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Journal Cover Conservation Biology
  [SJR: 2.609]   [H-I: 168]   [255 followers]  Follow
    
   Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
   ISSN (Print) 0888-8892 - ISSN (Online) 1523-1739
   Published by John Wiley and Sons Homepage  [1589 journals]
  • A test of the substitution-habitat hypothesis in amphibians
    • Authors: Alejandro Martínez-Abraín; Pedro Galán
      Abstract: Most examples that support the substitution-habitat hypothesis (human-made habitats act as substitutes of original habitat) deal with birds and mammals. We tested this hypothesis in 14 amphibians by using percentage occupancy as a proxy of habitat quality (i.e., higher occupancy percentages indicate higher quality). We classified water body types as original habitat (no or little human influence) depending on anatomical, behavioral, or physiological adaptations of each amphibian species. Ten species had relatively high probabilities (0.16-0.28) of occurrence in original habitat, moderate probability of occurrence in substitution habitats (0.11-0.14), and low probability of occurrence in refuge habitats (0.05-0.08). Thus, the substitution-habitat hypothesis only partially applies to amphibians because the low occupancy of refuges could be due to the negligible human persecution of this group (indicating good conservation status). However, low occupancy of refuges could also be due to low tolerance of refuge conditions, which could have led to selective extinction or colonization problems due to poor dispersal capabilities. That original habitats had the highest probabilities of occupancy suggests amphibians have a good conservation status in the region. They also appeared highly adaptable to anthropogenic substitution habitats.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-12-08T01:23:05.938221-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13062
       
  • The Ecology of Urban and Road Infrastructure
    • Authors: Stephen Venn
      PubDate: 2017-12-06T05:00:52.945342-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13051
       
  •  
    • Authors: Kevin J. Gutzwiller; Joseph D. White, Wylie C. Barrow, Lori Johnson-Randall
      PubDate: 2017-12-06T05:00:37.518997-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13055
       
  • Threshold responses of Amazonian stream fishes to timing and extent of
           deforestation
    • Authors: Gabriel L. Brejão; David J. Hoeinghaus, María Angélica Pérez-Mayorga, Silvio F. B. Ferraz, Lilian Casatti
      Abstract: Deforestation is a primary driver of biodiversity change through habitat loss and fragmentation. Stream biodiversity may not respond to deforestation in a simple linear relationship. Rather, threshold responses to extent and timing of deforestation may occur. Identification of critical deforestation thresholds is needed for effective conservation and management. We tested for threshold responses of fish species and functional groups to degree of watershed and riparian zone deforestation and time since impact in 75 streams in the western Brazilian Amazon. We used remote sensing to assess deforestation from 1984 to 2011. Fish assemblages were sampled with seines and dip nets in a standardized manner. Fish species (n = 84) were classified into 20 functional groups based on ecomorphological traits associated with habitat use, feeding, and locomotion. Threshold responses were quantified using threshold indicator taxa analysis. Negative threshold responses to deforestation were common and consistently occurred at very low levels of deforestation (10 years after impact. Findings were similar at the community level for both taxonomic and functional analyses. Because most negative threshold responses occurred at low levels of deforestation and soon after impact, even minimal change is expected to negatively affect biodiversity. Delayed positive threshold responses to extreme deforestation by a few species do not offset the loss of sensitive taxa and likely contribute to biotic homogenization.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-12-06T04:20:22.965531-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13061
       
  • National conservation science conferences as a means of bridging
           conservation science and practice
    • Authors: Uri Roll; Takuya Iwamura, Oded Berger-Tal
      Abstract: Scientific meetings are instrumental in driving most scientific fields forward, but are especially important for multidisciplinary fields such as conservation science where the different participants come from a highly diverse array of fields and organizations.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-12-05T05:50:44.779621-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13060
       
  • Redefining the Heart of Conservation
    • Authors: John M. Halley
      PubDate: 2017-12-05T05:15:23.578381-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13053
       
  • Research and Conservation on an Artificial Island in a Shipping Lane and
           Elsewhere in the Tropics
    • Authors: Vojtech Novotny; Katerina Sam
      PubDate: 2017-12-05T05:10:23.804669-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13052
       
  • A multispecies test of source-sink indicators to prioritize habitat for
           declining populations
    • Authors: Julie A. Heinrichs; Joshua J. Lawler, Nathan H. Schumaker, Chad B. Wilsey, Kira Newcomb, Cameron L. Aldridge
      Abstract: For species at risk of decline or extinction in source-sink systems, sources are an obvious target for habitat protection actions. However, the way in which source habitats are identified and prioritized can reduce the effectiveness of conservation actions. Although sources and sinks are conceptually defined using both demographic and movement criteria, simplifications are often required in systems with limited data. To assess the conservation outcomes of alternative source metrics and resulting prioritizations, we simulated population dynamics and extinction risk for three endangered species. Using empirically-based habitat-population models, we linked habitat maps with measured site or habitat-specific demographic conditions, movement abilities, and behaviors. We calculated source-sink metrics over a range of time periods of data collection and prioritized the strongest sources for conservation. We then tested the ability of prioritized patches to identify the most habitats most affecting persistence by removing them and measuring the population response. Our results indicated that conservation decisions based on different source-sink metrics and durations of data collection can impact species persistence. Shorter times series obscured the ability of metrics to identify influential habitats, particularly in temporally variable and slowly declining populations. Data-rich source-sink metrics that included both demography and movement information did not always identify the habitats with the greatest influence on extinction risk. In some declining populations, patch abundance better predicted influential habitats for short-term regional persistence. As source-sink metrics (i.e., births-deaths; births and immigrations – deaths and emigration) describe net population conditions and cancel out gross population counts, they may not adequately identify influential habitats in declining populations. For many non-equilibrium populations, new metrics that maintain the counts of individual births, deaths, and movement may provide additional insight into habitats that most influence persistence.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-11-29T03:20:30.227033-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13058
       
  • Publication of abstracts in Chinese
    • PubDate: 2017-11-27T07:45:24.639269-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13049
       
  • The time is ripe for general theory in community ecology
    • Authors: Lars Götzenberger; Jan Lepš
      PubDate: 2017-11-27T07:41:13.804332-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13050
       
  • Alternatives to biodiversity offsets for mitigating the effects of
           urbanization on stream ecosystems
    • Authors: Myles E. Coker; Nick R. Bond, Yung En Chee, Christopher J. Walsh
      Abstract: Globally, offset schemes have emerged in many statutory frameworks relating to development activities, with the aim of balancing biodiversity conservation and development. While the theory and use of biodiversity offsets in terrestrial environments is broadly documented, little attention has been paid to offsets in stream ecosystems. Here we examine the application of offset schemes to stream ecosystems and explore whether they suffer similar shortcomings to those of offset schemes focused on terrestrial biodiversity. To challenge the applicability of offsets further, we discuss typical trajectories of urban expansion and their cascading physical, chemical and biological impacts on stream ecosystems. We argue that the highly connected nature of stream ecosystems and urban drainage networks can transfer impacts of urbanization across wide areas, complicating the notion of like-for-like exchange and the prospect of effectively mitigating biodiversity loss. Instead, we identify in-catchment options for stormwater control, which can avoid or minimize the impacts of development on downstream ecosystems, while presenting additional public and private benefits. We describe the underlying principles of these alternatives, some of the challenges associated with their uptake, and policy initiatives being trialled to facilitate adoption. In conclusion, we argue that stronger policies to avoid and minimize the impacts of urbanization provide better prospects for protecting downstream ecosystems, and can additionally, stimulate economic opportunities and improve urban liveability.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-11-23T02:20:30.007467-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13057
       
  • Dynamics in the global protected-area estate since 2004
    • Authors: Edward Lewis; Brian MacSharry, Diego Juffe-Bignoli, Nyeema Harris, Georgina Burrows, Naomi Kingston, Neil D. Burgess
      Abstract: Nations of the world have committed to a number of goals and targets to address the global environmental challenges humanity faces. Protected areas have for centuries been a key strategy in conservation and play a major role in addressing current challenges. The most important tool used to track progress on protected area commitments is the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA). Periodic assessments of the world's protected area estate show steady growth over the last two decades. However, the current method, which uses the latest version of the WDPA, does not show the true dynamic nature of protected areas over time, nor does it provide information on sites removed from the WDPA. In reality, this methodology can only show growth or remain stable. This paper presents a novel approach to assess protected area change over time using twelve temporally distinct versions of the WDPA that quantify area added, and removed, from the WDPA annually from 2004 to 2016. Results show that both the narrative of continual protected area growth and the counter-narrative of protected area removal are overly simplistic. The former because growth has been almost entirely marine and the latter because we demonstrate that some areas removed are re-protected in later years. Analysis indicates that, on average, 2.5 million km2 is added to the WDPA annually and 1.1 million km2 is removed. Reasons for the inclusion and removal of protected areas in the WDPA database are explored and discussed. To meet the 17% land coverage component of Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 by 2020, which stands at 14.7% in 2016, the world will either need to reduce the rate of protected area removal or increase the rate of protected area designation and addition to the WDPA.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-11-23T01:50:30.088199-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13056
       
  • Exposing ecological and economic costs of the research-implementation gap
           and compromises in decision making
    • Authors: Santtu Kareksela; Atte Moilanen, Olli Ristaniemi, Reima Välivaara, Janne S. Kotiaho
      Abstract: The frequently discussed gap between conservation science and practice is manifest in the gap between spatial conservation prioritization plans and their implementation. We analyzed the research-implementation gap of 1 zoning case by comparing results of a spatial prioritization analysis aimed at avoiding ecological impact of peat mining in a regional zoning process with the final zoning plan. We examined the relatively complex planning process to determine the gaps among research, zoning, and decision making. We quantified the ecological costs of the differing trade-offs between ecological and socioeconomic factors included in the different zoning suggestions by comparing the landscape-level loss of ecological features (species occurrences, habitat area, etc.) between the different solutions for spatial allocation of peat mining. We also discussed with the scientists and planners the reasons for differing zoning suggestions. The implemented plan differed from the scientists suggestion in that its focus was individual ecological features rather than all the ecological features for which there were data; planners and decision makers considered effects of peat mining on areas not included in the prioritization analysis; zoning was not truly seen as a resource-allocation process and emphasized in general minimizing ecological losses while satisfying economic needs (peat-mining potential); and decision makers based their prioritization of sites on site-level information showing high ecological value and on single legislative factors instead of finding a cost-effective landscape-level solution. We believe that if the zoning and decision-making processes are very complex, then the usefulness of science-based prioritization tools is likely to be reduced. Nevertheless, we found that high-end tools were useful in clearly exposing trade-offs between conservation and resource utilization.
      PubDate: 2017-11-15T07:55:28.085402-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13054
       
  • Why Ecology Matters
    • PubDate: 2017-11-13T06:35:22.740013-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13040
       
  • Cover Caption
    • PubDate: 2017-11-11T08:18:58.11739-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13046
       
  • Need for multiscale planning for conservation of urban bats
    • Authors: Travis Gallo; Elizabeth W. Lehrer, Mason Fidino, R. Julia Kilgour, Patrick J. Wolff, Seth Magle
      Abstract: For over a century there have been continual efforts to incorporate nature into urban planning. These efforts – known as urban reconciliation– aim to manage and create habitats that support biodiversity within cities. Given that species select habitat at different spatial scales, understanding the scale at which urban species respond to their environment is critical to the success of urban reconciliation efforts. We assessed species-habitat relationships for common bat species at local (50-m), medium (500-m), and broad (1-km) spatial scales in the Chicago metropolitan area and predicted bat activity across the greater Chicago region. We found that habitat characteristics across all measured scales were important predictors of silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans) and eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis) activity, and big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus) activity was significantly lower at urban sites compared to rural sites. We also found that open vegetation had a negative effect on silver-haired bat activity at the local scale but a positive effect at the medium-sized scale, indicating potential shifts in the relative importance of some habitat characteristics at varying scales. These results demonstrate that local-scale effects may be constrained by broader spatial patterns. Our findings highlight the importance of considering scale in urban reconciliation efforts and our landscape predictions provide information that can help prioritize urban conservation work.
      PubDate: 2017-11-10T04:50:36.730448-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13047
       
  • Illegal fishing and territorial user rights in Chile
    • Authors: Rodrigo Oyanedel; Andres Keim, Juan Carlos Castilla, Stefan Gelcich
      Abstract: Illegal fishing poses a major threat for the conservation of marine resources worldwide. However, there is still limited empirical research that quantifies illegal catch levels. This study uses the Randomized Response Technique to estimate the proportion of divers, and the quantities extracted of illegal “loco” (Concholepas concholepas), a gastropod managed for the past 17 years through a Territorial User Rights for Fisheries system (TURFs) in Chile. Results show that illegal fishing is widespread along the TURFs system, with official reported landings accounting for only 14- 30% of the total loco extraction. Quantitative estimates suggest that ignoring the magnitude of illegal fishing and only considering official landings statistics can mislead conclusions about the status and trends of a TURFs managed fishery. We found evidence of fisher associations authorizing their own members to poach inside TURFs, highlighting the need to design TURFs systems in a way that government agencies and fishers’ incentives and objectives are continually adapting to be in line and not at odds. In the same way, government support for enforcement is a key element for the TURFs system to secure the rights that are in place. This study provides insights on how to improve governance of TURFs in Chile and around the world.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-11-07T23:51:37.250056-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13048
       
  • Black swans, cognition and the power of learning from failure
    • Authors: Allison S. Catalano; Kent Redford, Richard Margoluis, Andrew T. Knight
      Abstract: Failure carries undeniable stigma and is difficult to confront for individuals, teams, and organizations. Disciplines such as commercial and military aviation, medicine, and business have long histories of grappling with it, beginning with the recognition that failure is inevitable in every human endeavor. While conservation may arguably be more complex, conservation professionals can draw upon the research and experience of these other disciplines to institutionalize activities and attitudes that foster learning from failures, whether they are minor setbacks or major disasters. Understanding the role of individual cognitive biases, team psychological safety, and organizational willingness to support critical self-examination all contribute to creating a cultural shift in conservation to one that is open to the learning opportunity that failure provides. This new approach to managing failure is a necessary next step in the evolution of conservation effectiveness.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-11-01T23:56:17.784245-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13045
       
  • Using machine learning to disentangle homonyms in large text corpora
    • Authors: Uri Roll; Ricardo A. Correia, Oded Berger-Tal
      Abstract: Systematic reviews are an increasingly popular decision-making tool which provides an unbiased summary of evidence to support conservation action. These reviews bridge the gap between researchers and managers by presenting a comprehensive overview of all studies relating to a particular topic and identify specifically where and under which conditions an effect is present. However, several technical challenges can severely hinder the feasibility and applicability of systematic reviews. One such challenge is the presence of homonyms – terms that share spelling but differ in meaning. Homonyms add a lot of noise to search results but they cannot be easily identified and removed. In this work, we developed a semi-automated approach that can aid in the classification of homonyms between narratives. We used a combination of automated content analysis and artificial neural networks to quickly and accurately sift through large corpora of academic texts and classify them to distinct topics. As an example, we explored the use of the word ‘reintroduction’ in academic texts. Reintroduction is used within the conservation context to indicate the release of organisms to their former native habitat, however a ‘Web of Science’ search using this word returned thousands of publications that use this term with other meanings and contexts. Using our method, we were able to automatically classify a sample of 3000 of these publications with more than 99% accuracy, when compared to a manual classification. Our approach can be easily used with any other homonym terms and greatly facilitate systematic reviews, or any similar cases where homonyms hinder the harnessing of large text corpora. Beyond homonyms we see great promise in the combination of automated content analysis and machine learning methods in handling and screening big data for relevant information in conservation science.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-10-31T02:20:20.942652-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13044
       
  • Conservation and human–wildlife conflicts on farmland
    • Authors: Gabor Pozsgai
      PubDate: 2017-10-30T07:50:49.793885-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13032
       
  • A role for selective contraception of individuals in conservation
           management programs
    • Authors: Holly R. Cope; Carolyn J. Hogg, Peter J. White, Catherine A. Herbert
      Abstract: Contraception has an established role to play in managing overabundant populations and preventing undesirable breeding in zoos. We propose that it can also be used strategically and selectively in conservation management programs to increase the genetic and behavioural quality of the animals. In captive breeding programs, it is becoming increasingly important to maximise the retention of genetic diversity by managing the reproductive contribution of each individual, and preventing genetically suboptimal breeding, through the use of selective contraception. Reproductive suppression of selected individuals in conservation programs has further benefits of allowing animals to be group housed in extensive enclosures without interfering with breeding recommendations, thus reducing adaptation to captivity and facilitating the expression of wild behaviours and social structures. Before selective contraception can be incorporated into a breeding program, the most suitable method of fertility control must be selected, and this can be influenced by factors such as species life history, age, ease of treatment, potential for reversibility and desired management outcome for the individual and/or population. Contraception should then be implemented in the population following a step-by-step framework. In this way it can provide crucial, flexible control over breeding in order to promote the physical and genetic health and sustainability of a conservation dependent species held in captivity. Here we present three Australian marsupial examples to illustrate various situations where contraception can benefit conservation, and the importance of contraceptive duration relative to reproductive life, reversibility and predictability of the contraceptive agent being used.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-10-28T01:50:50.082835-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13042
       
  • Species composition of the international shark fin trade assessed through
           a retail-market survey in Hong Kong
    • Authors: Andrew T. Fields; Gunter A. Fischer, Stanley K. H. Shea, Huarong Zhang, Debra L. Abercrombie, Kevin A. Feldheim, Elizabeth A. Babcock, Demian D. Chapman
      Abstract: The shark fin trade is a major driver of shark exploitation in fisheries all over the world, most of which are not managed on a species-specific basis. Species-specific trade information highlights taxa of particular concern and can be used to assess the efficacy of management measures and anticipate emerging threats. The species composition of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China, one of the world's largest fin trading hubs, was partially assessed in 1999–2001. We randomly selected and genetically identified fin trimmings (n = 4,800), produced during fin processing, from the retail market of Hong Kong in 2014–2015 to assess contemporary species composition of the fin trade. We used nonparametric species estimators to determine that at least 76 species of sharks, batoids, and chimaeras supplied the fin trade and a Bayesian model to determine their relative proportion in the market. The diversity of traded species suggests species substitution could mask depletion of vulnerable species; one-third of identified species face serious risk of extinction. The Bayesian model suggested that 8 species each comprised>1% of the fin trimmings (34.1-64.2% for blue [Prionace glauca]; 0.2-1.2% for bull [Carcharhinus leucas] and shortfin mako [Isurus oxyrinchus]); thus, trade was skewed to a few globally distributed species. Several other coastal sharks, batoids, and chimaeras are in the trade but poorly managed. Fewer than 10 of the species we modeled have sustainably managed fisheries anywhere in their range, including the most common species in trade, the blue shark. Our study and approach serve as a baseline to track changes in composition of species in the fin trade over time to better understand patterns of exploitation and assess the effects of emerging management actions for these animals.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-10-27T08:30:52.097318-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13043
       
  • The ecological consequences of forest elephant declines for Afrotropical
           forests
    • Authors: John R. Poulsen; Cooper Rosin, Amelia Meier, Emily Mills, Chase Nunez, Sally E. Koerner, Emily Blanchard, Jennifer Callejas, Sarah Moore, Mark Sowers
      Abstract: Poaching is rapidly extirpating African forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) from most of their historical range, leaving vast areas of elephant-free tropical forest. Elephants are ecological engineers that create and maintain forest habitat, thus their loss will have strong consequences for the composition and structure of Afrotropical forests. We evaluated the roles of forest elephants in seed dispersal, nutrient recycling, and herbivory and physical damage to predict the cascading ecological effects of their population declines. Loss of seed dispersal by elephants will favor tree species dispersed abiotically and by smaller dispersal agents, with tree species composition depending on the downstream effects of changes in elephant nutrient cycling and browsing. Loss of trampling and herbivory of seedlings and saplings will result in high tree density as they are released from the pressures of browsing. Diminished seed dispersal by elephants and high stem density are likely to reduce the recruitment of large trees, resulting in a more homogeneous forest structure and decreased carbon stocks. In sum, the loss of ecological services by forest elephants will likely transform Central African forests to be more like Neotropical forests, from which megafauna were extirpated thousands of years ago. Without intervention, as much as 96% of Central African forests will have modified species composition and structure as elephants are compressed into remaining protected areas. Stopping elephant poaching is an urgent first step to mitigating these effects, but long-term conservation will require land use planning that incorporates elephant habitat into forested landscapes that are being rapidly transformed by industrial agriculture and logging.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-10-27T01:50:34.737308-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13035
       
  • Use of long-term data to evaluate loss and endangerment status of Natura
           2000 habitats and effects of protected areas
    • Authors: Marianna Biró; János Bölöni, Zsolt Molnár
      Abstract: Habitat loss is a key driver of biodiversity loss. However, hardly any long-term time series analyses of habitat loss are available above the local scale for finer-level habitat categories. In this paper we analyse, from a long-term perspective, the habitat specificity of habitat area loss, the change in trends since the fall of communism and the impact of protected areas on habitat loss. We studied twenty semi-natural habitat types in 5000 randomly selected localities over seven time periods between 1783 and 2013, using historical maps, archival and recent aerial/satellite imagery, botanical descriptions and field data. We developed a method for estimating habitat types using information transfer between historical sources. Habitat loss trends over time were habitat specific. We found seven types regarding functional form of loss over time: linear, exponential, linear/exponential, delayed, minimum, maximum, and disappearance. Most habitats experienced monotonic area loss; one disappeared completely. After the fall of the communism, average annual habitat loss rates increased, but the trend reversed after 2002. Compared to areas never enjoying protected status, those that were later designated as protected experienced lower habitat loss until 1942, although during the communist era, grassland loss increased severely. Nature conservation measures impacted significantly on habitat loss, halting net losses completely, albeit only inside protected areas. When calculating the degree of endangerment using short-term data (52y), we classified only one habitat as Critically Endangered, but this increased to seven when using long-term data (230y). Hungary will probably reach the global CBD target (to decelerate loss), but will probably not achieve the EU target of halting habitat loss by 2020. We found long-term trend data to be highly useful when interpreting recent habitat loss data in a wider context. Our method could be applied effectively in other countries to augment shorter-term datasets of habitat area trends.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-10-26T07:21:17.973471-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13038
       
  • Challenges and opportunities for transboundary conservation of migratory
           birds in the East Asian-Australasian flyway
    • Authors: Ding Li Yong; Anuj Jain, Yang Liu, Muhammad Iqbal, Chang-Yong Choi, Nicola J. Crockford, Spike Millington, Jennifer Provencher
      PubDate: 2017-10-26T01:21:40.667963-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13041
       
  • Leveraging natural capital to solve the shared education and conservation
           crisis
    • Authors: Kathryn T. Stevenson; M. Nils Peterson, Robert R. Dunn
      Abstract: Education and conservation have a shared crisis: neither fully serves diverse populations. Where poverty, race, and ethnicity covary, those left behind educationally are disproportionately from underrepresented groups. Global achievement gaps associated with socioeconomic and minority status have existed for decades (Morgan et al. 2016). These populations are also underrepresented in conservation professions; thus, conservation decisions often reflect the views of elites (Foster et al. 2014). Conservation and education have shared problems, and we argue they have shared solutions.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-10-25T08:56:13.767098-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13039
       
  • Threats to biodiversity from cumulative human impacts in one of North
           America's last wildlife frontiers
    • Authors: Nancy Shackelford; Rachel J. Standish, William Ripple, Brian M. Starzomski
      Abstract: Land-use change is the largest proximate threat to biodiversity, yet remains one of the most complex to manage. In British Columbia (BC), where large mammals roam extensive tracts of intact habitat, continued land-use development is of global concern. Extant mammal diversity in BC is unrivalled in North America owing, in part, to its unique position at the intersection of alpine, boreal and temperate biomes. Despite high conservation values, understanding of cumulative ecological impacts from human development is limited. Using cumulative effects assessments (CEAs) methodologies, we assess the current human footprint over 16 regional ecosystems and seven large mammal species. Using historical and current range estimates of the mammals, we investigated impacts of human land-use on species persistence. For ecosystems, we found that Bunchgrass, Coastal Douglas Fir and Ponderosa Pine have experienced over 50% land-use conversion; over 85% of their spatial extent has undergone either direct or estimated indirect impacts. Of the mammals we considered, wolves were the least impacted yet all species have reduced ranges compared with historical estimates. We found evidence for a hard trade-off between development and conservation, most clearly for mammals with large distributions and ecosystems that have experienced high levels of conversion. Rather than serve as a platform to monitor species decline, we strongly advocate these data be used to inform land-use planning and to assess current conservation efforts. More generally, CEAs offer a robust tool to inform wildlife and habitat conservation at scale.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-10-25T07:20:25.019289-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13036
       
  • Estimating the extinction date of the thylacine with mixed certainty data
    • Authors: Colin J. Carlson; Alexander L. Bond, Kevin R. Burgio
      Abstract: The thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus), one of Australia's most characteristic megafauna, was the largest marsupial carnivore until hunting, and potentially disease, drove it to extinction in 1936. Though thylacines were restricted to Tasmania for two millennia prior to their extinction, recent “plausible” sightings on the Cape York Peninsula in northern Queensland have emerged, leading some to speculate the species may persist, undetected. Here we show that the continued survival of the thylacine is entirely implausible based on most current mathematical theories of extinction. We present a dataset including physical evidence, expert-validated sightings, and unconfirmed sightings leading up to the present day, and use a range of extinction models, focusing on a Bayesian approach that incorporates all three types of data by modelling valid and invalid sightings as independent processes, to evaluate the likelihood of the thylacine's persistence. Although the last captive individual died in September 1936, our analyses suggest the most likely extinction date would be 1940; other extinction models estimated the thylacine's extinction date between 1936 and 1943, and even the most optimistic scenario suggests the species did not persist beyond 1956. The search for the thylacine, much like similar efforts to “rediscover” other recently extinct charismatic taxa, is likely to be fruitless, especially given that persistence on Tasmania would have been no guarantee the species could reappear in regions that had been unoccupied for millennia. The search for the thylacine may become a rallying point for conservation and wildlife biology, and could indirectly help fund and support critical research in understudied areas like Cape York. However, our results suggest that attempts to rediscover the thylacine will likely be unsuccessful.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-10-25T03:20:59.934792-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13037
       
  • Adaptive social impact management for conservation and environmental
           management
    • Authors: Maery Kaplan-Hallam; Nathan J. Bennett
      Abstract: Concerns about the social consequences of conservation have spurred increased attention the monitoring and evaluation of the social impacts of conservation projects. This has resulted in a growing body of research that demonstrates how conservation can produce both positive and negative social, economic, cultural, health, and governance consequences for local communities. Yet, the results of social monitoring efforts are seldom applied to adaptively manage conservation projects. Greater attention is needed to incorporating the results of social impact assessments in long-term conservation management to minimize negative social consequences and maximize social benefits. We bring together insights from social impact assessment, adaptive management, social learning, knowledge coproduction, cross-scale governance, and environmental planning to propose a definition and framework for adaptive social impact management (ASIM). We define ASIM as the cyclical process of monitoring and adaptively managing social impacts over the life-span of an initiative through the 4 stages of profiling, learning, planning, and implementing. We outline 14 steps associated with the 4 stages of the ASIM cycle and provide guidance and potential methods for social-indicator development, predictive assessments of social impacts, monitoring and evaluation, communication of results, and identification and prioritization of management responses. Successful ASIM will be aided by engaging with best practices – including local engagement and collaboration in the process, transparent communication of results to stakeholders, collective deliberation on and choice of interventions, documentation of shared learning at the site level, and the scaling up of insights to inform higher-level conservation policies-to increase accountability, trust, and perceived legitimacy among stakeholders. The ASIM process is broadly applicable to conservation, environmental management, and development initiatives at various scales and in different contexts.Manejo Adaptativo del Impacto Social para la Conservación y Gestión AmbientalResumenLas preocupaciones sobre las consecuencias sociales de la conservación han generado un incremento en la atención puesta al monitoreo y a la evaluación de los impactos sociales de los proyectos de conservación. Esto ha resultado en un creciente cuerpo de investigación que demuestra cómo la conservación puede producir consecuencias sociales, económicas, culturales, de salud y gobernanza tanto positivas como negativas para las comunidades locales. A pesar de esto, los resultados de los esfuerzos de monitoreo social rara vez se aplican para manejar adaptativamente los proyectos de conservación. Se necesita de mayor atención para incorporar los resultados de las valoraciones del impacto social en el manejo de la conservación a largo plazo para minimizar las consecuencias sociales negativas y maximizar los beneficios sociales. Juntamos el conocimiento de la valoración del impacto social, el manejo adaptativo, el aprendizaje social, la coproducción del conocimiento, la gobernanza a través de escalas, y la planeación ambiental para proponer una definición y un marco de trabajo para el manejo adaptativo del impacto social (ASIM). Definimos el ASIM como el proceso cíclico de monitoreo y manejo adaptativo de los impactos sociales a lo largo de la vida de una iniciativa a través de cuatro etapas de evaluación por perfil, aprendizaje, planeación e implementación. Resumimos 14 pasos asociados con las cuatro etapas del ciclo del ASIM y proporcionamos una guía y métodos potenciales para el desarrollo del indicador social, la valoración predictiva de los impactos sociales, el monitoreo y la evaluación, la comunicación de los resultados, y la identificación y priorización de las respuestas del manejo. Los ASIM exitosos serán apoyados al trabajar con las mejores prácticas – incluyendo al compromiso local y la colaboración en el proceso, la comunicación transparente de los resultados a los accionistas, la deliberación colectiva y la elección de intervenciones, la documentación del aprendizaje compartido a nivel de sitio, y el incremento de conocimiento para informar las políticas de conservación de niveles más altos para incrementar la responsabilidad, confianza y la legitimidad percibida entre los accionistas. El proceso del ASIM es aplicable en general a la conservación, el manejo ambiental y a las iniciativas de desarrollo a varias escalas y en diferentes contextos.
      PubDate: 2017-10-24T00:01:02.578747-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12985
       
  • Political transition and emergent forest-conservation issues in Myanmar
    • Authors: Graham W. Prescott; William J. Sutherland, Daniel Aguirre, Matthew Baird, Vicky Bowman, Jake Brunner, Grant M. Connette, Martin Cosier, David Dapice, Jose Don T. Alban, Alex Diment, Julia Fogerite, Jefferson Fox, Win Hlaing, Saw Htun, Jack Hurd, Katherine LaJeunesse Connette, Felicia Lasmana, Cheng Ling Lim, Antony Lynam, Aye Chan Maung, Benjamin McCarron, John F. McCarthy, William J. McShea, Frank Momberg, Myat Su Mon, Than Myint, Robert Oberndorf, Thaung Naing Oo, Jacob Phelps, Madhu Rao, Dietrich Schmidt-Vogt, Hugh Speechly, Oliver Springate-Baginski, Robert Steinmetz, Kirk Talbott, Maung Maung Than, Tint Lwin Thaung, Salai Cung Lian Thawng, Kyaw Min Thein, Shwe Thein, Robert Tizard, Tony Whitten, Guy Williams, Trevor Wilson, Kevin Woods, Alan D. Ziegler, Michal Zrust, Edward L. Webb
      Abstract: Political and economic transitions have had substantial impacts on forest conservation. Where transitions are underway or anticipated, historical precedent and methods for systematically assessing future trends should be used to anticipate likely threats to forest conservation and design appropriate and prescient policy measures to counteract them. Myanmar is transitioning from an authoritarian, centralized state with a highly regulated economy to a more decentralized and economically liberal democracy and is working to end a long-running civil war. With these transitions in mind, we used a horizon-scanning approach to assess the 40 emerging issues most affecting Myanmar's forests, including internal conflict, land-tenure insecurity, large-scale agricultural development, demise of state timber enterprises, shortfalls in government revenue and capacity, and opening of new deforestation frontiers with new roads, mines, and hydroelectric dams. Averting these threats will require, for example, overhauling governance models, building capacity, improving infrastructure- and energy-project planning, and reforming land-tenure and environmental-protection laws. Although challenges to conservation in Myanmar are daunting, the political transition offers an opportunity for conservationists and researchers to help shape a future that enhances Myanmar's social, economic, and environmental potential while learning and applying lessons from other countries. Our approach and results are relevant to other countries undergoing similar transitions.Temas de Transición Política y Conservación Emergente de los Bosques en MyanmarResumenLas transiciones políticas y económicas han tenido impactos sustanciales sobre la conservación de los bosques. En los lugares donde se estén llevando a cabo las transiciones o donde se anticipen se deberían utilizar los precedentes históricos y los métodos para evaluar sistemáticamente las futuras tendencias para anticipar las amenazas probables a la conservación de los bosques y para diseñar medidas políticas apropiadas que se anticipen a las amenazas y las contrarresten. Myanmar está en una transición entre un estado autoritario centralizado con una economía altamente regulada y una democracia más descentralizada y liberal, además de estar trabajando para terminar con una guerra civil de larga duración. Con estas transiciones en mente utilizamos una estrategia de escaneo de horizonte para evaluar los 40 temas emergentes que más afectan a los bosques de Myanmar, incluyendo al conflicto interno, la inseguridad de la tenencia, el desarrollo agrícola a gran escala, la desaparición de las empresas estatales de madera, la escasez de ingresos públicos y capacidad, y la apertura de nuevas fronteras de deforestación con nuevas carreteras, minas y presas hidroeléctricas. Para evitar estas amenazas se requerirá de la revisión de los modelos de gobernanza, la capacidad de construcción, la mejora de la planeación de proyectos de energía e infraestructura, y la reforma de las leyes de tenencia y de protección ambiental, por citar algunos ejemplos. Aunque en Myanmar los retos para la conservación son abrumadores, la transición política ofrece una oportunidad para que los conservacionistas y los investigadores ayuden a formar un futuro que mejore el potencial social, económico y ambiental de Myanmar mientras se aprenden y aplican lecciones de otros países. Nuestra estrategia y sus resultados son relevantes para otros países pasando por transiciones similares.
      PubDate: 2017-10-14T01:45:33.015898-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13021
       
  • Policy and Practice in Restoration
    • Authors: Péter Török
      PubDate: 2017-10-12T06:45:49.893466-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13028
       
  • Revisiting the challenge of intentional value shift: reply to Ives and
           Fischer
    • Authors: Michael J. Manfredo; Jeremy T. Bruskotter, Tara L. Teel, David C. Fulton, Shigehiro Oishi, Ayse K. Uskul, Kent H. Redford, Shalom H. Schwartz, Robert Arlinghaus, Shinobu Kitayama, Leeann Sullivan
      PubDate: 2017-10-09T12:00:21.271451-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13026
       
  • The self-sabotage of conservation: reply to Manfredo et al.
    • Authors: Christopher D. Ives; Joern Fischer
      PubDate: 2017-10-09T11:35:21.263079-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13025
       
  • The effectiveness of terrestrial protected areas for lake fish community
           conservation
    • Authors: Cindy Chu; Lucy Ellis, Derrick T. Kerckhove
      Abstract: Protected areas are established globally to conserve biodiversity, and associated ecosystem services and cultural values. However, freshwater protected areas are rare even though freshwater ecosystems and their biodiversity are among the most imperilled in the world. Conservation actions within terrestrial protected areas such as development or resource extraction regulations may spill over to benefit the freshwater ecosystems within their boundaries. Using a dataset of 175 lakes across Ontario (Canada), we compared common fish assemblage status indicators; species richness, Shannon's diversity index, catch-per-unit-effort, and normalized length size spectra, to evaluate whether terrestrial protected areas benefit lake fish assemblages. Nearest neighbour cluster analysis was used to generate pairs of lakes; a) inside versus outside, b) inside versus bordering, and c) bordering versus outside terrestrial protected areas based on lake characteristics. The diversity and abundance indicators did not differ significantly across comparisons but normalized length size spectrum slopes were significantly steeper in lakes outside of parks. The latter indicating assemblage differences (greater abundances of small-bodied species), and less efficient energy transfer through the trophic levels of assemblages outside parks. Although not significantly different, pollution and turbidity tolerant species were more abundant outside parks, while three of the four pollution intolerant species were more abundant within parks. Twenty-one percent of the difference in slopes was related to higher total dissolved solids concentrations and angling pressure. Our results provided marginal support that terrestrial protected areas benefit lake fish assemblages, and suggest that NLSS slopes may be more informative indicators for aquatic protected area evaluations because they represent compositional and functional aspects of communities. With an increasing global effort to establish PAs, we encourage more of these types of studies to improve our understanding of protected area effectiveness and the development of appropriate ecological indicators to monitor them.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-10-08T23:50:24.419053-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13034
       
  • Biofluorescence as a survey tool for cryptic marine species
    • Authors: Maarten Brauwer; Jean-Paul A. Hobbs, Rohani Ambo-Rappe, Jamaluddin Jompa, Euan S. Harvey, Jennifer L. McIlwain
      Abstract: As ecosystems come under increasing anthropogenic pressure, rare species face the highest risk of extinction. Paradoxically, rare species often lack data necessary to evaluate their conservation status, because of the challenges detecting species with low abundance. One group of fishes subject to this under-sampling bias are those with cryptic body patterns. Twenty-one percent of the cryptic fish species assessed for their extinction risk (IUCN) are data deficient. We developed a non-destructive method for surveying cryptically patterned marine fishes based on the presence of biofluorescence. Blue LED torches were used to investigate how widespread biofluorescence is in cryptic reef fishes in the Coral Triangle region. We recorded 95 reef fish species displaying biofluorescence, 73 of which had not been previously described as biofluorescent. Of those fish with cryptic patterns 87% were biofluorescent compared to 9% for non-cryptic fishes. The probability of species displaying biofluorescence was 70.9 times greater for cryptic species compared to non-cryptic species. The effectiveness of our Underwater Biofluorescence Census (UBC) method in generating abundance data was tested on a data deficient pygmy seahorse species (Hippocampus bargibanti) and compared to data obtained from standard Underwater Visual Census (UVC) surveys. Almost twice the number of H. bargibanti were counted using the UBC compared with UVC. For two triplefin species (Ucla xenogrammus, Enneapterygius tutuilae), the abundance detected with UBC was triple that detected with UVC. The UBC method is effective at finding cryptic species that are otherwise difficult to detect, reducing inter-observer variability inherent to UVC surveys. Biofluorescence is ubiquitous in cryptic fishes, making this method applicable across a wide range of species. Data collected using UBC could be used with multiple IUCN criteria to assess the extinction risk of cryptic species. Adopting this technique will enhance researchers’ ability to survey cryptic species, facilitating management and conservation of cryptic marine species.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-10-06T08:50:33.876196-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13033
       
  • Long-distance flights and high-risk breeding by nomadic waterbirds on
           desert salt lakes
    • Authors: Reece D. Pedler; Raoul F.H. Ribot, Andrew T.D. Bennett
      Abstract: Understanding and conserving mobile species presents complex challenges, especially for animals in stochastic or changing environments. Nomadic waterbirds must locate temporary water in arid biomes where rainfall is highly unpredictable in space and time. To achieve this they need to travel over vast spatial scales and time arrival to exploit pulses in food resources. How they achieve this is an enduring mystery.  We investigated these challenges in the colonial-nesting Banded Stilt (Cladorhynchus leucocephalus), a nomadic shorebird of conservation concern. Hitherto, Banded Stilts were hypothesized to have only 1–2 chances to breed during their long lifetime, when flooding rain fills desert salt lakes, triggering mass-hatching of brine shrimp. Over 6 years, we satellite tagged 57 individuals, conducted 21 aerial surveys to detect nesting colonies on 14 Australian desert salt lakes, and analyzed 3 decades of Landsat and MODIS satellite imagery to quantify salt-lake flood frequency and extent. Within days of distant inland rainfall, Banded Stilts flew 1,000–2,000 km to reach flooded salt lakes. On arrival, females laid over half their body weight in eggs. We detected nesting episodes across the species’ range at 7 times the frequency reported during the previous 80 years. Nesting colonies of thousands formed following minor floods, yet most were subsequently abandoned when the water rapidly evaporated prior to egg hatching. Satellite imagery revealed twice as many flood events sufficient for breeding-colony initiation as recorded colonies, suggesting that nesting at remote sites has been underdetected. Individuals took risk on uncertain breeding opportunities by responding to frequent minor flood events between infrequent extensive flooding, exemplifying the extreme adaptability and trade-offs of species exploiting unstable environments. The conservation challenges of nest predation by overabundant native gulls and anthropogenic modifications to salt lakes filling frequencies require investigation, as do the physiological and navigational mechanisms that enable such extreme strategies.Vuelos de Larga Distancia y la Reproducción de Alto Riesgo de Aves Acuáticas Nómadas en Lagos Salados de los DesiertosResumenEl entendimiento y la conservación de especies móviles presentan retos complejos, especialmente para animales en ambientes estocásticos o cambiantes. Las aves acuáticas nómadas deben ubicar agua temporal en biomas áridos en los que la precipitación es altamente impredecible en el tiempo y el espacio. Para lograr esto necesitan tiempo de arribo y trasladarse sobre escalas espaciales amplias para explotar los pulsos de recursos alimenticios. Cómo logran esto es un misterio que perdura. Investigamos estos retos con la cigüeñuela pechirroja (Cladorhynchus leucocephalus), un ave costera nómada de anidamiento colonial e interés de conservación. Hasta la fecha se creía que la cigüeñuela pechirroja sólo tenía entre una y dos oportunidades de reproducción a lo largo de su vida cuando la lluvia llena los lagos salados de los desiertos, activando una eclosión masiva de artemias. Durante seis años etiquetamos con satélite a 57 individuos, realizamos 21 censos aéreos para detectar las colonias de anidación en 14 lagos salados del desierto en Australia, y analizamos tres décadas de imágenes satelitales de Landsat y MODIS para cuantificar la frecuencia y extensión de las inundaciones en los lagos salados. A los pocos días de las lluvias distantes tierra adentro, las cigüeñuelas pechirrojas volaron 1,000 – 2,000 km para llegar a los lagos salados inundados. A su llegada, las hembras pusieron más de la mitad de su peso corporal en huevos. Detectamos episodios de anidamiento a lo largo de la extensión de la especie siete veces más que la frecuencia reportada durante los 80 años previos. Se formaron colonias de anidamiento de miles de individuos después de inundaciones menores, aunque la mayoría fueron abandonadas subsecuentemente cuando el agua se evaporó rápidamente antes de la eclosión de los huevos. Las imágenes satelitales revelaron el doble de eventos de inundaciones suficientes para la iniciación de colonias reproductivas que las colonias registradas, lo que sugiere que la anidación en sitios remotos no ha sido detectada. Los individuos tomaron riesgos con oportunidades de reproducción inciertas al responder a eventos frecuentes de inundación menor entre las inundaciones extensivas poco frecuentes, ejemplificando la adaptabilidad extrema y las compensaciones de las especies que explotan los ambientes inestables. Los retos de conservación con la depredación de los nidos por gaviotas nativas sobreabundantes y las modificaciones antropogénicas de las frecuencias de inundación de los lagos salados requieren investigación, así como los mecanismos fisiológicos y de navegación que permiten tales estrategias extremas.
      PubDate: 2017-10-05T12:20:34.817124-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13007
       
  • Considering connections between Hollywood and biodiversity conservation
    • Authors: Matthew J. Silk; Sarah L. Crowley, Anna J. Woodhead, Ana Nuno
      Abstract: Cinema offers a substantial opportunity to share messages with a wide audience. Given its global range and potentially high impact, there is an urgent need for research that evaluates the effects of this form of visual media on conservation outcomes. Cinema can influence the awareness and behaviours of non-specialist audiences, and could therefore play an important positive and/or negative role in biodiversity conservation through behavioural change and social pressure on key stakeholders and policy makers. Limited awareness about the potential benefits and limitations of cinema for conservation, as well as a lack of evidence about impacts, currently hinder our ability to learn from previous and ongoing initiatives, and to engage productively with the movie industry. We discuss the key opportunities and risks that arise from cinematic representations of conservation issues and species of concern, making use of examples and case studies where they are available. We additionally provide a framework that enables conservationists to better understand and engage with the film industry, highlighting how this can facilitate engagement with the movie industry, harness its potential, and improve work to mitigate any negative consequences. A robust evidence base is key for evaluating and planning these engagements, and for informing related policy and management decisions.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-09-27T23:51:07.250397-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13030
       
  • Preference heterogeneity among landowners and spatial conservation
           prioritization: response to Eyvindson et al. 2017
    • Authors: Anne Sofie Elberg Nielsen; Niels Strange, Hans Henrik Bruun, Jette Bredahl Jacobsen
      PubDate: 2017-09-25T11:50:20.955631-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13003
       
  • Landowner preferences and conservation prioritization: response to Nielsen
           et al
    • Authors: Kyle Eyvindson; Anna Repo, Daniel Burgas, Mikko Mönkkönen
      PubDate: 2017-09-25T11:27:35.677799-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13004
       
  • The need for spatially explicit quantification of benefits in
           invasive-species management
    • Authors: Stephanie R. Januchowski-Hartley; Vanessa M. Adams, Virgilio Hermoso
      Abstract: Worldwide, invasive species are a leading driver of environmental change across terrestrial, marine, and freshwater environments and cost billions of dollars annually in ecological damages and economic losses. Resources limit invasive-species control, and planning processes are needed to identify cost-effective solutions. Thus, studies are increasingly considering spatially variable natural and socioeconomic assets (e.g., species persistence, recreational fishing) when planning the allocation of actions for invasive-species management. There is a need to improve understanding of how such assets are considered in invasive-species management. We reviewed over 1600 studies focused on management of invasive species, including flora and fauna. Eighty-four of these studies were included in our final analysis because they focused on the prioritization of actions for invasive species management. Forty-five percent (n = 38) of these studies were based on spatial optimization methods, and 35% (n = 13) accounted for spatially variable assets. Across all 84 optimization studies considered, 27% (n = 23) explicitly accounted for spatially variable assets. Based on our findings, we further explored the potential costs and benefits to invasive species management when spatially variable assets are explicitly considered or not. To include spatially variable assets in decision-making processes that guide invasive-species management there is a need to quantify environmental responses to invasive species and to enhance understanding of potential impacts of invasive species on different natural or socioeconomic assets. We suggest these gaps could be filled by systematic reviews, quantifying invasive species impacts on native species at different periods, and broadening sources and enhancing sharing of knowledge.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-09-22T00:20:38.421288-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13031
       
  • Effects of age and sex ratios on offspring recruitment rates in
           translocated black rhinoceros
    • Authors: Jay V. Gedir; Peter R. Law, Pierre du Preez, Wayne L. Linklater
      Abstract: Success of animal translocations depends on improving post-release demographic rates toward establishment and subsequent growth of released populations. Short-term metrics for evaluating translocation success and its drivers, like post-release survival and fecundity, are unlikely to represent longer-term outcomes. We used information theory to investigate 25 years of black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) translocations using the offspring recruitment rate (ORR) of translocated females – a metric integrating survival, fecundity and offspring recruitment at sexual maturity – to detect determinants of success. Our analyses produced an unambiguous top model (AICω = 0.986), which predicted that ORR increases with female age at release as a function of lower post-release adult rhino sex ratio (males:females). Delay to first post-release reproduction and failure of some females to recruit any calves to sexual maturity most influenced the pattern of ORRs, with the leading causes of recruitment failure being post-release female death (23% of all females) and failure to calve (24% of surviving females). We recommend translocating older females (≥ 6 years old) because they do not have the reproductive delay and low ORRs of juveniles (< 4 years old), nor the higher rates of recruitment failure of juveniles and young adults (4–5.9 years old). Where translocation of juveniles is necessary, they should be released into female-biased populations where they have higher ORRs. Our study offers the unique advantage of a long-term analysis across a large number of replicate populations – a science-by-management experiment as a proxy for a manipulative experiment, and a rare opportunity, particularly for a large, critically-endangered taxon like the black rhinoceros. Our findings differ from previous recommendations and reinforce the importance of longer-term datasets and comprehensive metrics of translocation success, suggesting we shift our attention from ecological to social constraints on population growth and species recovery, particularly when translocating species with polygynous breeding systems.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-09-22T00:20:23.129837-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13029
       
  • A spatial approach to combatting wildlife crime
    • Authors: Sally C. Faulkner; Michael C.A. Stevens, Stephanie S. Romañach, Peter A. Lindsey, Steven C. Comber
      Abstract: Poaching can have devastating impacts on animal and plant numbers, and in many countries has reached crisis levels, with illegal hunters employing increasingly sophisticated techniques. Here, we show how geographic profiling – a mathematical technique originally developed in criminology and recently applied to animal foraging and epidemiology – can be adapted for use in investigations of wildlife crime, using data from an eight-year study in Savé Valley Conservancy, Zimbabwe that in total includes more than 10,000 incidents of illegal hunting and the deaths of 6,454 wild animals. Using a subset of these data for which the illegal hunters’ identities are known, we show that the model can successfully identify the illegal hunters’ home villages using the spatial locations of hunting incidences (for example, snares) as input, and show how this can be improved by manipulating the probability surface inside the Conservancy to reflect the fact that – although the illegal hunters mostly live outside the Conservancy, the majority of hunting occurs inside (in criminology, ‘commuter crime’). The results of this analysis – combined with rigorous simulations – show for the first time how geographic profiling can be combined with GIS data and applied to situations with more complex spatial patterns – for example, where landscape heterogeneity means that some parts of the study area are unsuitable (e.g. aquatic areas for terrestrial animals, or vice versa), or where landscape permeability differs (for example, forest bats tending not to fly over open areas). More broadly, these results show how geographic profiling can be used to target anti-poaching interventions more effectively and more efficiently, with important implications for the development of management strategies and conservation plans in a range of conservation scenarios.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-09-19T07:50:44.469891-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13027
       
  • Noted with Interest
    • PubDate: 2017-09-13T06:10:59.088713-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13001
       
  • Incorporating fragmentation and non-native species into distribution
           models to inform fluvial fish conservation
    • Authors: Andrew T. Taylor; Monica Papeş, James M. Long
      Abstract: Fluvial fishes face increased imperilment from anthropogenic activities, but the specific factors contributing most to range declines are often poorly understood. For example, the shoal bass (Micropterus cataractae) is a fluvial-specialist species experiencing continual range loss, yet how perceived threats have contributed to range loss is largely unknown. We employed species distribution models (SDMs) to disentangle which factors are contributing most to shoal bass range loss by estimating a potential distribution based on natural abiotic factors and by estimating a series of current, occupied distributions that also incorporated variables characterizing land cover, non-native species, and fragmentation intensity (no fragmentation, dams only, and dams and large impoundments). Model construction allowed for interspecific relationships between non-native congeners and shoal bass to vary across fragmentation intensities. Results from the potential distribution model estimated shoal bass presence throughout much of their native basin, whereas models of current occupied distribution illustrated increased range loss as fragmentation intensified. Response curves from current occupied models indicated a potential interaction between fragmentation intensity and the relationship between shoal bass and non-native congeners, wherein non-natives may be favored at the highest fragmentation intensity. Response curves also suggested that free-flowing fragment lengths of> 100 km were necessary to support shoal bass presence. Model evaluation, including an independent validation, suggested models had favorable predictive and discriminative abilities. Similar approaches that use readily-available, diverse geospatial datasets may deliver insights into the biology and conservation needs of other fluvial species facing similar threats.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-09-06T12:21:07.920637-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13024
       
  • Equity trade-offs in conservation decision making
    • Authors: Elizabeth A. Law; Nathan J. Bennett, Christopher D. Ives, Rachel Friedman, Katrina J. Davis, Carla Archibald, Kerrie A. Wilson
      Abstract: Conservation decisions increasingly involve multiple environmental and social objectives, which result in complex decision contexts with high potential for trade-offs. Improving social equity is one such objective that is often considered an enabler of successful outcomes and a virtuous ideal in itself. Despite its idealized importance in conservation policy, social equity is often highly simplified or ill-defined and is applied uncritically. What constitutes equitable outcomes and processes is highly normative and subject to ethical deliberation. Different ethical frameworks may lead to different conceptions of equity through alternative perspectives of what is good or right. This can lead to different and potentially conflicting equity objectives in practice. We promote a more transparent, nuanced, and pluralistic conceptualization of equity in conservation decision making that particularly recognizes where multidimensional equity objectives may conflict. To help identify and mitigate ethical conflicts and avoid cases of good intentions producing bad outcomes, we encourage a more analytical incorporation of equity into conservation decision making particularly during mechanistic integration of equity objectives. We recommend that in conservation planning motivations and objectives for equity be made explicit within the problem context, methods used to incorporate equity objectives be applied with respect to stated objectives, and, should objectives dictate, evaluation of equity outcomes and adaptation of strategies be employed during policy implementationThis article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-09-01T03:50:45.633067-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13008
       
  • A novel application of cultural consensus models to evaluate conservation
           education programs
    • Authors: K.A.I. Nekaris; Sharon McCabe, Denise Spaan, Muhammad Imron Ali, Vincent Nijman
      Abstract: Conservation professionals recognize the need to evaluate education initiatives with a flexible approach that is culturally appropriate. Cultural-consensus theory (CCT) provides a framework for measuring the extent to which beliefs are communally held and has long been applied by social scientists. In a conservation-education context, we applied CCT and used free lists (i.e., a list of items on a topic stated in order of cultural importance) and domain analysis (analysis of how free lists go together within a cultural group) to evaluate a conservation education program in which we used a children's picture book to increase knowledge about and empathy for a critically endangered mammal, the Javan slow loris (Nycticebus javanicus). We extracted free lists of keywords generated by students (n = 580 in 18 schools) from essays they wrote before and after the education program. In 2 classroom sessions conducted approximately 18 weeks apart, we asked students to write an essay about their knowledge of the target species and then presented a book and several activities about slow loris ecology. Prior to the second session, we asked students to write a second essay. We generated free lists from both essays, quantified salience of terms used, and conducted minimal residuals factor analysis to determine presence of cultural domains surrounding slow lorises in each session. Students increased their use of words accurately associated with slow loris ecology and conservation from 43% in initial essays to 76% in final essays . Domain coherence increased from 22% to 47% across schools. Fifteen factors contributed to the domain slow loris. Between the first and second essays, factors that showed the greatest change were feeding ecology and slow loris as a forest protector, which increased 7-fold, and the humancentric factor, which decreased 5-fold. As demonstrated by knowledge retention and creation of unique stories and conservation opinions, children achieved all six levels of Bloom's taxonomy of learning domains. Free from the constraints of questionnaires and surveys, CCT methods provide a promising avenue to evaluate conservation education programs.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-09-01T01:20:38.339641-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13023
       
  • Patterns and biases of climate-change threats in the IUCN Red List
    • Authors: Nicholas Trull; Monika Böhm, Jamie Carr
      Abstract: International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assessments rely on published data and expert inputs, and biases can be introduced where underlying definitions and concepts are ambiguous. Consideration of climate-change threat is no exception, and recently numerous approaches to assessing the threat of climate change to species have been developed. We explored IUCN Red List assessments of amphibians and birds to determine whether species listed as threatened by climate change display distinct patterns in terms of habitat occupied and additional nonclimatic threats faced. We compared IUCN Red List data with a published data set of species’ biological and ecological traits believed to infer high vulnerability to climate change and determined whether distributions of climate-change-threatened species on the IUCN Red List concur with those of climate-change-threatened species identified with the trait-based approach and whether species possessing these traits are more likely to have climate change listed as a threat on the IUCN Red List. Species in some ecosystems (e.g., grassland, shrubland) and subject to particular threats (e.g., invasive species) were more likely to have climate change as a listed threat. Geographical patterns of climate-change-threatened amphibians and birds on the IUCN Red List were incongruent with patterns of global species richness and patterns identified using trait-based approaches. Certain traits were linked to increases or decreases in the likelihood of a species being threatened by climate change. Broad temperature tolerance of a species was consistently related to an increased likelihood of climate-change threat, indicating counterintuitive relationships in IUCN assessments. To improve the robustness of species assessments of the vulnerability or extinction risk associated with climate change, we suggest IUCN adopt a more cohesive approach whereby specific traits highlighted by our results are considered in red-list assessments. To achieve this and to strengthen the climate-change-vulnerability assessments approach, it is necessary to identify and implement logical avenues for further research into traits that make species vulnerable to climate change (including population-level threats).This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-08-31T23:50:47.168871-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13022
       
  • Untangling the proximate causes and underlying drivers of deforestation
           and forest degradation in Myanmar
    • Authors: Cheng Ling Lim; Graham W. Prescott, Jose Don T. Alban, Alan D. Ziegler, Edward L. Webb
      Abstract: Political transitions often trigger substantial environmental changes. In particular, deforestation can result from the complex interplay among the components of a system—actors, institutions, and existing policies—adapting to new opportunities. A dynamic conceptual map of system components is particularly useful for systems in which multiple actors, each with different worldviews and motivations, may be simultaneously trying to alter different facets of the system, unaware of the impacts on other components. In Myanmar a global biodiversity hotspot with the largest forest area in mainland Southeast Asia, ongoing political and economic reforms are likely to change the dynamics of deforestation drivers. A fundamental conceptual map of these dynamics is therefore a prerequisite for interventions to reduce deforestation. We used a system-dynamics approach and causal-network analysis to determine the proximate causes and underlying drivers of forest loss and degradation in Myanmar from 1995 to 2016 and to articulate the linkages among them. Proximate causes included infrastructure development, timber extraction, and agricultural expansion. These were stimulated primarily by formal agricultural, logging, mining, and hydropower concessions and economic investment and social issues relating to civil war and land tenure. Reform of land laws, the link between natural resource extraction and civil war, and the allocation of agricultural concessions will influence the extent of future forest loss and degradation in Myanmar. The causal-network analysis identified priority areas for policy interventions, for example, creating a public registry of land-concession holders to deter corruption in concession allocation. We recommend application of this analytical approach to other countries, particularly those undergoing political transition, to inform policy interventions to reduce forest loss and degradation.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-08-30T02:20:31.560942-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12984
       
  • Exceptional responders in conservation
    • Authors: Gerald Post; Jonas Geldmann
      Abstract: Conservation operates within complex systems with incomplete knowledge of the system and the interventions. This frequently results in the inability to find generally applicable solutions to the threats faced by Earth's vanishing wildlife. One approach used in medicine, and the social sciences has been to develop a deeper understanding of the positive outliers. Where such outliers share similar characteristics, they may be considered: “exceptional responders”. Here we present a framework for identifying exceptional responders in conservation. We propose four steps: First, identification of the study system; Second, identification of the response structure; Third, identification of the threshold for exceptionalism; Fourth, identification of commonalities amongst outliers. Evaluating exceptional responders is a method to glean additional information that is often ignored in randomized controlled trials and BACI. Interrogating the contextual factors that contribute to an exceptional outcome allow exceptional responders to become valuable pieces of information leading to unexpected discoveries and novel hypotheses.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-08-30T00:20:25.833552-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13006
       
  • Practitioner and scientist perceptions of successful amphibian
           conservation
    • Authors: Helen M. R. Meredith; Freya St John, Ben Collen, Simon A. Black, Richard A. Griffiths
      Abstract: Conservation requires successful outcomes. However, success is perceived in many different ways depending on the desired outcome, which can vary according to numerous factors. We analysed perceptions of success among 355 scientists and practitioners working on amphibian conservation from over 150 organisations in more than 50 countries. Respondents identified four types of success: species and habitat improvements (84% of respondents); effective programme management (36%); outreach initiatives such as education and public engagement (25%); and the application of science-based conservation (15%). The most significant factor influencing overall perceived success was reducing threats. Capacity building was rated least important. Perceptions were influenced by experience, professional affiliation, involvement in conservation practice, and country of residence. More experienced conservation practitioners associated success with improvements to species and habitats, and less so with education and engagement initiatives. Whilst science-based conservation was rated as important, this factor declined in importance as the number of programmes a respondent participated in increased, particularly amongst those from Less Economically Developed Countries. The ultimate measure of conservation success – population recovery – may be difficult to measure in many amphibians, difficult to relate to the conservation actions intended to drive it, and difficult to achieve within conventional funding timeframes. The relaunched Amphibian Conservation Action Plan provides a framework for capturing lower-level processes and outcomes, identifying gaps, and measuring progress.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-08-29T23:50:53.424175-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13005
       
  • Untangling outcomes of de jure and de facto community-based management of
           natural resources
    • Authors: Meghna Agarwala; Joshua R. Ginsberg
      Abstract: We systematically reviewed the literature on the tragedy of the commons and common-property resources. We segregated studies by legal management regimes (de jure regimes) and management that develops in practice (de facto regimes) to understand how the structure of regime formation affects the outcome of community management on sustainability of resource use. De facto regimes, developed within the community, are more likely to have positive impacts on the resource. However, de facto regimes are fragile and not resilient in the face of increased population pressure and unregulated markets, and de facto management regimes are less successful where physical exclusion of external agents from resources is more difficult. Yet, formalization or imposition of de jure management regimes can have complicated impacts on sustainability. The imposition of de jure regimes usually has a negative outcome when existing de facto regimes operate at larger scales than the imposed de jure regime. In contrast, de jure regimes have largely positive impacts when the de facto regimes operate at scales smaller than the overlying de jure regimes. Formalization may also be counterproductive because of elite capture and the resulting de facto privatization (that allows elites to effectively exclude others) or de facto open access (where the disenfranchised may resort to theft and elites cannot effectively exclude them). This underscores that although the global movement to formalize community-management regimes may address some forms of inequity and may produce better outcomes, it does not ensure resource sustainability and may lead to greater marginalization of users. Comparison of governance systems that differentiate between initiatives that legitimize existing de facto regimes and systems that create new de facto regimes, investigations of new top-down de jure regimes, and studies that further examine different approaches to changing de jure regimes to de facto regimes are avenues for further inquiry.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-08-25T07:40:22.085793-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12954
       
  • Perceived barriers to and drivers of community participation in
           protected-area governance
    • Authors: Caroline Ward; George Holmes, Lindsay Stringer
      Abstract: Protected areas (PAs) are a frequently used conservation strategy, yet their socio-economic impacts on local communities remain contentious. A shift towards increased local community participation in PA governance has sought to deliver benefits for human well-being as well as biodiversity. Although participation is considered critical to the success of PAs, few studies have investigated individuals’ decisions to participate and what this means for how local people experience the costs and benefits of conservation. This paper explores: a) who participates in PA governance associations and why, b) the perceived benefits and costs to participation, and c) how costs and benefits are distributed within and between communities. Methods included focus groups, interviews and questionnaires conducted with 3 communities and other stakeholders in PA governance in Madagascar. The study design is conceptually grounded in the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB), the most commonly applied behaviour model in social psychology. Results show that participation was limited by miscommunication and lack of knowledge about who could get involved and how. Respondents perceived limited benefits and high costs, and uneven distribution of these within and between communities. Men, poorer households and more remote villages reported highest costs. Findings illustrate several challenges related to co-management of PAs: (1) understanding the heterogeneous nature of communities; (2) ensuring all households are represented in governance participation; (3) understanding differences in the meaning of forest protection; and (4) targeting interventions to reach households most in need, avoiding elite capture.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-08-17T23:50:26.897962-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13000
       
  • Look to the past for an optimistic future
    • Authors: Aaron O'Dea; Erin Dillon, Andrew Altieri, Mauro Lepore
      Abstract: Conservation Paleobiology is a framework that allows the fossil record to guide conservation efforts. Scientists now use fossils to successfully reconstruct pre-human baselines of populations, communities and ecosystems to create conservation targets, establish long-term records to contextualise modern-day change, and predict future conservation needs (Dietl et al. 2015, Finnegan et al. 2015, Barnosky et al. 2017). Often, however, the prognosis is rather pessimistic because the fossil record reveals the bleak truth of what has been lost since the arrival of humans. Meanwhile, Earth Optimism shows that positivity is critical to maintain engagement in conservation (Knowlton 2017). How can fossils make positive contributions to today's conservation challenges'This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-08-17T00:21:37.584746-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12997
       
  • Traps and transformations influencing the financial viability of tourism
           on private-land conservation areas
    • Authors: Hayley S. Clements; Graeme S. Cumming
      Abstract: The ability of private conservation organizations to remain financially viable is a key factor influencing their effectiveness. A third of financially-motivated private land conservation areas (PLCAs) surveyed previously in South Africa were found to be unprofitable, raising questions about their ability to effectively adapt their business models to their socioeconomic environment. In any complex system, options for later adaptation can be constrained by starting conditions (‘path dependence’). We tested three hypothesized drivers that might create path dependence in PLCA business models: (H1) land asset size (large mammalian game abundance is constrained by available land area); (H2) infrastructural asset extent (the introduction of charismatic predators, such as lion, requires substantial infrastructural investment); and (H3) productivity (rainfall limits vegetation and thereby game abundance). We further assessed how managing for financial stability (optimized game stocking) or ecological sustainability (allowing game to fluctuate with environmental conditions) influenced a PLCA's ability to overcome path dependence. Using a mechanistic PLCA model based on simple ecological and financial rules, we showed that despite landowner attempts to increase profits, adopted business models after 13 years were differentiated by initial land and infrastructural assets, supporting H1 and H2. A conservation organization's initial assets can cause it to become locked into a financially vulnerable business model. Over a 50-year simulation period, path dependence was overcome by fewer of the landowners who facilitated natural ecological variability than who maintained constant hunting rates and predator numbers, but the latter experienced unsustainably high game densities in low rainfall years. Management for natural variability supports long-term ecological sustainability but not shorter-term socioeconomic sustainability for PLCAs. Our findings highlight tradeoffs between ecological and economic sustainability and suggest a role for governmental support of the private conservation industry in achieving national conservation goals.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-08-17T00:21:33.416295-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12999
       
  • Understanding implications of consumer behavior for wildlife farming and
           sustainable wildlife trade
    • Authors: A. Nuno; J. M. Blumenthal, T. J. Austin, J. Bothwell, G. Ebanks-Petrie, B. J. Godley, A. C. Broderick
      Abstract: Unsustainable wildlife trade affects biodiversity and the livelihoods of communities dependent upon those resources. Wildlife farming has often been proposed to promote sustainable trade but characterizing markets and understanding consumer behaviour remain neglected, but essential, steps with important implications for its design and evaluation. We used sea turtle trade in the Cayman Islands as a case study – where turtle meat for consumption has been produced for almost 50 years, to explore consumer preferences towards wild-sourced (illegal) and farmed (legal) products and potential conservation implications. Combining methods innovatively (including indirect questioning and choice experiments), we conducted a nationwide trade assessment. Whilst 30% of resident households had consumed turtle in the previous 12 months, the purchase and consumption of wild products was relatively rare (e.g. 64–742 resident households consumed wild turtle meat, representing 0.3-3.5% of resident households), although representing an important threat to wild turtles in the area due to reduced populations. We found marked differences among groups of consumers with price and source of product playing an important role in their decisions. Despite the long-term practice of farming turtle, some consumers showed a strong preference for wild products, demonstrating limitations of wildlife farming as a single tool for sustainable wildlife trade. By using a diversified toolset to investigate demand for wildlife products, we obtained insights about consumer behaviour that can be used to develop conservation demand-focused initiatives. Lack of long-term social-ecological assessments, a common issue worldwide, hinders the evaluation and learning potential of wildlife farming as conservation tool. This information is key to understanding under which conditions different interventions (e.g. bans, wildlife farming, social marketing) are likely to succeed.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-08-16T23:50:30.871763-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12998
       
  • Fishing-gear restrictions and biomass gains for coral reef fishes in
           marine protected areas
    • Authors: Stuart J. Campbell; Graham J. Edgar, Rick D. Stuart-Smith, German Soler, Amanda E. Bates
      Abstract: Strong empirical evidence supports recovery of reef fish populations with fishery closures. In countries where full exclusion of people from fishing may be perceived as inequitable, fishing gear restrictions on non-selective and destructive gears may offer socially relevant management alternatives to build recovery of fish biomass. Even so, very few studies have statistically compared the responses of tropical reef fisheries to alternative management strategies. Here we test for the effects of fishery closures and fishing gear restrictions on tropical reef fish biomass, at the community and family level, at 1,396 underwater surveys conducted at 617 unique sites across a spatial hierarchy within 22 global marine ecoregions representing five realms. We compare total biomass across local fish assemblages, and among 20 reef fish families inside marine protected areas (MPAs) with different fishing restrictions: no-take, hook and line fishing only, several fishing gears allowed, to sites open to all fishing gears. We include a further category representing remote sites where fishing pressure is low. As expected, full fishery closures, often referred to as ‘no-take’ zones, most benefit community and family level fish biomass in comparison with restrictions on fishing gears and openly fished sites. We further find that although biomass responses to fishery closures are highly variable across families, some fishery targets (e.g., Carcharhinidae, and Lutjanidae) respond positively to multiple restrictions on fishing gears (i.e., where gears other than hook and line fishing are not permitted). Remoteness also imparts a positive influence on the response of community level fish biomass and many fish families. Our findings provide strong support for the role of fishing restrictions in building recovery of fish biomass, and indicate important interactions among fishing gear types on removal of fish biomass among a range of reef fish families.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-08-04T00:50:56.302463-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12996
       
  • The malaria parasite Plasmodium relictum in the endemic avifauna of
           eastern Cuba
    • Authors: Letícia Soares; Peter Marra, Lindsey Gray, Robert E. Ricklefs
      Abstract: Island populations are vulnerable to introduced pathogens, as evidenced by extinction or population decline of several endemic Hawaiian birds caused by the malaria parasite, Plasmodium relictum (order Haemosporida). We analyzed blood samples from 363 birds caught near Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for the presence of haemosporidian infections. We characterized parasite lineages by determining nucleotide variation of the parasite's mitochondrial cyt b gene. Fifty-nine individuals were infected, and we identified 7 lineages of haemosporidian parasites. Fifty individuals were infected by 6 Haemoproteus sp. lineages, including a newly characterized lineage of Haem. (Parahaemoproteus) sp. CUH01. Nine individuals carried the P. relictum lineage GRW4, including 5 endemic Cuban Grassquits (Tiaris canorus) and 1 migratory Cape May Warbler (Setophaga tigrina). A sequence of the merozoite surface protein gene from one Cuban Grassquit infected with GRW4 matched that of the Hawaiian haplotype Pr9. Our results indicate that resident and migratory Cuban birds are infected with a malaria lineage that has severely affected populations of several endemic Hawaiian birds. We suggest GRW4 may be associated with the lack of several bird species on Cuba that are ubiquitous elsewhere in the West Indies. From the standpoint of avian conservation in the Caribbean Basin, it will be important to determine the distribution of haemosporidian parasites, especially P. relictum GRW4, in Cuba as well as the pathogenicity of this lineage in species that occur and are absent from Cuba.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-08-02T06:55:50.448799-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12995
       
  • The role of social license in conservation
    • Authors: Dave Kendal; Rebecca M. Ford
      Abstract: “Threatened species programs need a social license to justify public funding” (Zander et al. 2014). Or do they' There is growing acceptance within conservation science that community support for and engagement in ecosystem management programs is likely to lead to better conservation outcomes (Marvier & Wong 2012). However, the language used to characterize relations between conservation and the community is important, and use of the term social license may not always be a useful way to describe this relationship. Since the mid-1990s, the term social license has been widely used in the mining sector to describe implicit acceptance and approval of a mining operation by the community in which it operates (Lacey & Lamont 2014). Other industries such as forestry, aquaculture, and agriculture have begun using the term in a similar way (Edwards & Trafford 2016; Ford & Williams 2016; Moffat et al. 2016). Now social license is beginning to appear in conservation discourse (e.g., Garnett et al., 2015; Oakes et al., 2015). At the same time, the use of social license in other sectors has been criticized (e.g., Owen & Kemp, 2013) because it frames relationships with communities as more singular, binary, and tangible than is feasible or desirable (Parsons & Moffat 2014). The use of social license in conservation needs critical evaluation, particularly given the broad contextual differences between conservation and industries such as mining.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-08-02T02:21:09.77476-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12994
       
  • Major shifts in amazon wildlife populations from recent climatic
           intensification
    • Authors: Richard Bodmer; Pedro Mayor, Miguel Antunez, Kimberlyn Chota, Tula Fang, Pablo Puertas, Marlini Pittet, Maire Kirkland, Mike Walkey, Claudia Rios, Pedro Perez-Peña, Peter Henderson, William Bodmer, Andy Bicerra, Joseph Zegarra, Emma Docherty
      Abstract: In the western Amazon basin, recent intensification of river level cycles has increased flooding during the wet seasons and decreased precipitation during the dry season. Greater than normal floods occurred in 2009 and in all years from 2011–2015 during high water seasons, and a drought occurred during the 2010 low water season. During these years, we surveyed populations of terrestrial, arboreal and aquatic wildlife in a seasonally flooded Amazonian forest to study the consequences of intensification of climatic fluctuations to wildlife populations and in turn resource use by traditional people. Intensive floods and droughts have recently resulted in shifts in fish and terrestrial mammal populations in flooded forests, a major landscape in western Amazonia that make up 99,780 km2 of the Loreto region in Peru. The intensive floods caused terrestrial mammal populations to decrease by 95% with ungulates, terrestrial rodents and terrestrial edentates having increased mortality because they were forced onto small patches of land during peak flood pulses, and drowning during the historically high floods of 2012 and 2015. In contrast, fish increased and benefited from longer access to inundated forests, resulting in healthy populations of waterfowl, dolphins, otters and caimans. Arboreal species, including, macaws, game birds, primates, felids and other arboreal mammals had stable populations and were not affected directly by high floods. The drought of 2010 had the opposite consequences with decreases in fish, waterfowl and dolphin populations, and stable populations of terrestrial and arboreal species. Ungulates and large rodents are important wildmeat species for local people and their dramatic decline has shifted resource use of people living in the flooded forests with less reliance on hunting and greater use of fish.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-08-02T01:21:01.830566-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12993
       
  • Managing conflicts between economic activities and threatened migratory
           marine species toward creating a multiobjective blue economy
    • Authors: Linda R. Harris; Ronel Nel, Herman Oosthuizen, Mike Meyer, Deon Kotze, Darrell Anders, Steven McCue, Santosh Bachoo
      Abstract: Harnessing the economic potential of the oceans is key to combating poverty, enhancing food security, and strengthening economies. But the concomitant risk of intensified resource extraction to migratory species is worrying given that these species contribute to important ecological processes, often underpin alternatively livelihoods, and many are already threatened. We thus sought to quantify the potential conflict between key economic activities (five fisheries and hydrocarbon exploitation) and sea turtle migration corridors in a region with rapid economic development: Southern and East Africa. From 20 loggerhead and 14 leatherback tracks, we used movement-based kernel density estimation to identify three migration corridors for each of the two species. We overlaid these corridors on maps of the distribution and intensity of economic activities, quantified the extent of overlap and threat posed by each activity on each species, and compared the effects. These results were compared to annual bycatch rates in the respective fisheries. Both species’ corridors overlap most with longlining, but the effect is worse for leatherbacks: bycatch rates are substantial (ca. 1500 per annum) relative to the regional population size (80% of the loggerhead population, 33% of the (critically endangered) leatherback population, and their nesting beaches. We support establishing blue economies, but oceans need to be carefully zoned and responsibly managed in both space and time to achieve economic (resource extraction), ecological (conservation, maintain processes) and social (maintain alternative livelihood opportunities, combat poverty) objectives.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-08-02T01:20:58.631847-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12992
       
  • Matches and mismatches between conservation investments and biodiversity
           values in the European Union
    • Authors: David Sánchez-Fernández; Pedro Abellán, Pedro Aragón, Sara Varela, Mar Cabeza
      Abstract: Recently, the European Commission adopted a new strategy to halt the loss of biodiversity. Member states are expected to favour a more effective collection and redistribution of European Union (EU) funds under the current Multiannual Financial Framework for 2014–2020. Because of the large spatial variation in the distribution of biodiversity and conservation needs at the continental scale, EU instruments should ensure that countries with higher biodiversity values get more funds and resources for the conservation of this biodiversity than other countries. We assess the association between conservation investments and biodiversity values across the member states, accounting for a variety of conservation investment indicators, taxonomic groups (including groups of plants, vertebrates and invertebrates) and biodiversity value indicators. In general, we have found good overall associations between conservation investments and biodiversity variables. However, some mismatches were found in countries receiving more (or less) investments than expected based on their biodiversity values. We also found that the extensive use of birds as unique indicators of conservation effectiveness may be misleading. These results can provide insight to policymakers to aid future decisions regarding funding allocation, allowing a better redistribution of EU funds.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-07-28T22:50:41.243721-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12977
       
  • Getting to know the family in order to save them
    • Authors: Thibaud Gruber
      PubDate: 2017-07-21T11:35:37.876801-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12981
       
  • Factors influencing property selection for conservation revolving funds
    • Authors: Mathew J. Hardy; James A. Fitzsimons, Sarah A. Bekessy, Ascelin Gordon
      Abstract: Finding sustainable ways to increase the amount of private land protected for biodiversity is a challenge for many conservation organizations. In a number of countries, organizations use ‘revolving fund’ programs, whereby land is purchased, and then on-sold to conservation-minded owners with a condition to enter into a conservation covenant or easement. The proceeds from sale are then used to purchase, protect and on-sell additional properties, incrementally increasing the amount of protected private land. As the effectiveness of this approach relies upon selecting the right properties, we sought to explore the factors currently considered by practitioners and how these are integrated into decision-making. We conducted exploratory, semi-structured interviews with managers from each of the five major revolving funds in Australia. Responses suggest that whilst conservation factors are important, financial and social factors are also highly influential, with a major determinant being whether the property can be on-sold within a reasonable timeframe, and at a price that replenishes the fund. To facilitate the on-sale process, often selected properties include the potential for the construction of a dwelling. Practitioners are faced with clear trade-offs between conservation, financial, amenity and other factors in selecting properties; and three main potential risks: difficulty recovering the costs of acquisition, protection, and resale; difficulty on-selling the property; and difficulty meeting conservation goals. Our findings suggest that the complexity of these decisions may be limiting revolving fund effectiveness. We draw from participant responses to identify potential strategies to mitigate the risks identified, and suggest that managers could benefit from a shared learning and adaptive approach to property selection given the commonalities between programs. Understanding how practitioners are dealing with complex decisions in the implementation of revolving funds helps to identify future research to improve the performance of this conservation tool.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-07-20T03:51:12.993521-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12991
       
  • Countering resistance to protected-area extension
    • Authors: David Lindenmayer; Simon Thorn, Reed Noss
      Abstract: The establishment of protected areas is a critical strategy for conserving biodiversity. Key policy directives like the Aichi targets seek to expand protected areas to 17% of the earth's land surface, with calls by some conservation biologists for much more. However, in places such as the USA, Germany and Australia, attempts to increase protected areas are meeting strong resistance from communities, industry groups, and governments. Here we provide case studies of such resistance and suggest four ways to tackle this problem: (1) Broaden the case for protected areas beyond just nature conservation, to include the economic, human health, and other benefits, and translate these into a persuasive business case for protected areas. (2) Better communicate the conservation values of protected areas. This should include highlighting how many species, communities, and ecosystems have been conserved by protected areas and also the counterfactual – what would have been lost without protected area establishment. (3) Consider zoning of activities to ensure the maintenance of effective management. And, (4) Remind citizens to think about conservation when they vote, including holding politicians accountable for their environmental promises. Without tackling resistance to expanding the protected estate, it will be impossible to reach conservation targets and this will undermine attempts to stem the global extinction crisis.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-07-19T06:23:07.528449-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12990
       
  • A Biased Introduction to the “New Environmental History”
    • Authors: Zsolt Pinke
      PubDate: 2017-07-17T11:55:20.781957-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12973
       
  • Mapping social-ecological vulnerability to inform local decision making
    • Authors: Lauric Thiault; Paul Marshall, Stefan Gelcich, Antoine Collin, Frédérique Chlous, Joachim Claudet
      Abstract: An overarching challenge of natural resource management and biodiversity conservation is that relationships between human and nature are difficult to integrate into tools that can effectively guide decision-making. Social-ecological vulnerability offers a valuable framework for identifying and understanding important social-ecological linkages, and the implications of dependencies and other feedback loops in the system. Unfortunately its implementation at local scales has hitherto been limited, due at least in part to the lack of operational tools for spatial representation of social-ecological vulnerability. Here, we develop a method and demonstrate its utility for mapping social-ecological vulnerability using information on human-nature dependencies and ecosystem services at local scales within the context of the small-scale fishery of Moorea, French Polynesia. Our approach produced a spatial analysis that reveals social-ecological vulnerability hotspots that highlight focal areas for management intervention. The results can also inform decisions about where biodiversity conservation strategies are likely to be more effective, and how social impacts from policy decisions can be minimized. This study provides a new perspective on human-nature linkages that can inform efforts to manage for sustainability at local scales. Our approach delivers insights that are distinct from those provided by the emphasis on a single vulnerability component (e.g., exposure), and demonstrates the feasibility and value of operationalizing the social-ecological vulnerability framework for policy, planning and participatory management decisions.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-07-17T07:20:29.786055-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12989
       
  • Expanding career pathways in conservation science
    • Authors: Erika Zavaleta; Clare Aslan, Wendy Palen, Tom Sisk, Maureen E. Ryan, Brett Dickson
      Abstract: Since its inception, conservation biology has inspired thousands of students, spurred the creation of new initiatives, organizations and agencies, and informed conservation efforts worldwide. Nevertheless, global biodiversity loss is accelerating (Butchart et al. 2010), and our field needs to change to keep pace with mounting challenges. Conservation would benefit if scientists more enthusiastically pushed the institutional boundaries of our field through their efforts to expand their own and others’ career options and professional opportunities. We discuss several key areas of expansion, a critical subset of a longer list of comprehensive solutions. We aim to spark productive conversation and self-reflection to galvanize individual and institutional change in our field.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-07-13T03:50:57.874008-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12987
       
  • Scaling range sizes to threats for robust predictions of risks to
           biodiversity
    • Authors: David A. Keith; H. Resit Akçakaya, Nicholas J. Murray
      Abstract: Assessments of risk to biodiversity often rely on spatial distributions of species and ecosystems. Range size metrics used extensively in these assessments, such as Area of Occupancy (AOO), are sensitive to measurement scale, prompting proposals to measure them at finer scales, or a variery of different scales based on the shape of the distribution or ecological characteristics of the biota. Despite its dominant role in Red List assessments for decades, appropriate spatial scales of AOO for predicting risks of species extinction or ecosystem collapse remain untested and contentious. There are no quantitative evaluations of the scale-sensitivity of AOO as a predictor of risks, the relationship between optimal AOO scale and threat scale, or the effect of grid uncertainty. Here we present new empirical evidence that AOO is a good predictor of risk and performs optimally when measured with grid cells 0.1–1 times the area of the largest plausible threat event. Contrary to previous assertions, finer scale estimates resulted in lower predictive performance; the optimal scale depends on the spatial scales of threats more than the shape or size of biotic distributions. Although we show appreciable potential for grid measurement errors, current IUCN guidelines for estimating AOO neutralize geometric uncertainty and incorporate effective scaling procedures for assessing risks posed by landscape-scale threats to species and ecosystems.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-07-13T03:50:51.839496-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12988
       
  • Effectiveness of protected areas for vertebrates based on taxonomic and
           phylogenetic diversity
    • Authors: Qing Quan; Xianli Che, Yongjie Wu, Yuchun Wu, Qiang Zhang, Min Zhang, Fasheng Zou
      Abstract: Establishing protected areas is the primary goal and tool for preventing irreversible biodiversity loss. However, the effectiveness of protected areas that target specific species has been questioned for some time, because targeting key species for conservation may impair the integral regional pool of species diversity and phylogenetic and functional diversity are seldom considered. We first assessed the efficacy of protected areas in China for the conservation of phylogenetic diversity using the ranges and phylogenies of 2279 terrestrial vertebrates. We found a strong positive correlation between phylogenetic and taxonomic diversity, and only 12.1%–43.8% of the priority areas are currently covered by protected areas. However, the patterns and coverage of phylogenetic diversity were affected when weighted by species richness. These results indicate that overall in China, protected areas targeting high species richness protected total phylogenetic diversity well, but failed to do so in some regions with more unique and/or threatened communities. For instance, the coastal areas of Eastern China where there are severely threatened avian communities were less protected. Our results suggest that the distributions of the currently protected areas still have room for improvement although most of the areas protect both taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-07-13T03:50:21.021571-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12986
       
  • Developing an interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral community of practice
           in the domain of forests and livelihoods
    • Authors: Cristy Watkins; Jennifer Zavaleta, Sarah Wilson, Scott Francisco
      Abstract: Although significant resources are being spent researching and fostering the relationship between forests and livelihoods to promote mutually beneficial outcomes, critical gaps in our understanding persist. A core reason for such gaps is that researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers lack the structured space to interact and collaborate, which is essential for effective, interdisciplinary research, practice, and evaluation. Thus, scientific findings, policy recommendations, and measured outcomes have not always been synthesized into deep, systemic understanding; learning from practice and implementation does not easily find its way into scientific analyses­­; and science often fails to influence policy. Communities of practice (CofPs) are dynamic sociocultural systems that bring people together to share and create knowledge around a common topic of interest. CofPs offer participants a space and structure suited to developing new, systemic approaches to multi-dimensional problems around a common theme. Uniquely informed by a systems thinking perspective, and drawing from the scientific and grey literatures and in-depth interviews with representatives of established CofPs in the natural resource management and development domain, we argue that a well-designed and adequately-funded CofP can facilitate interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral relationships and knowledge exchange. Well-designed CofPs integrate a set of core features and processes in order to enhance individual, collective, and domain outcomes; they set out an initial but evolving purpose, encourage diverse leadership, and promote the development of collective identity development. Funding facilitates ideal, effective communication strategies (e.g. face-to-face engagement). This essay is, therefore, a call to colleagues across sectors and disciplines to take advantage of CofPs to advance the domain of forests and livelihoods.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-07-07T07:21:16.538477-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12982
       
  • Bird community responses to habitat creation in a long-term, large-scale
           natural experiment
    • Authors: Robin C. Whytock; Elisa Fuentes-Montemayor, Kevin Watts, Patanjaly Barbosa De Andrade, Rory Whytock, Paul French, Nicholas Macgregor, Kirsty J. Park
      Abstract: Ecosystem function and resilience are compromised when habitats become fragmented due to land-use change. This has led to national and international conservation strategies aimed at restoring habitat extent and improving functional connectivity (i.e. maintaining dispersal processes). However, biodiversity responses to landscape-scale habitat creation and the relative importance of spatial and temporal scales is poorly understood, and there is disagreement over which conservation strategies should be prioritised. Addressing these knowledge gaps has been challenging because (1) there can be a significant time lag between habitat creation and biodiversity responses, and (2) many taxa respond to landscape characteristics over large spatial scales. These conditions can be difficult to replicate in a controlled setting but can be simulated using ‘natural’ experiments. Here, we used 160 years of historic post-agricultural woodland creation as a natural experiment to evaluate biodiversity responses to landscape-scale habitat creation. Specifically, we disentangle the direct and indirect relationships between bird abundance and diversity, ecological continuity, patch characteristics and landscape structure, and quantify the relative importance of local and landscape scales. Results suggest that ecological continuity has an indirect effect on total bird species richness through its direct effects on stand structure. However, for functional groups most closely associated with woodland habitats, ecological continuity had little influence. This was probably because woodlands were rapidly colonised by woodland generalists in < 10 years (the minimum patch age), but were on average too young (median 50 years) to be colonised by woodland specialists. Local, patch characteristics were relatively more important than landscape characteristics. We conclude that biodiversity responses to habitat creation are dependent on local and landscape-scale factors that interact across time and space. We also suggest that knowledge gained from studies of habitat fragmentation/loss should be used to inform habitat creation with caution, since the two are not necessarily reciprocal.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-07-07T07:20:49.504761-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12983
       
  • Redistribution of benefits but not defection in a fisheries
           bycatch-reduction management initiative
    • Authors: T.R. McClanahan; J.K. Kosgei
      Abstract: Reducing the capture of small fish, discards, and by-catch is a primary concern of fisheries mangers that propose to maintain high yields, species diversity, and associated ecosystem functions. Modified fishing gear is one of the primary ways to reduce by-catch and capture of small fish. The outcomes of gear modification may depend on competition with other gears using similar fishing grounds and resources and the subsequent adoption or defection of fishers using modified gears. We evaluated the adoption, size, catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE), yield, and income responses among gears in a coral reef fishery where a 3-cm escape gap was introduced into traditional traps. The size of fish increased in the modified traps but the catch of smaller fish increased among the other competing gears. Additionally, there was no change in the overall CPUE, yields, or per area incomes but rather redistributions of yield benefits towards the competing gears. For example, estimated incomes of fishers that adopted the traps remained unchanged but increased for net and spear fishers. Fishers using escape-gap traps had a high proportion of income from larger fish, which may have led to a perception of benefits, high status, and no defections. The less polarizing neutral-win rather than a strong loss-win tradeoff outcome may explain the full adoption of escape-gap traps 3 years after their introduction. Trap fishers showed an interest in negotiating other management improvements, such as increased mesh sizes for nets, which could ultimately lead to catalyzing community-level decisions that would increase their own profits.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-07-05T07:43:02.424053-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12980
       
  • Examining the relationship between local extinction risk and position in
           range
    • Authors: Elizabeth H. Boakes; Nicholas J.B. Isaac, Richard A. Fuller, Georgina M. Mace, Philip J.K. McGowan
      Abstract: Over half of globally threatened animal species have experienced rapid geographic range loss. Identifying the parts of species’ distributions most vulnerable to extinction would benefit conservation planning. However, previous studies give little consensus on whether ranges decline to the core or edge. Here we build on previous work by using empirical data to examine the position of recent local extinctions within species’ geographic ranges, addressing range position as a continuum and exploring the influence of environmental factors. We aggregated point locality data for 125 species of galliform birds across the Palearctic and Indo-Malaya into equal area half degree grid cells and used a multi-species dynamic Bayesian occupancy model to estimate the rates of local extinctions. Our model provides a novel approach to identify loss of populations from within species ranges. We investigated the relationship between extinction rates and distance from range edge, examining whether patterns were consistent across biogeographic realm and different categories of land-use. In the Palearctic, local extinctions occurred closer to the range edge in both unconverted and human-dominated landscapes. In Indo-Malaya, no pattern was found for unconverted landscapes but in human dominated landscapes extinctions tended to occur closer to the core than the edge. Our results suggest that local and regional factors over-ride any general spatial patterns of recent local extinction within species’ ranges and highlight the difficulty of predicting the parts of a species’ distribution most vulnerable to threat.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-07-05T07:42:58.800013-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12979
       
  • Mutualisms and How to Analyze Them
    • Authors: David Nash
      PubDate: 2017-07-04T12:05:26.010216-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12962
       
  • Biological parameters used in setting captive-breeding quotas for
           Indonesia's breeding facilities
    • Authors: Jordi Janssen; Serene C. L. Chng
      Abstract: The commercial captive breeding of wildlife is often seen as a potential conservation tool to relieve pressure off wild populations, but laundering of wild-sourced specimens as captive-bred can seriously undermine these and provide a false sense of sustainability. Indonesia has been at the centre of such controversy, therefore we examine Indonesia's captive breeding production plan (CBPP) for 2016. A number of the quotas were found to be based on inaccurate and unrealistic biological parameters, and included species with no reported breeding stock. For 38 species, the quota exceeded the number of animals that can be bred based on the biological parameters (range 100% - 540%) using the equations used in the CBPP. A lower reproductive output was calculated for 88 species using published biological parameters compared to the parameters used in the CBPP. The equations used in the production plan also did not appear to account for other factors involved in breeding the proposed large numbers of specimens. We recommend that the captive breeding production plan be adjusted by using realistic published biological parameters, and remove quotas for species for which captive breeding is unlikely or for which no breeding stock is available. The shortcomings in the current captive breeding production plan create loopholes where mammals, reptiles and amphibians from Indonesia declared as captive-bred may have been sourced from the wild.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-07-03T06:20:24.918641-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12978
       
  • Gaps and opportunities for the World Heritage Convention to contribute to
           global wilderness conservation
    • Authors: James R. Allan; Cyril Kormos, Tilman Jaeger, Oscar Venter, Bastian Bertzky, Yichuan Shi, Brendan Mackey, Remco Merm, Elena Osipova, James E.M. Watson
      Abstract: Wilderness areas are ecologically intact landscapes predominantly free of human uses, especially industrial scale activities, which result in significant biophysical disturbance. This definition does not exclude indigenous peoples and local communities who live in wilderness areas, depending on them for subsistence, and who have developed deep bio-cultural connections. Wilderness areas are important for biodiversity conservation, along with sustaining key ecological processes, and ecosystem services that underpin planetary life-support systems. Despite these widely recognized benefits and values they are insufficiently protected and are consequently being rapidly eroded. There are increasing calls for multilateral environmental agreements to make a greater and more systematic contribution to wilderness conservation before it is too late. We developed updated global maps of terrestrial wilderness and assessed wilderness coverage by the World Heritage Convention, one of the most important international conservation instruments. We found that one quarter of Natural and Mixed World Heritage Sites (WHS) contain wilderness, conserving a total of 545,307 km2 (approximately 1.8% of the world's wilderness extent). Many WHS had excellent wilderness coverage such as the Okavango Delta in Botswana (11,914 km2) and the Central Suriname Nature Reserve in Suriname (16,029 km2). However, 22 (35%) of the world's terrestrial biorealms do not have any wilderness representation within WHS. As an efficient means of filling these gaps, we identify 840 protected areas> 500 km2 in size which are predominantly wilderness (>50% of their area) and represent 18 of these 22 missing biorealms. These offer a starting point for assessing the potential for the designation of new WHS that could help increase wilderness representation on the World Heritage List. We also urge the World Heritage Convention to help ensure that the ecological integrity and Outstanding Universal Value of existing World Heritage Sites with wilderness values is preserved.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-06-30T07:20:25.073835-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12976
       
  • Monitoring, imperfect detection, and risk optimization of a Tasmanian
           devil insurance population
    • Authors: Tracy M. Rout; Chris Baker, Stewart Huxtable, Brendan A. Wintle
      Abstract: Most species are imperfectly detected during biological surveys, creating uncertainty around their abundance or presence at a given location. Decision-makers managing threatened or pest species are regularly faced with this uncertainty, and there are a growing number of examples of managers dealing with imperfect detection. Wildlife diseases have the potential to drive species to extinction, and as such managing species with disease is an important part of conservation. Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) is one such disease that led to the listing of the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) as endangered. Here we report on the successful use of a state-of-the-art removal modelling approach undertaken in collaboration with practitioners to inform decision-making and facilitate a successful management outcome. We used a Bayesian catch-effort model to estimate population size during removal and monitoring of a diseased Tasmanian devil population. We found it was likely that the population had been successfully removed, even when accounting for a possible introduction of a devil to the site. We then analysed the costs and benefits of declaring the area disease-free prior to reintroduction and establishment of a healthy insurance population. The actions of management, in carrying out additional monitoring prior to this reintroduction, were conservative but prudent given uncertainty and the costs of mistakenly declaring the area disease-free.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-06-28T05:21:04.570111-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12975
       
  • A novel habitat-based approach to predict impacts of marine protected
           areas on fishers
    • Authors: João B. Teixeira; Rodrigo L. Moura, Morena Mills, Carissa Klein, Christopher J. Brown, Vanessa M. Adams, Hedley Grantham, Matthew Watts, Deborah Faria, Gilberto M. Amado-Filho, Alex C. Bastos, Reinaldo Lourival, Hugh P. Possingham
      Abstract: While marine protected areas (MPAs) can simultaneously contribute to biodiversity conservation and fisheries management, the global network is biased towards particular ecosystem types, as it was largely established in an ad hoc fashion. The optimization of trade-offs between biodiversity benefits and socio-economic values increases implementation success and minimizes enforcement costs in the long run, but is often neglected in marine spatial planning (MSP). Although the acquisition of spatially explicit socioeconomic data is often perceived as a costly/secondary step in MSP, it is critical to account for lost opportunities by people whose activities will be restricted, especially fishers. Here we present an easily-reproducible habitat-based approach to estimate the spatial distribution of opportunity cost to fishers in data poor regions, assuming that the most accessible areas have higher values and their designation as no-take zones represents increased loss of fishing opportunities. Our method requires only habitat and bathymetric maps, a list of target species, the location of ports, and the relative importance for each port and/or vessel/gear type. The potential distribution of fishing resources is estimated from bathymetric ranges and benthic habitat distribution, while the relative importance of the different resources is estimated for each port, considering total catches (kg), revenues and/or stakeholder perception. Finally, the model can combine different cost layers to produce a comprehensive cost layer, and also allows for the evaluation of tradeoffs. The development of FishCake was based on data from a contentious conservation-planning arena (Abrolhos Bank, Brazil) in which attempts to expand MPA coverage failed due to fishers’ resistance. The opportunity cost approach that we introduce herein allows for the incorporation of economic interests of different stakeholders and evaluation of tradeoffs among different stakeholder groups. The novel approach can be directly used to support conservation planning, in Abrolhos and elsewhere, and is expected to facilitate community consultation.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-06-24T05:47:35.612825-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12974
       
  • Estimating abundance without recaptures of marked pallid sturgeon in the
           Mississippi River
    • Authors: Nicholas A. Friedenberg; Jan J. Hoover, Krista Boysen, K. Jack Killgore
      Abstract: Abundance estimates are essential for estimating the viability of populations and the risks posed by alternative management actions. An effort to estimate abundance via a repeated mark-recapture experiment may fail to recapture marked individuals. We present a framework for obtaining lower bounds on abundance in the absence of recaptures for both panmictic and spatially-structured populations. We applied this nil-recapture method to data from a 12-year survey of pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) in the lower and middle Mississippi River; none of the 241 individuals marked were recaptured in the survey. After accounting for survival and movement, our model-averaged estimate of the total abundance of age 3+ pallid sturgeon in the study area had a 1%, 5%, or 25% chance of being less than 4,600, 7,000, or 15,000, respectively. If we assumed fish were distributed in proportion to survey catch-per-unit-effort, then the furthest downstream reach in the survey hosted at least 4.5-15 fish per river kilometer (rkm), whereas the remainder of the reaches in the lower and middle Mississippi River hosted at least 2.6-8.5 fish rkm−1 for all model variations examined. The lower Mississippi River had an average density of at least 3.0-9.8 age-3+ pallid sturgeon rkm−1. The choice of Bayesian prior was the largest source of uncertainty considered in this study, but did not alter the order of magnitude of lower bounds. Nil-recapture estimates of abundance are highly uncertain and require careful communication but can deliver insights from experiments that might otherwise be considered a failure.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-06-22T01:52:24.671763-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12972
       
  • Bias in protected-area location and its effects on long-term aspirations
           of biodiversity conventions
    • Authors: Oscar Venter; Ainhoa Magrach, Nick Outram, Carissa Joy Klein, Moreno Di Marco, James E.M. Watson
      Abstract: To contribute to the aspirations of recent international biodiversity conventions, protected areas (PAs) must be strategically located, and not simply established on economically marginal lands as they have in the past. With refined international commitments under the Convention of Biodiversity to target protected areas in places of ‘importance to biodiversity’, this may now be the case. Here we analyze location biases in PAs globally over both historic (pre-2004) and recent time periods. Discouragingly, we find that both old and new protected areas are not targeting places with high concentration of threatened vertebrate species. Instead, they appear to be established in locations that minimize conflict with agriculturally suitable lands. This entrenchment of past trends has significant implications for the contributions these protected areas are making to international commitments to conserve biodiversity. We discover that if protected area growth between 2004 and 2014 had strategically targeted unrepresented threatened vertebrates, it would have been possible to protect>30 times more species (3086 or 2553 potential vs 85 actual new species represented) for the same area or the same cost as the actual expansion that occurred. With the land available for conservation declining, nations must urgently focus new protection on places that provide for the conservation outcomes outlined in international treaties.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-06-21T23:50:58.429205-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12970
       
  • Determining the drivers of population structure in a highly urbanized
           landscape to inform conservation planning
    • Authors: Henri A. Thomassen; Ryan J. Harrigan, Kathleen Semple Delaney, Seth P.D. Riley, Laurel E. K. Serieys, Katherine Pease, Robert K. Wayne, Thomas B. Smith
      Abstract: Understanding the environmental contributors to population structure is of paramount importance for conservation in urbanized environments. We used spatially-explicit models to determine genetic population structure under current and future environmental conditions across a highly fragmented, human-dominated environment in Southern California to assess the effects of natural ecological variation and urbanization. We focused on seven common species with diverse habitat requirements, home range sizes, and dispersal abilities. We quantified the relative roles of potential barriers, including natural environmental characteristics and an anthropogenic barrier created by a major highway, in shaping genetic variation. The ability to predict genetic variation in our models varied between species: nine to 81% of intraspecific genetic variation was explained by environmental variables. Although an anthropogenically-induced barrier (here a major highway) severely restricts gene flow and movement at broad scales for some species, genetic variation seems to be primarily driven by natural environmental heterogeneity at a local level. Results show how assessing environmentally associated variation (EAV) for multiple species under current and future climate conditions can help to identify priority regions for maximizing population persistence under environmental change in urbanized regions.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-06-20T06:29:20.353953-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12969
       
  • Prospects for stakeholder coordination by protected-area managers in
           Europe
    • Authors: Brady J. Mattsson; Harald Vacik
      Abstract: Growing resource demands by humans, invasive species, natural hazards, and a changing climate are creating broad-scale impacts and have created the need for broader-extent conservation activities that span ownerships and even political borders. Implementing regional-scale conservation brings great challenges, and learning how to overcome these challenges is essential for maintaining biodiversity (i.e., richness and evenness of biological communities) and ecosystem functions and services across scales and borders in the face of system change. We administered an online survey to examine factors potentially driving perspectives of protected area (PA) managers regarding coordination with neighboring PAs and other stakeholders (i.e., stakeholder coordination) for conserving biodiversity and ecosystem services during the next decade within diverse regions across Europe. Although>70% of responding PA managers indicated that climate change and invasive species are relevant for their PAs, they gave 60% chance that stakeholder coordination would take place with the aim to improve conservation outcomes. Consistent with the foundation upon which many European PAs was established, managers viewed maintaining or enhancing biodiversity as the most important (>70%) expected benefit. Other important benefits included maintaining or enhancing human resources and environmental education (range of Bayesian credibility intervals [CIs]: 57–93%). The main barriers to stakeholder coordination were the lack of human and economic resources (CI: 59–67% chance of hindering) followed by communication and inter-stakeholder differences in political structures and laws (range of CIs: 51–64% chance of hindering). European policies and strategies that address these hindering factors could be particularly effective means of enabling implementation of green infrastructure networks, with PAs serving as the nodes.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-06-15T03:50:20.810586-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12966
       
  • Using soundscapes to detect variable degrees of human influence on
           tropical forests in Papua New Guinea
    • Authors: Zuzana Burivalova; Michael Towsey, Tim Boucher, Anthony Truskinger, Cosmas Apelis, Paul Roe, Edward T. Game
      Abstract: There is global concern about tropical forest degradation, in part, because of the associated loss of biodiversity. Communities and indigenous people play a fundamental role in tropical forest management and they are often efficient at preventing forest degradation. However, monitoring changes in biodiversity due to degradation, especially at a scale appropriate to local tropical forest management, is marred with difficulties including the need for expert training, inconsistency across observers, and the lack of baseline or reference data. We used a new biodiversity remote sensing technology, the recording of soundscapes, to test whether the acoustic saturation of a soundscape decreases with increasing land use intensity by the communities that manage the tropical forests in Papua New Guinea. We found that land use zones where forest cover was fully retained had a significantly higher soundscape saturation during peak acoustic activity times, corresponding to the dawn and dusk chorus, compared with land use types with fragmented forest cover. We conclude that, in Papua New Guinea, the relatively simple measure of soundscape saturation may provide a cheap, objective, reproducible, and effective tool to monitor tropical forest deviation from intact state, particularly through detecting the presence of an intact dawn and dusk chorus.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-06-14T07:20:36.978881-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12968
       
  • The effectiveness of surrogate taxa to conserve freshwater biodiversity
    • Authors: David R. Stewart; Zachary E. Underwood, Frank J. Rahel, Annika W. Walters
      Abstract: Establishing protected areas has long been an effective conservation strategy, and is often based on more readily surveyed species. The potential of any freshwater taxa to be a surrogate of other aquatic groups has not been fully explored. We compiled occurrence data on 72 species of freshwater fish, amphibians, mussels, and aquatic reptiles for the Great Plains, Wyoming. We used hierarchical Bayesian multi-species mixture models and MaxEnt models to describe species distributions, and program Zonation to identify conservation priority areas for each aquatic group. The landscape-scale factors that best characterized aquatic species distributions differed among groups. There was low agreement and congruence among taxa-specific conservation priorities (
      PubDate: 2017-06-14T07:20:22.025676-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12967
       
  • Use of radar detectors to track attendance of albatrosses at fishing
           vessels
    • Authors: H. Weimerskirch; D.P. Filippi, J. Collet, S.M. Waugh, S.C. Patrick
      Abstract: Despite international waters covering over 60% of the world's oceans, our understanding of how fisheries in these regions shape ecosystem processes is surprisingly poor. Seabirds are known to forage at fishing vessels, with potential deleterious effects for their population, but the extent of overlap and behavior in relation to ships are poorly known. Using novel biologging devices, which can detect radar emissions to record the position of boats and seabirds, we measured the true extent of the overlap between seabirds and fishing vessels, and generated estimates of the intensity of fishing and distribution of vessels in international waters. During breeding, wandering albatrosses from the Crozet islands patrolled an area of more than 10 million square kilometers and as much as 79.5% of birds equipped with loggers detected vessels, at distances up to 2500 km from the colony, modifying their natural foraging behavior to attend boats. The extent of this overlap has widespread implications for bycatch risk in seabirds and reveals the areas of intense fishing throughout the ocean. We suggest that seabirds equipped with radar detectors are excellent monitors of the presence of vessels in the southern ocean, offering a new way to monitor fisheries. The method used opens new perspectives to monitor the presence of illegal fisheries and to better understand the impact of fisheries on seabirds.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-06-09T07:50:36.355397-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12965
       
  • Research priorities for conservation and natural resource management in
           Oceania's small island developing states
    • Authors: R. Weeks; V. M. Adams
      Abstract: For conservation science to effectively inform management, research must focus on creating the scientific knowledge required to solve conservation problems. We report the outcomes of an exercise to identify research questions that, if answered, would increase the effectiveness of conservation and natural resource management practice and policy within Oceania's small island developing states. Respondents from academia, government, and nongovernment organizations across the region surveyed online proposed 270 questions, and subsequently identified 38 of these as high priority. High priority questions speak to the particular challenges of undertaking conservation within small island developing states, and the need for a research agenda that is responsive to the socio-cultural context of Oceania. Our comparison with research priorities identified globally and for other regions revealed broad thematic similarities but also highlighted important differences in specific issues that are relevant to particular conservation contexts. This emphasizes the importance of involving local practitioners in the identification of research priorities. We found that priorities were reasonably well aligned between sectoral groups. Only a few questions were widely considered to be already answered; this may indicate a smaller than expected knowledge-action gap. We hope that these questions can act to strengthen research collaborations between scientists and practitioners working to further conservation and natural resource management in this region.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-06-06T00:20:20.27421-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12964
       
  • Land-use history as a guide for forest conservation and management
    • Authors: Cathy Whitlock; Daniele Colombaroli, Marco Conedera, Willy Tinner
      Abstract: Conservation efforts to protect forested landscapes are challenged by climate projections that suggest significant restructuring of vegetation and disturbance regimes in the future. In this regard, paleoecological records that describe ecosystem responses to past variations in climate, fire and human activity offer critical information for assessing present landscape conditions and future landscape vulnerability. We illustrate this point drawing on eight sites in the northwest U.S., New Zealand, Patagonia, and central and southern Europe that have experienced different levels of climate and land-use change. These sites fall along a gradient of landscape conditions that range from near-pristine (i.e., where vegetation and disturbance have been significantly shaped by past climate and biophysical constraints) to highly altered (i.e., landscapes that have been intensely modified by past human activity). Position on this gradient has implications for understanding the role of natural and anthropogenic disturbance in shaping ecosystem dynamics and assessments of present biodiversity, including recognizing missing or overrepresented species. All the study sites reveal dramatic vegetation reorganization in the past as a result of postglacial climate variations. In nearly-pristine landscapes, like Yellowstone, climate has remained the primary driver of ecosystem change up to the present day. In Europe, natural vegetation-climate-fire linkages were broken ∼6000-8000 years ago with the onset of Neolithic farming, and in New Zealand, natural linkages were first lost ∼700 years ago with arrival of the Māori people. In the northwestern U.S. and Patagonia, greatest landscape alteration has occurred in the last 150 years with Euro-American settlement. Paleoecology is sometimes the best and only tool for evaluating the degree of this alteration and the extent to which landscapes retain natural components. Information on landscape-level history thus helps assess current ecological change, clarify management objectives, and define conservation strategies that seek to protect both “natural” and “cultural” elements.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-06-02T06:20:38.713924-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12960
       
  • Quantitative tools for implementing the new definition of significant
           portion of the range in the Endangered Species Act
    • Authors: Julia E. Earl; Sam Nicol, Ruscena Wiederholt, Jay E. Diffendorfer, Darius Semmens, D. T. Tyler Flockhart, Brady J. Mattsson, Gary McCracken, D. Ryan Norris, Wayne E. Thogmartin, Laura López-Hoffman
      Abstract: In July 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service announced a new policy interpretation for the Endangered Species Act. According to the Act, a species must be listed as threatened or endangered if it is determined to be threatened or endangered in a significant portion of its range. The 1973 law does not define “significant portion of its range,” leading to concerns that interpretations of “significant” by federal agencies and the courts could be inconsistent. The 2014 policy seeks to provide consistency by establishing that a portion of the range should be considered significant if the associated individuals’ “removal would cause the entire species to become endangered or threatened.” Here, we review quantitative techniques to assess whether a portion of a species’ range is significant according to the new guidance. Our assessments are based on the “3R” criteria – Redundancy (i.e., buffering from catastrophe), Resiliency (i.e., ability to withstand stochasticity), and Representation (i.e., ability to evolve) – that the Fish and Wildlife Service uses to determine if a species merits listing. We identify data needs for each quantitative technique and indicate which methods might be implemented given the data limitations typical of rare species. We also identify proxies that may be used with limited data. To assess potential data availability, we evaluate seven example species by assessing the data in their Species Status Assessments, which document all the information used during a listing decision. Our evaluation suggests that resiliency assessments will likely be most constrained by limited data. While we reviewed quantitative techniques for the US Endangered Species Act, other countries have legislation requiring identification of significant areas that could benefit from this research.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-06-02T06:20:31.857275-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12963
       
  • Managing conflict between large carnivores and livestock
    • Authors: Lily M. Eeden; Mathew S. Crowther, Chris R. Dickman, David W. Macdonald, William J. Ripple, Euan G. Ritchie, Thomas M. Newsome
      Abstract: Large carnivores are persecuted globally because they threaten human industries and livelihoods. How this conflict is managed has consequences for the conservation of large carnivores and biodiversity more broadly. Mitigating human-predator conflict should be evidence-based and accommodate people's values while also protecting carnivores. Despite much research into human-large carnivore coexistence strategies, there have been limited attempts to document the success of conflict mitigation strategies on a global scale. We present a meta-analysis of global research on conflict mitigation between large carnivores and humans, focusing on conflicts that arise from the threat that large carnivores pose to livestock industries.Overall, research effort and focus varied between continents, aligning with the different histories and cultures that shaped livestock production and attitudes towards carnivores. Of the studies that met our criteria, livestock guardian animals were most effective at reducing livestock losses, followed by lethal control, although the latter exhibited the widest variation in success and the two were not significantly different. Financial incentives have promoted tolerance in some settings, reducing retaliatory killings. In future, coexistence strategies should be location-specific, incorporating cultural values and environmental conditions, and designed such that return on financial investment can be evaluated. Improved monitoring of mitigation measures is urgently required to promote effective evidence-based policy.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-05-29T02:00:26.272633-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12959
       
  • Critical factors for the recovery of marine mammals
    • Authors: Heike K. Lotze; Joanna Mills Flemming, Anna M. Magera
      Abstract: Over the past decades, much research has focused on understanding the critical factors for marine extinctions with the aim of preventing further species losses in the oceans. Although conservation and management strategies are enabling several species and populations to recover, others remain at low abundance levels or experience further declines. To understand these discrepancies, we asked which intrinsic and extrinsic factors are critical for the recovery of marine mammals. Building on a published database on abundance trends of 137 marine mammal populations worldwide, we compiled data on 28 potential critical factors and used random forests and additive mixed models in our analytical approach. Our results highlight that a mix of life-history characteristics, ecological traits, phylogenetic relatedness, population size, geographic range, human impacts and management efforts were important in explaining why populations recover or not. Generally, species with lower age at maturity and intermediate habitat area were more likely to recover, which is consistent with life-history and ecological theory. Body size and ocean basin were also important, as well as trophic level, social interactions, the dominant habitat and habitat disturbance. Overall, our results highlight that not one or two, but a range of intrinsic and extrinsic factors are important for recovery, pointing to cumulative effects. This new line of research provides important information for improving conservation and management strategies particularly for those populations that have been unable to recover to date.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-05-10T08:00:28.017114-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12957
       
  • Using citizen science butterfly counts to predict species population
           trends
    • Authors: Emily B. Dennis; Byron J.T. Morgan, Tom M. Brereton, David B. Roy, Richard Fox
      Abstract: Citizen scientists are increasingly engaged in gathering biodiversity information, but trade-offs are often required between public engagement goals and reliable data collection. We compare population estimates derived from the first four years (2011-2014) of a short-duration citizen science project (Big Butterfly Count, BBC), to those from long-running, standardized monitoring data collected by experienced observers (UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme, UKBMS), for 18 widespread butterfly species. BBC data are gathered during an annual, three-week period, whereas UKBMS sampling takes place over six months each year. An initial comparison with UKBMS data restricted to the three-week BBC period revealed that species population changes were significantly correlated between the two sources. The short-duration sampling season renders BBC counts susceptible to bias caused by inter-annual phenological variation in the timing of species’ flight periods. BBC counts were found to be described well by measures for phenology and sampling effort. Annual estimates of species abundance and population trends predicted from models including BBC data and weather covariates as a proxy for phenology correlated significantly with those derived from UKBMS data. In validating the BBC counts, we show, for the first time, that citizen science data, obtained using a simple sampling protocol, can produce comparable estimates of insect species abundance to standardized monitoring data. Although caution is urged in extrapolating from this UK study of a small number of common, conspicuous insects, we demonstrate that mass-participation citizen science can simultaneously contribute to public engagement and biodiversity monitoring. Mass-participation citizen science is not an adequate replacement for standardised biodiversity monitoring but may have a role in extending and complementing it (e.g. by sampling different land-use types), as well as serving to reconnect an increasingly urban human population with nature.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-05-05T07:20:40.061214-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12956
       
  • The rise of glyphosate and new opportunities for biosentinel early-warning
           studies
    • Authors: Zoe Kissane; Jill M. Shephard
      Abstract: Glyphosate has become the most commonly used herbicide worldwide, with a reputation of being environmentally benign, non-toxic and safe to wildlife and humans. However, studies have indicated its toxicity has been underestimated, and that its persistence in the environment is greater than once thought. Its actions as a neurotoxin and endocrine disruptor indicate its potential to act in similar ways to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as the organochlorine (OC) chemicals dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and dioxin. Exposure to glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides for both wildlife and people is likely to be chronic and at sub-lethal levels, with multiple and ongoing exposure events in both urban and agricultural landscapes. Despite this, little research attention has been given to the impact of glyphosate on wildlife populations, and existing studies appear in the agricultural, toxicology and water chemistry literature that may have limited visibility among wildlife biologists. There is a strong case for the recognition of glyphosate as an ‘emerging organic contaminant’ and significant potential exists for collaborative research between ecologists, toxicologists and chemists to quantify the impact of glyphosate on wildlife and to evaluate the role of biosentinel species in a preemptive move to mitigate downstream impacts on people. Success will depend on the development of new and novel non-destructive sampling and analysis methodologies as ex post facto identification of toxins at lethal levels has limited utility. Concentrating on the chemistry and toxicity of glyphosate, we have examined the published literature to evaluate the extent to which glyphosate based herbicides can cause toxic effects in wildlife and people and the implications of chronic exposure. We then explore the idea of using birds as bioindicators of glyphosate toxicity. We hope this may encourage future research into the uptake and impact of organophosphate chemicals in target species, particularly traditional indicator species such as birds.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-05-05T07:20:34.692354-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12955
       
  • A view of the global conservation job market and how to succeed in it
    • Authors: Jane Lucas; Evan Gora, Alfonso Alonso
      Abstract: The high demand for conservation-based work is creating a need for conservation-focused training of current and future graduate students. While many graduates with tertiary degrees in biology are finding careers outside of academia, many programs and mentors continue to prepare students to follow in the footsteps of their professors. Unfortunately, information regarding how to appropriately prepare for today's job market and find success in conservation careers is limited in detail and scope. This problem is further complicated by the differing needs of conservation positions distributed among diverse employers in both economically advanced and developing regions across the globe. To help young scientists identify the tools needed for conservation positions worldwide, we review the current global conservation job market and identify skills required for success in academic, governmental, nonprofit, and private positions. We found that positions in nonprofit organizations are the most abundant, while academic jobs consisted of only 10% of today's job market. The most common skills required across sectors were a strong disciplinary background, followed by analytical and technical skills. Academic postings differed the most from the other postings, emphasizing teaching as a top skill. Non-academic jobs emphasized the need for excellent written and oral communication, as well as project management experience. Furthermore, we found distinct differences across job locations, with postings of developing economies emphasizing language and interpersonal skills, while advanced economic countries positions focused on publication history and technical skills. Our results were corroborated through interviews with current conservation professionals. Finally, we provide a sample list of recommended conservation based training programs. Using the results of this study, young scientists will be better able to tailor their training to maximize success in today's conservation-based job market. Similarly, institutions can apply this information to create educational programs that produce graduates primed for long-term success.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-05-02T10:56:56.428742-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12949
       
  • Using a Bayesian network to clarify areas requiring research in a
           host-pathogen system
    • Authors: D. S. Bower; K. Mengersen, R. A. Alford, L. Schwarzkopf
      Abstract: Bayesian network analyses can integrate complex relationships to examine a range of hypotheses and identify areas that lack associated empirical studies, to prioritise future research. We examined complex relationships in host and pathogen biology to examine disease-driven decline by the amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a pathogen that is reducing amphibian biodiversity globally. We constructed a Bayesian network consisting of a range of behavioural, genetic, physiological, and environmental variables that influence disease, and used them to predict host population trends (the variable ‘Population trend’ which could be declining or stable). The behaviour of the nodes (the way in which the variables probabilistically responded to changes in states of the parents, which are the nodes or variables that directly influenced them in the graphical model) in our model was consistent with published results, suggesting that the construction of our model reflected the complex relationships characteristic of host-pathogen interactions. We varied the impacts of specific variables in the model, to reveal factors with the most influence on host population trend. Changes to climatic conditions alone did not strongly influence the probability of population decline, suggesting that epidemics in this system do not occur solely because of climate, but instead interacted with other factors such as the capacity of the frog immune system to suppress disease. The effect of the adaptive immune system and disease reservoirs were important to the population trend, but there was little empirical information available for model construction: we suggest research in these areas will aid understanding of chytridiomycosis-induced declines. We include the input of our full model as a base that can be used to understand other systems, and we demonstrate that such analyses are useful tools for reviewing existing literature and identifying links poorly supported by evidence, and for understanding complexities in emerging infectious disease systems.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-05-02T10:56:52.897785-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12950
       
  • Quantifying the conservation gains from shared access to linear
           infrastructure
    • Authors: Claire A. Runge; Ayesha I. T. Tulloch, Ascelin Gordon, Jonathan R. Rhodes
      Abstract: The proliferation of linear infrastructure such as roads and rail is a major global driver of cumulative biodiversity loss. Creative interventions to minimise the impacts of this infrastructure whilst still allowing development to meet human population growth and resource consumption demands are urgently required. One strategy for reducing habitat loss associated with development is to encourage linear infrastructure providers and users to share infrastructure networks. Here we quantify the reductions in biodiversity impact and capital cost under linear infrastructure sharing and demonstrate this approach with a case study in South Australia. By evaluating proposed mine-port links we show that shared development of linear infrastructure could reduce overall biodiversity impacts by up to 75%. We found that such reductions are likely to be limited if the dominant mining companies restrict access to infrastructure, a situation likely to occur without policy to promote sharing of infrastructure. Our research helps illuminate the circumstances under which infrastructure sharing can minimise the biodiversity impacts of development.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-05-02T10:56:49.117755-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12952
       
  • Global patterns and trends in human-wildlife conflict compensation
    • Authors: Jeremy Ravenelle; Philip J. Nyhus
      Abstract: Human—wildlife conflict is a major conservation challenge, and compensation for wildlife damage is a widely used economic tool to mitigate this conflict. The effectiveness of this management tool is widely debated. The relative importance of factors associated with compensation success is unclear and little is known about global geographic or taxonomic differences in the application of compensation programs. We carried out a review of the compensation scholarship to examine geographic and taxonomic gaps, analyze patterns of positive and negative comments related to compensation, and assess the relative magnitude of global compensation payments. We analyzed 288 publications referencing wildlife compensation and identified 138 unique compensation programs. These publications reported US$222 million after adjusting for inflation spent on compensation in 50 countries since 1980. Europe was the continent with the most papers and the most reported funding, and wolves and bears were the most frequently compensated target of conflict.
      Authors of the publications we reviewed made twice as many negative comments compared to positive comments regarding compensation. Three quarters of the negative comments related to program administration. Conversely, three quarters of the positive comments related to program outcomes. The three most common suggestions to improve compensation programs included requiring claimants to employ damage prevention practices, such as improving livestock husbandry or fencing in crops in order to receive compensation (n = 25, 15%); modifying ex post compensation schemes to some form of outcome-based performance payment (n = 21, 12%); and altering programs to make compensation payments more quickly (n = 14, 8%). We suggest that further understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of compensation as a conflict mitigation tool will require more systematic evaluation of the factors driving these opinions, and that differentiating process and outcomes and understanding linkages between them will result in more fruitful analyses and ultimately more effective conflict mitigation.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-04-25T03:53:51.884237-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12948
       
  • Understanding the effects of different social data on selecting priority
           conservation areas
    • Authors: Azadeh Karimi; Ayesha I.T. Tulloch, Greg Brown, Marc Hockings
      Abstract: Conservation success is contingent on assessing social as well as environmental factors so that cost-effective implementation of strategies and actions can be placed in a broad social-ecological context. Until now, the focus has been on how to include spatially-explicit social data in conservation planning, whereas the value of different kinds of social data has received limited attention. In a regional systematic conservation planning case study in Australia, we examined the spatial concurrence of a range of spatially-explicit social values and preferences collected using public participation GIS (PPGIS) methods with biological data. We then integrated the social data with the biological data in a series of spatial prioritization scenarios using Zonation software to determine the effect of the different types of social data on spatial prioritization vis-à-vis biological data alone. We found that the type of social data included in the analysis significantly affected spatial prioritization outcomes. The integration of social values and land-use preferences under different scenarios was highly variable and generated spatial prioritizations that were 1.2% to 51% different from those based on biological data alone. The inclusion of conservation-compatible values and preferences added relatively little new area to conservation priorities while in contrast, including non-compatible economic values and development preferences as costs significantly changed conservation priority areas. The multi-faceted conservation prioritization approach presented herein that combines spatially-explicit social data with biological data can assist conservation planners in identifying the type of social data to collect for more effective and feasible conservation actions.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-04-20T03:43:59.845592-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12947
       
  • Trends in anecdotal fox sightings in Tasmania accounted for by
           psychological factors
    • Authors: Clive A. Marks; Malcolm Clark, David Obendorf, Graham P. Hall, Inês Soares, Filipe Pereira
      Abstract: There has been little evaluation of anecdotal sightings as a means to confirm new incursions of invasive species. This paper explores the potential for equivocal information communicated by the media to account for patterns of anecdotal reports. In 2001 it was widely reported that red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) had been deliberately released in the island state of Tasmania (Australia), although this claim was later revealed to be baseless. Regardless, by 2013 a total of 3153 anecdotal fox sightings had been reported by members of the public and this implied the wide distribution of foxes. Between 2001–2003 a monthly media index (MMI) for fox-related stories was significantly linked to 15 equivocal claims (Monthly Claims) of physical evidence used to support the existence of a putative fox population (P = 0.001). Fluctuations in monthly anecdotal fox sightings were modelled by MMI, Monthly Claims and Year far more convincingly than biophysical factors describing seasonal changes in fox abundance and photoperiod (P < 0.0001). An annual index of fox media from 2001–2010 was also strongly associated with the yearly tally of anecdotal sightings (P = 0.018). The odds-ratio of sightings ranked as reliable by the fox program in any year decreased exponentially at rate 0.00643 as the total number of sightings increased (P < 0.0001) and was indicative of an observer-expectancy bias. Our results suggest that anecdotal sightings are highly susceptible to cognitive biases and when used to qualify species presence can contribute to flawed risk assessments. Data of known quality and precision are required to reliably confirm a unique invasive species incursion.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-04-06T11:50:43.540288-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12944
       
  • Applying network theory to prioritize multi-species habitat networks that
           are robust to climate and land-use change
    • Authors: Cécile H. Albert; Bronwyn Rayfield, Maria Dumitru, Andrew Gonzalez
      Abstract: Designing connected landscapes is among the most widespread strategies for achieving biodiversity conservation targets. The challenge lies in simultaneously satisfying the connectivity needs of multiple species at multiple spatial scales under uncertain climate and land-use change. To evaluate the contribution of remnant habitat fragments to the connectivity of regional habitat networks, we develop a framework integrating uncertainty in climate and land-use change projections with the latest developments in network connectivity research and spatial, multi-purpose conservation prioritization. We apply this framework to a set of fourteen vertebrate focal species in peri-urban Montreal, Canada. We show that accounting for connectivity in spatial prioritization strongly modifies conservation priorities, and that these priorities are robust to uncertain climate change. We use land-use change simulations to explore the robustness of species’ habitat networks to alternative development scenarios. Setting conservation priorities based on habitat quality and connectivity maintains a large proportion of the region's connectivity despite anticipated habitat loss due to climate and land-use change. We found that the application of connectivity criteria alongside habitat quality criteria for protected-area design is area-efficient and does not necessarily amplify trade-offs among conservation criteria. Our approach and results are now being applied in and around the city of Montreal and are well suited to the design of ecological networks and green infrastructure for biodiversity and ecosystem services in other regions, in particular regions around large cities, where connectivity is critically low.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-04-06T09:00:54.981222-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12943
       
  • A condition metric for Eucalyptus woodland derived from expert evaluations
    • Authors: Steve J. Sinclair; Matthew J. Bruce, Peter Griffioen, Amanda Dodd, Matthew D. White
      Abstract: The evaluation of ecosystem quality is important for land management and land-use planning. Evaluation is unavoidably subjective, and robust metrics must be based on consensus and the structured use of observations. This paper presents a means of building and testing metrics based on expert evaluation data, using a transparent and repeatable process.We gather quantitative evaluation data from a defined expert group, about the quality of synthetic (fictional) grassy woodland sites. We use these data to train a model (an ensemble of thirty bagged regression trees) capable of predicting the perceived quality of similar synthetic woodlands using a set of thirteen site variables as inputs. These variables can be measured at any site, and the model implemented in a spreadsheet as a metric of woodland quality.We demonstrate that the model produces evaluations that are similar to those provided by experts. We also investigated the number of experts required to produce a stable metric, and showed that our use of 44 experts was sufficient.To test the metric's performance in the real world, we applied it to thirteen woodland conservation reserves on the periphery of Melbourne, Australia, and asked the managers of these sites to independently evaluate their quality. We assessed metric performance by quantifying its ability to match the mean evaluation of the managers for each site, and comparing this with the ability of each manager in turn to match the mean of the remaining evaluators. The metric performed relatively well. Given it brings the benefits of consensus and repeatability, which no human evaluator can demonstrate, we suggest that the metric is a valuable tool for making evaluations in the real-world context where accountability is required. The basic approaches of development and testing that we demonstrate are applicable to any ecosystem.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-03-31T09:50:23.977812-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12941
       
  • Historical spatial reconstruction of a spawning aggregation fishery
    • Authors: Sarah M. Buckley; Ruth H. Thurstan, Andrew Tobin, John M. Pandolfi
      Abstract: Aggregations forming for breeding are a critical ecological process for many species, yet these aggregations are also inherently vulnerable to exploitation. Documenting the decline of exploited populations that form breeding aggregations is becoming increasingly common, but studies tend to focus upon catch rate, often overlooking reductions in geographic range. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that catch rate and occupancy of exploited fish spawning aggregations (FSAs) decline in synchrony over time. We used the Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus commerson) spawning aggregation fishery in the Great Barrier Reef as a case study. Data were compiled from historical newspaper archives, fisher knowledge and contemporary fishery logbooks to reconstruct catch rates and exploitation trends from the inception of the fishery. Our fine-scale analysis of catch and effort data spanned a 103-year period (1911–2013) and revealed a spatial expansion of fishing effort, with effort shifting offshore at a rate of 9.4 nm decade-1, and 2.9 newly targeted FSA reported decade-1. Spatial expansion masked the sequential exploitation, commercial extinction, and loss of 70% of exploited FSAs. After standardizing for improvements in technological innovations, average catch rates declined by 70% between 1934 and 2011 (from 119.4 to 35.3 fish vessel-1 trip-1). Spanish mackerel did not exhibit a significant relationship between mean catch rate and occupancy of exploited FSAs. Our study reveals a special kind of shifting spatial baselines, where a contraction in exploited FSAs occurred undetected. Knowing the temporal and spatial explicit information of FSAs can be relevant for the conservation and management of FSA species.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-03-29T06:50:48.255178-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12940
       
  • Integrated models to support multiobjective ecological restoration
           decisions
    • Authors: Hannah Fraser; Libby Rumpff, Jian D. L. Yen, Doug Robinson, Brendan A. Wintle
      Abstract: Many objectives motivate ecological restoration including improving vegetation condition, increasing the range and abundance of threatened species, and improving aggregate measures of biodiversity such as richness and diversity. While ecological models have been used to examine the outcomes of ecological restoration, there are few attempts to develop models to account for multiple, potentially competing objectives. We develop the first predictive model that integrates a vegetation-focused state-and-transition model with species distribution models for birds. We demonstrate how this integrated model can be used to identify effective restoration options for vegetation and bird species under a constrained budget. For example, using a typical agricultural land management scenario from south-eastern Australia, we demonstrate how the optimal management actions for promoting the occurrence of the Brown Treecreeper, an iconic threatened species, may be suboptimal for meeting vegetation condition objectives. This highlights that any ‘preferred’ management decision depends on the value assigned to the different objectives. An exploration of sensitivity to value weightings highlighted that ‘no management’ or ‘weed control’ were most likely to be the best management options to meet multiple objectives in the scenario we explored. We thus illustrate an approach to using the model outputs to explore trade-offs between bird and vegetation objectives. Our approach to exploring management outcomes and trade-offs using integrated modelling and structured decision support approaches has wide application for conservation management problems in which trade-offs exist between competing objectives.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-03-24T10:25:29.16399-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12939
       
  • Connecting today's climates to future analogs to facilitate species
           movement under climate change
    • Authors: Caitlin E. Littlefield; Brad H. McRae, Julia Michalak, Joshua J. Lawler, Carlos Carroll
      Abstract: Increasing connectivity is an important strategy for facilitating species range shifts and maintaining biodiversity in the face of climate change. To date, however, few studies have included future climate projections in efforts to prioritize areas for increasing connectivity. Here, we identify key areas likely to facilitate climate-induced species movement across western North America. Using historical climate datasets and future climate projections, we mapped potential routes between current climates and their future analogs with a novel moving-window analysis based on electrical circuit theory. In addition to tracing shifting climates, the approach accounts for landscape permeability and empirically-derived species dispersal capabilities. We compared connectivity maps generated with our climate-change informed approach to maps of connectivity based solely on the degree of human modification of the landscape. We show that including future climate projections in connectivity models substantially shifts and constrains priority areas for movement to a smaller proportion of the landscape than when climate projections are not considered. Potential movement, measured as current flow, decreases in all ecoregions when climate projections are included, particularly when dispersal is limited, making climate analogs inaccessible. In addition, many areas emerge as important for connectivity only when climate change is modeled in two time steps rather than in a single time step. Our results illustrate that movement routes needed to track changing climatic conditions may differ from those that connect present-day landscapes. Incorporating future climate projections into connectivity modeling is an important step towards facilitating successful species movement and population persistence in a changing climate.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-03-24T10:25:27.029365-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12938
       
  • Conservation and the four Rs, which are rescue, rehabilitation, release,
           and research
    • Authors: Graham H. Pyke; Judit K. Szabo
      Abstract: Vertebrate animals can be injured or threatened with injury through human activities, thus warranting their ‘rescue’. Details of wildlife Rescue, Rehabilitation, Release, and associated Research (our 4 R's) are often recorded in large databases, resulting in a wealth of information. This information has huge research potential and can contribute to our understanding of animal biology, anthropogenic impacts on wildlife, and species conservation. However, such databases have been little used, few studies have evaluated factors influencing success of rehabilitation and/or release, recommended actions to conserve threatened species have rarely arisen, and direct benefits for species conservation are yet to be demonstrated. We therefore recommend additional research based on rescue, rehabilitation and release of animals, broader in scope than previously carried out, which would also maintain support from the general human community.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-03-22T09:51:50.644524-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12937
       
  • Critically evaluating best management practices for preventing freshwater
           turtle extinctions
    • Authors: R.J. Spencer; J.U. Dyke, Michael B. Thompson
      Abstract: Ex situ conservation tools, such as captive breeding for reintroduction, are considered last resort to help recover threatened or endangered species. However, they may also provide alternative strategies where reducing threats directly is difficult or ineffective. Headstarting, or captive rearing of eggs or neonate animals and subsequent release into the wild, has been controversial for decades. A major criticism is that headstarting is a symptomatic treatment of conservation problems (halfway technology), however, it may provide a mechanism to address multiple threats, particularly in close proximity of population centres. Here we conduct Population Viability Analyses (PVA) to assess the risk of extinction of Australia's most widespread freshwater turtle, Chelodina longicollis, to increasing adult road mortality and reduced recruitment through nest predation from introduced foxes. We also model a range of management scenarios to test the effectiveness of headstarting, fox management, and measures that reduce adult road mortality. We show that headstarting should be a primary tool for managing freshwater turtles under threats that affect multiple life history stages. Headstarting from harvest populations were the only scenarios that eliminated all risks of extinction, while also maintaining population growth. Small increments in adult mortality have greatest effect on population growth and extinction risk, however, where threats simultaneously affect other life history stages (e.g.. recruitment), eliminating harvest pressures on adult females alone will not eliminate the risk of population extinction. In our models, one harvest population could supply enough hatchlings to supplement 25 other similar sized populations at an annual rate to maintain population growth and eliminate the risk of population extinction. We advocate the creation of harvest populations for managing freshwater turtles facing significant threats to multiple life history stages.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-03-20T12:52:36.631759-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12930
       
  • Estimating freshwater turtle mortality rates and population declines
           following hook ingestion
    • Authors: David A. Steen; Orin J. Robinson
      Abstract: Freshwater turtle populations are susceptible to declines following small increases in the mortality of adults, making it essential to identify and understand potential threats. Recent research has used x-ray technology to reveal that freshwater turtles ingest fish hooks associated with recreational angling; this is concerning because hook ingestion is a known source of additive mortality for sea turtles. We used a Bayesian-modeling framework, observed rates of freshwater turtle hook ingestion, and information from sea turtles to estimate there is a 1.2–11% chance that individual freshwater turtles of several species ingest fish hooks and consequently die. We then used our results and previously published life-history data for several species to demonstrate that currently observed rates of fish hook ingestion by freshwater turtles are likely sufficient to cause population declines. We believe we have identified fish hook ingestion as a serious yet generally overlooked threat to the viability of freshwater turtle populations.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-03-15T08:50:35.635262-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12926
       
  • Effects of national-level forest management regimes on non-protected
           forests of the Himalaya
    • Authors: Jodi S. Brandt; Teri Allendorf, Volker Radeloff, Jeremy Brooks
      Abstract: Globally, deforestation continues, and while protected areas are effective at protecting forests, the majority of forests are not in protected areas. This raises the question how effective are different management regimes to avoid deforestation in non-protected forests. Our objective was to assess the ability of different national-level forest management regimes to safeguard forests outside of protected areas. We compared 2000–2014 deforestation rates across the temperate forests of five countries in the Himalaya (Bhutan, Nepal, China, India, and Myanmar) of which only 13% are protected. We found that the countries varied greatly in both overarching forest management goals and specific tenure arrangements and policies for non-protected area forests. We also found strong differences in deforestation rates, even after accounting for local-level determinants of deforestation, such as population density, market access and topography. The highest deforestation rates were associated with forest policies that focused on maximizing profits and unstable tenure regimes. National-level forest management regimes that emphasized a) conservation and b) community management and use, were associated with lower deforestation rates. We tested these relationships at the sub-national level, among states of India, and results were consistent. We interpreted our results in the context of the broader literature on decentralized, community-based natural resource management, and our findings emphasized the importance of the type and quality of community-based forestry programs as well as the degree to which they are oriented towards sustainable use rather than economic development. In sum, our cross-national results support site- and regional-scale studies, which indicate that forest management regimes that ensure stable land tenure, and integrate local livelihood benefits with forest conservation, result in the best forest outcomes.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-03-15T08:50:31.690173-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12927
       
  • Threats to intact tropical peatlands and opportunities for their
           conservation
    • Authors: K.H. Roucoux; I.T. Lawson, T.R. Baker, D. Del Castillo Torres, F.C. Draper, O. Lähteenoja, M.P. Gilmore, E.N. Honorio Coronado, T.J. Kelly, E.T.A. Mitchard, C. Vriesendorp
      Abstract: Large, intact areas of tropical peatland are highly threatened at a global scale by the expansion of commercial agriculture and other forms of economic development. Conserving peatlands on a landscape scale, with their hydrology intact, is of international conservation importance to preserve their distinctive biodiversity and ecosystem services, and maintain their resilience to future environmental change. Here, we explore the threats and opportunities for conserving remaining intact tropical peatlands. Our focus therefore largely excludes the peatlands of Indonesia and Malaysia, where extensive deforestation, drainage and conversion to plantation of peat swamp forests over the last few decades means that conservation efforts in this region are reduced to protecting small fragments of the original ecosystem, attempting to restore drained peatlands, or dissuading companies from expanding existing plantations. In contrast, here we focus on a case study, the Pastaza-Marañón Foreland Basin (PMFB) in Peru, which is among the largest known intact tropical peatland landscapes in the world and representative of their vulnerability. Maintenance of the hydrological conditions critical for carbon storage and ecosystem function of peatlands is, in the PMFB, primarily threatened by expansion of commercial agriculture linked to new transport infrastructure that is facilitating access to remote areas. In contrast to Indonesia and Malaysia, there remain opportunities in the PMFB and elsewhere to develop alternative, more sustainable land-use practices. Although some of the peatlands in the PMFB fall within existing legally protected areas, this protection is patchy, weak and not focused on protecting the most carbon-dense areas. New carbon-based conservation funding, developing markets for sustainable peatland products, transferring land title to local communities, and expanding protected areas offer pathways to increased protection for intact tropical peatlands in Amazonia and elsewhere, such as those in New Guinea and Central Africa which remain, for the moment, broadly beyond the frontier of commercial development.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-03-08T08:20:26.436572-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12925
       
  • Defining ecologically relevant scales for spatial protection with
           long-term data on an endangered seabird and local prey availability
    • Authors: Richard B. Sherley; Philna Botha, Les G. Underhill, Peter G. Ryan, Danie Zyl, Andrew C. Cockcroft, Robert J.M. Crawford, Bruce M. Dyer, Timothée R. Cook
      Abstract: Human activities are important drivers of marine ecosystem functioning. However, separating the synergistic effects of fishing and environmental variability on the prey base of non-target predators is difficult, often because prey availability estimates on appropriate scales are lacking. Understanding how prey abundance at different spatial scales links to population change can help integrate the needs of non-target predators into fisheries management by defining ecologically-relevant areas for spatial protection. We investigated the local population response (number of breeders) of the bank cormorant Phalacrocorax neglectus, a range-restricted endangered seabird, to the availability of its prey, the heavily-fished west coast rock lobster Jasus lalandii. Using Bayesian state-space modeled cormorant counts at three colonies, 22 years of fisheries-independent data on local lobster abundance and generalized additive modeling, we determined the spatial-scale pertinent to these relationships in areas of differing lobster availability. Cormorant numbers responded positively to lobster availability in the intermediate and high abundance regions, but not where regime shifts and fishing pressure have depleted lobster stocks. The relationships were strongest at 20–30 km, greater than the cormorants’ foraging range when breeding, and may have been influence by prey availability for non-breeding birds, prey switching or prey ecology. Our results highlight the importance of considering the scale of ecological relationships in marine spatial planning and suggest that designing spatial protection around focal species can benefit marine predators across their full life cycle. We propose the precautionary implementation of small-scale marine protected areas, followed by robust assessment and adaptive-management, to confirm population-level benefits for the cormorants, their prey and the wider ecosystem, without negative impacts on local fisheries.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-03-01T11:50:28.039407-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12923
       
  • Conservation genomics of the endangered Burmese roofed turtle
    • Authors: F. Gözde Çilingir; Frank E. Rheindt, Kritika M. Garg, Kalyar Platt, Steven G. Platt, David P. Bickford
      Abstract: The Burmese roofed turtle (Batagur trivittata) is one of the world's most endangered turtles. Only one wild population remains in Myanmar. Based on field observations, wild breeders are thought to number around a dozen. Combined in-situ and ex-situ conservation efforts for the species have raised >700 captive turtles over a decade predominantly from wild collected eggs. In one of the most comprehensive studies bridging genomic methodologies with active in-situ and ex-situ conservation efforts, we obtained ∼1500 unlinked genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from ∼40% of the turtles’ remaining global population. We found that individuals fall into five distinct genetic clusters, four of which represent full-sib families. We inferred a low effective population size (≤10) but did not detect signs of severe inbreeding, possibly because the population bottleneck has only happened recently. Based on genetic diversity, we identified two groups of 30 individuals from the captive pool that were subsequently reintroduced, leading to an increase in breeding success in the wild. Another 25 individuals, selected via the same criteria, were transferred to Singapore Zoo as an assurance colony. Our study demonstrates that the research-to-application gap in conservation can be bridged by successful agency-academic collaboration and through rigorous application of sound genomic methodologies.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-02-28T09:20:25.811766-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12921
       
  • Using environmental heterogeneity to plan for sea-level rise
    • Authors: Elizabeth A. Hunter; Nathan P. Nibbelink
      Abstract: Environmental heterogeneity is increasingly being used to select conservation areas that will provide for future biodiversity under a variety of climate scenarios. This approach, termed “conserving nature's stage” (CNS), assumes that environmental features will respond to climate change more slowly than biological communities, but is CNS effective when the stage is changing as rapidly as the climate? We tested the effectiveness of CNS to select conservation sites in salt marshes in coastal Georgia, USA, where environmental features will change rapidly due to sea level rise (SLR). We calculated species diversity using distributions of a group of seven bird species with a wide variety of niches within Georgia salt marshes. Environmental heterogeneity was assessed across six landscape gradients (e.g., elevation, salinity, and patch area). We selected sites with high environmental heterogeneity using two approaches: a site complementarity approach ("Environmental Diversity" [ED]) and an approach that favors local environmental heterogeneity ("Environmental Richness" [ER]). We found that ER-selected sites could predict present-day species diversity better than randomly selected sites (up to an 8.1% improvement), while also being resilient to areal loss from SLR, and providing habitat to a particularly at-risk species. ED-selected sites did not perform well (no better or worse than random) in terms of predicting species diversity and will not be resilient to SLR. Despite the discrepancy between the two approaches, CNS is a viable strategy for conservation site selection in salt marshes, and potentially other coastal areas where SLR will affect environmental features, but performance may depend on the magnitude of geological changes caused by SLR. Our results indicate that conservation planners using CNS that had heretofore ignored low-lying coasts (due to concerns of SLR) could include coastal ecosystems in regional planning strategies.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-02-27T05:20:28.227814-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12920
       
  • Interpreting beta diversity components over time to conserve
           metacommunities in highly-dynamic ecosystems
    • Authors: Albert Ruhí; Thibault Datry, John L. Sabo
      Abstract: The concept of ‘metacommunity’, or a set of local communities linked by dispersal, has gained great popularity among community ecologists over the last decade. However, whereas metacommunity research mostly addresses questions on spatial biodiversity patterns at the regional scale, conservation planning requires quantifying temporal variation in those metacommunities, and the contributions that individual (local) habitats make to regional dynamics. Here we propose that recent advances in diversity partitioning methods may allow for a better understanding of metacommunity dynamics and for the identification of keystone habitats. First, we show how time series of the two components of beta diversity (richness and replacement), and of the contributions of local habitats to these components, can provide valuable insights into metacommunity dynamics. Second, we apply this framework to a time-series data set of a highly-dynamic model system (an intermittent river) to identify which habitats control source-sink dynamics. Finally, we show how overlooking the temporal component of variation in metacommunity structure may lead to underestimating beta diversity, and we discuss how conservation and metacommunity ecology research in highly-dynamic ecosystems could benefit from studying beta diversity components over time. Adequately appraising spatio-temporal variability in community composition, and identifying sites that are pivotal for maintaining biodiversity at the landscape scale, are key needs for conservation prioritization and planning. Our framework may thus guide conservation actions in highly-dynamic ecosystems whenever time-series data describing biodiversity across sites connected by dispersal are available.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-02-11T07:20:28.425038-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12906
       
  • Need for conservation planning in postconflict Colombia
    • Authors: Pablo Jose Negret; James Allan, Alexander Braczkowski, Martine Maron, James E.M. Watson
      Abstract: More than 80% of recent major armed conflicts have taken place in biodiversity hotspots, including the Tropical Andes which is home to the world's highest concentrations of bird, mammal, and amphibian species, and more than ten percent of all vascular plant species (Mittermeier et al. 2004; Hanson et al. 2009). Armed conflicts not only seriously impact social and political systems, but also have important ramifications for biodiversity, from the time preparations for conflict start through to the post-conflict period (Machlis & Hanson 2008). Tropical forests have been identified as particularly vulnerable during the post-conflict period, when areas made inaccessible during hostilities become open to development (McNeely 2003).This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-02-03T00:25:25.21975-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12902
       
  • Global lessons from successful rhinoceros conservation in Nepal
    • Authors: Achyut Aryal; Krishna Prasad Acharya, Uttam Babu Shrestha, Maheshwar Dhakal, David Raubenhiemer, Wendy Wright
      Abstract: Global populations of rhinoceros have declined alarmingly, from about 500,000 at the beginning of the 20th century to 29,000 in 2016, largely due to an escalation of poaching for rhinoceros horn (Traffic 2016; Biggs et al. 2013). The current global rhino population is comprised of three Asian Species and two African species, the latter located in South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia and Zimbabwe,. In Africa, the Southern white rhinoceros population is estimated at 20,700; and there are estimated to be around 4,885 black rhinoceros. The greater one-horned rhinoceros, found in Nepal and India, has a population of approximately 3,555. The other Asian rhino species are confined to Indonesia and have much lower numbers; there are fewer than 100 Sumatran rhinos and only 58–61 Javan rhinos (Save the Rhino 2016a).This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
      PubDate: 2017-01-19T08:28:58.985223-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12894
       
  • Issue Information - TOC
    • Pages: 1217 - 1219
      PubDate: 2017-11-11T08:18:58.59937-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12827
       
  • Issue Information - Copyright page
    • Pages: 1220 - 1220
      PubDate: 2017-11-11T08:19:00.999803-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12828
       
 
 
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