Protected areas and freshwater conservation: a survey of protected area managers in the Tennessee and Cumberland River Basins, USA.
ABSTRACT As the scientific community has highlighted the plight of freshwater species, there have been increasing calls for protected area (PA) designation and management specific to the conservation of aquatic species and ecosystems. In this study we examined PA management in one relatively well-resourced (high levels of financial and technical resources) part of the world: the Tennessee and Cumberland River Basins, USA. We asked managers their perceptions about the current status of freshwater ecosystems within PAs, the sources of stress that are degrading freshwater ecosystem integrity, the degree to which PAs address these stressors, and the availability of technical, human, and financial resources for management activities that benefit freshwater ecosystems and the species they support. Managers generally perceive that freshwater ecosystems within PAs are under low levels of stress, with less than half reporting any alteration to ecosystem integrity, and very few reporting alterations at medium or high levels. Most PAs have fewer resources dedicated to freshwater conservation and management than to other activities, and some PAs completely lack resources for freshwater management. We recommend a review of every PA's goals and objectives and any needed updates to include the conservation of freshwater ecosystems. We also recommend an analysis to determine the most pressing stressors to aquatic life within each PA, stemming from sources both from within and outside of a PA's boundaries, and that this information be used to guide future management. Finally, we suggest that management resources be prioritized for PAs that include large portions of the catchments of their freshwater systems; that can address the dominant sources of stress within the PA; or that contain representative ecosystems, species assemblages or populations of rare, endemic, and threatened species.
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ABSTRACT: The permanent increase in the exploitation of commercial fish species has led to the need for developing practical and effective tools for the sustainability assessment and management of the target fish populations. The aim of this study was to formulate an ESHIPPOfishing model which would provide a reliable assessment of commercial fish population sustainability and indicate the conservation priorities. The existing ESHIPPO model was modified by introducing a new Index of local sustainability of fish populations (ILSFP) which enables the selection of "keystone populations" and "keystone habitats/ecosystems" within the basin being investigated. We employed a self-organizing map (SOM) in order to visualize the spatial distribution of the keystone populations and keystone habitats/ecosystems for each fish species. Based on the ILSFP values, environmental specialization (ES) of a fish species and local environmental factors (HIPPO factors), the model estimates the degree of sustainability (DS) of commercial fish populations in the freshwater ecosystems of the western Balkan Peninsula. The results indicate a low degree of sustainability for the majority of commercial fish species of the Middle Danube Basin, especially Acipenser ruthenus and Hucho hucho. The ESHIPPOfishing model presents a cost effective conservation approach, formulated to be applicable to any kind of river basin. The application of the ESHIPPOfishing model provides a comprehensive insight into the viability of target fish populations, which would not only further improve the selection of conservation priorities, but also facilitate the management of aquatic ecosystems.Science of The Total Environment 08/2014; 497-498C:642-650. · 3.16 Impact Factor