World Wildlife Fund
  • Washington, D.C., United States
Recent publications
Indonesia’s marine ecosystems are among the most diverse in the world, supporting extensive critical habitats with strong connections to coastal communities. To keep pace with increasing pressures on the environment, conservation efforts need to be strengthened and expanded. The Government of Indonesia has committed to protecting marine ecosystems through establishing 32.5 million ha of marine protected areas (MPAs), with 20 million ha effectively managed, by 2030. Therefore, collating data on the status and progress of marine conservation efforts nationally is important to show the extent to which this target is being reached. Here we provide an overview of the status and trends of spatial coverage and management effectiveness of MPAs in Indonesia. As of 2020, Indonesia had made good progress in reaching its target – with 23.9 million ha MPA established and some —albeit slow— increases in MPA management effectiveness. Moving forward, we recommend that marine protection efforts in Indonesia need to balance MPAs expansion with improvement in effectiveness. Improvement of management effectiveness will require significant efforts, including improving institutional coordination, ensuring adequate human and financial resources, and strengthened monitoring, evaluation, and learning to inform adaptive management. Future MPA expansion should focus on addressing specific gaps in the existing network, such as increasing coastal habitat representation, and connectivity, or increasing recognition of a diversity of governance approaches (e.g., by communities or private entities). Progress over recent decades, however, suggests Indonesia is making progress on its marine protection goals and is well placed to meet potential future targets.
Until March 2021, marine Chondrichthyans in Colombia were fishery resources, administered under the Ministry of Agriculture (MinAgricultura) with the fisheries authority had an NPOA Sharks as a guide for their management. After that, and under the Decree 281 of 18 March 2021 issued by the Ministry of Environment of Colombia, a new policy (called the Environmental Plan for the protection and conservation of sharks, marine rays, and chimaeras of Colombia)emerged, and the management duty of Chondrichthyans changed from a fishery resource to a hydrobiological resource, thereby prohibiting commercial use of those species and transferring its management to the government’s environmental sector. This paper discusses the two policy instruments created for the same group of fishes, the consequences of changing the government management duty from one sector to another by the new policy created, and the implications for the environmental, fisheries, control, and surveillance sectors, civil organizations, and even for sharks. In addition, a logical framework analysis method was carried out to identify shark vulnerability and stakeholders, and to analyze both policy instruments and their positive and negative outputs. Part of the environmental sector celebrated the issued decree as an unprecedented achievement for Colombia. In contrast, other stakeholders, including the fisheries sector, declared that the ban on sharks/batoids for trade and fishing indirectly affects marine fisheries and fishers since these species are commonly bycatch in most of them. Consequently, shark/batoid bycatch management was raised as the central management issue since fishing activity is the main threat for elasmobranchs. Alternatives are proposed for conservation and fisheries to coexist, obtaining mutual benefits, avoiding confrontation, and heading towards sustainable development from different perspectives.
Grassland ecosystems are under threat globally, primarily due to land-use and land-cover changes that have adversely affected their biodiversity. Given the negative ecological impacts of biodiversity loss in grasslands, there is an urgent need for developing an operational biodiversity monitoring system that functions in these ecosystems. In this paper, we assessed the capability of airborne and spaceborne imaging spectroscopy (also known as hyperspectral imaging) to capture plant α-diversity in a large naturally-assembled grassland while considering the impact of common management practices, specifically prescribed fire. We collected a robust in-situ plant diversity data set, including species composition and percent cover from 2500 sampling points with different burn ages, from recently-burned to transitional and pre-prescribed fire at the Joseph H. Williams Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in Oklahoma, USA. We expressed in-situ plant α-diversity using the first three Hill numbers, including species richness (number of observed species in a plant community), exponential Shannon entropy index (hereafter Shannon diversity; effective number of common species, where species are weighed proportional to their percent cover), and inverse Simpson concentration index (hereafter Simpson diversity; effective number of dominant species, where more weight is given to dominant species) at four different plot sizes, including 60 m × 60 m, 120 m × 120 m, 180 m × 180 m, and 240 m × 240 m. We collected full-range airborne hyperspectral data with fine spatial resolution (1 m) and visible and near-infrared spaceborne hyper-spectral data from DESIS sensor with coarse spatial resolution (30 m), and used the spectral diversity hypothesis -i.e., that the variability in spectral data is largely driven by plant diversity-to estimate α-diversity remotely. In recently-burned plots and those at the transitional stage, both airborne and spaceborne data were capable of capturing Simpson diversity-a metric that calculates the effective number of dominant species by emphasizing abundant species and discounting rare species-but not species richness or Shannon diversity. Further, neither airborne nor spaceborne hyperspectral data sets were capable of capturing plant α-diversity of 60 m × 60 m or 120 m × 120 m plots. Based on these results, three main findings emerged: (1) management practices influence grassland biodiversity patterns that can be remotely detected, (2) both fine-and coarse-resolution remotely-sensed data can detect the effective number of dominant species (e.g., Simpson diversity), and (3) attention should be given to site-specific plant diversity field data collection to appropriately interpret remote sensing results. Findings of this study indicate the feasibility of estimating Simpson diversity in naturally-assembled grasslands using forthcoming spaceborne imagers such as National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Surface Biology and Geology mission.
Payment for ecosystem services (PES) is a prominent neoliberal, market-based environmental policy tool to promote conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services (ES) that has been applied since the late 1990s in both industrialized and developing countries. Recent studies have documented how PES programs do not actually function as market-based programs, and that they are often modified on the ground by local actors. Adding to this literature, our study uses an actor-oriented approach to examine how local actors in Veracruz, Mexico respond to and make changes to payment for hydrological services (PHS) programs, a prominent PES program used to address water quality and quantity issues. Drawing on interviews with 15 institutional actors and 58 landowners, we investigate how these actors challenge and modify these programs to make them more responsive to local socioecological conditions and needs. Our argument is that situated knowledge about land uses and socioecological conditions, and norms of equity and fairness, play central roles in empowering social actors to alternately adopt, contest, and re-shape PHS programs to better meet local conditions and needs.
Elemental profiling is being explored as a traceability tool in many seafood products. However, the extent that elemental profiling can be used at finer geographical scales in cultured shrimp is unknown. Additionally, few studies have included multiple species in the same discriminant models, which would be useful in applications where one species is common, and the other is not. Here, elemental profiling was used to discern the provenance of black tiger shrimp Penaeus monodon and whiteleg shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei from the regions of North Kalimantan, Sulawesi Seletan, and Aceh in Indonesia. ICP-MS was used to determine elemental concentrations of 41 elements in shrimp muscle tissue and was the basis for multivariate and univariate statistical analyses. A MANOVA showed that multivariate differences exist in regions and between species of shrimp sampled. Univariate comparisons were utilized after the significance of the MANOVA and showed that 19 of the 24 elements above detection limits had significant differences. Classification via random forest was used to access the ability to discern, region, species, and region × species group combinations. The lowest model accuracy was the region × species combinations at 78.9%, while the highest accuracy was species irrespective of geographical origin at 93.59%. Elements that were routinely important in classification included As, B, Ba, Li, Na, Rb, Se, and Zn. Elemental profiles of white leg shrimp and black tiger shrimp are varied and potentially should not be used in the same classification models. Altogether, these results suggest that elemental profiling of farmed shrimp at finer geographic scales needs refinement as a traceability tool.
Billfish species (families Istiophoridae and Xiphiidae) are caught in artisanal, recreational, and commercial fisheries throughout the Western Indian Ocean region. However, data and information on the interactions among these fisheries and the ecology of billfish in the WIO are not well understood. Using an in-depth analysis of peer-reviewed articles, grey literature, observation studies, and authors' insider knowledge, we summarize the current state of knowledge on billfish fisheries in 10 countries. To describe historical and current trends, we examined fisheries statistics from governmental and non-governmental agencies, sportfishing clubs' reports, diaries of sportfishing captains, and the catch and effort databases of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission. We highlight two key points. First, billfish fisheries in the Western Indian Ocean are highly diverse, comprising two distinct segments-coastal and oceanic. However, data are poor for most countries with significant gaps in information especially for sport and artisanal fisheries. Second, the evidence assembled showed that billfish species have immense social, cultural, and economic value. Swordfish are targeted by both large-scale and semi-industrial fisheries, while other billfish species, particularly marlin, are highly sought after by sport fisheries in most countries. Our paper provides a comprehensive review of billfish fisheries and available information in the context of the WIO underscoring the need to strengthen data collection and reporting, citizen science, and collaborative sustainable development and management of billfish. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s11160-022-09725-8.
Here we present a geographically diverse, temporally consistent, and nationally relevant land cover (LC) reference dataset collected by visual interpretation of very high spatial resolution imagery, in a national-scale crowdsourcing campaign (targeting seven generic LC classes) and a series of expert workshops (targeting seventeen detailed LC classes) in Indonesia. The interpreters were citizen scientists (crowd/non-experts) and local LC visual interpretation experts from different regions in the country. We provide the raw LC reference dataset, as well as a quality-filtered dataset, along with the quality assessment indicators. We envisage that the dataset will be relevant for: (1) the LC mapping community (researchers and practitioners), i.e., as reference data for training machine learning algorithms and map accuracy assessment (with appropriate quality-filters applied), and (2) the citizen science community, i.e., as a sizable empirical dataset to investigate the potential and limitations of contributions from the crowd/non-experts, demonstrated for LC mapping in Indonesia for the first time to our knowledge, within the context of complementing traditional data collection by expert interpreters.
Beyond being a form of community expression, the traditional Bukharian houses and mahallas – neighborhoods - illustrate a close relationship with the environment as the use of earthen materials and the design of its urban fabric respond to the harsh desert climate. This World Heritage listed vernacular architecture and mahallas in Uzbekistan are a vulnerable and rapidly changing heritage. Traditional techniques and know-how are getting lost and replaced by new construction techniques that most of the time are causing irreversible changes. In addition, their special attributes that make them unique are also disappearing due to changes of ownership, alterations, and adaptive reuse. In this context, a fragment of this heritage, the Traditional Bukharian Jewish Houses, was identified and included on the 2020 World Monuments Watch program to advocate for their preservation while maintaining the diversity and livelihood of the communities. Since the Watch inclusion, the World Monuments Fund (WMF) and International Institute for Central Asian Studies (IICAS), in partnership with the Bukhara State University and other local partners, have been working on the Documentation and Conservation project. The team assembled for this project is carrying out an updated inventory of the three Jewish mahallas using digital technologies and documenting and assessing the physical conditions of the houses. Ultimately, the project seeks to create best practice conservation guidelines not only for the Jewish houses, but also for all the traditional Bukharian houses that will foster community awareness of traditional construction techniques. This paper presents the process, challenges, and preliminary results of the project contributing to the protection of this outstanding Bukharian vernacular and shared heritage.
As marine spatial planning (MSP) continues to gain global prominence as an approach to ocean governance, planners and other stakeholders are eager to evaluate its social and ecological outcomes and to better understand whether plans are achieving their intended results in an equitable and cost-efficient manner. While a plan’s outcomes for marine environments and coastal communities may be of particular interest, these results cannot be separated from planning processes. The field has yet to fully develop the guidance necessary for this critical consideration of how features of an MSP process and external factors interact with plan performance and outcomes. To fill this gap we used a literature review and expert discussions to identify 19 enabling or disabling conditions of MSP within four major categories: Plan Attributes, Legal Context, Plan Development and Social Context, and Integration. We propose semi-quantitative scoring and the development of narratives to operationalize the framework as part of a comprehensive methodology for MSP outcome evaluation. Applying the framework can add depth to quantitative MSP evaluation, shed light on questions of outcome attribution, and inform plan adaptation. Evaluating MSP outcomes in the explicit context of the enabling or disabling conditions identified here can stimulate discussion around what works in MSP and provide a path forward for assessing the benefits and costs of MSP worldwide. By identifying conditions instrumental to effective MSP, and alternatively, conditions hindering a plan, the framework can be used to guide plan adaptation and promote learning across the wider MSP community.
Biodiversity related observational data are collected in a variety of ways and for a variety of purposes, mostly in the form of some sort of organised data collection action. Data management solutions are often developed to manage the data collection processes and organise the data, which may work well on their own but are less compatible with other data management tools. In a continuous development process, we have created the OpenBioMaps (OBM) biodiversity data management platform, which can be used as a self-hosted data management platform and as a free service, hosted by several institutions for biological database projects. OBM has the ability to integrate biological databases without any structural or functional constraints, allowing a high degree of flexibility in data management and development; it provides interfaces to facilitate communication between different end-user communities, including scientists, citizens, conservationists and educational staff. We have also established a network of OBM services based on collaboration between government, educational and scientific institutions and NGOs to provide a public service to those who lack the capacity or knowledge to set up or manage their own self-hosted servers. OpenBioMaps uniquely focuses on the entire data management process, from building the data structure to data collection, visualisation, sharing and processing.
Scientists and policymakers are concerned the effects of climate change will give rise to more militarized conflict over ocean fisheries. These concerns are especially high in contested ocean territories like the East and South China Seas. However, the past effects of global climate for militarized fisheries disputes (MFDs) have not been extensively studied. We assess the effect of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), an ocean-atmosphere warming/cooling cycle measured by sea surface temperature (SST) in the Pacific, on the onset of MFDs among East and South China Sea-adjacent countries. We find strong effects, with El Niño associated with a higher probability of MFD onset. We conclude with preliminary conclusions and pathways for future research.
Other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs) represent unique opportunities to help achieve the 2030 biodiversity conservation agenda. However, potential misuse by governments and economic sectors could compromise the outcome of these conservation efforts. Here, we propose three ways to ensure that the application of OECMs toward meeting biodiversity targets provide benefits for both people and nature.
Land-use planning identifies the best land-use options by considering environmental, economic, and social factors. Different theoretical land-use plan models can be found in the literature; however, few studies focus on its practical application and particular challenges in different contexts, especially in the Global South. We use expert surveys to explore the feasibility and relevance of integrated land-use planning and data acquisition in developing countries using Paraguay as an example. We identify the challenges of developing land-use plans and strategies to navigate these barriers to speed up its implementation. The results show that it might be difficult to develop an integrated land-use plan in the context of developing countries, mainly due to data availability, lack of political will, lack of stakeholder engagement, and insufficient financial and human resources. We also highlight examples of creative ways in which previous land-use planning projects and studies navigated these challenges, including stakeholder consultations, use of simpler models that required less data, prioritization of data collection, and engagement of decision makers throughout the process. We provide crucial information to improve land-use planning processes in Paraguay and across the Global South in areas with similar contexts and challenges that aim to develop in a more sustainable way.
The exposure variation of arsenic from different ground and surface water sources has remained unpredictable which may cause severe human health problems. The current study is, therefore, designed to analyze the spatial variability of arsenic contamination in shallow aquifer and assess the potential human health risks. For this purpose, a total of 55 groundwater, 10 drain water, 4 river water, and 6 sediment samples were collected along zero to 5 km stretch of the River Ravi, Lahore. All water samples were tested for As, pH, and total dissolved solids (TDS), whereas sediments were only tested for As. Health risk models were used to predict cancer and non-cancer risk in adults and children. Among water samples, highest median (minimum–maximum) concentrations (µg/L) of As were recorded 53.32 (1.98–1555) in groundwater, followed by 53.04 (1.58–351.5) in drain water, and 4.80 (2.13–8.67) in river water, respectively, whereas As concentration (mg/kg) in river sediments was 6.03 (5.56–13.92). Variation of As in groundwater was non-significant (P > 0.05) among every 1-km stretch from the Ravi River. However, maximum median concentrations (µg/L) of 60.18 and 60.08 were recorded between 2–3 and 0–1 km from River Ravi, respectively, reflecting possible mixing of river water with shallow aquifers. A very high cancer and non-cancer risk (HI > 1.0 × 10−4) through groundwater As exposure was predicted for both children and adults. The current study concluded that prevalence of As above WHO prescribed limits in shallow aquifer along the urban stretch of the River Ravi is posing serious health risk to the exposed population.
Anthropogenic activities have severely degraded the ecological integrity of global freshwater systems. Migratory freshwater fishes are especially threatened by the cumulative effects of multiple stressors and fragmentation, particularly those that impede access to critical habitats. To stimulate the conservation and protection of these species, we propose a “Global Swimways” program to identify rivers that support the migration routes of biologically and/or socioeconomically important freshwater fishes. We test the utility of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List data to support the identification of Global Swimways and present case study regions containing rivers with either high species richness (west‐central Africa and Southeast Asia), high numbers of threatened species (Eastern Europe and Central Asia), or multiple endemic species (the Rift Valley lakes in East Africa). We hope the Global Swimways program will provide metrics that can be used to identify rivers requiring increased protection or restoration, track trends, and stimulate the greater inclusion of migratory freshwater fishes in global policy mechanisms. Front Ecol Environ 2022;
Climate change affects ecosystems and the well-being of rural households relying on ecosystem services for their livelihoods. The ability to withstand the adverse effects of climate change depends on their livelihood resilience. The relationship between natural resource dependence and livelihood resilience of Indigenous forest households in the Amazon region is still poorly understood. We used a case study approach to identify factors contributing to the livelihood resilience and vulnerability of 45 households in the Communal Land of Origin Tacana I area in the Bolivian Amazon. Household income data were collected before (2013) and after (2015) an extreme weather event. We combined a theoretical resilience framework with a practical indexing method to calculate the factors contributing to livelihood resilience and vulnerability. Additionally, conditions, regulatory and policy frameworks shaping vulnerability and resilience at the local level were reviewed. Our results show that income activity choice influences households’ livelihood resilience and vulnerability. Regarding natural resources, a low vulnerability was linked to selling game and fish or pursuing a wage livelihood strategy, while high resilience was related to hunting and cattle. Our results underline the importance of social networks and capital for low cash-income households to provide support. National development policies prioritize economic growth based on strengthening the energy, agro-livestock sector and boosting oil and mining sectors with industrialization. Some of these priorities may threaten the resilience and increase the vulnerability of Indigenous forest-dependent peoples and their subsistence livelihoods. External pressure on forest resources, including fish, requires a holistic focus on livelihood resilience in national adaptation strategies. Anchoring sustainable natural resources management and monitoring strategies at all policy and operative levels is crucial to the livelihood resilience of forest-dependent (Tacana) households and forest ecosystem health. Risk management approaches need to be developed inclusively and have an integrated socio-ecological focus to avoid adverse spill-over effects.
Periodic flooding limits livestock farming on cattle ranches in floodable areas. In order to propose recommendations for sustainable management of these ranches, we examined the relationships between surface water hydrological processes (infiltration and evaporation) and vegetation cover in the Paraguayan Humid Chaco. A total of 24 evaporation and infiltration measurements were made in a gradient of woody vegetation density between the forest and the adjacent grassland, and at different distances from reference trees (from the trunk to outside the tree crown). Soil texture and moisture were also characterized. There was a positive effect of woody vegetation density on infiltration although final infiltration rates in forests (94.5 mm h− 1) were not significantly higher than in grasslands (22.0 mm h− 1) or forest-grassland transition (11.5 mm h− 1). Evaporation was significantly lower in forests (0.0338 mm h− 1) than in grassland (0.1361 mm h− 1) or at the transition zone (0.0868 mm h− 1), reflecting the effects of tree cover on microhabitat features. Infiltration rates decreased with the distance to the tree trunk. These results support our hypothesis that subtropical forests, specifically Schinopsis balansae and Psidium sp., have a positive effect on infiltration, and these forests have a negative effect on surface water evaporation. Introduction of trees at relative low densities in deforested rangelands may help improve hydrological services (i.e., enhance soil infiltrability) and facilitate cattle raising, while promoting local biodiversity.
Context Identifying the habitat preferences and core areas of Inia geoffrensis activity is essential to designing effective strategies for the management and conservation of Amazon River dolphins and their habitats in the Colombian Amazonas River and Orinoco basin. Objectives Quantify the differential use of habitat that Amazon River dolphins exhibit and identify core areas of activity during seasons of rising waters in the Colombian Amazonas River and five major rivers in the Orinoco basin. Methods Based on processed satellite images from Landsat 8 (2018–2021), we classified habitat types used by I. geoffrensis as reported in the literature as follows: (1) main river, (2) confluences, (3) tributaries, (4) channels, (5) islands, (6) bays, and (7) lagoons. We combined this dataset with GPS location data obtained from 17 tagged Amazon River dolphins to quantify the proportion of habitat types used. We used kernel density estimate (KDE) analysis to identify both areas used (K95) and core areas (K50) in the habitat types for the satellite-monitored individuals. Results Satellite tracking of I. geoffrensis individuals reported 16,098 locations classified into seven habitat types. For the analyzed period (rising waters) main habitat types used were as follow: (1) main river (n = 9144, 57%); (2) confluences (n = 932, 6%); (3) tributaries (n = 1423, 9%); (4) channels (n = 1597, 10%); (5) islands (n = 738, 5%); (6) bays (n = 1096, 7%), and (7) lagoons (n = 1168, 7%). Home range size (K95) for the satellite-monitored I. geoffrensis individuals ranged from 6 to 116 km² (mean = 40 ± 33); and the largest core areas (K50) or core area of activity were recorded in the main river, confluences, channels, bays, lagoons, and tributaries. Conclusions Our results demonstrated the importance of spatial ecology analysis of Amazon River dolphins for the definition of protected areas, quantifying the use of ecosystems within these areas, and the location of priority areas for the implementation of management plans for the species and habitats.
To effectively combat the biodiversity crisis, we need ambitious targets and reliable indicators to accurately track trends and measure conservation impact. In Canada, the Living Planet Index (LPI) has been adapted to produce a national indicator by both World Wildlife Fund-Canada (Canadian Living Planet Index; C-LPI) and Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canadian Species Index) to provide insight into the status of Canadian wildlife, by evaluating temporal trends in vertebrate population abundance. The indicator includes data for just over 50% of Canadian vertebrate species. To assess whether the current dataset is representative of the distribution of life history characteristics of Canadian wildlife, we analyzed the representation of species-specific biotic variables (i.e., body size, trophic level, lifespan) for vertebrates within the C-LPI compared to native vertebrates lacking LPI data. Generally, there was considerable overlap in the distribution of biotic variables for species in the C-LPI compared to native Canadian vertebrate species lacking LPI data. Nevertheless, some differences among distributions were found, driven in large part by discrepancy in the representation of fishes—where the C-LPI included larger-bodied and longer-lived species. We provide recommendations for targeted data collection and additional analyses to further strengthen the applicability, accuracy, and representativity of biodiversity indicators.
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157 members
Ellen S Dierenfeld
  • Freshwater & Food Sustainable Livestock Team
Naikoa aguilar-amuchastegui
  • Forests and Climate Team
Dharmamony Vijai
  • Marine Conservation - India
Michele Thieme
  • Freshwater Program
Washington, D.C., United States