: the marsh gentian ( Gentiana pneumonanthe ) as a flagship species
           of humid meadows and heathland
    • Authors: Simon Pierce; Alberto Spada; Elisabetta Caporali; Filippa Puglisi; Andrea Panzeri; Alessandra Luzzaro; Simona Cislaghi; Lia Mantegazza; Elisa Cardarelli; Massimo Labra; Andrea Galimberti; Roberta M. Ceriani
      Pages: 891 - 905
      Abstract: The threshold below which population declines impact the effectiveness of plant reproduction is essential for the identification of populations that can no longer spontaneously recover following habitat management or restoration, below the minimum viable population (MVP) size. We hypothesized that risk of reproductive limitation can be evaluated from combined analysis of pollen activity, ovule fertilization and germination in the context of population demographics and fragmentation. The marsh gentian (Gentiana pneumonanthe), a rare emblematic species of European heathland and fen, was investigated at the southern limit of its range in eighteen populations encompassing one to several hundred thousand individuals, spanning small fragments to extensive well-preserved areas. An index of habitat fragmentation was determined from GIS; field surveys determined the ratio of juvenile to reproductive age states; fluorescence microscopy of pistils determined, for each population, the proportion of flowers exhibiting active pollen tube growth. Analysis of seed lots determined the ovule fertilization rate and seed germination capacity. Some of the small populations occupying restricted habitat fragments showed high rates of pollination (100%) and ‘normal’ age state demographics. However, reproductive characters all exhibited exponential rise to maximum relationships with population size, indicating clear tipping points (for pollination, at a threshold of 7 reproductive adults, and for ovule fertilization rate and germination at 42 reproductive adults). Thus although small populations may set seed, exhibit a ‘normal’ age state structure, and may appear viable, reproductive effectiveness declines when population size falls below 42 generative individuals and < 7 is an indicator of strong limitation. Although many remnant populations of G. pneumonanthe are in the order of 50–150 individuals these should be not be considered as MVPs; they are on the brink of calamity.
      PubDate: 2018-03-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1470-1
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 4 (2018)
  • Comparing and contrasting threat assessments of plant species at the
           global and sub-global level
    • Authors: Ross Mounce; Malin Rivers; Suzanne Sharrock; Paul Smith; Samuel Brockington
      Pages: 907 - 930
      Abstract: Evidence-based assessments of extinction risk are established tools used to inform the conservation of plant species, and form the basis of key targets within the framework of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC). An overall picture of plants threat assessments is challenging due to the use of a variety of methodologies and range in scope from global to subnational. In this study, we quantify the state of progress in assessing the extinction risk of all land plants, determine the key geographic and taxonomic gaps with respect to our understanding of plant extinction risk, and evaluate the impact of different sources and methodologies on the utility of plant assessments. To this end, we have analyzed a cleaned dataset compiled from IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and Regional Red Lists. We reveal that there are assessments available for 89,810 distinct species or 25% of all accepted land plant species. However unlike with other major organismal lineages the bulk of the plant species assessments are derived from Regional Red Lists, and not the Global IUCN Red List. We demonstrate that this bias towards regional assessments results in distinct taxonomic and geographic strengths and weaknesses, and we identify substantial taxonomic and geographic gaps in the assessment coverage. With species that have been assessed in common at both global and regional levels, we explore the implications of combining threat assessments from different sources. We find that half of global and regional assessments do not agree on the exact category of extinction risk for a species. Regional assessments assign a higher risk of extinction; or underestimate extinction risk with almost equal frequency. We conclude with recommended interventions, but support the suggestion that all threat assessments should be pooled to provide more data and broaden the scope of threat assessments for monitoring progress towards GSPC targets.
      PubDate: 2018-03-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1472-z
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 4 (2018)
  • Interactive impacts of by-catch take and elite consumption of illegal
    • Authors: R. L. Stirnemann; I. A. Stirnemann; D. Abbot; D. Biggs; R. Heinsohn
      Pages: 931 - 946
      Abstract: Harvesting, consumption and trade of forest meat are key causes of biodiversity loss. Successful mitigation programs are proving difficult to design, in part because anthropogenic pressures are treated as internationally uniform. Despite illegal hunting being a key conservation issue in the Pacific Islands, there is a paucity of research. Here, we examine the dynamics of hunting of birds and determine how these contribute to biodiversity loss on the islands of Samoa. We focus on the interactive effects of hunting on two key seed dispersing bird species: the Pacific pigeon (Ducula pacifica) and the critically endangered Manumea or tooth-billed pigeon (Didunculus strigiristris). We interviewed hunters, vendors and consumers and analyzed household consumption. Results suggest that over 22,000 pigeons were consumed per year and this is by primarily the richest people across the country. Indeed, the wealthiest 10% of households consumed 43% of all wild pigeon meat, and the wealthiest 40% of households consumed 80% of all pigeons. The Manumea was shot by 33% (n = 30) of the surveyed hunters while pursuing the Pacific pigeon. Results raise serious conservation concerns, as pigeon hunting is likely to be a key factor contributing to the decline of the Manumea and critical forest seed dispersers in general. Our results show that wild meat consumption can lead to non-targeted pressure on bycatch species. Wild meat harvesting and consumption is a key issue leading to species declines and extinctions in the tropics. It is critical that this issue receives the appropriate attention and is addressed in the Pacific if species and forests are to be maintained.
      PubDate: 2018-03-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1473-y
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 4 (2018)
  • Spider communities in urban green patches and their relation to local and
           landscape traits
    • Authors: Carina I. Argañaraz; Gonzalo D. Rubio; Raquel M. Gleiser
      Pages: 981 - 1009
      Abstract: Urbanization and urban landscape characteristics greatly alter plant and animal species richness and abundances in negative and positive directions. Spiders are top predators, often considered to be sensitive to habitat alteration. Studies in urban environments frequently focus on ground-dwelling spiders or on spiders in built structures, leaving aside foliage spiders. Effects of habitat, landscape type and structure and local characteristics on spider species composition, richness and relative abundance were evaluated in urban green patches in a temperate city of South America. We also assess whether Salticidae could be an indicator group for the broader spider community in the urban environment. Spiders were sampled with a G-VAC (aspirator) in urban green patches in Córdoba city, Argentina, in urban, suburban and exurban habitats (18 sites; six per habitat) and local and landscape traits were assessed. Overall, the exurban was richer than the urban habitat, however, at the site level Salticidae richness and abundance (but not the total spider assemblage) were significantly lower in urban sites. Species composition moderately differed between urban and exurban sites. Results indicate that on urban green spaces a low impervious surface cover, a coverage of trees, herbaceous vegetation and a vertical structure of vegetation at least up to 1 m in height contribute to higher richness and abundance of spiders, Salticidae being more sensitive than the overall spider community to local effects. In addition, Salticidae richness can predict 74% of the total spider richness recorded and may be used as spider diversity bio-indicators in this climatic region.
      PubDate: 2018-03-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1476-8
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 4 (2018)
  • Diversity patterns in sandy forest-steppes: a comparative study from the
           western and central Palaearctic
    • Authors: Zoltán Bátori; László Erdős; András Kelemen; Balázs Deák; Orsolya Valkó; Róbert Gallé; Tatyana M. Bragina; Péter János Kiss; György Kröel-Dulay; Csaba Tölgyesi
      Pages: 1011 - 1030
      Abstract: The Palearctic forest-steppe biome is a narrow vegetation zone between the temperate forest and steppe biomes, which provides important habitats for many endangered species and represents an important hotspot of biodiversity. Although the number of studies on forest–grassland mosaics is increasing, information currently available about the general compositional and structural patterns of Eurasian forest-steppes is scarce. Our study aimed to compare the habitat structure, species composition and diversity patterns of two distant sandy forest-steppes of Eurasia. We compared 72 relevés made in the main habitat components (forest, forest edge and grassland) of sandy forest-steppes in three Hungarian and three Kazakh sites. The size of the plots was 25 m2. Species number, Shannon diversity and species evenness values were calculated for each plot. Fidelity calculations and linear mixed effects models were used for the analyses. We found that the vegetation and diversity patterns of the two forest-steppes are similar and their components play important roles in maintaining landscape-scale diversity. Despite the higher species richness in Hungary, Shannon diversity was higher in Kazakhstan. The deciduous forest edges of both areas had significantly higher species richness than the neighbouring habitats (forests and grasslands); therefore they can be considered local biodiversity hotspots. Due to the special characteristics of this vegetation complex, we emphasize the high conservation value of all landscape components as a coherent system throughout the entire range of the Eurasian forest-steppe biome.
      PubDate: 2018-03-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1477-7
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 4 (2018)
  • The wildlife snaring crisis: an insidious and pervasive threat to
           biodiversity in Southeast Asia
    • Authors: Thomas N. E. Gray; Alice C. Hughes; William F. Laurance; Barney Long; Anthony J. Lynam; Hannah O’Kelly; William J. Ripple; Teak Seng; Lorraine Scotson; Nicholas M. Wilkinson
      Pages: 1031 - 1037
      Abstract: Southeast Asia, a region supporting more threatened species than any other comparable continental area, is in the midst of a conservation crisis. Hunting constitutes the greatest current threat to the region’s threatened vertebrates and has resulted in many areas of largely intact forest losing much of their former vertebrate diversity and abundance. Though numerous hunting methods are used, capture with home-made snares is a major driver of this defaunation. Snares are cheaply constructed and easy to set but can be difficult to detect and are highly damaging to vertebrate populations due to their indiscriminate and wasteful nature. The primary response to snaring is the removal of snares by patrol teams: more than 200,000 snares were removed from just five of the region’s protected areas between 2010 and 2015. However due to the low opportunity costs of replacing snares, removal alone is largely ineffective. Without the proactive search, arrest and prosecution of snare-setters, along with incentives not to hunt, snares will continue to be replaced. Legislative reform that criminalises the possession of snares, and the materials used for their construction, inside and immediately adjacent to protected areas is also required. Consistent enforcement of such legislation is essential. This must be combined with longer-term demand reduction activities aimed at changing cultural attitudes and behaviors related to the consumption of wildlife products in Southeast Asia.
      PubDate: 2018-03-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1450-5
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 4 (2018)
  • A new strategy for giant panda protection
    • Authors: Dongwei Kang; Junqing Li
      Pages: 1039 - 1040
      PubDate: 2018-03-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-018-1502-5
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 4 (2018)
  • Challenges for transgene detection in landraces and wild relatives:
           learning from 15 years of debate over GM maize in Mexico
    • Authors: Sarah Z. Agapito-Tenfen; Fern Wickson
      Pages: 539 - 566
      Abstract: Maize is one of the world’s five staple cereals and its traditional varieties constitute a global resource critical to future agricultural development. Fifteen years ago, claims that transgenes had spread into traditional landrace maize in Mexico started an international discussion on the scale and significance of transgene flow from genetically modified (GM) crops to centres of crop origin and genetic diversity. The initial discovery of transgenes in landrace maize sparked an intense environmental dispute in which the culture and traditions of indigenous people were seen as threatened by the unchecked spread of biotechnological inventions from multinational corporations. This dispute was reflected in a political and legal battle over the regulatory status of GM crops in Mexico, which continues today as approvals of GM maize for cultivation remain subject to contestation in the courts. These legal, political and environmental disputes have been fanned by the existence of a significant scientific controversy over the methods for GM detection. The use of various approaches and a lack of harmonized methods specific for monitoring and detection of transgenes in landraces has generated both positive and negative results for GM contamination in Mexico over the years. In this paper, we review the peer-reviewed literature on transgene detection in Mexican maize and highlight the challenges associated with transgene detection in landraces. In doing so, we identify the key methodological aspects under dispute and pinpoint the research bottlenecks and needs for building the capacity to effectively monitor transgene escape from GM crops to wild relatives or landraces.
      PubDate: 2018-03-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1471-0
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 3 (2018)
  • The conservation status of African vertebrates is unrelated to
           environmental and spatial patterns in their geographic ranges
    • Authors: Falko T. Buschke; Luc Brendonck; Bram Vanschoenwinkel
      Pages: 567 - 582
      Abstract: Statistical predictions of the impact of climate change on biodiversity assume that the environmental and spatial characteristics of contemporary species’ distributions reflect the conditions needed for their continued and prolonged existence. Here we explore this assumption by testing whether a species’ threatened status is associated with the amount of variation in its distribution range attributable to environmental and spatial patterns. Using a variation partitioning approach, we decomposed variation in the distribution ranges of 4423 vertebrate species in sub-Saharan Africa into components attributable exclusively to environmental variables (E S), exclusively to spatial variables (S E) or to the collinearity between environmental and spatial variables (E∩S). We found that species’ threatened status was unrelated to E S, S E or E∩S variation components, but that unexplained variation was higher for species threatened with extinction. This suggests that spatio-environmental patterns in species’ ranges likely underestimate the overall extinction threat caused by climate change. We also found clear geographic patterns in the strength of E S, S E or E∩S that differed amongst biogeographical regions, but no component was over- or underrepresented in the present-day protected area network. While there may be benefits to tailoring protected area expansion to differences between biogeographical regions, this should aim to incorporate species-specific information wherever possible.
      PubDate: 2018-03-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1449-y
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 3 (2018)
  • Arthropod assemblages deep in natural forests show different responses to
           surrounding land use
    • Authors: Rudi Crispin Swart; James Stephen Pryke; Francois Roets
      Pages: 583 - 606
      Abstract: Many contemporary landscapes have vast areas of production land-uses within landscape mosaics, which may impact species dispersal and occurrence. Here, we determined the extent to which commercial exotic plantation forests affect arthropod diversity associated with natural Afrotemperate forests in the southern Cape Afrotemperate landscape mosaic, South Africa. Natural forests and fynbos vegetation naturally coexist here, with the addition of exotic plantation forests to form a heterogeneous landscape. Epigaeic arthropods were collected by means of pitfall trapping at stations along transects from inside natural Afrotemperate forest, across the edge and into the surrounding land use, which included natural fynbos vegetation, mature forestry plantation blocks (Pinus radiata) and areas where plantations have been clear-felled. Stations were set at 5, 10, 20, 30 and 50 m to both sides of the forest edge with the addition of 100 m stations situated in the natural forest. Arthropod assemblages were distinct in all land-use types. Natural edge effect between forest and fynbos, as measured by arthropod compositional changes, was 20 m into natural forests, yet when bordered by plantations this edge increased up to 30 m into the forest. Once plantations were clear-felled, edge effects increased up to 50 m into natural forests. Responses in terms of assemblage composition and species richness were however taxon specific. Results show that (1) pine plantations are not alternative habitat for native Afrotemperate forest arthropods, (2) there were stark changes in arthropod assemblage composition at edges between these land-use types and (3) that the effects of timber plantation practices (re: clear-felling) also penetrate deep into surrounding natural forests and need to be considered in regional landscape planning. The need for an effective rehabilitation strategy of clear-felled areas is identified as key priority for bordering natural forests. Ongoing monitoring in both the disturbed area and the adjoining natural forest should be undertaken to ensure sufficient recovery.
      PubDate: 2018-03-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1451-4
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 3 (2018)
  • Fast-growing hybrids do not decrease understorey plant diversity compared
           to naturally regenerated forests and native plantations
    • Authors: Samuel Royer-Tardif; Alain Paquette; Christian Messier; Philippe Bournival; David Rivest
      Pages: 607 - 631
      Abstract: Plantations of fast-growing hybrid trees, such as hybrid poplars and hybrid larch, are increasingly used for wood and timber production, but they are also believed to impair forest biodiversity. Most studies that have assessed how such plantations may alter the diversity and composition of understorey plants were established in agricultural landscapes or have compared tree plantations with old-growth natural forests. Moreover, many important aspects of biodiversity have been overlooked in previous studies, such as functional and beta-diversity. Here, we present results from a study that was aimed at quantifying alpha- and beta-diversity of understorey plant species and functional groups in hybrid poplar (9–10 years) and hybrid larch plantations (16 years) located within a forested landscape of Quebec, Canada. These hybrid plantations were compared to naturally regenerated secondary forests and to native plantations of black spruce of the same origin (clear cut) and similar age. Our results indicate that fast-growing hybrid plantations do not present lower taxonomic and functional alpha-biodiversity indices, but may harbour more diverse communities, in part through the introduction of plant species that are associated with open habitats. We provide further evidence that planted forests may be as heterogeneous as naturally regenerated forests in terms of understorey plant composition. Plant species and functional composition differed slightly between stand types (naturally regenerated forests, native and fast-growing hybrid plantations), with plantations offering a greater potential for colonisation by ruderal species, while being detrimental to species of closed forest habitats. Lastly, plantations of fast-growing hybrids do not induce greater changes in understorey vegetation relative to native plantations of black spruce, at least during the first stand rotation.
      PubDate: 2018-03-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1452-3
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 3 (2018)
  • Hard times for Italian coastal dunes: insights from a diachronic analysis
           based on random plots
    • Authors: Marta Gaia Sperandii; Irene Prisco; Alicia Teresa Rosario Acosta
      Pages: 633 - 646
      Abstract: Multi-year temporal studies are invaluable tools for monitoring changes in biodiversity through time. However, their applications in coastal ecosystems are still scarce. We investigated temporal trends in coastal dunes analyzing a set of 858 randomly-sampled georeferenced relevés performed between 2002 and 2015 along Central Italy’s sandy coastlines. Specifically, we explored changes in species richness and cover of targeted sandy habitats, we investigated trends in the cover of selected psammophilous native species and we assessed patterns of invasion by means of regression techniques. We observed a significant decrease in species richness and cover of the dune grasslands habitat. The species-level analysis confirmed a negative trend for two characteristic species of dune grasslands, Cutandia maritima and Medicago littoralis, while revealing a similar decline for Crucianella maritima and for Ammophila arenaria subsp. australis, key species of mobile dunes. The most striking trends emerged analyzing patterns in the cover of an invasive alien species, Carpobrotus sp., which showed a concerning increase in shifting dunes. In conclusion, our analyses reveal concerning changes involving dune grasslands, and at the same time hint at “early warnings” of degradation processes traceable in shifting dunes.
      PubDate: 2018-03-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1454-1
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 3 (2018)
  • Importance of species diversity in the revegetation of Alberta’s
           northern fescue prairies
    • Authors: Jay Woosaree; Rafael Otfinowski
      Pages: 665 - 680
      Abstract: Restoration of grassland ecosystems is critical to the provision of ecosystem services, however, legacies of historic disturbances pose a challenge to grassland restoration. In the northern Great Plains of North America, continued fragmentation and disturbance of northern fescue prairies has prompted more stringent criteria to regulate the revegetation of native prairies disturbed by industrial activities. Here, we evaluate methods of revegetating northern fescue prairies, disturbed by energy development, and test the hypothesis that higher richness of species seeded within disturbed areas improves the structure, diversity, and composition of revegetated communities. Our results demonstrate that disturbed northern fescue prairies are able to recover their structural elements, including vegetative and ground cover and plant litter, irrespective of the number of species in the seed mixes, even though revegetated areas remained similar in all measures of community diversity. Despite this, revegetated areas remained compositionally different from adjacent native prairies, 7 years following seeding treatments. Based on our observations, the persistent differences in the species composition of disturbed and undisturbed prairies highlight that all efforts should be practiced to minimize the scale of disturbance of northern fescue prairies through energy development.
      PubDate: 2018-03-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1456-z
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 3 (2018)
  • The effect of target setting on conservation in Canada’s boreal: what is
           the right amount of area to protect'
    • Authors: Yolanda F. Wiersma; Darren J. H. Sleep
      Pages: 733 - 748
      Abstract: Conservation of Canada’s boreal forest has been tied to various campaigns advocating specific area-based targets as part of a broader Systematic Conservation Planning (SCP) effort. Although target setting is an important component of SCP, it is known that the final outcomes of conservation plans are sensitive to the target chosen. There have been few systematic evaluations of how these outcomes change with targets. Here, we use distribution of terrestrial mammals in the Boreal Shield Ecozone of Canada to assess the effects of targets on conservation plans with individual sites that are predicted to be large enough to allow for species persistence. We examine three types of targets; percentage of landscape, percentage of umbrella species range, and minimum number of sites, to see how the final set (in terms of numbers of sites and percent of land) is affected and how well the final set represents the full suite of mammal species. We found a large discrepancy (164,000 km2) in the land required to achieve minimal representation targets depending on the target used. The minimum number of sites target was most efficient and required only 1.25% of the ecozone, while the smallest percentage target that could capture all species was 10%. The use of an umbrella species (caribou, Rangifer tarandas) range was the least effective target, as several species could not be represented at any percentage of the umbrella species range. Thus, conservation planners working in the boreal should be mindful of the impacts their targets have on the final design.
      PubDate: 2018-03-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1461-2
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 3 (2018)
  • Endemism and conservation of Amazon palms
    • Authors: Carlos Mariano Alvez-Valles; Henrik Balslev; Fabrício Alvim Carvalho; Roosevelt Garcia-Villacorta; Cesar Grandez; Luiz Menini Neto
      Pages: 765 - 784
      Abstract: Endemicity is important for the delimitation of conservation areas. Endemic areas are those that contain two or more taxa with their distribution restricted to the area. The aim of this study was to detect endemic areas for palms in the Amazon region and to determine whether the species that define these endemic areas are protected within conservation units. Records of occurrence were extracted from the global biodiversity information facility (GBIF). The final dataset consisted of 17,310 records, for 177 species of Amazonian palms. For analysis we used parsimony analysis of endemicity (PAE) and NDM-VNDM program, and grid square size of 1° and 3° as operational geographic units (OGUs). The distribution of endemic species was superimposed on occurrence of the conservation units (CUs). PAE did not show endemic areas in grid squares of 1°, but found 10 palm endemic areas in grid squares of 3° in the western Amazon and Andean sub-region. However, the NDM-VNDM program identified an endemic area in grid squares of 1° located at the eastern Guiana with endemicity score = 2.9, and in grid squares of 3° it identified seven consensus areas with endemicity score > 6.0, all in the western Amazon. The combination of PAE and NDM-VNDM analyses resulted in eight endemic palm areas in the combined western Amazon and Andean sub-region. Of the species that define the endemic areas, five are threatened with extinction in one of three IUCN categories (EN, VU, NT), and they are not protected in any conservation units. The western Amazon, besides having high palm richness, also has palm endemic areas, especially, near the Andean sub-region and the Peruvian Amazon.
      PubDate: 2018-03-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1463-0
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 3 (2018)
  • The biodiversity impacts of non-native species should not be extrapolated
           from biased single-species studies
    • Authors: Greg R. Guerin; Irene Martín-Forés; Ben Sparrow; Andrew J. Lowe
      Pages: 785 - 790
      Abstract: The presence, diversity and abundance of non-native plant species in natural vegetation are common condition indicators used to determine conservation status, with consequences for management strategies and investment. The rationale behind non-native species metrics as condition indicators is the assumption that non-natives have negative consequences on native biodiversity and habitat condition. The case against non-native species is not so clear-cut, with some studies reporting neutral or even facilitative interactions, often depending on spatial scale. Observational and experimental evaluations of the impact of particular non-native species on biodiversity provide a vital evidence-base for general conservation management strategies. Unintentionally though, many studies that quantify the impacts of non-native species have resulted in a publication bias in which species with known impacts are selected for investigation far more often than benign species. Here we argue that meta-analyses of the impacts of individual non-native species on natives, no matter how meticulous or objective, should not be generalized beyond the set of ‘training’ species. The likelihood of such extrapolation is increased when meta-analyses are reported with little qualification as to the skewed sampling towards problematic species, and because alternative findings such as non-native assemblages having positive interactions with native biodiversity, are under-reported. To illustrate, we discuss two meta-analyses that make general conclusions from impact studies skewed towards ‘transformers’, the most extreme invaders. We warn that if generic non-native species management strategies were to be based on these conclusions, they could not only fail to meet objectives but in some instances harm native biodiversity.
      PubDate: 2018-03-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1439-0
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 3 (2018)
  • Clarifying the key biodiversity areas partnership and programme
    • Authors: Simon N. Stuart; Thomas M. Brooks; Stuart H. M. Butchart; Wendy Elliott; Melanie Heath; Dieter Hoffmann; Leslie Honey; Irina Kostadinova; Penny Langhammer; Olivier Langrand; Susan Lieberman; Daniel Marnewick; Daniela Raik; Jon Paul Rodríguez; Wes Sechrest; Jane Smart; Sheila Vergara; Stephen Woodley; Alberto Yanosky; Mark Zimsky
      Pages: 791 - 793
      PubDate: 2018-03-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1490-x
      Issue No: Vol. 27, No. 3 (2018)
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