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Cyclopes didactylus, the smallest of all anteaters, inhabits Amazonian and Atlantic forests with an apparently disjunct distribution. Yet, phylogeography reveals historical connections through the forests of the Northeast Region of Brazil. Its populations in this region are classified by the Red List of Threatened Species as Data Deficient and with a trend towards decline. However, Northeast Brazil has a large sampling gap, and the potential distribution of this species has yet to be evaluated. We investigated the potential distribution of C. didactylus to evaluate the hypothesis of a disjunct distribution between Amazonian and Atlantic forests and estimate the amount of protected area in its predicted distribution. We generated a Maxent distribution model using occurrence records, according to the new taxonomic revision of Cyclopes, and selected current bioclimatic variables to evaluate the continuity of the predicted distribution of the species in Northeast Brazil. We also performed past projections to assess historical connections and overlapped maps of protected areas onto their current distribution. Although its distribution is probably disjunct, at least one as-yet-unknown population may be present in the forests of Northeast Brazil, an area poorly protected. The results are useful for targeting field efforts in this under-sampled region.
Regional and local studies suggest that the Tufted Puffin Fratercula cirrhata in North America is declining in portions of its range. However, whether the overall population is declining, or its range is contracting with little change to the overall population size, is unknown. To examine population trends throughout its North American range, we assembled 11 datasets that spanned 115 years (1905–2019) and included at-sea density and encounter estimates and at-colony burrow and bird counts. We assessed trends for the California Current, Gulf of Alaska, and Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands large marine ecosystems (LME). We found: (1) nearly uniform and long-term declines of Puffins breeding in the California Current ecosystem, with most ecosystem colonies surveyed, (2) declining trends at two large colonies and in one at-sea dataset in the Gulf of Alaska LME, with the fourth smaller colony exhibiting no significant trend, and (3) positive trends at four out of five colonies in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands ecosystem complex, with no detectable trend at the fifth very large colony. The general pattern of Tufted Puffin declines across the California Current and Gulf of Alaska LMEs may be attributable to a variety of factors, but additional study is needed to evaluate the relative influence of potential population drivers both independently and synergistically. Potential mechanisms driving population increases in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands ecosystem include reduced depredation and bycatch, intrinsic population growth, and immigration. We found strong evidence for declines in two of the three LMEs evaluated representing approximately three quarters of the species’ North American range. This region of decline includes the Gulf of Alaska LME, which contains a significant portion of the species’ estimated total North American population. Despite data limitations, our analysis coupled with more focused and local studies indicates that the Tufted Puffin is a species of conservation concern.
Freshwater mussels in the order Unionida are highly adapted to parasitize fish for the primary purpose of dispersal. The parasitic larval stage affixes itself to the gills or fins of the host where it becomes encysted in the tissue, eventually excysting to develop into a free-living adult. Research on the parasitic interactions between unionids and their host fishes has garnered attention recently due to the increase in worldwide preservation efforts surrounding this highly endangered and ecologically significant order. With the exception of heavy infestation events, these mussels cause minor effects to their hosts, typically only observable effect in combination with other stressors. Moreover, the range of effect intensities on the host varies greatly with the species involved in the interaction, an effect that may arise from different evolutionary strategies between long- and short-infesting mussels; a distinction not typically made in conservation practices. Lower growth and reduced osmotic potential in infested hosts are commonly observed and correlated with infestation load. These effects are typically also associated with increases in metabolic rate and behaviour indicative of stress. Host fish seem to compensate for this through a combination of rapid wound healing in the parasitized areas and higher ventilation rates. The findings are heavily biased towards Margaritifera margaritifera, a unique mussel not well suited for cross-species generalizations. Furthermore, the small body of molecular and genetic studies should be expanded as many conclusions are drawn from studies on the ultimate effects of glochidiosis rather than proximate studies on the underlying mechanisms.
Humans and other animals face decisions on which food items to harvest, when to quit searching and when to move on to the next patch. This chapter starts by describing optimal foraging theory (OFT), which has been used to understand and to predict foraging behaviour in animals as well as humans. We follow this by describing how cultural issues, such as taboos and religious beliefs, can affect optimal foraging in humans. We describe how OFT has been applied to human foraging and why it has been criticized by some researchers. We show that a number of alternatives to OFT models applied to humans have been suggested. Because there are different prey species and food is not distributed uniformly, prey and foraging space must be selected by human foragers. We continue by defining group hunting and sexual division in hunting roles as crucial elements in human foraging strategies. We end the chapter by discussing conservation and sustainability and linking this to the ecologically noble savage concept introduced in the previous chapter.
The spiny butterfly ray Gymnura altavela (Linnaeus 1758) is classified as Endangered by the International Union for Nature Conservation (IUCN) and considered Critically Endangered in the Mediterranean Sea and South-west Atlantic. Despite its status, few studies on the population biology and genetics for the species are available, undermining conservation efforts. In the present study, we evaluated the taxonomic status of Gymnura altavela along both sides of the Atlantic using COI sequences. Our genetic data support the existence of two genetically differentiated G. altavela lineages (West and East Atlantic) and further studies are required to evaluate the hypothesis that these lineages could, in fact, be cryptic species within this endangered batoid's genus.
Snakes are sensitive to both environmental and climate gradients. To design conservation plans, a scientific understanding of snake habitats in light of environmental and climatic variables is an essential prerequisite. For venomous snakes, denoting favourable habitats should also be relevant for snakebite management. We have considered 18 spatial variables to portray the range of terrestrial venomous snake distribution in Bangladesh. Our results indicate that the distribution of 29 studied venomous snakes in this country is primarily driven by climatic and environmental variables. We found that especially low elevation and flood risk constrain the distribution of those terrestrial snakes, i.e. regular floods in central Bangladesh push venomous snakes towards the edges of the country. Moreover, none of these species occupies the whole of its anticipated climatically favourable area. Projections into the future indicated that 11 studied species, Amphiesma platyceps, Boiga siamensis, Chrysopelea ornata, Pseudoxenodon macrops, Rhabdophis himalayanus, Rhabdophis subminiatus, Bungarus lividus, Ophiophagus hannah, Daboia russelii, Ovophis monticola and Trimeresurus popeiorum will lose their entire climatically suitable area within the country. Therefore, we suggest establishing more protected areas in the hilly ecosystems in the eastern part and in the mangrove forests in the south-western corner of Bangladesh to mitigate future extinction risks, such as climate change, sea-level rise and increase in flood severity. Conserving village forests and croplands, which are subject to rapid change, will also need to be addressed equally, as these are inhabited by almost one-third of the studied species. The occurrence of the cobras and kraits in village forests and cropland dominant habitats demands more attention to minimise snakebite related mortality and morbidity.
As the breadth and scope of primate cognition research continues to evolve, it remains essential that the ethical considerations of such work do so as well. The evaluation of ethics is shaped by time and place and centers on a variety of factors, including the questions being asked, the methods used, the setting, and the species studied. Here, we take a pragmatic approach in examining ethical considerations as they relate to cognitive research with primates in both captive and wild settings. We encourage primatologists to consider how primates’ lives are impacted prior to, during, and following the research. In addition, we highlight the importance of considering how such research activities interface with the people who work or live alongside the primates. Thus, we aim to help guide those studying and working with primates to plan and conduct ethically sound research.
In “Postcolonial Nature,” Philip Aghoghovwia emphasizes nature’s historicity and cultural relativity, as well as its complicity in Euro-American neocolonial activities such as land grabbing, natural resource extraction, and conservation that expels or marginalizes human populations. However, Aghoghovwia also demonstrates how African writers like the Nigerian activist-poet Nnimmo Bassey and the South African author Etienne van Heerden evoke alternative ideas of nature in order to resist the destruction of local environments and people. Aghoghovwia situates his critique of colonial nature within a detailed exploration of the postcolonial theory of Ramachandra Guha, Rob Nixon, Byron Caminero-Santangelo, and Cajetan Iheka.
In the mid-1860s, as Britain enjoyed global power thanks to coal-fueled industrial capitalism and as American industrialization was poised to take off, George Perkins Marsh of Vermont in America and William Stanley Jevons from Liverpool in Britain published books that warned unsustainable use of natural resources threatened to impoverish future generations. Their Reformed Protestantism upbringing, descended from forebears’ Puritanism, had instilled in both Marsh and Jevons perspectives and values that informed their analyses and solutions. Since their publication, their books’ reputation has risen with concern for the environment and about limits to growth. They remain valuable and relevant today.
The jaguar Panthera onca has lost 85% of its habitat in the Atlantic Forest, where it persists in small and isolated populations in the largest fragments. In the absence of recent records, the jaguar had previously been presumed extinct in the large Atlantic Forest fragments of the Serra do Mar in southern Brazil. However, as this region is mountainous, densely forested and difficult to access, the jaguar could still be present, but undetected. We carried out an intensive survey using camera traps and interviews with local people in a large (c. 6,500 km2) forest block. During 2011–2019, 98 camera-trap stations were established (14,239 trap-days), and 249 interviews were conducted in 102 grid cells of 5 × 5 km. We obtained the first images of the jaguar in the region, from which five individuals were identified, and interviewees provided records of the jaguar in 24 grid cells. Our findings increase the range of this species in the Atlantic Forest by 9%, and we recommend that the area should be classified as a jaguar conservation unit. As the area we surveyed is adjacent to the Serra do Mar jaguar conservation unit, the combined area of 19,262 km2 is the largest priority area for jaguar conservation in the Atlantic Forest. This proposed jaguar conservation unit could serve as a vital source of jaguar individuals for the coastal forests further south. We recommend that surveys are extended southwards to Santa Catarina state to determine whether the presumed extinction of jaguars in this state is another case of a false absence.
Green areas are key habitats for urban avifauna. Urban parks stand out from other anthropic habitats especially in providing trophic resources for many bird species. Consequently, modifications of these green zones can imply major changes in urban biodiversity. Potential pernicious urban remodelling is taking place in parks of eastern Spain because natural grass is being replaced with artificial grass to save water and to avoid management. This study aimed to determine whether remodelled parks with artificial grass harbour lower avian diversity (alpha, beta and gamma diversity) than traditional parks with natural grass. We surveyed 21 parks with artificial grass and 24 parks with natural grass in 18 towns of the Valencia Region in autumn 2020. In each park, we carried out 5-minute and 25-m radius point counts for determining bird species and their abundance. The effects of park area and grass type on alpha diversity (species richness, Shannon diversity index, Pielou’s Evenness and total abundance) were tested by means of GLMs. Differences in beta diversity and its components (nestedness and turnover) were also analyzed with the Bray-Curtis dissimilarity index. Gamma diversity was assessed by means of species accumulation curves. Finally, differences in community composition were tested by PERMANOVA and SIMPER tests. The parks with natural grass always harboured higher gamma diversity, species richness and abundance. Turnover was higher in parks with natural grass, whereas nestedness was higher in artificial grass parks. Differences in community composition were due mainly to abundance differences in common ground-feeding birds. We highlight that the trend of replacing natural by artificial grass in urban parks has harmful effects on urban bird communities and is a threat to bird conservation. Although artificial grass might save water, the effects on urban biodiversity should be carefully evaluated.
The diversity and distribution of wild bees are dramatically changing due to habitat fragmentation, agricultural intensification and climate change. In cities, urban gardens are proposed ‘island’ habitats for bees offering floral and nesting resources. Yet, it is largely unclear how gardens play a role in changes in species diversity and distribution. This paper reports on the discovery of a bee species to our knowledge previously undocumented in the region of Berlin, Germany. We discovered Lasioglossum limbellum in a community garden created on concrete slabs of annual and perennial vegetation. As a cavity nester in soft rock cliffs—a natural habitat functionally not existent in urban areas—the life history of this species makes this discovery particularly interesting, and an opportunity to explore the role of urban gardens in biodiversity change. This report aims to spur future research, reporting and discussion on the changes in diversity and distribution of wild bees specifically in urban areas.
This chapter shows how a distinctive logic of conservation developed over time that focused on the need to preserve traces of a mystery. The possible future utility of the land for researchers wanting to better grasp cosmic connections and catastrophes was at the forefront of this endeavor, distinguishing it from the preservation of wilderness areas and historical artifacts. The chapter follows the campaigns that began in the 1960s to create a nature reserve around the site of the Tunguska blast and examines the variegated thinking about environmentalism among participants in the expeditions. The analysis also demonstrates how the success of nature protection fundamentally altered the longstanding research at the place in unexpected ways.
Wildlife conservation in the UK is based on three main actions: landscape-scale protection of habitats, species protection, especially of rarities, and site management to maintain viable ecosystems. None of these addresses human population issues, and policies to deal with population growth vary around the world. Disturbingly, in many developed countries, there is concern about declining human numbers, and attempts are underway to promote larger families. With greater foresight, the developing world is in many cases trying to curb growth, even in countries with lower population densities than in western Europe. At the time of writing, Britain has no policy on population, and the possible components of such a policy are discussed. It will be important to maintain current small average family sizes, but most critical will be a humane but effective control of immigration. In the long term, this will be key to reversing wildlife declines in the UK.
Movement ecology and environmental factors are topics of paramount importance to consider when planning conservation programmes for target species. Here we discuss this topic by reviewing the available information related to the Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus, with reference to the remnant breeding population of Southern Italy, of high conservation concern and subject of a long-term captive-breeding re-stocking programme. We describe how adverse wind conditions over the Central Mediterranean Sea make the sea-crossing challenging with detrimental effects on the survival of inexperienced birds, and coupled this information with count data of migrating Egyptian Vultures. Furthermore, we indicate how low population size and scarce opportunities in meeting migrating conspecifics could potentially lead juvenile Egyptian Vultures to follow unfavourable migratory routes, with possible repercussions on survival. We postulate how these concomitant factors could be indirectly influencing the long-term survival of this small population, principally affected by anthropogenic threats. We also discuss how the same factors could actually be affecting captive-bred young individuals released in late summer in southern continental Italy, in the framework of the restocking programme. An integrative approach with tailor-made release methods, which also takes into account the age of released birds and geographical and environmental factors, would likely be useful for a more goal-oriented and long-lasting conservation outcome, for the preservation of this endangered scavenger.
As global environmental pressures grow, the need for delivering relevant and sustainable capacity building in conservation has never been greater. Individuals, organizations and communities need the skills, knowledge and information that allow them to address environmental issues at a variety of spatial scales and in diverse contexts. Capacity is currently built through a range of activities, including tertiary education, training courses, online learning, mentoring and continuing professional development. However, a significant proportion of the current capacity-building provision is non-strategic, project-based and reactive. The conservation sector still lacks a coordinated approach to capacity building linked to broader conservation goals. Without an assessment of current capacity-building provision and future capacity needs, the delivery of capacity building in conservation will remain fundamentally ad hoc. The need for strategic conservation capacity building in sub-Saharan Africa has been identified and here we report on the first collation of online material to assess current conservation capacity provision in Kenya (the country with the greatest online capacity-building presence). We reviewed a total of 177 capacity-building initiatives delivered during 2014–2019 and recorded 55 separate metrics for each initiative. We present: (1) a broad overview of the data collation methods developed, (2) examples of data that will support strategic capacity-building strategies, and (3) the lessons learnt from this assessment.
Common names allow species diversity to be acknowledged by experts and non-specialists alike; they are descriptors with both scientific and cultural implications. However, a lack of clarity when using a common name could risk altering perceptions of threatened species. This is the case for the Critically Endangered wild camel Camelus ferus, which, despite extensive evidence of its species status, is frequently referred to in English as wild Bactrian camel. However, the wild camel (Mongolian: хавтгай, khavtgai; Chinese: 野骆驼, ye luo tuo) is not a wild version of the domestic Bactrian camel Camelus bactrianus but a separate species near extinction, with an estimated population of c. 950. Failure to clearly separate Bactrian and wild camels in name risks masking the plight of the few remaining wild camels with the visible abundance of the domesticated species. Here we advocate the use of the accurate English common name wild camel for C. ferus ideally alongside its Indigenous names to correctly represent its cultural and conservation importance.
The paper explores the transformation of environmental activist John Sinclair, OA, from a conservative member of the Country Party, through a position of cautious conservationism, to preeminence as a leading environmentalist with some very significant achievements. This paper aims to show some correlations between his work and ideas and major strands of environmental education research. His allegiance to K’gari (Fraser Island) and the way in which he was able to learn from the traditional custodians, the Butchulla people, and other leading environmentalists is described in this paper through his own memoir writing and the viewpoints of informants interviewed by the author. John Sinclair’s profound connection with K’gari, how it was formed and sustained, and its historical and environmental consequences make a remarkable story of a modern citizen turned activist. The development of John Sinclair’s ideas and practice show interesting parallels with the development of both environmental activism and environmental education in Australia. The story has importance in a range of areas connected with environmental stewardship and environmental education.
Lord Frederick Campbell Charter xxi 5 is the only surviving English document that still has an authentic, legible, pre-Conquest seal attached to it. The text purports to be a writ of Edward the Confessor (1003x5–1066) granting a slew of rights to Christ Church Cathedral, Canterbury. We examined the writ using multispectral imaging to recover layers of erased text.
Many scholars have noted that the text of the writ was altered on at least one occasion. Now, multispectral imaging confirms that there were multiple layers of erasures, even more than previously anticipated. The original writ may have been inscribed on reused parchment. This can be used as evidence for the conditions (and even the immense quantity) in which writs were produced during Edward’s reign. Alternatively – or additionally – the writ’s multiple alterations could suggest that it was rewritten repeatedly after the Conquest, during various phases of Canterbury’s post-Conquest property disputes. The results confirm Nicholas Brooks’ hypothesis that at one stage the text was altered from referring to the rights to the archbishop alone (in the singular), to instead refer to the whole community at Christ Church (in the plural). Taken together, these results reveal shifts in legal thinking in Canterbury between 1066 and 1100, while demonstrating the enduring authority of Edward the Confessor’s seal. These results also show the potential for using multispectral imaging to illuminate – literally – the history of manuscript production.
Since 2005, the world population of Great Bustards Otis tarda has decreased at an annual rate of 3.23%. The current world total is estimated at 31,000–36,000 birds, 34% (range 30–38%) less than 16 years ago. The declines have been observed in nine of 17 countries with extant breeding populations, with highest values in China (-89%) and European Russia (-72%). Marked decreases have also occurred in the Iberian Peninsula, which is still the stronghold for the species with 70–75% of the world population. Within Iberia, declines are particularly alarming in Portugal (-50%), although perhaps even more concerning in Spain, where the -28% (range 25–30%) decrease implies a loss of more than 8,000 individuals. Increases have been only recorded in Germany, Austria, and at a smaller scale in Hungary (respectively, 202%, 91%, and 5%), thanks to continued and intensive conservation actions, and also in the small group breeding in Romania, likely due to dispersal from the increasing West Pannonian population. The isolated populations of Morocco and Iran are on the brink of extinction. More surveys are still needed in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, China, and Mongolia, to confirm numbers and trends. It is urgent to reinforce conservation actions worldwide to stop negative demographic trends and ensure the survival of the species. If current trends continue, IUCN should perhaps consider whether (a) conditions are met to upgrade the species’ Red List category from globally ‘Vulnerable’ to ‘Endangered’, and (b) the two subspecies should be treated as separate conservation units and require different conservation strategies.