Journal Cover Biological Conservation
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   Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
   ISSN (Print) 0006-3207
   Published by Elsevier Homepage  [3118 journals]
  • Social integration and acclimation of translocated bighorn sheep (Ovis
           canadensis)
    • Authors: Marc-Antoine Poirier; Marco Festa-Bianchet
      Pages: 1 - 9
      Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Marc-Antoine Poirier, Marco Festa-Bianchet
      Translocation of animals to reinforce small populations is a widespread technique in conservation biology. Recent reviews of translocation science underline the need to monitor translocated individuals. We sought to quantify social integration within the resident population and acclimation to a new environment of translocated bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) in a wild population in Alberta, Canada. We used precise metrics to evaluate post-release sociality, behavior and growth of translocated individuals. We observed a gradual assimilation of relocated sheep in the local population through increased social network centrality and decreased avoidance of residents. Translocated sheep spent more time vigilant and increased vigilance when forming groups with local residents. The initial social integration of translocated individuals involved high rates of received aggression. Translocated sheep gained 19% less mass than residents during the first summer following translocation. Females did not give birth until the third year following translocation. Our results suggest that translocated sheep required one year to acclimate to their new environment and socially integrate into the local population. This study provides empirical quantification of both social integration and temporal acclimation processes for population reinforcement programs of large mammals. It increases our understanding of post-release processes and will assist in evaluating future conservation actions.

      PubDate: 2017-12-13T03:07:10Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.11.031
      Issue No: Vol. 218 (2017)
       
  • Combining different spatio-temporal resolution images to depict landscape
           dynamics and guide wildlife management
    • Authors: Panteleimon Xofis; Konstantinos Poirazidis
      Pages: 10 - 17
      Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Panteleimon Xofis, Konstantinos Poirazidis
      Raptors are emblematic species of high conservation value and significant ecological role. Their conservation is of particular importance and it relies on the conservation of their habitats and the constant monitoring of their dynamics. In the current study we investigate land cover changes over the period 2001–2011, in one of the most important reserves for raptor conservation in Europe, the Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli Forest National Park. Very high and high spatial resolution satellite data were integrated in a single analysis, in order to exploit the high spatial accuracy of the former and the high temporal and spectral resolution of the latter. The results suggest that the applied method increases the overall accuracy of the mapping product from 73% to 89%, providing a tool to land managers and conservationists to study landscape dynamics and guide wildlife management. The analysis of land use changes revealed that wildfires of high intensity and large extent, constitute a new threat for the ecological integrity of the reserve. If the currently observed trend of wildfire behavior in Greece and southern Europe continues it is likely to affect the core zones of forest reserve, which consist primarily by dense forests with high fuel load, with detrimental effects for wildlife. The most important land cover change observed is the significant reduction of open areas, which form the main hunting areas for raptors. Open areas appear to be encroached by forest, leading to loss of heterogeneity which has been reported to be associated with high biodiversity. The results reveal the need for more active management measures that would decrease the risk of large stand replacing fires and would ensure a suitable landscape structure for raptors.

      PubDate: 2017-12-27T07:12:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.12.003
      Issue No: Vol. 218 (2017)
       
  • Local perceptions of trophy hunting on communal lands in Namibia
    • Authors: Hilma N. Angula; Greg Stuart-Hill; David Ward; Greenwell Matongo; Richard W. Diggle; Robin Naidoo
      Pages: 26 - 31
      Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Hilma N. Angula, Greg Stuart-Hill, David Ward, Greenwell Matongo, Richard W. Diggle, Robin Naidoo
      Trophy hunting in Africa is currently under pressure as some countries explore various policies that aim to put a halt to an activity that many people in the Western developed world view as unpalatable or unethical. However, in the debate over trophy hunting policy the voices of local communities, who in many instances allow wildlife to persist on the lands they control because of the tangible benefits they derive from it, have been largely unheard. Here, we report on an opportunistic survey of 160 rural residents of Namibia from 32 communal conservancies that generate varying levels of livelihood benefits from wildlife uses, including trophy hunting. About three quarters of these community members were employed in some manner by the conservancy. We used a mixed methods approach to assess community members' perceptions on trophy hunting, the benefits it generates, whether it was “good” or “bad”, and how they would respond if trophy hunting were halted. 91% stated they were not in favour of a ban on trophy hunting, and only 11% of respondents would support wildlife on communal lands if a ban were in fact enacted. Most respondents (90%) were happy with trophy hunting occurring on communal lands due to the benefits it provides. These responses were consistent across respondent demographic categories, although those who stand to lose the most (i.e., those employed by or managing a conservancy), viewed trophy hunting in an even more favourable light. Our results suggest that in Namibia, a trophy hunting ban would be viewed very poorly by conservancy residents, and would seriously weaken their support for wildlife conservation. The imposition of trophy hunting policies by countries far from where rural land managers are conserving wildlife would not only restrict communities' livelihood options, but may have perverse, negative impacts on wildlife conservation.

      PubDate: 2017-12-13T03:07:10Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.11.033
      Issue No: Vol. 218 (2017)
       
  • Disperse or die: Colonisation of transient open habitats in production
           forests is only weakly dispersal-limited in butterflies
    • Authors: Mari-Liis Viljur; Tiit Teder
      Pages: 32 - 40
      Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Mari-Liis Viljur, Tiit Teder
      Evaluating ecological processes that assemble local animal communities from available species pools has remained a challenging task. At a time of drastic decline of natural and seminatural grasslands, contemporary production forests provide various novel types of open spaces (clear-cuts, power line corridors, etc.) that are potentially suitable habitats for many grassland species, such as butterflies. On the other hand, grassland butterflies are known to perceive forest as a dispersal barrier, potentially limiting the utility of such alternative habitats. We evaluated the role of dispersal limitation in structuring local butterfly assemblages in conventionally managed forest landscapes in which clear-cutting generates varyingly isolated transient open habitats within the forest matrix. We compared butterfly species richness and composition in clear-cuts at opposite ends of a connectivity gradient: sites completely surrounded by forest (isolated clear-cuts) vs. sites connected to the network of other forest clearings by open corridors (non-isolated clear-cuts). We found only a slight difference in the species richness between isolated and non-isolated clear-cuts, both when all open-habitat species and when the subset of grassland species was compared. The frequencies of individual butterfly species in isolated and non-isolated sites were strongly correlated, regardless of their presumed dispersal ability. Our results indicate that, in large areas of production forests in Northern Europe, the formation of local butterfly assemblages is not significantly limited by dispersal. This study contributes to emerging evidence that open spaces in managed forest landscapes can be regarded as alternative habitat for a substantial share of species traditionally considered to be associated with grasslands.

      PubDate: 2017-12-13T03:07:10Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.12.006
      Issue No: Vol. 218 (2017)
       
  • Range expansion as an explanation for introgression in European wildcats
    • Authors: B. Nussberger; M. Currat; C.S. Quilodran; N. Ponta; L.F. Keller
      Pages: 49 - 56
      Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): B. Nussberger, M. Currat, C.S. Quilodran, N. Ponta, L.F. Keller
      Introgression between domestic and wild taxa is a conservation issue because it can lead to the genetic extinction of wild taxa. Understanding the causes of introgression is thus a crucial task for conservation biologists. Here we provide evidence from biparentally, paternally and maternally inherited genetic markers in hybridizing European wildcats (Felis silvestris silvestris) and domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus) that one cause of introgression can be range expansion of the threatened species. We analyzed 68 autosomal, two Y-chromosomal and four mitochondrial diagnostic single nucleotide polymorphisms, and a sequence of 384 base pair of mitochondrial DNA, in 224 wild- and domestic cats from the Jura region of eastern Switzerland and western France. Using Bayesian estimation approaches, we found more gene flow from domestic cats to wildcats than vice versa (0.017 and 0.003 migrants per generation). Introgression of maternally inherited markers was higher than of paternally inherited markers. To test if these observed introgression patterns might be explained by wildcat expansion, we simulated neutral genetic data under various models of hybridization including spatial features such as range expansion. The most likely scenario represented an expansion of wildcats into domestic cat range. We also explored the geographic distribution of wildcats and hybrids. In comparison to wildcats, hybrids were found closer to the edge of the wildcat distribution range. Overall, the patterns we observed are compatible with the hypothesis that introgression is caused by wildcat range expansion, rather than by domestic cat invasion of wildcat habitat. That the threatened European wildcat is expanding is a positive sign, but careful monitoring of introgression and its fitness consequences is needed to ensure that the wildcat does not go genetically extinct in the generations to come.

      PubDate: 2017-12-27T07:12:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.12.009
      Issue No: Vol. 218 (2017)
       
  • Private conservation funding from wildlife tourism enterprises in
           sub-Saharan Africa: Conservation marketing beliefs and practices
    • Authors: Ralf Buckley; Alexa Mossaz
      Pages: 57 - 63
      Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Ralf Buckley, Alexa Mossaz
      Conservation finance in many African countries relies heavily on tourism. Some commercial tourism companies provide substantial funding for private reserves, communal conservancies, and public protected areas, and for anti-poaching, breeding, and translocation programs. They also provide local employment, which generates community support for conservation. To generate funds, they must attract clients. This relies on marketing, which we analysed using staff interviews, marketing materials, and client comments. We found that they market: wildlife viewing opportunities first; luxury and exclusiveness second; and conservation projects third. They focus on flagship species such as the African big cats, and they market directly to tourists, and to specialist rather than generalist travel agents. In their view, conservation projects influence purchases significantly for some clients, but not for the majority, nor for travel agents. Therefore, maximum contributions to future conservation finance can be achieved through differential marketing to these two groups. Mainstream marketing is targeted at tourists who want the best wildlife viewing in the greatest comfort. Conservation marketing is targeted at tourists who purchase products that contribute to conservation. If these tourists were identified during marketing and booking, then conservation tourism enterprises could notify conservation trusts to seek donations.

      PubDate: 2017-12-27T07:12:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.12.001
      Issue No: Vol. 218 (2017)
       
  • Data transparency regarding the implementation of European ‘no net
           loss’ biodiversity policies
    • Authors: Joseph W. Bull; Kerstin Brauneder; Marianne Darbi; Astrid J.A. Van Teeffelen; Fabien Quétier; Sharon E. Brooks; Sebastian Dunnett; Niels Strange
      Pages: 64 - 72
      Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Joseph W. Bull, Kerstin Brauneder, Marianne Darbi, Astrid J.A. Van Teeffelen, Fabien Quétier, Sharon E. Brooks, Sebastian Dunnett, Niels Strange
      ‘No net loss’ (NNL) conservation policies seek to address development impacts on biodiversity. There have been no peer-reviewed multinational assessments concerning the actual implementation of NNL policies to date. Such assessments would facilitate more informed debates on the validity of NNL for conservation, but assessing implementation requires data. Here, we explore data transparency concerning NNL implementation, with four European countries providing a case study. Biodiversity offsets (offsets) are the most tangible outcome of NNL policy. Using an expert network to locate all offset datasets available within the public domain, we collated information on offset projects implemented in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. Implementation data for offsets were found to be non-transparent, but the degree of transparency varies widely by country. We discuss barriers preventing data transparency — including a perceived lack of necessity, lack of common protocols for collecting data, and a lack of resources to do so. For the data we collected we find that most offsets in Europe: are not within protected areas; involve active restoration; and, compensate for infrastructure development. The area occupied by European offsets is at least of the order ~102 km2. Transparent national NNL databases are essential for meeting good practice NNL principles, but are not currently available in Europe. We discuss what such databases might require to support evaluation of NNL policy effectiveness by researchers, the conservation community and policymakers.

      PubDate: 2017-12-27T07:12:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.12.002
      Issue No: Vol. 218 (2017)
       
  • Models for the collaborative management of Africa's protected areas
    • Authors: Mujon Baghai; Jennifer R.B. Miller; Lisa J. Blanken; Holly T. Dublin; Kathleen H. Fitzgerald; Patience Gandiwa; Karen Laurenson; James Milanzi; Alastair Nelson; Peter Lindsey
      Pages: 73 - 82
      Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Mujon Baghai, Jennifer R.B. Miller, Lisa J. Blanken, Holly T. Dublin, Kathleen H. Fitzgerald, Patience Gandiwa, Karen Laurenson, James Milanzi, Alastair Nelson, Peter Lindsey
      Africa's protected areas (PAs) are under severe and growing anthropogenic pressure. Resources for PA management are a small fraction of what is necessary in most countries, and many PAs are failing to fulfil their ecological, economic or social potential as a result. Collaborative management partnerships (CMPs), where non-profit organisations partner with state wildlife authorities, have the ability to improve PA management by facilitating long-term financial and technical support. While many have demonstrated success, there are barriers to setting up CMPs, including concern among some states that some partnerships may undermine sovereignty or appear an admission of failure. We interviewed 69 experts from state and non-profit partners about 43 PAs covering 473,861km2 in 16 African countries and analysed responses with principle component analysis to identify how partnerships differ, particularly in how they allocate governance and management responsibility. We identified three main CMP organisational structures: 1) delegated management, where a non-profit shares governance responsibility with the state and is delegated full management authority; 2) co-management, where a non-profit shares governance and management responsibility with the state; and 3) financial and technical support (advisory or implementary), where a non-profit assists the state with aspects of management without formal decision-making authority. Delegated models were associated with higher funding than co-management and financial-technical support partnerships, but models did not differ in PA land area size. Our study identifies the strengths and weaknesses of each model and offers recommendations for implementing successful CMPs, many of which are already playing a significant, positive role in conservation.

      PubDate: 2017-12-27T07:12:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.11.025
      Issue No: Vol. 218 (2017)
       
  • Using footprints to identify and sex giant pandas
    • Authors: Binbin V. Li; Sky Alibhai; Zoe Jewell; Desheng Li; Hemin Zhang
      Pages: 83 - 90
      Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Binbin V. Li, Sky Alibhai, Zoe Jewell, Desheng Li, Hemin Zhang
      Data on numbers and distribution of free-ranging giant panda are essential to the formulation of effective conservation strategies. There is still no ideal method to identify individuals and sex this species. The traditional bite-size method using bamboo fragments in their feces lacks accuracy. The modern DNA-based estimation is expensive and demands fresh samples. The lack of identifiable individual features on panda pelage and no apparent sexual dimorphism impede reliable estimation from camera trap images. Here, we propose an innovative and non-invasive technique to identify and sex this species using a footprint identification technique (FIT). It is based on a pairwise comparison of trails (unbroken series of footprints) using discriminant analysis, with a Ward's clustering method. We collected footprints from 30 captive animals to train our algorithm and used another 11 animals for model validation. The accuracy for individual identification was >90% for individuals with more than six footprints and 89% with fewer footprints per trail. The accuracy for sex discrimination was about 84% using a single footprint and 91% using trails. This cost-effective method provides a promising future for monitoring wild panda populations and understanding their dynamics and especially useful for monitoring reintroduced animals after the detachment of GPS collars. The data collection protocol is straightforward and accessible to citizen scientists and conservation professionals alike.

      PubDate: 2017-12-27T07:12:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.11.029
      Issue No: Vol. 218 (2017)
       
  • Why did the elephant cross the road' The complex response of wild
           elephants to a major road in Peninsular Malaysia
    • Authors: Jamie Wadey; Hawthorne L. Beyer; Salman Saaban; Nasharuddin Othman; Peter Leimgruber; Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz
      Pages: 91 - 98
      Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Jamie Wadey, Hawthorne L. Beyer, Salman Saaban, Nasharuddin Othman, Peter Leimgruber, Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz
      Roads cause negative impacts on wildlife by directly and indirectly facilitating habitat destruction and wildlife mortality. We used GPS telemetry to study the movements of 17 wild Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and a mechanistic modelling framework to analyse elephant response to a road bisecting their habitat in Belum-Temengor, northern Peninsular Malaysia. Our objectives were to (1) describe patterns of road crossing, (2) quantify road effects on movement patterns and habitat preference, and (3) quantify individual variation in elephant responses to the road. Elephants crossed the road on average 3.9±0.6 times a month, mostly (81% of times) at night, and crossing was not evenly distributed in space. The road caused a strong and consistent barrier effect for elephants, reducing permeability an average of 79.5%. Elephants, however, were attracted to the proximity to the road, where secondary forest and open habitats are more abundant and contain more food resources for elephants. Although the road acts as a strong barrier to movement (a direct effect), local changes to vegetation communities near roads attract elephants (an indirect effect). Given that risk of mortality (from poaching and vehicle collisions) increases near roads, roads may, therefore, create attractive sinks for elephants. To mitigate the impact of this road we recommend avoiding further road expansion, reducing and enforcing speed limits, limiting traffic volume at night, managing habitat near the road and, importantly, enhancing patrolling and other anti-poaching efforts. Our results are relevant for landscapes throughout Asia and Africa, where existing or planned roads fragment elephant habitats.

      PubDate: 2017-12-27T07:12:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.11.036
      Issue No: Vol. 218 (2017)
       
  • Preserving genetic connectivity in the European Alps protected area
           network
    • Authors: Sean D. Schoville; Alicia Dalongeville; Gaëlle Viennois; Felix Gugerli; Pierre Taberlet; Benoît Lequette; Nadir Alvarez; Stéphanie Manel
      Pages: 99 - 109
      Abstract: Publication date: February 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 218
      Author(s): Sean D. Schoville, Alicia Dalongeville, Gaëlle Viennois, Felix Gugerli, Pierre Taberlet, Benoît Lequette, Nadir Alvarez, Stéphanie Manel
      Due to their static nature, protected areas (PAs) are vulnerable to global change, and resident species will likely need to colonize new sites and exchange migrants to sustain viable local populations. Alpine habitats often have a high level of protection, yet extensive environmental heterogeneity and the limited dispersal ability of many endemic species makes it unclear whether PA networks provide sufficient connectivity to protect vulnerable species. We assess landscape connectivity in the European alpine PA network by combining measures of habitat and genetic connectivity using community landscape genetics approaches. Examining 27 plant species, we compare levels of genetic diversity in PA and non-PA sites, and rank non-PA sites for their potential value in facilitating genetic and habitat connectivity, as well as preserving species richness in 893 alpine plants. Non-PA sites do not significantly enhance overall levels of genetic variability across species. However, spatial genetic turnover (allele frequency variation across space) is influenced by geographical and environmental distance, suggesting that genetic connectivity, and by extension landscape connectivity, is impacted by gaps in the PA network. A subset of non-PA sites, when measured for habitat connectivity, genetic connectivity and species richness using spatial graphs, substantially increase landscape connectivity for alpine plants, although there are discrepancies among metrics in ranking sites. We provide the first example of the evaluation and prediction of new PAs including levels of intraspecific genetic diversity for a whole community. This has significance for the management and extension of the European alpine network, especially in identifying valuable unprotected sites.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2017-12-27T07:12:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.12.017
      Issue No: Vol. 218 (2017)
       
  • Habitat diversity and connectivity govern the conservation value of
           restored aquatic floodplain habitats
    • Authors: Joachim Pander; Melanie Mueller; Juergen Geist
      Pages: 1 - 10
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Joachim Pander, Melanie Mueller, Juergen Geist
      Floodplains have been strongly altered by human activities such as channelization and other river regulations. Globally, there is a growing interest in their restoration because of an increasing understanding of the ecological importance of these habitats for feeding, spawning, nursery or overwintering of aquatic species. In this study, a large floodplain restoration project of the upper Danube River was used to investigate colonization and succession patterns of fish, macroinvertebrates, macrophytes and periphyton in relation to abiotic habitat variables that can be restored through ecosystem management. Highest species diversity was detected near the contact zones of the floodplain channel to the main stem of the Danube, and in the transition zones of river sections (RS) and oxbow lakes (OS). The highest proportions of all taxa (82%) and of distinctive species (22%) were detected in RS, followed by OS (66% of all taxa, 8% distinctive species) and floodplain ponds (FP, 47% of all taxa, 5% distinctive species). The habitat types RS, OS and FP significantly differed in overall community composition and their colonization processes comprising fast colonization of current-adapted specialists in RS, and mostly generalist species in OS and FP. Our results indicate that restoration of floodplain habitats should not only consider the re-establishment of maximum connectivity, but also provide a mosaic of distinct habitat types with different degrees of connectivity and disturbance. Each habitat type in the floodplain supported a unique assemblage of species, which suggests that such habitat mosaics can facilitate exceptionally diverse ecosystems.

      PubDate: 2017-11-01T23:32:31Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.10.024
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Sharks, rays and abortion: The prevalence of capture-induced parturition
           in elasmobranchs
    • Authors: Kye R. Adams; Lachlan C. Fetterplace; Andrew R. Davis; Matthew D. Taylor; Nathan A. Knott
      Pages: 11 - 27
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Kye R. Adams, Lachlan C. Fetterplace, Andrew R. Davis, Matthew D. Taylor, Nathan A. Knott
      The direct impacts of fishing on chondrichthyans (sharks, rays and chimeras) are well established. Here we review a largely unreported, often misinterpreted and poorly understood indirect impact of fishing on these animals — capture-induced parturition (either premature birth or abortion). Although direct mortality of discarded sharks and rays has been estimated, the prevalence of abortion/premature birth and subsequent generational mortality remains largely unstudied. We synthesize a diffuse body of literature to reveal that a conservative estimate of >12% of live bearing elasmobranchs (n=88 species) show capture-induced parturition. For those species with adequate data, we estimate capture-induced parturition events ranging from 2 to 85% of pregnant females (average 24%). To date, capture-induced parturition has only been observed in live-bearing species. We compile data on threat-levels, method of capture, reproductive mode and gestation extent of premature/aborted embryos. We also utilise social media to identify 41 social-media links depicting a capture-induced parturition event which provide supplementary visual evidence for the phenomenon. The mortality of embryos will have implications for elasmobranch populations, and there are limited options to deal with this problem. This review is the first to synthesize available data on capture-induced parturition in sharks and rays, and highlights an important ethical and management issue for fishers and managers deserving of much greater attention.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2017-11-01T23:32:31Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.10.010
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Where are commodity crops certified, and what does it mean for
           conservation and poverty alleviation'
    • Authors: Catherine Tayleur; Andrew Balmford; Graeme M. Buchanan; Stuart H.M. Butchart; Christine Corlet Walker; Heather Ducharme; Rhys E. Green; Jeffrey C. Milder; Fiona J. Sanderson; David H.L. Thomas; Lukasz Tracewski; Juliet Vickery; Ben Phalan
      Pages: 36 - 46
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Catherine Tayleur, Andrew Balmford, Graeme M. Buchanan, Stuart H.M. Butchart, Christine Corlet Walker, Heather Ducharme, Rhys E. Green, Jeffrey C. Milder, Fiona J. Sanderson, David H.L. Thomas, Lukasz Tracewski, Juliet Vickery, Ben Phalan
      Voluntary sustainability standards have expanded dramatically over the last decade. In the agricultural sector, such standards aim to ensure environmentally and socially sustainable production of a variety of commodity crops. However, little is known about where agricultural certification operates and whether certified lands are best located for conserving the world's most important biodiversity and benefiting the most vulnerable producers. To examine these questions we developed the first global map of commodity crop certification, synthesizing data from over one million farms to reveal the distribution of certification in unprecedented detail. It highlights both geographical clusters of certification as well as spatial bias in the location of certification with respect to environmental, livelihood and physical variables. Excluding organic certification, for which spatial data were not available, most certification of commodity crops is in tropical regions. Certification appears to be concentrated in areas important for biodiversity conservation, but not in those areas most in need of poverty alleviation, although there were exceptions to each of these patterns. We argue that the impact of sustainability standards could be increased by identifying places where it would be most beneficial to strengthen, consolidate, and expand certification. To achieve this, standards organizations will need to undertake more rigorous collection of spatial data, and more detailed analysis of their existing reach and impacts, with attention to potential trade-offs between different objectives. Efforts to promote spatial prioritization will require new partnerships to align specific conservation aims with the interests and capabilities of farmers.

      PubDate: 2017-11-01T23:32:31Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.09.024
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Patterns and causes of oviposition in monarch butterflies: Implications
           for milkweed restoration
    • Authors: Grace M. Pitman; D.T. Tyler Flockhart; D. Ryan Norris
      Pages: 54 - 65
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Grace M. Pitman, D.T. Tyler Flockhart, D. Ryan Norris
      Effective habitat restoration requires an understanding of species habitat preferences and the associated mechanisms driving those preferences. We examined the patterns and causes of oviposition preference in the monarch butterfly, a rapidly declining species, in southwestern Ontario at both landscape and milkweed patch spatial scales. Additionally, we measured the abundance of invertebrate predators, parasitoids and parasites across these same spatial scales. Oviposition preference was dependent on both the size of the milkweed patch and the density of milkweed within the patch, as well as landscape type. Small (<16m2), low-density (0.1–2 milkweed per m2) milkweed patches in agricultural landscape had the highest egg density compared to all types of milkweed patches in non-agricultural and roadside landscapes. Medium-sized patches had the highest predator abundance. Variation in the abundance of parasitoids, and occurrence of parasites of monarch eggs and larvae did not appear to coincide with preferred egg laying habitats. Our results suggest that investing heavily in milkweed restoration in roadside habitats should be done cautiously. Instead, a better strategy may be for managers to develop incentive programs with landowners to plant and maintain milkweeds in agricultural landscapes, which could complement other pollinator initiatives or ecosystem service programs in agricultural landscapes that focus on increasing nectar availability. Our results have important implications for restoring milkweed as an approach to counteract monarch butterflies declines.

      PubDate: 2017-11-09T02:28:12Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.10.019
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Common bats are more abundant within Natura 2000 areas
    • Authors: Christian Kerbiriou; Clémentine Azam; Julien Touroult; Julie Marmet; Jean-François Julien; Vincent Pellissier
      Pages: 66 - 74
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Christian Kerbiriou, Clémentine Azam, Julien Touroult, Julie Marmet, Jean-François Julien, Vincent Pellissier
      The Natura 2000 network is the largest conservation effort in Europe. However, despite the known importance of conserving common and widespread biodiversity, criteria used to designate a Natura 2000 site are oriented toward rare and/or emblematic biodiversity. In this study, we took advantage of the fact that the management of Natura 2000 is just beginning to assess whether the five most common bat (Chiroptera) species and one genus in France exhibit a greater relative abundance within rather than outside Natura 2000 boundaries, and three bats communities index: total relative abundance, species richness, Community Habitat specialization index. We model the relative abundance of each taxa and indices using data from a nationwide volunteer-based acoustic survey. We found that three of the six taxa studied exhibit greater relative abundance within Natura 2000 sites (this increase is noteworthy for E. serotinus (×2.1) and Myotis ssp. (×3.6)). We also provide evidence that total relative abundance of bat activity and richness are globally higher in Natura 2000 sites (respectively +24% and +14%) and on average communities are more specialized within Natura 2000 sites. In addition, when the effect of Natura 2000 is adjusted to the main land use types, a significant positive effect of Natura 2000 remains for most metrics. The positive Natura 2000 effect appears relatively small compared to the main land use pressure: intensive agriculture and artificial light at night. However, Natura 2000 has a comparable sized effect as habitat widely recognized as having a positive impact on bats, such as streams.

      PubDate: 2017-11-09T02:28:12Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.10.029
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Robust estimation of snare prevalence within a tropical forest context
           using N-mixture models
    • Authors: Hannah J. O'Kelly; J. Marcus Rowcliffe; Sarah M. Durant; E.J. Milner-Gulland
      Pages: 75 - 82
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Hannah J. O'Kelly, J. Marcus Rowcliffe, Sarah M. Durant, E.J. Milner-Gulland
      Hunting with snares is indiscriminate and wasteful, and this practice is currently one of the gravest threats to terrestrial vertebrates in the tropics. However, as snares are difficult to detect and often dispersed widely across large, inaccessible areas it is problematic to reliably estimate their prevalence and no standard survey methods exist. Conservation managers need reliable, timely, information on the spatio-temporal patterns of hunting and on responses to interventions, and we present an innovative sampling and analysis framework that allows for the rigorous estimation of snare detectability and ‘abundance’, but which can be feasibly implemented in challenging field contexts. This new approach was used to undertake a large-scale systematic snare survey in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, in Eastern Cambodia, and the resulting data were analysed using a novel application of N-mixture models. A range of environmental and management factors were examined as potential determinants of snare abundance and detectability, and proximity to the Vietnamese border was shown to be overwhelmingly the most influential factor. Snares were more common in the wet season rather than the dry season, and the detection probability of snares was shown to be low (~0.33), as predicted. No clear relationships between snaring levels, anti-poaching patrol effort and ungulate densities were evident from these data. There was clear evidence that certain factors, such as the percentage of dense forest cover, will exert confounding effects on both detectability and abundance, highlighting the critical need to take account of the imperfect detection when designing threat monitoring systems.

      PubDate: 2017-11-09T02:28:12Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.10.007
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • The albatross of assessing and managing risk for long-lived pelagic
           seabirds
    • Authors: Victoria J. Bakker; Myra E. Finkelstein; Daniel F. Doak; Eric A. VanderWerf; Lindsay C. Young; Javier A. Arata; Paul R. Sievert; Cynthia Vanderlip
      Pages: 83 - 95
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Victoria J. Bakker, Myra E. Finkelstein, Daniel F. Doak, Eric A. VanderWerf, Lindsay C. Young, Javier A. Arata, Paul R. Sievert, Cynthia Vanderlip
      Pelagic predators such as albatross have long been of conservation concern, but assessing their status poses numerous challenges. A standard monitoring method for albatross is colony-based nest counts to track numbers of breeders. However, a variable proportion of the population skips breeding in any given year and cannot be quantified by nest counts, creating several complications to efforts in understanding population dynamics. We used stochastic demographic matrix models for black-footed (Phoebastria nigripes) and Laysan (P. immutabilis) albatross to investigate: i) the potential for the skipping behavior of breeders to create apparent density dependence in nest counts, ii) the limitations to assessing population trends from nest counts and implications for evaluating impacts from fisheries bycatch, including calculating Potential Biological Removal values, and iii) the relative importance of at-sea versus on-island threats to population viability. We found the increased likelihood of these albatrosses skipping breeding following a successful season – a feature common to many seabirds and other taxa – results in substantial negative temporal auto-correlation in the observable population that can be misinterpreted as negative density dependence, with important implications for inferences about population viability. Black-footed albatross appear limited by fisheries bycatch, while Laysan albatross, which have low estimated bycatch mortality, are currently at greater risk from island-based threats. Our results suggest a cautionary approach to managing black-footed and Laysan albatross should be adopted because detecting population declines from nest counts could take decades. Ultimately, we highlight the inherent difficulties in assessing population status and trends in long-lived species such as albatross.

      PubDate: 2017-11-09T02:28:12Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.08.022
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of local- and regional-scale wildlife
           corridors using quantitative metrics of functional connectivity
    • Authors: R. Naidoo; J.W. Kilian; P. Du Preez; P. Beytell; O. Aschenborn; R.D. Taylor; G. Stuart-Hill
      Pages: 96 - 103
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): R. Naidoo, J.W. Kilian, P. Du Preez, P. Beytell, O. Aschenborn, R.D. Taylor, G. Stuart-Hill
      While corridors in conservation have a long history of use, evaluations of proposed or existing corridors in conservation landscapes are important to avoid the same fate as poorly-functioning “paper parks”. We used resistance surface modeling and circuit theory to evaluate a number of corridors developed at regional and at local scales that aim to improve connectivity for large wildlife in the central part of the Kavango-Zambezi transfrontier conservation area. We used hourly GPS data from 16 collared African elephants (Loxodonta africana), and associated environmental data at used versus available movement paths, to develop a hierarchical Bayesian path selection function model. We used the resulting resistance surface across the study area as an input into circuit theory modeling to assess how well connectivity levels were captured by both types of corridors relative to several alternative scenarios. We found that the majority of regional-scale corridors performed relatively well at capturing elevated levels of connectivity relative to non-corridor comparisons, with 7 of 9 corridors rated as good or better in terms of how they captured electrical current levels (a proxy for connectivity). In contrast, only 14 of 33 smaller-scale, local corridors captured significantly higher levels of connectivity than adjacent non-corridor areas. Our results have practical implications for the design and implementation of wildlife connectivity conservation efforts in the world's largest transfrontier conservation landscape. Modern connectivity science approaches can help evaluate which proposed corridors are likely to function as intended, and which may need further refinement.

      PubDate: 2017-11-09T02:28:12Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.10.037
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Continuous cover forestry is a cost-efficient tool to increase
           multifunctionality of boreal production forests in Fennoscandia
    • Authors: Maiju Peura; Daniel Burgas; Kyle Eyvindson; Anna Repo; Mikko Mönkkönen
      Pages: 104 - 112
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Maiju Peura, Daniel Burgas, Kyle Eyvindson, Anna Repo, Mikko Mönkkönen
      Earlier research has suggested that the diversification of silvicultural strategies is a cost-efficient tool to ensure multifunctionality in production forests. This study compared the effects of continuous cover forestry and conventional rotation forestry on ecosystem services and biodiversity in boreal forests in Finland. We simulated over 25,000 commercial forest stands for 100years under continuous cover and rotation forest management. Forests without management were used as a reference. We compared the effects of silvicultural practices over space and time on ecosystem services, biodiversity indicators and multifunctionality. Our results revealed that continuous cover forestry was better than rotation forest management in terms of timber net present value, carbon sequestration, bilberry production, scenic beauty and the number of large trees. It provided higher habitat availability for indicator species dependent on deciduous trees and mature forest structure. Rotation forest management was better than continuous cover forestry in terms of harvested tree biomass, cowberries, mushrooms, and species dependent on high tree volume. In general, multifunctionality was higher in continuous cover forests than in rotation forests. Therefore, continuous cover forests may have a greater potential to produce simultaneously multiple benefits from forests. However, unmanaged forests often provided the highest levels of services and biodiversity making their role indispensable in delivering forest related ecosystem services and, especially, in the maintenance of biodiversity. Continuous cover forestry does not itself guarantee the maintenance of all ecosystem services and biodiversity in commercial forests but it can be an important part of a successful progression towards more sustainable forestry.

      PubDate: 2017-11-09T02:28:12Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.10.018
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • High-throughput eDNA monitoring of fungi to track functional recovery in
           ecological restoration
    • Authors: DongFeng Yan; Jacob G. Mills; Nicholas J.C. Gellie; Andrew Bissett; Andrew J. Lowe; Martin F. Breed
      Pages: 113 - 120
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): DongFeng Yan, Jacob G. Mills, Nicholas J.C. Gellie, Andrew Bissett, Andrew J. Lowe, Martin F. Breed
      Fungi are key functional components of ecosystems (e.g. decomposers, symbionts), but are rarely included in restoration monitoring programs. Many fungi occur belowground, making them difficult to observe directly, but are observable with environmental DNA (eDNA) methods. Although eDNA approaches have been proposed as ecological monitoring tools for microbial diversity, their application to restoration projects is very limited. We used eDNA metabarcoding of fungal ITS barcodes on soil collected across a 10-year restoration chronosequence to explore fungal responses to restoration. We observed a dramatic shift in the fungal community towards that of the natural fungal community after just 10 years of active native plant revegetation. Agaricomycetes and other Basidiomycota – involved in wood decay and ectomycorrhizal symbiosis – increased in rarefied sequence abundance in older restored sites. Ascomycota dominated the fungal community, but decreased in rarefied sequence abundance across the restoration chronosequence. Our results highlight eDNA metabarcoding as a useful restoration monitoring tool that allows quantification of changes in important fungal indicator groups linked with functional recovery and, being underground, are normally omitted in restoration monitoring.

      PubDate: 2017-11-09T02:28:12Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.10.035
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Grassland connectivity in fragmented agricultural landscapes of the
           north-central United States
    • Authors: Michael C. Wimberly; Diane M. Narem; Peter J. Bauman; Benjamin T. Carlson; Marissa A. Ahlering
      Pages: 121 - 130
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Michael C. Wimberly, Diane M. Narem, Peter J. Bauman, Benjamin T. Carlson, Marissa A. Ahlering
      In the prairies of North America, remnant native grasslands are threatened by continuing agricultural extensification. Fragmentation of the remaining grassland isolates patches and limits the potential for dispersal of native species. We explored these impacts by analyzing the spatial pattern of native grassland habitats in the Prairie Coteau region of eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota, USA. Undisturbed grasslands were mapped using a GIS database of land use history combined with manual interpretation of high-resolution aerial photographs. Network analysis based on graph theory was used to examine how connectivity changed depending on the potential movement distances of organisms and to identify important patches that made large contributions to connectivity throughout the broader network. Interpatch movement was assessed using Euclidian distance as well as cost-weighted distance that assigned lower movement cost to grasslands than to human-modified land cover types. Much of the undisturbed grassland was concentrated in a single large cluster, which was connected to other habitat concentrations via corridors of “stepping stone” patches. A small number of “keystone patches”, whose loss would have a disproportionately large effect on overall connectivity, were also identified. The locations of the major corridors were relatively consistent across different movement distances. Information about patch-level importance for overall network connectivity should be taken into account when prioritizing conservation and restoration. Future studies can build on this research by conducting more detailed assessments focused on particular species of concern and portions of the study area where connectivity is most limited.

      PubDate: 2017-11-09T02:28:12Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.10.031
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Coffee management and the conservation of forest bird diversity in
           southwestern Ethiopia
    • Authors: Patrícia Rodrigues; Girma Shumi; Ine Dorresteijn; Jannik Schultner; Jan Hanspach; Kristoffer Hylander; Feyera Senbeta; Joern Fischer
      Pages: 131 - 139
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Patrícia Rodrigues, Girma Shumi, Ine Dorresteijn, Jannik Schultner, Jan Hanspach, Kristoffer Hylander, Feyera Senbeta, Joern Fischer
      Moist evergreen forests of southwestern Ethiopia host high levels of biodiversity and have a high economic value due to coffee production. Coffee is a native shrub that is harvested under different management systems; its production can have both beneficial and detrimental effects for biodiversity. We investigated how bird community composition and richness, and abundance of different bird groups responded to different intensities of coffee management and the landscape context. We surveyed birds at 66 points in forest habitat with different intensities of coffee management and at different distances from the forest edge. We explored community composition using detrended correspondence analysis in combination with canonical correspondence analysis and indicator species analysis, and used generalized linear mixed models to investigate the responses of different bird groups to coffee management and landscape context. Our results show that (1) despite considerable bird diversity including some endemics, species turnover in the forest was relatively low; (2) total richness and abundance of birds were not affected by management or landscape context; but (3) the richness of forest and dietary specialists increased with higher forest naturalness, and with increasing distance from the edge and amount of forest cover. These findings show that traditional shade coffee management practices can maintain a diverse suite of forest birds. To conserve forest specialists, retaining undisturbed, remote forest is particularly important, but structurally diverse locations near the forest edge can also harbour a high diversity of specialists.

      PubDate: 2017-11-09T02:28:12Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.10.036
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • “The ‘future of conservation’ debate: Defending ecocentrism and the
           Nature Needs Half movement”
    • Authors: Helen Kopnina; Haydn Washington; Joe Gray; Bron Taylor
      Pages: 140 - 148
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Helen Kopnina, Haydn Washington, Joe Gray, Bron Taylor
      The Future of Conservation survey, launched in March 2017, has proposed a framework to help with interpreting the array of ethical stances underpinning the motivations for biological conservation. In this article we highlight what is missing in this debate to date. Our overall aim is to explore what an acceptance of ecocentric ethics would mean for how conservation is practised and how its policies are developed. We start by discussing the shortcomings of the survey and present a more convincing and accurate categorization of the conservation debate. Conceiving the future of conservation as nothing less than an attempt to preserve abundant life on earth, we illustrate the strategic and ethical advantage of ecocentric over anthropocentric approaches to conservation. After examining key areas of the current debate we endorse and defend the Nature Needs Half and bio-proportionality proposals. These proposals show how the acceptance of an ecocentric framework would aid both practices and policies aimed at promoting successful conservation. We conclude that these proposals bring a radically different and more effective approach to conservation than anthropocentric approaches, even though the latter purport to be pragmatic.

      PubDate: 2017-11-09T02:28:12Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.10.016
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Spatiotemporal response of mountain caribou to the intensity of
           backcountry skiing
    • Authors: Frédéric Lesmerises; Florent Déry; Chris J. Johnson; Martin-Hugues St-Laurent
      Pages: 149 - 156
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Frédéric Lesmerises, Florent Déry, Chris J. Johnson, Martin-Hugues St-Laurent
      Nature-based activities promote human-fauna encounters, which may be perceived as a type of predation risk. This pattern of human avoidance is well-known, but is often related to major anthropogenic disturbances. The response of animals to less intensive or ephemeral human activities, such as backcountry skiing and hiking is not well studied. Yet, these activities occur in many protected areas, where managers are trying to conserve some of the most threatened species. This is the case for the Endangered Atlantic-Gaspésie mountain caribou in the Gaspésie National Park. To assess the impact of backcountry skiing, we used GPS telemetry to monitor 20 caribou frequenting a ski area partially included in the Park. More than 12% of caribou locations were within the ski area when skiers were absent. Use of that area by caribou decreased to 6% when there were skiers. Coefficients from a resource selection function suggested that caribou avoided the ski area, and the disturbance response was modulated by the number of skiers. Caribou were not significantly displaced within the first 6h of exposure to skiers, but thereafter moved away from the ski area for ~48h to lower elevation habitats where predation from coyotes was potentially greater. Our results revealed a relatively strong disturbance response and corresponding functional loss of a possible noticeable portion of habitat as a result of backcountry skiing. Park managers should consider even small numbers of recreationists as they could have an important impact on animal distribution.

      PubDate: 2017-11-09T02:28:12Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.10.030
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Using fossil records to inform reintroduction of the kakapo as a refugee
           species
    • Authors: Pia E. Lentini; Ingrid A. Stirnemann; Dejan Stojanovic; Trevor H. Worthy; John A. Stein
      Pages: 157 - 165
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Pia E. Lentini, Ingrid A. Stirnemann, Dejan Stojanovic, Trevor H. Worthy, John A. Stein
      Many threatened species persist only as relict populations occupying a fraction of their former distribution, in habitats which may not be optimal for supporting viable populations. Following population growth of one such species, the kakapo (Strigops habroptilus), conservation managers are faced with the challenge of identifying suitable locations for reintroduction. Areas which support habitat conditions typical of those occupied by kakapo in the past have the greatest potential to support future populations. We collated occurrences of kakapo from recent fossil records, then used MaxEnt to model the past distribution of kakapo across New Zealand, and contemporary areas suitable for reintroductions based on extant habitat and present-day climate. We validated our models against three independent data sets of the most recent relict populations. Our models suggest that kakapo once occurred in mountain beech and Hall's totara or broadleaf forests with moderate to high precipitation and milder winters. Areas predicted to be environmentally suitable for kakapo in contemporary New Zealand include the west coast of the South Island, the west and north-east of the North Island and the southern side of Lake Taupo. Assuming that known threats of introduced predators can be managed, our study suggests that suitable kakapo habitat persists in New Zealand, and here we offer insight into locations for future population establishment. Given the finite carrying capacity of offshore islands, this is an important first step which will enable kakapo managers to prioritise focal areas and also highlights the benefits and potential pitfalls of using these modelling approaches for refugee species.

      PubDate: 2017-11-09T02:28:12Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.10.027
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Stronger response of farmland birds than farmers to climate change leads
           to the emergence of an ecological trap
    • Authors: Andrea Santangeli; Aleksi Lehikoinen; Anna Bock; Pirjo Peltonen-Sainio; Lauri Jauhiainen; Marco Girardello; Jari Valkama
      Pages: 166 - 172
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Andrea Santangeli, Aleksi Lehikoinen, Anna Bock, Pirjo Peltonen-Sainio, Lauri Jauhiainen, Marco Girardello, Jari Valkama
      Climate change is triggering adaptation by people and wildlife. The speed and magnitude of these responses may disrupt ecological equilibria and potentially cause further biodiversity losses, but this has rarely been studied. Species inhabiting human-dominated landscapes may be particularly negatively affected by human adaptations to climate change. This could be, for example, the case of ground-nesting farmland birds, a group of highly vulnerable species that may be impacted by shifts in the timing of mechanical farming operations in response to climate change. Here we aim to explore whether trends in phenology of breeding ground-nesting birds differ from those of farming practices, and whether differences lead to the emergence of phenological mistiming with detrimental consequences to the birds. To achieve our objective, we ran linear mixed effects models using a 38-year dataset on onset of farming practices (i.e. sowing dates) and laying date of two endangered ground-nesting farmland birds (Northern lapwing and Eurasian curlew) in Finland. We found that timing of farming practices advanced slower than birds nesting phenology, with birds progressively starting nesting before fields are sown. These nests are at high risk of destruction from incoming sowing operations. The results highlight the importance of considering human adaptation responses, in addition to those of wildlife, for implementing species conservation in managed landscapes under climate change.

      PubDate: 2017-11-09T02:28:12Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.11.002
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Localized disturbances from oil sands developments increase butterfly
           diversity and abundance in Alberta's boreal forests
    • Authors: Federico Riva; John H. Acorn; Scott E. Nielsen
      Pages: 173 - 180
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Federico Riva, John H. Acorn, Scott E. Nielsen
      Understanding species responses to changes in habitat is a primary focus of biodiversity conservation, especially when assessing widespread anthropogenic disturbance. Extraction of Alberta's subterranean oil sands by wells requires extensive networks of cleared linear disturbances (“in situ” extraction) that result in widespread, but localized increases in early seral habitats. Little is known about biodiversity responses to these disturbances, especially for invertebrates. Here, we investigated how butterflies responded to in situ oil sands developments in the boreal forests of Wood Buffalo region, Alberta, Canada. To assess the magnitude of change associated with different disturbance types, we compared abundance and diversity of butterflies in undisturbed forests with those observed in 3-m and 9-m wide cleared corridors (seismic lines), 60×60m clearings (well pads), and roadside verge habitat. The butterfly assemblage was evaluated based on disturbance type and three measures of landscape change: amount of early seral habitat, edge density, and diversity of natural habitats. Species richness was twice and abundance three-times higher in larger disturbances than in controls, with the narrowest corridors not differing from controls. A model using disturbance type, edge density, and habitat diversity explained 62% of assemblage variation, with the type of disturbance explaining 47%. Higher butterfly abundance and diversity occurred in localized early seral sites, even on 9-m wide corridors, while surrounding landscape characteristics had little effect. Results are consistent with previous studies finding stronger responses in vertebrates to larger disturbances associated with oil sands, confirming that narrower corridors mitigate the effects of oil sands exploration.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2017-11-16T11:17:36Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.10.022
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Low-cost strategies for protecting ecosystem services and biodiversity
    • Authors: Adriana Pellegrini Manhães; Rafael Loyola; Guilherme Gerhardt Mazzochini; Gislene Ganade; Ary Teixeira Oliveira-Filho; Adriana Rosa Carvalho
      Pages: 187 - 194
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Adriana Pellegrini Manhães, Rafael Loyola, Guilherme Gerhardt Mazzochini, Gislene Ganade, Ary Teixeira Oliveira-Filho, Adriana Rosa Carvalho
      The selection of priority areas for nature conservation must balance the costs and benefits of conserving biodiversity, protecting ecosystem services, and permitting human activities or resource use. In this study, we selected priority areas for conservation in a seasonally dry tropical forest in Brazil and analyzed changes in the protection of ecosystem services and the conservation of plant biodiversity upon excluding areas with high opportunity costs (e.g., where income would be lost if natural areas were protected) and high population density. We identified two types of protected areas: sustainable use (SU) and strict protection (SP). Plant biodiversity (181 species) and supporting services (water balance, net primary productivity, and soil fertility) were used to determine the optimal locations of both types of protected areas. Provisioning services (water supply, fodder, and genetic resources) were used to determine SU priority areas, while regulating services (water purification, carbon storage, and erosion prevention) were used to determine SP areas. The selection of lowly populated or costly areas was associated with a small decrease in the representation of biodiversity (4% loss in SP and 6% loss in SU) and a large decrease in the representation of supporting (36% loss in SP and 31% loss in SU), regulating (41% loss in SP), and provisioning services (7% loss in SU). Our results reveal that selecting priority areas with low population density and low opportunity costs would decrease the overall representation of ecosystem services in protected areas but would still improve the cost efficiency of biodiversity conservation efforts.

      PubDate: 2017-11-16T11:17:36Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.11.009
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Selecting cost-effective plant mixes to support pollinators
    • Authors: Neal M. Williams; Eric V. Lonsdorf
      Pages: 195 - 202
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Neal M. Williams, Eric V. Lonsdorf
      Growing concern about wild and managed pollinator populations has led to efforts to create floral habitat to promote bees and other pollinators, especially in agricultural lands where they make important contributions to crop pollination. These actions all require practitioners to determine what mixture of plant species to select to best support diverse and functionally important pollinators. Like in the selection of areas for nature reserves, plant choices must balance function against differences in cost. To date, plant mixes have been compiled using expert opinion based on the performance of individual species, but researchers and practitioners have called for a systematic approach to optimize mixtures. We applied a decision analytic approach to select best flowering mixes to meet two specified objectives at the least cost: maximizing total bee richness or maximizing crop-pollinating bees. The model identified best plant mixes for each objective across a range of budgets. Accounting for the variation in costs among plant species allowed for substantially more cost effective mixes with little loss in achieving the target objective. Including multiple objectives simultaneously revealed the power of the approach to meet complex goals. The resulting mix supported over 96% of the bee species for both goals at no difference in cost. This gain in efficiency could dramatically increase the extent of habitat implemented and remove financial barriers to adoption by stakeholders and conservation practitioners.

      PubDate: 2017-11-16T11:17:36Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.10.032
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Applying the niche reduction hypothesis to modelling distributions: A case
           study of a critically endangered rodent
    • Authors: Peter J. McDonald; Alistair Stewart; Chris R. Dickman
      Pages: 207 - 212
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Peter J. McDonald, Alistair Stewart, Chris R. Dickman
      The ‘niche reduction hypothesis’ (NRH) is based on the idea that the realized niche of a declining species is reduced by threats that are mediated by environmental, biotic and evolutionary processes. The hypothesis was promoted to identify locations and interventions most likely to benefit declining species. We used a niche reduction approach to species distribution modelling by predicting the historic and current distributions of a critically endangered Australian rodent, the central rock-rat (CRR). Our habitat suitability maps confirm a dramatic range contraction for this species over the last 100years. The current association of CRRs with extreme landscape ruggedness supports the hypothesis that the impact of a key threat to the species—cat predation—is mediated by habitat complexity. We detected no CRRs in five new locations predicted to be highly suitable in the current distribution model. This highlights the need for in-situ threat management at the three known sub-populations, one of which may already have been extirpated. Our map of the CRR's historic distribution identifies potential areas for translocation, including the site of a current translocation proposal into a predator-proof fence. We conclude that the NRH provides a useful framework for modelling the change in distributions of declining species in order to prioritise locations and interventions for management.

      PubDate: 2017-12-27T07:12:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.10.002
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Conserving migration in a changing climate, a case study: The Eurasian
           spoonbill, Platalea leucorodia leucorodia
    • Authors: Bruno Bellisario
      Pages: 222 - 231
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Bruno Bellisario
      Migratory species are fundamental for the long-term maintenance of biodiversity, as well as for the ecological functions they provide. Their current protection, however, lacks a clear understanding of how conservation areas are able to maintain the connectivity of populations in different periods of the migration cycle. Such a problem is even more significant in light of the consequences of climate change on the availability of suitable habitats, especially for those species for which the effects can be amplified by the long distances covered during migration. Here, a graph-theoretic approach was implemented to test for the relationship between current and projected climate conditions on the connectivity of conservation areas for migratory birds. The framework was tested by considering the migration system of the northwestern populations of Eurasian spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia leucorodia), characterized by mid-long-range movements between the breeding sites in the Netherlands and wintering sites in Spain, Senegal and Mauritania. Climate effects suggest an ever-increasing range of distances to cover by the spoonbills, increasing the separation between important stopover and wintering areas. The current spatial configuration of areas will hardly support the long-range spoonbill migration, increasing the risk of fragmentation and contraction of populations, unlikely to support the spoonbill migration system. The methodology described can be applied to other migration systems, incorporating useful information in the implementation of conservation policies able to identify important areas for the long-term persistence of biodiversity.

      PubDate: 2017-12-13T03:07:10Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.11.013
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Evaluating the threat of IUU fishing to sea turtles in the Indian Ocean
           and Southeast Asia using expert elicitation
    • Authors: Kimberly A. Riskas; Renae C. Tobin; Mariana M.P.B. Fuentes; Mark Hamann
      Pages: 232 - 239
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Kimberly A. Riskas, Renae C. Tobin, Mariana M.P.B. Fuentes, Mark Hamann
      Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a pervasive issue that affects economic, social, regulatory and environmental systems in all ocean basins. Research on the ecological impacts of IUU fishing has been relatively underrepresented, with minimal investigation into how IUU fishing may negatively affect populations of marine megafauna, such as sea turtles. To address this knowledge gap and identify priority areas for future research and management, we evaluated IUU fishing as a threat to a marine megafauna species group (sea turtles) in the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia region (IOSEA). We designed and distributed an online survey to experts in the fields of sea turtle research, marine conservation, fisheries management, consulting and NGOs throughout IOSEA. Our results reveal that IUU fishing is likely to have potentially significant impacts on sea turtle populations in IOSEA through targeted exploitation and international wildlife trafficking. Addressing domestic IUU fishing needs to be actioned as a high priority within the study area, as does the issue of patrolling maritime borders to deter illegal cross-border transhipment. There is a demonstrable need to strengthen MCS and employ regional coordination to help build capacity in less-developed nations. Future research requirements include evaluating IUU fishing as a threat to sea turtles and other threatened marine species at multiple scales, further investigation into market forces throughout IOSEA, and examination of potential barriers to implementing management solutions. We advocate for introducing sea turtle-specific measures into IUU fishing mitigation strategies to help maximize the opportunity for positive outcomes in creating healthy ecosystems and stable communities.

      PubDate: 2017-12-13T03:07:10Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.10.011
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Synthesizing multiple data types for biological conservation using
           integrated population models
    • Authors: Elise F. Zipkin; Sarah P. Saunders
      Pages: 240 - 250
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Elise F. Zipkin, Sarah P. Saunders
      Assessing the impacts of ongoing climate and anthropogenic-induced change on wildlife populations requires understanding species distributions and abundances across large spatial and temporal scales. For threatened or declining populations, collecting sufficient broad-scale data is challenging as sample sizes tend to be low because many such species are rare and/or elusive. As a result, demographic data are often piecemeal, leading to difficulties in determining causes of population changes and developing strategies to mitigate the effects of environmental stressors. Thus, the population dynamics of threatened species across spatio-temporal extents is typically inferred through incomplete, independent, local-scale studies. Emerging integrative modeling approaches, such as integrated population models (IPMs), combine multiple data types into a single analysis and provide a foundation for overcoming problems of sparse or fragmentary data. In this paper, we demonstrate how IPMs can be successfully implemented by synthesizing the elements, advantages, and novel insights of this modeling approach. We highlight the latest developments in IPMs that are explicitly relevant to the ecology and conservation of threatened species, including capabilities to quantify the spatial scale of management, source-sink dynamics, synchrony within metapopulations, and population density effects on demographic rates. Adoption of IPMs has led to improved detection of population declines, adaptation of targeted monitoring schemes, and refined management strategies. Continued methodological advancements of IPMs, such as incorporation of a wider set of data types (e.g., citizen science data) and coupled population-environment models, will allow for broader applicability within ecological and conservation sciences.

      PubDate: 2017-12-13T03:07:10Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.10.017
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Adding small species to the big picture: Species distribution modelling in
           an age of landscape scale conservation
    • Authors: Sally Eaton; Christopher Ellis; David Genney; Richard Thompson; Rebecca Yahr; Daniel T. Haydon
      Pages: 251 - 258
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Sally Eaton, Christopher Ellis, David Genney, Richard Thompson, Rebecca Yahr, Daniel T. Haydon
      A recent shift in conservation policy from the site scale to the ecosystem or landscape scale requires underpinning by large-scale species distribution data. This poses a significant challenge in conserving small/less charismatic species (SLCS's) whose often cryptic nature can result in spatially restricted sampling, thus preventing landscape scale conservation projects from being realised for these ecologically important groups. Species distribution models (SDMs) can provide a powerful tool to bridge this gap. However, in the case of SLCS's (here lichen epiphytes in temperate rainforests of western Scotland are used as a model system), direct predictor variables exist at micro-scales (millimetres to centimetres), which are not extensively available in landscape-scale datasets. Here we identify a group of well-mapped larger-scale ‘compound variables’ which capture the effect of multiple direct predictors (such as bark pH and topography), and test whether they can be successfully used to predict species distributions at the landscape scale, circumventing the need for direct (micro-scale) predictor data. By testing the SDMs more widely within western Scotland, accurate predictions of species presence/absence could be made throughout the region for 5 of the 9 lichen epiphytes, making these SDMs extremely valuable as a conservation planning tool. Species distribution models utilising compound variables as predictors offer a solution to the paucity of species distributional data for SLCS's, and present a valuable resource in conservation planning for such species. The importance of testing the SDMs outside of a training region to prevent prediction error is highlighted however.

      PubDate: 2017-12-13T03:07:10Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.11.012
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Limitations of threatened species lists in Canada: A federal and
           provincial perspective
    • Authors: Katherine Dorey; Tony R. Walker
      Pages: 259 - 268
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Katherine Dorey, Tony R. Walker
      Threatened species lists are valuable tools used to inform conservation decisions when developed appropriately. However, inherent problems associated with current listing and recovery processes exist in Canada (bias, legislative requirements, and data discrepancies). Canadian Species at Risk lists (national) and Nova Scotia's Endangered Species lists (regional) were assessed to determine i) coverage of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (global) listed vulnerable, endangered, and critically endangered species; ii) recovery compliance; and iii) recovery plan completeness. Results indicated that many globally threatened species lack adequate protection nationally and regionally in Canada. Different taxonomic groups received different listing and recovery priorities. Mammals received the highest likelihood of listing and recovery action time, while fish were less likely to be listed. Many nationally threatened and endangered species have recovery plans, though most (141 species) were developed later than legislated. Environmental management related to biases, economic considerations, and late recovery planning (i.e., non-compliance) needs serious improvement in listing and recovery processes to enhance protection of biodiversity nationally and regionally within Canada.

      PubDate: 2017-12-27T07:12:49Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.11.018
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Living on the edge: Opportunities for Amur tiger recovery in China
    • Authors: Tianming Wang; J. Andrew Royle; James L.D. Smith; Liang Zou; Xinyue Lü; Tong Li; Haitao Yang; Zhilin Li; Rongna Feng; Yajing Bian; Limin Feng; Jianping Ge
      Pages: 269 - 279
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Tianming Wang, J. Andrew Royle, James L.D. Smith, Liang Zou, Xinyue Lü, Tong Li, Haitao Yang, Zhilin Li, Rongna Feng, Yajing Bian, Limin Feng, Jianping Ge
      Sporadic sightings of the endangered Amur tiger Panthera tigris altaica along the China-Russia border during the late 1990s sparked efforts to expand this subspecies distribution and abundance by restoring potentially suitable habitats in the Changbai Mountains. To guide science-based recovery efforts and provide a baseline for future monitoring of this border population, empirical, quantitative information is needed on what resources and management practices promote or limit the occurrence of tigers in the region. We established a large-scale field camera-trapping network to estimate tiger density, survival and recruitment in the Hunchun Nature Reserve and the surrounding area using an open population spatially explicit capture-recapture model. We then fitted an occupancy model that accounted for detectability and spatial autocorrelation to assess the relative influence of habitat, major prey, disturbance and management on tiger habitat use patterns. Our results show that the ranges of most tigers abut the border with Russia. Tiger densities ranged between 0.20 and 0.27individuals/100km2 over the study area; in the Hunchun Nature Reserve, the tiger density was three times higher than that in the surrounding inland forested area. Tiger occupancy was strongly negatively related to heavy cattle grazing, human settlements and roads and was positively associated with sika deer abundance and vegetation cover. These findings can help to identify the drivers of tiger declines and dispersal limits and refine strategies for tiger conservation in the human-dominated transboundary landscape. Progressively alleviating the impacts of cattle and human disturbances on the forest, and simultaneously addressing the economic needs of local communities, should be key priority actions to increase tiger populations. The long-term goal is to expand tiger distribution by improving habitats for large ungulates.

      PubDate: 2017-12-13T03:07:10Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.11.008
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Conservation lessons from Cuba: Connecting science and policy
    • Authors: Fernando Goulart; Ángel Leyva Galán; Erin Nelson; Britaldo Soares-Filho
      Pages: 280 - 288
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Fernando Goulart, Ángel Leyva Galán, Erin Nelson, Britaldo Soares-Filho
      The island of Cuba and surrounding cays are a major repository of biodiversity in the Caribbean archipelago. Although Cuba is widely recognized for its high biodiversity and endemism, much of the country's conservation experiences have been overlooked by the global conservation scientific community. Here we particularly highlight decades of governance efforts that built and strengthened forest and biodiversity protection policies, resulting in the second largest rate of forest cover recovery worldwide, doubling of both marine and terrestrial protected area networks in recent years, as well as developing a unique agroecological matrix management. These conservation strategies combined with the constraints on infrastructure development as a result of the decades long U.S. embargo, has had the indirect result of placing Cuba in a unique position in the Caribbean region. Nevertheless, despite these advances, significant part of the Cuban biota suffers from deforestation and habitat degradation. Major threats include booming tourism, spread of introduced species, climate change and increasing frequency and intensity of storms and hurricanes associated to global warming. We also point out for Cuba's future challenges, as well as lessons that could be applied in other tropical countries.

      PubDate: 2017-12-13T03:07:10Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.10.033
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Mapped aboveground carbon stocks to advance forest conservation and
           recovery in Malaysian Borneo
    • Authors: Gregory P. Asner; Philip G. Brodrick; Christopher Philipson; Nicolas R. Vaughn; Roberta E. Martin; David E. Knapp; Joseph Heckler; Luke J. Evans; Tommaso Jucker; Benoit Goossens; Danica J. Stark; Glen Reynolds; Robert Ong; Nathan Renneboog; Fred Kugan; David A. Coomes
      Pages: 289 - 310
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Gregory P. Asner, Philip G. Brodrick, Christopher Philipson, Nicolas R. Vaughn, Roberta E. Martin, David E. Knapp, Joseph Heckler, Luke J. Evans, Tommaso Jucker, Benoit Goossens, Danica J. Stark, Glen Reynolds, Robert Ong, Nathan Renneboog, Fred Kugan, David A. Coomes
      Forest carbon stocks in rapidly developing tropical regions are highly heterogeneous, which challenges efforts to develop spatially-explicit conservation actions. In addition to field-based biodiversity information, mapping of carbon stocks can greatly accelerate the identification, protection and recovery of forests deemed to be of high conservation value (HCV). We combined airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) with satellite imaging and other geospatial data to map forest aboveground carbon density at 30m (0.09ha) resolution throughout the Malaysian state of Sabah on the island of Borneo. We used the mapping results to assess how carbon stocks vary spatially based on forest use, deforestation, regrowth, and current forest protections. We found that unlogged, intact forests contain aboveground carbon densities averaging over 200MgCha−1, with peaks of 500MgCha−1. Critically, more than 40% of the highest carbon stock forests were discovered outside of areas designated for maximum protection. Previously logged forests have suppressed, but still high, carbon densities of 60–140MgCha−1. Our mapped distributions of forest carbon stock suggest that the state of Sabah could double its total aboveground carbon storage if previously logged forests are allowed to recover in the future. Our results guide ongoing efforts to identify HCV forests and to determine new areas for forest protection in Borneo.

      PubDate: 2017-12-13T03:07:10Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.10.020
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • The importance of including survival release costs when assessing
           viability in reptile translocations
    • Authors: Albert Bertolero; Joan Ll. Pretus; Daniel Oro
      Pages: 311 - 320
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Albert Bertolero, Joan Ll. Pretus, Daniel Oro
      Translocations to restore populations of endangered species are an important conservation tool, but a reliable diagnosis is needed to assess their success. We used capture-recapture modeling to analyze the adult apparent survival of released and resident tortoises in two translocation projects in Spain monitored for 14 and 29years. We tested if long-term survival rates differ between released and resident individuals, if survival was lower during the phase of establishment (i.e. release cost), how long acclimation lasts and if increased density due to releases affects survival. We found lower survival of released tortoises during the phase of establishment (1 to 3years) when residents were already present. After establishment, survival was very high and unaffected by density-dependence. Body condition before release was similar between recaptured and dead/missing tortoises, and did not predict establishment survival. Stochastic population viability analysis showed that success when releasing small numbers of individuals strongly depends upon adult long-term survival. Release of small second batches of tortoises was not sensitive to a growing population, regardless of its release timing. Our results highlight long-term survival as crucial in translocation projects of long-lived species, invalidating short-term (first year) survival assessment, when survival release cost does not match long-term survival. A release cost of different duration should be included in model estimation before modeling predictions. Releasing tortoises (for welfare of captive individuals or for mitigating human negative impacts) in an already established population is not recommended under most circumstances. Acclimation cost is followed by survival approaching wild counterparts. If this milestone is not achieved, the project needs to be carefully assessed to adopt other management options or should be stopped altogether.

      PubDate: 2017-12-13T03:07:10Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.11.023
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Livestock grazing in protected areas and its effects on large mammals in
           the Hyrcanian forest, Iran
    • Authors: Mahmood Soofi; Arash Ghoddousi; Thorsten Zeppenfeld; Shirko Shokri; Mobin Soufi; Abbas Jafari; Mohsen Ahmadpour; Ali T. Qashqaei; Lukas Egli; Taher Ghadirian; Niloufar Raeesi Chahartaghi; Bahram Zehzad; Bahram H. Kiabi; Igor Khorozyan; Niko Balkenhol; Matthias Waltert
      Pages: 377 - 382
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Mahmood Soofi, Arash Ghoddousi, Thorsten Zeppenfeld, Shirko Shokri, Mobin Soufi, Abbas Jafari, Mohsen Ahmadpour, Ali T. Qashqaei, Lukas Egli, Taher Ghadirian, Niloufar Raeesi Chahartaghi, Bahram Zehzad, Bahram H. Kiabi, Igor Khorozyan, Niko Balkenhol, Matthias Waltert
      Protected areas are the most important tool to safeguard large mammals from overexploitation, but their effectiveness is insufficiently studied in temperate ecosystems. The Hyrcanian forest is one of the oldest and most threatened temperate forests globally. Anthropogenic activities are widespread and negatively affect wildlife species in the Hyrcanian forest. We conducted surveys in ~22% of the Hyrcanian forest by walking 1204km in 93 16-km2 cells distributed randomly in 18 protected and non-protected study sites. We used Bayesian occupancy modeling to measure the effects of livestock grazing, logging and poaching on distribution of six large mammal species. Our results explicitly show that grazing had negative and significant impact on the occupancy of very patchily distributed Persian leopard (β =−1.65, Credibility Interval −2.85 to −0.65), Caspian red deer (β =−1.36, CI −2.34 to −0.45) and roe deer (β =−1.61, CI −2.96 to −0.58) while logging did so for red deer (β =−0.82, CI −1.69 to −0.03). Poaching could not be determined due to low detectability of poaching signs. Grazing intensity was high in protected areas (IUCN category V), no-hunting and non-protected areas and much lower in national parks (II) and wildlife refuges (IV). Representing 66% of total reserves in the Hyrcanian forest, category V protected areas urgently require priority actions in assessment of grazing capacities, allocation and enforcement of grazing quotas, and better coordination between governmental conservation and natural resource management organizations to avoid further depletion of the large mammal community in the Hyrcanian forest.

      PubDate: 2017-12-13T03:07:10Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.11.020
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Debunking myths about Aldo Leopold's land ethic
    • Authors: Roberta L. Millstein
      Pages: 391 - 396
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Roberta L. Millstein
      Aldo Leopold's land ethic has been extremely influential among people working in conservation biology, environmental ethics, and related fields. Others have abandoned the land ethic for purportedly being outdated or ethically untenable. Yet, both acceptance of the land ethic and rejection of the land ethic are often based on misunderstandings of Leopold's original meaning – misunderstandings that have become so entrenched as to have the status of myths. This essay seeks to identify and then debunk six myths that have grown up around the land ethic. These myths include misunderstandings about how we should understand key terms like “stability” and “biotic community” as well as the scope and main message of the land ethic. Properly understanding Leopold's original meaning, a meaning derived from ideas he developed after a lifetime of scientific theorizing and hands-on practical knowledge, prevents hasty rejection and provides a sounder basis for conservation policy.

      PubDate: 2017-12-13T03:07:10Z
      DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.11.027
      Issue No: Vol. 217 (2017)
       
  • Military training areas as refuges for threatened dragonfly species:
           Effect of spatial isolation and military activity
    • Authors: Filip
      Abstract: Publication date: January 2018
      Source:Biological Conservation, Volume 217
      Author(s): Filip Harabiš, Aleš Dolný
      A long-term decline in habitat quality and freshwater species diversity has forced conservation managers to consider secondary habitats, such as military training areas (MTAs), that were previously overlooked but have conservation potential. Isolation from many negative anthropogenic influences combined with disturbances associated with military activities can benefit the diversity of terrestrial species. However, little is known about the conservation potential of freshwater habitats that are an integral part of MTAs. In this study, we used dragonflies and damselflies as valuable indicators of habitat quality to compare the diversity of freshwater sites inside and outside MTAs. We randomly selected 16 sites inside four extensive MTAs and 16 reference sites outside MTAs and examined the differences in traits of species occurring inside and outside the MTAs. We found that the diversity and conservation value of dragonfly communities inside MTAs was comparable to that in the most valuable freshwater habitats outside MTAs. Inside MTAs, species were primarily those associated with habitats in the late successional stages, while species associated with early successional stages were absent. Undoubtedly, the conservation potential of MTAs for freshwater invertebrates is in the long-term isolation from negative anthropogenic influences. Paradoxically, the main potential problem in protecting freshwater habitats inside MTAs is the cessation of military activity.

      PubDate: 2017-11-01T23:32:31Z
       
 
 
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