World Aquarium News
Abstract Species at risk of extinction are not uniformly distributed in space. Concentrations of threatened species may occur where threatening processes are intense, in refuges from those processes, or in areas of high species diversity. However, there have been few attempts to identify the processes that explain the distribution of at‐risk species. Here, we identified the relative importance of biological traits, environmental factors, and anthropogenic stressors in driving the spatial patterns of both total and at‐risk species richness of North American mammals and birds. Environmental factors are the predominant drivers of both total and at‐risk species richness. Strikingly, the directions of [...]
Thu, Dec 13, 2018
Source Conservation Letters
A new study is starting to unravel that mystery. Researchers found that the soundscape of a reef -- the combined sounds of all animals living nearby -- might play a major role in steering corals towards healthy reef systems and away from damaged ones. [...]
Wed, Dec 12, 2018
Source Coral Reef News from Science Daily
Abstract Despite increasing recognition that integrating evolutionary theory into conservation decisions can achieve better long‐term outcomes, there has been little progress adapting management strategies. A commonly hypothesized barrier to better integration is poor understanding of evolutionary biology among conservation practitioners. To assess this claim, we surveyed conservation practitioners to determine their understanding of evolutionary concepts. We found that most practitioners had a good understanding of general concepts (evolution and genetic diversity), but a much poorer understanding of other relevant concepts. These findings suggest that knowledge is limiting the ability of conservation practitioners to effectively manage evolutionary processes. Encouragingly, practitioners educated in [...]
Tue, Dec 11, 2018
Source Conservation Letters
Abstract Climate‐related impacts to marine ecosystems threaten the biological, social, and economic resilience of the U.S. fishing industry. Changes in ocean conditions and variability in fisheries productivity have stimulated an effort to integrate climate information into fisheries science and management processes to inform more responsive decision‐making. However, institutional, capacity, and budget constraints within U.S. federal and state fisheries management agencies may hinder the potential to deliver climate‐ready strategies for many fisheries. We examine whether adaptive comanagement as a governance approach can enhance capacity and advance climate‐ready fisheries objectives. Adaptive comanagement may improve the quality of science and decision‐making needed to prepare [...]
Tue, Dec 11, 2018
Source Conservation Letters
Abstract Attitudes among conservation biologists toward technological innovations and solutions have changed over the years from mistrusting and dismissive to widely accepting. However, the time has come for the conservation community to move from being technology consumers to become innovation leaders and to actively seek to create novel technologies to provide conservation tools and solutions. This challenging but critical mind‐set change requires thinking outside the box to establish and support the necessary bridges between the conservation community, technologists in both the public and the private sectors, and policy makers. The ingredients already exist, but success hinges on an open mind to [...]
Tue, Dec 11, 2018
Source Conservation Letters
Abstract Public participation to monitoring programs is increasingly advocated to overcome scarcity of resources and deliver important information for policy‐making. Here, we illustrate the design of optimal monitoring networks for bird species of conservation concern in Catalonia (NE Spain), under different scenarios of combined governmental and citizen‐science monitoring approaches. In our case study, current government efforts, limited to protected areas, were insufficient to cover the whole spectrum of target species and species‐threat levels, reinforcing the assumption that citizen‐science data can greatly assist in achieving monitoring targets. However, simply carrying out both government and citizen‐science monitoring ad hoc led to inefficiency and [...]
Tue, Dec 11, 2018
Source Conservation Letters
Abstract Governance is one of the most important factors for ensuring effective environmental management and conservation actions. Yet, there is still a relative paucity of comprehensive and practicable guidance that can be used to frame the evaluation, design, and analysis of systems of environmental governance. This conceptual review and synthesis article seeks to addresses this problem through resituating the broad body of governance literature into a practical framework for environmental governance. Our framework builds on a rich history of governance scholarship to propose that environmental governance has four general aims or objectives – to be effective, to be equitable, to be [...]
Tue, Dec 11, 2018
Source Conservation Letters
Abstract Long‐term data on populations, threats, and habitat‐use changes are fundamentally important for conservation policy and management decisions affecting species, but these data are often in short supply. Here, we analyze survey data from 57,087 plots collected in approximately three‐fourths of the giant panda's (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) distributional range during China's national surveys conducted in 1999–2003 and 2011–2014. Pandas associated preferentially with several ecological factors and avoided areas impacted by human activities, such as roads, livestock, mining, and tourism. Promise is shown by dramatic declines in logging rates, but is counterbalanced with recently emerging threats. Pandas have increasingly utilized secondary forest as [...]
Tue, Dec 11, 2018
Source Conservation Letters
Abstract Protected areas (PAs) are key for biodiversity conservation, but there are concerns that they can exacerbate poverty or unequal access to potential benefits, such as those arising from tourism. We assess how Nepalese PAs influence poverty, extreme poverty, and inequality using a multidimensional poverty index, and a quasi‐experimental design that controls for potential confounding factors in non‐random treatment allocation. We specifically investigate the role of tourism in contributing to PA impacts. Nepali PAs reduced overall poverty and extreme poverty, and crucially, did not exacerbate inequality. Benefits occurred in lowland and highland regions, and were often greater when a larger proportion [...]
Tue, Dec 11, 2018
Source Conservation Letters
Abstract Many studies have overestimated species' range shifts under climate change because they treat climate as the only determinant while ignoring biotic factors. To assess the response of giant pandas to climate change, we incorporated spatial effects in modeling bamboo distributions, which in turn was incorporated to represent giant panda–bamboo biotic interactions in predicting giant panda distribution. Our study revealed potential tolerance of giant pandas to climate change. We found significant residual spatial correlation in the bamboo models. The biotic interactions with bamboo understories and anthropogenic activities had large effects on panda distribution, which lowered the relative importance of climatic variables. [...]
Tue, Dec 11, 2018
Source Conservation Letters
Tue, Dec 11, 2018
Source Conservation Letters
Abstract Recovery planning is an essential part of implementing the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA), but conservationists and government agencies recognize challenges with the current planning process. Using data from all U.S. domestic and transboundary ESA‐listed species, we quantify the completeness, timeliness, age, and other variation among ESA recovery plans over the past 40 years. Among eligible listed taxa (n = 1,548), nearly one‐fourth lack final recovery plans; half of plans have taken >5 years to finalize after listing; half of recovery plans are more than 20 years old; and there is significant variation in planning between agencies, and among regions [...]
Tue, Dec 11, 2018
Source Conservation Letters
Abstract Global areal protection targets have driven a dramatic expansion of the marine protected area (MPA) estate. We analyzed how cost‐effective global MPA expansion has been since the inception of the first global target (set in 1982) in achieving ecoregional representation. By comparing spatial patterns of MPA expansion against optimal MPA estates using the same expansion rates, we show the current MPA estate is both expensive and ineffective. Although the number of ecoregions represented tripled and 12.7% of national waters was protected, 61% of ecoregions and 81% of countries are not 10% protected. Only 10.3% of the national waters of the [...]
Tue, Dec 11, 2018
Source Conservation Letters
Abstract New Zealand's policy to exterminate five introduced predators by 2050 is well‐meant but warrants critique and comparison against alternatives. The goal is unachievable with current or near‐future technologies and resources. Its effects on ecosystems and 26 other mammalian predators and herbivores will be complex. Some negative outcomes are likely. Predators are not always and everywhere the largest impact on biodiversity. Lower intensity predator suppression, habitat protection and restoration, and prey refugia will sometimes better support threatened biodiversity. The policy draws attention to where predators are easily killed, not where biodiversity values are greatest. Pest control operations are already contested and [...]
Tue, Dec 11, 2018
Source Conservation Letters