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Journal Cover Biodiversity and Conservation
  [SJR: 1.248]   [H-I: 90]   [183 followers]  Follow
   Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
   ISSN (Print) 0960-3115 - ISSN (Online) 1572-9710
   Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2354 journals]
  • Dead land walking: the value of continued conservation efforts in South
           Florida’s imperiled pine rocklands
    • Authors: Ian Matthew Jones; Suzanne Koptur
      Pages: 3241 - 3253
      Abstract: Pine rocklands are deeply imperiled habitats restricted to South Florida and the Caribbean. In South Florida, more than 98% of pine rockland habitat has been destroyed in the past century (outside of Everglades National Park). Due to their proximity to human populations, management options in the remaining fragments are sometimes limited, and fires that are necessary to maintain healthy habitat structure are often excluded. Despite these pressures, conservation initiatives in pine rocklands have been surprisingly successful, and plant extinction has been avoided. In the coming decades, however, sea-level rise threatens to all but eliminate the pine rocklands, and efforts to preserve their many endemic species will likely fail. We synthesize the results of numerous ecological studies and review the successes and failures of conservation in South Florida’s pine rocklands. Further, we illustrate the value of continued conservation efforts, and provide direction in the light of the habitats long-term fate. We advocate the increased use of prescribed fire and, as the effects of climate change become more apparent, the translocation of some endemic species. Finally, we acclaim pine rocklands as a model system for studying how plant communities respond to environmental change. South Florida’s fragmented landscape, with shifting gradients of elevation, salinity, inundation and nutrient availability, should continue to inspire ecologists to address important questions, and better prepare the region, and the world, for the challenges of the coming decades.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1433-6
      Issue No: Vol. 26, No. 14 (2017)
  • Lifting the curtain on the freshwater mussel diversity of the Italian
           Peninsula and Croatian Adriatic coast
    • Authors: Elsa Froufe; Manuel Lopes-Lima; Nicoletta Riccardi; Serena Zaccara; Isabella Vanetti; Jasna Lajtner; Amílcar Teixeira; Simone Varandas; Vincent Prié; Alexandra Zieritz; Ronaldo Sousa; Arthur E. Bogan
      Pages: 3255 - 3274
      Abstract: Freshwater mussels of the order Unionida have been dramatically declining globally. Despite their ecological importance, conservation of these animals has been hindered by unresolved taxonomy and a lack of data on the distribution and status of populations, especially in southern Europe. Although the Italian Peninsula has been noted as a centre of endemism and one of the major refugia of the glacial ages for several taxa, few studies have been performed on the genetic diversity of Unionida. Most importantly, the taxonomic status of several freshwater mussel populations of the Italian Peninsula is still unresolved. Here we present the first comprehensive dataset for the Unionida of the region spanning Italy and the coastal Croatian region (west of the Dinaric Alps). In total, 191 specimens were collected (85 Anodonta, 64 Unio, 17 Microcondylaea bonellii and 25 Sinanodonta woodiana) from 34 sites across the Italian Peninsula and coastal Croatian river basins for molecular identification (COI, 16S and 28S). Genetic analyses were performed to understand major phylogenetic and phylogeographic patterns. Seven species were detected: three Anodonta species (A. anatina, A. cygnea and A. exulcerata), two Unio species (U. mancus and U. elongatulus), Microcondylaea bonellii, and the invasive Sinanodonta woodiana. The presence of three endemic species (A. exulcerata, U. elongatulus and M. bonellii) confirms the importance of the region as a centre of endemism for freshwater mussels. The Apennine Mountains act as an important biogeographic barrier.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1403-z
      Issue No: Vol. 26, No. 14 (2017)
  • Plants in traditional home gardens: richness, composition, conservation
           and implications for native biodiversity in Benin
    • Authors: Rodrigue Castro Gbedomon; Valère Kolawolé Salako; Aristide Cossi Adomou; Romain Glèlè Kakaï; Achille Ephrem Assogbadjo
      Pages: 3307 - 3327
      Abstract: Home gardens have received increasing attention and have been insistently presented as hotspots for agro-biodiversity over the last decades. However, apart from their exceptional high plant species diversity, there is little quantitative evidence of the effectiveness of plant species conservation in home gardens. This study examined this issue by assessing (i) the size and membership of garden flora and the contribution to the maintenance of the national flora, (ii) how home garden flora connects to the larger ecosystem it belongs to and (iii) the conservation status of plant species at the home garden level. 360 home gardens distributed in three agro-ecological zones and nine phyto-geographical districts in Benin were visited and inventoried. Diversity parameters at different taxonomic levels were calculated. Species accumulation and spatial occupancy, multivariate methods and rarity index were also used for data analysis. Findings showed that the 360 studied home gardens hosted up to 14.21% of plant species and 44.32% of plant families of the national flora. Home garden flora was constantly dominated by exotic plant species but strongly connected to their surrounding ecosystems, being composed of at least 60% of plant species from their phyto-geographical districts. Finally, home garden plant species were mostly rare and threatened at the home garden level. In this study, we acknowledge the contribution of home gardens to the maintenance of plant species diversity at regional and global levels than local level. Based on the observed prevalence of exotic species, HG effectiveness in sustainably conserving native plant species biodiversity remains questionable.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1407-8
      Issue No: Vol. 26, No. 14 (2017)
  • A hot-spot of biodiversity in Northern Patagonia, Argentina
    • Authors: Marina Güller; Diego G. Zelaya
      Pages: 3329 - 3342
      Abstract: Located along the Argentine coastline of northern Patagonia, are San Matías (SMG) and San José (SJG) gulfs; although they are regarded as an area with a high-priority conservational status, knowledge on their diversity is currently fragmentary. Studies on molluscs from this area have been historically centred in economic resources and few works have referred to non-commercial species. The present study aims to document the biological diversity of molluscs at the SMG/SJG area, in order to determine the significance of these two gulfs in the context of the Argentine marine fauna; to evaluate how well represented is this fauna in three protected areas; and to compare the fauna present in the protected areas with that of a non-protected area. For that purpose, molluscs coming from 132 sampling stations, ranging from the intertidal to 170 m depth, were studied, and a thorough bibliographic compilation was performed. A total of 196 species of molluscs are reported for the area. Surprisingly, almost one third of these species lacked previous records for SMG/SJG, including several new/possibly new species. The three studied protected areas contain 88.3% of the species recognised for the entire SMG/SJG area. Although several species appear as exclusive from one of these three areas, many of them are also present in an intermediately located, non-protected area. Molluscan diversity at the SMG/SJG area is greater than previously thought, comprising about 41.4% of the bivalves and 37.8% of the gastropods present in the Argentine shelf; thus suggesting that the area may be considered as a hot-spot of diversity in the Argentine Sea.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1408-7
      Issue No: Vol. 26, No. 14 (2017)
  • Habitat selection by Canada lynx: making do in heavily fragmented
    • Authors: Carmen Vanbianchi; William L. Gaines; Melanie A. Murphy; Jason Pither; Karen E. Hodges
      Pages: 3343 - 3361
      Abstract: Habitat loss and fragmentation result in landscapes where high quality habitat patches are surrounded by matrix habitats of low and variable quality. For mobile species to persist in such landscapes, individual animals often rely on the high quality habitats but also use matrix habitats for supplemental resources or while moving between higher quality patches. Determining what habitat features animals select when in these matrix areas is important, as retaining desirable features in lower quality habitats may enable species persistence. We examine a population of US federally threatened Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) in northcentral Washington, near the southwestern range limit, where lynx habitat is fragmented by topography, wildfires, and human impacts. We used Global Positioning System radio-collar data from 17 lynx in the North Cascade Mountains during 2007–2013 to explore lynx habitat use. We used Random Forest models to analyze core hunting, resting, and denning habitat, and the habitats lynx select while between patches of core habitat. While selecting core habitat, lynx used spruce (Picea engelmannii)-fir (Abies lasiocarpa), lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta), and mixed sub-boreal-Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) forests, and avoided dry forests and forest openings including new burns. When not in core habitat, lynx used a wider range of habitats, including new burns where fire skips and residual trees offered cover. Our results show clearly that Canada lynx tolerate a wider range of habitats where they occupy fragmented landscapes. Consequently, maintaining animals in fragmented landscapes requires that we identify and conserve not only the core habitats a particular species selects, but also the habitat features animals use while in less suitable environments.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1409-6
      Issue No: Vol. 26, No. 14 (2017)
  • Evidence of neotropical anuran community disruption on rice crops: a
           multidimensional evaluation
    • Authors: Joana Ribeiro; Guarino R. Colli; Janalee P. Caldwell; Eduardo Ferreira; Rafael Batista; Amadeu Soares
      Pages: 3363 - 3383
      Abstract: Agricultural expansion is a major driver of biodiversity loss, especially in the megadiverse tropics. Rice is among the world’s most important food crops, invariably affecting biodiversity worldwide. Although the effects of habitat conversion to rice crops on biodiversity are not completely understood, landscape modification often creates conditions that benefit some species and excludes others. We conducted an integrative evaluation of the effects that habitat conversion to irrigated rice crops has on anuran communities from a Cerrado-Amazon ecotone. We adopted a multidimensional approach to compare anuran communities from agricultural and pristine environments considering (i) taxonomic metrics; (ii) functional and phylogenetic diversity; (iii) selected and excluded traits and (iv) body condition indices. When compared to their pristine counterparts, agricultural waterbodies showed increased functional divergence and decreased species diversity and functional richness. Furthermore, agricultural anuran communities exhibited lower phylogenetic diversity. Nonetheless, taxonomic diversity did not vary significantly, suggesting that it should not be used without complementary metrics. Species with small range, habitat specialization, small clutches and large body size were excluded from rice crops. Furthermore, frogs showed lower body condition in crops than in pristine areas. Understanding how species traits correlate with specific responses to agriculture will allow better predictions of the functional effects of anthropogenic land-use. Maintaining high diversity in anthropogenic environments is important for ecosystem resilience because diverse communities are more likely to hold multiple species capable of contributing to ecological functions. Our results show that converting natural vegetation to irrigated rice crops drives many species to local extinction, and resilient species to exhibit lower body condition.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1410-0
      Issue No: Vol. 26, No. 14 (2017)
  • Diversity and trait composition of moths respond to land-use
           intensification in grasslands: generalists replace specialists
    • Authors: Jule Mangels; Konrad Fiedler; Florian D. Schneider; Nico Blüthgen
      Pages: 3385 - 3405
      Abstract: Grasslands belong to the ecologically most relevant habitats in cultural landscapes, but also provide high economic value when used as meadows or pastures. Land-use intensification in grasslands negatively affects plant diversity as well as arthropod communities that depend on plants as food source and habitat, with important consequences for the provision and resilience of ecosystem functioning. In this study, we sampled grassland moth species and investigated whether species composition, diversity and life-history trait characteristics of moth communities respond to the type and intensity of land use, comparing 26 sites in three different regions of Germany. Consistent across the three regions, we found that pastures grazed by cattle, horses or sheep harbour fundamentally different moth communities than meadows (mown and fertilized grasslands). Overall land-use intensity (LUI)—i.e., grazing intensity, amount of fertilizer applied and mowing frequency taken together—significantly reduced abundance and species richness as well as diversity. Some 27.6% of the species showed significant negative responses to LUI. A shift towards generalist life-history traits was observed: in frequently mown and fertilized meadows, rare specialist species were replaced by ubiquist species, i.e., highly reproductive habitat generalists. These results show the sensitivity of moths, an important group of arthropod herbivores and pollinators, to land use change in grassland ecosystems. The functional homogenization of life-history traits in plants along land-use gradients is mirrored by their herbivore consumers, leaving high-intensity grasslands less diverse and potentially less resilient to environmental disturbances.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1411-z
      Issue No: Vol. 26, No. 14 (2017)
  • Tourism and recreation a global threat to orchids
    • Authors: Jenna Wraith; Catherine Pickering
      Pages: 3407 - 3420
      Abstract: Orchidaceae is a mega diverse family accounting for 10% of the world’s flowering plants. Due to factors such as small dispersed populations, specific symbiosis with fungi and with pollinators and their desirability for collecting, many orchids are threatened with extinction. Tourism and recreation is increasingly recognised as a global threat for plants, but is it an issue for orchids' When data on orchids from the International Union for Nature Conservation (IUCN) Red List was reviewed, we found that 149 (40%) of the 442 orchid species with threat data were at risk from tourism and recreation. This included: 98 (22%) species threatened by residential and commercial development for tourism and recreation, 75 (17%) by intentional collecting within protected areas, and 90 (20%) by human intrusions and disturbance from recreational activities. The three threats often co-occurred and hence can be treated as a threat syndrome. The proportion of species threatened varied among locations with 80% of the 65 species in East Asia, 32% of 68 species in South and Southeast Asia and 94% of 16 orchid species in Europe threatened by tourism and recreation. Terrestrial orchids and those growing in forests were more likely to be at risk from these threats. With so many species at risk, increased awareness and recognition of these threats combined with improved management to reduce impacts is needed. Gaps and inconsistencies in the IUCN Red List must also be addressed to obtain a better understanding of the extent of this, and other threats to plants.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1412-y
      Issue No: Vol. 26, No. 14 (2017)
  • Google Trends and cycles of public interest in biodiversity: the animal
           spirits effect
    • Authors: Andreas Y. Troumbis
      Pages: 3421 - 3443
      Abstract: The paper introduces the idea of using Google Trends search query volumes for both economic and biodiversity-related terms and keywords as data source in order to produce a composite but simple indicator-early warning sign of public interest in conservation co-evolving with citizens’ concerns about economy and unemployment. The behavior of this indicator is examined mainly in the context of the European Union Member States facing the effects of economic recession after the 2008 economic crisis. Four EuroArea Member States (Germany, Greece, Italy and The Netherlands) representing various facets of the combination of biodiversity and economy conditions are used as examples of the characteristics of this indicator, during a ten year period, extending equally before and after the eruption of economic crisis. Results indicate that such an indicator uncovers that public interest in biodiversity does decelerate worldwide, in the European Union and in the four studied cases; however, an explanation of this decreasing trend as being part of larger cycles in public interest that resonate with some hysteresis with cycles of economy offers a more promising view of the phenomenon. The hypothesis that public interest in biodiversity is driven by “animal spirits”, according to Keynes’ prediction is formulated and its significance regarding communication and strategy of conservation is debated.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1413-x
      Issue No: Vol. 26, No. 14 (2017)
  • Comparison of road surveys and circuit theory to predict hotspot locations
           for implementing road-effect mitigation
    • Authors: S. P. Boyle; J. D. Litzgus; David Lesbarrères
      Pages: 3445 - 3463
      Abstract: The mitigation of road-effects on wildlife, especially road mortality and habitat fragmentation, has become increasingly common in the last 20 years. However, exclusion fencing and habitat connectivity structures can be very costly and several questions remain regarding how to best determine locations that will optimize mitigation success. Based on data collected across several years and across multiple landscapes and taxa, we present a comparative analysis of two methods: road surveys and circuit theory, and review their benefits and challenges to better inform decision making. Road surveys were completed in two locations over three years for large mammals and herpetofauna to identify road crossing hotspots. Circuit theory was also applied to these systems to identify crossing hotspots using habitat resistance models. The location, number and width of hotspots were compared between methods. Hotspot distributions were similar between methods for some herpetofauna, but different for Mammals, and road surveys produced a significantly greater number of smaller hotspots compared to circuit theory, implying that road surveys provide better hotspot resolution. As circuit model complexity increased, the number and width of hotspots decreased, diffusing across the landscape. Road surveys were better at predicting optimal crossing structure location at a local scale; however, circuit theory is less costly, and can be useful at large scales. As both methods can offer valuable information, we argue that the combination of these two approaches provides a strong basis for managers and biologists to make informed decisions about costly mitigation measures, optimizing both conservation benefits and limited funding.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1414-9
      Issue No: Vol. 26, No. 14 (2017)
  • Landscape connectivity and the role of small habitat patches as stepping
           stones: an assessment of the grassland biome in South America
    • Authors: Lorena P. Herrera; Malena C. Sabatino; Florencia R. Jaimes; Santiago Saura
      Pages: 3465 - 3479
      Abstract: Connectivity losses lead to a reduction of the amount of habitat resources that can be reached and used by species, and hence to a decline in the ranges and abundance of multiple taxa. Despite the recognized important role of small habitat patches for many species inhabiting fragmented landscapes, their potential contribution as stepping stones for maintaining overall landscape connectivity has received less attention. Using connectivity metrics based on a graph-theoretic approach we (i) quantified the connectivity of grassland patches in a sector of the Pampa region in Argentina, using a range of dispersal distances (from 100 to 10,000 m) representative of the scale of dispersal of different species; (ii) identified the most relevant patches for maintaining overall connectivity; and (iii) studied the importance of small patches (defined for different area thresholds of 5, 20, and 50 ha) as connectivity providers in the landscape. Although grassland patches were in general poorly connected at all distances, some of them were critical for overall connectivity and were found to play different crucial roles in the patch network. The location of small patches in the grassland network allowed them to function as stepping stones, yielding significant connectivity gains for species that move large distances (>5000 m) for the three area thresholds considered. Thus, under the spatial pattern of the studied landscape, species that move long distances would benefit from stepping stones, while less mobile organisms would benefit from, and mostly rely on the largest patches. We recommend that future management activities should (i) aim at preserving the grassland patches with the highest potential as stepping stones to promote landscape-level connectivity; and (ii) pay more attention to the conservation of key small patches, particularly given that usually they are those more vulnerable to land clearing for agriculture.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1416-7
      Issue No: Vol. 26, No. 14 (2017)
  • Species and functional trait re-assembly of ground beetle communities in
           restored grasslands
    • Authors: Nicholas A. Barber; Katie A. Lamagdeleine-Dent; Jason E. Willand; Holly P. Jones; Kenneth W. McCravy
      Pages: 3481 - 3498
      Abstract: Ecosystem restoration provides unique opportunities to study community dynamics under succession and can reveal how consumer communities re-assemble and respond to successional changes. Studying community dynamics from both taxonomic and functional trait perspectives also may provide more robust assessments of restoration progress or success and allow cross-system comparisons. We studied ground beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) communities for three years in a restored grassland chronosequence with sites from 0 to 28 years old. We measured traditional community metrics (abundance, richness, Shannon diversity) and functional trait metrics based on species’ body length, wing morphology, activity time, phenology, and diet. Communities had high species richness and abundance in early successional stages, but these declined in later stages to low levels comparable to an adjacent grassland remnant. Species composition also shifted with time, converging with the remnant. Although functional richness, like species richness, declined as succession progressed, functional divergence quickly increased and was maintained over time, suggesting niche differentiation in established communities. Young sites were typified by small, macropterous, phytophagous species, while older sites contained larger species more likely to be flightless and carnivorous. Prescribed burns also affected traits, decreasing prevalence of larger species. This study demonstrates that functionally diverse consumer communities can self-assemble under restoration practices. In a relatively short amount of time both morphological and trophic level diversity are established. However, prescribed fire intended to control non-desirable plants may also shape beetle community functional composition, and restoration managers should consider if plant community benefits of fire outweigh potential declines in consumer function.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1417-6
      Issue No: Vol. 26, No. 14 (2017)
  • Thinking beyond Western commercial honeybee hives: towards improved
           conservation of honey bee diversity
    • Authors: Denise Margaret S. Matias; Christian Borgemeister; Henrik von Wehrden
      Pages: 3499 - 3504
      Abstract: A decline of wild pollinators, along with a decline of bee diversity, has been a cause of concern among academics and governmental organizations. According to IPBES, a lack of wild pollinator data contributes to difficulties in comprehensively analyzing the regional status of wild pollinators in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Oceania. It may have also contributed to the prevailing lack of awareness of the diversity of honey bees, of which the managed Apis mellifera is often considered as “the (only) honey bee,” despite the fact that there are eight other honey bee species extant in Asia. A survey of 100 journal articles published in 2016 shows that 57% of the studies still identified A. mellifera as “the honey bee.” In total, 80% of studies were conducted solely on A. mellifera. This focus on A. mellifera has also caused the honey standard of Codex Alimentarius and the European Union to be based solely on A. mellifera, causing improper evaluation of honeys from other species. We recommend adapting current standards to reflect the diversity of honey bees and in the process correct failures in the honey market and pave the way towards improved protection of honey bee species and their habitats.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1404-y
      Issue No: Vol. 26, No. 14 (2017)
  • Colombian ecosystems at the crossroad after the new peace deal
    • Authors: Sergi Sabater; Juan David González-Trujillo; Arturo Elosegi; John Ch. Donato Rondón
      Pages: 3505 - 3507
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-017-1415-8
      Issue No: Vol. 26, No. 14 (2017)
  • Inference on diversity from forest inventories: a review
    • Authors: Piermaria Corona; Sara Franceschi; Caterina Pisani; Luigi Portoghesi; Walter Mattioli; Lorenzo Fattorini
      Pages: 3037 - 3049
      Abstract: A number of international agreements and commitments emphasize the importance of appropriate monitoring protocols and assessments as prerequisites for sound conservation and management of the world’s forest ecosystems. Mandated periodic surveys, like forest inventories, provide a unique opportunity to identify and properly satisfy natural resource management information needs. Distinctively, there is an increasing need for detecting diversity by means of unambiguous diversity measures. Because all diversity measures are functions of tree species abundances, estimation of tree diversity indices and profiles is inevitably performed by estimating tree species abundances and then estimating indices and profiles as functions of the abundance estimates. This strategy can be readily implemented in the framework of current forest inventory approaches, where tree species abundances are routinely estimated by means of plots placed onto the surveyed area in accordance with probabilistic schemes. The purpose of this paper is to assess the effectiveness of this strategy by reviewing theoretical results from published case studies. Under uniform random sampling (URS), that is when plots are uniformly and independently located on the study region, consistency and asymptotic normality of diversity index estimators follow from standard limit theorems as the sampling effort increases. In addition, variance estimation and bias reduction are achieved using the jackknife method. Despite its theoretical simplicity, URS may lead to uneven coverage of the study region. In order to avoid unbalanced sampling, the use of tessellation stratified sampling (TSS) is suggested. TSS involves covering the study region by a polygonal grid and randomly selecting a plot in each polygon. Under TSS, the diversity index estimators are consistent, asymptotically normal and more precise than those achieved using URS. Variance estimation is possible and there is no need to reduce bias.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-015-1017-2
      Issue No: Vol. 26, No. 13 (2017)
  • Implications of afforestation for bird communities: the importance of
           preceding land-use type
    • Authors: Conor T. Graham; Mark W. Wilson; Tom Gittings; Thomas C. Kelly; Sandra Irwin; John L. Quinn; John O’Halloran
      Pages: 3051 - 3071
      Abstract: Afforestation of open habitats is one of the principal land-use changes underway in Europe and elsewhere in the world at present, and it can have a considerable impact on local biodiversity. The sustainable expansion of global forest plantations requires an understanding of the factors that determine the ecological impacts of afforestation. This study set out to determine the importance of preceding land-use type in determining the outcomes of afforestation for bird communities. Paired comparisons of 5-year-old exotic conifer plantations and matching non-forested sites were studied in areas of low (peatland), intermediate (wet grassland) and high (improved grassland) management intensity. Afforestation resulted in an overall increase in total bird density in all three habitat types. The effects of forest planting on bird conservation were found to be positively related to prior management intensity at the site. The density of bird species of conservation concern increased in response to the planting of intensively managed grassland sites, but decreased in response to afforestation of peatlands and of grasslands under intermediate management intensity. This study shows that plantation forests can, in some contexts, offer opportunities for bird conservation, and the findings highlight the trade-offs that are an integral part of land-use change. Therefore, where afforestation planning includes consideration of its impact on bird communities, planting should take place predominantly on sites of low biodiversity value, such as agriculturally improved grasslands. Furthermore, the preservation of sites of high conservation value within areas of afforestation would confer advantages on bird communities.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-015-0987-4
      Issue No: Vol. 26, No. 13 (2017)
  • The role of planted forests in the provision of habitat: an Irish
    • Authors: Cormac J. O’Callaghan; Sandra Irwin; Kenneth A. Byrne; John O’Halloran
      Pages: 3103 - 3124
      Abstract: The continued decline of natural forests globally has increased interest in the potential of planted forests to support biodiversity. Here, we examine the potential conservation benefits of plantation forests from an Irish perspective, a country where remaining natural forests are fragmented and degraded, and the majority of the forest area is comprised of non-native Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr.) and Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) plantations. We examine the true value of Irish plantation forests to native biodiversity, relative to remaining natural forest fragments, and to prior and alternative land use to afforestation. We find that plantation forests provide a suitable surrogate habitat primarily for generalist species, as well as providing habitat for certain species of conservation concern. However, we find that plantation forests provide poor habitat for native forest specialists, and examine potential management strategies which may be employed to improve habitat provision services for this group.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-016-1125-7
      Issue No: Vol. 26, No. 13 (2017)
  • Stable nitrogen and carbon isotope ratios in wild native honeybees: the
           influence of land use and climate
    • Authors: Hisatomo Taki; Hiroshi Ikeda; Teruyoshi Nagamitsu; Mika Yasuda; Shinji Sugiura; Kaoru Maeto; Kimiko Okabe
      Pages: 3157 - 3166
      Abstract: The eastern hive bee Apis cerana is a major honeybee species in Asia providing numerous ecosystem services. Understanding how much the honeybees depend on natural and human-influenced plants and landscapes in different climates is important could contribute to evaluate how wild honeybees use food resources and to measure the ecosystem services. We investigated the effects of land use and climate changes on stable nitrogen and carbon isotope ratios in wild populations of A. cerana. In populations from 139 individual sites throughout Japan, we measured nitrogen (δ15N) and carbon (δ13C) stable isotope ratios and analyzed the effects of land use and climate. Our results showed that forested areas and annual precipitation had significant effects on δ15N, and that paddy fields and urban areas had significant effects on δ13C. These results suggest that A. cerana sensibly uses available food resources in the various environments and that stable nitrogen and carbon isotope ratios clearly reflect the effects of land use and climate changes on the populations of A. cerana. Thus, stable nitrogen and carbon isotope ratios in A. cerana, which widely distributes in Asia, can be used as indicators of the environments, such as land use and climate, of an area within its foraging range.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-016-1114-x
      Issue No: Vol. 26, No. 13 (2017)
  • An indigenous community-based monitoring system for assessing forest
           health in New Zealand
    • Authors: P. O’. B. Lyver; P. Timoti; C. J. Jones; S. J. Richardson; B. L. Tahi; S. Greenhalgh
      Pages: 3183 - 3212
      Abstract: The underlying ethos of ‘nature’s benefits’ contributing to human wellbeing provides a common platform for understanding the function and value of biodiversity for stakeholders. Diverse societal worldviews however create differences in the way cultures relate to and understand the environment. The objective of this study was to identify community-based indicators and metrics used by Māori in New Zealand to monitor forest health and community wellbeing. Eighty semi-directed interviews were conducted with 55 forest users within the Tuawhenua tribal group to identify forest health indicators and associated gradient of metrics to assess each indicator. Indicators were grouped within nine culturally-relevant themes: (1) food procurement (mahinga kai), (2) natural productivity (hua o te whenua), (3) nature of water (āhua o te wai), (4) nature of the land (āhua o te whenua), (5) nature of the forest (āhua o te ngahere), (6) perpetual occupation of land and place (ahikaaroa), (7) spiritual dimension (taha wairua), (8) physical health (taha kikokiko), and (9) mental health (taha hinengaro). Within these themes, indicators and associated metrics were aligned within two monitoring approaches: field survey and interview-based. Community members (n = 35 individuals) were asked to prioritise field survey indicators using a seven point Likert Scale of importance. A second survey was also conducted with Tuawhenua elders (n = 43 individuals) to determine changes in the frequency of forest use by the community. A decline in the proportion of the community venturing into the forest over the last 60 years for activities such as hunting, fishing, camping, and collecting plant resources was reported. This decline in regular forest use suggests a field survey approach would be an effective method for applying community-based indicators and to gain an understanding of forest health. Forest indicators that are evaluated over a longer timeframe (months, seasons or even years), or those indicators aligned with community wellbeing, would be better evaluated using an interview-based approach. The alignment of some community-based indicators with scientific-based measures would enrich and deepen knowledge about the state of biodiversity, broaden the relevance of monitoring and reporting within indigenous communities, and help to mitigate issues of ‘shifting baselines’.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-016-1142-6
      Issue No: Vol. 26, No. 13 (2017)
  • Spatially combining wood production and recreation with biodiversity
    • Authors: P. Vangansbeke; H. Blondeel; D. Landuyt; P. De Frenne; L. Gorissen; K. Verheyen
      Pages: 3213 - 3239
      Abstract: Pine plantations established on former heathland are common throughout Western Europe and North America. Such areas can continue to support high biodiversity values of the former heathlands in the more open areas, while simultaneously delivering ecosystem services such as wood production and recreation in the forested areas. Spatially optimizing wood harvest and recreation without threatening the biodiversity values, however, is challenging. Demand for woody biomass is increasing but other pressures on biodiversity including climate change, habitat fragmentation and air pollution are intensifying too. Strategies to spatially optimize different ecosystem services with biodiversity conservation are still underexplored in the research literature. Here we explore optimization scenarios for advancing ecosystem stewardship in a pine plantation in Belgium. Point observations of seven key indicator species were used to estimate habitat suitability using generalized linear models. Based on the habitat suitability and species’ characteristics, the spatially-explicit conservation value of different forested and open patches was determined with the help of a spatially-explicit conservation planning tool. Recreational pressure was quantified by interviewing forest managers and with automated trail counters. The impact of wood production and recreation on the conservation of the indicator species was evaluated. We found trade-offs between biodiversity conservation and both wood production and recreation, but were able to present a final scenario that combines biodiversity conservation with a restricted impact on both services. This case study illustrates that innovative forest management planning can achieve better integration of the delivery of different forest ecosystem services such as wood production and recreation with biodiversity conservation.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-016-1135-5
      Issue No: Vol. 26, No. 13 (2017)
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
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