# Biodiversity and Conservation

Online ISSN: 1572-9710
Recent publications
Article
The global loss of marine ecosystem engineers has caused an unprecedented decline in biodiversity. Although wild shellfish habitats have been shown to support biodiverse ecosystems, little is known about how biodiversity is altered by restored shellfish habitats, particularly mussels. To explore the biodiversity response to restored mussel habitats we deposited mussels on the seafloor in 1.5 × 1.5 m plots across a gradient of benthic environments. To understand a holistic community response, this study looks at the response of three faunal classifications over 1 year: infauna, epifauna, and pelagic fauna, compared with adjacent control plots (no mussels). The restored mussel habitats recorded 42 times more demersal fish than control areas, while macroalgae and mobile benthic invertebrates had over a twofold increase in abundance. Overall, the addition of mussels to the seafloor resulted in a general reduction of infaunal abundance and biodiversity, but an increase in epifaunal and pelagic faunal abundances, specifically from those species that benefit from benthic habitat complexity and an increase in food availability. From a management perspective, we highlight location-specific differences to consider for future restoration efforts, including environmental conditions and potential observed factors such as nearby sources of species, particularly predators, and relevant demersal fish ranges. Ultimately, measuring biodiversity responses in small-scale studies will serve as a valuable guide for larger scale restoration efforts and this study recommends considerations to enhance biodiversity outcomes in restored mussel habitats.

Article
Conservation genetics provides wildlife managers powerful tools to assist conservation planning, being recognized as an important biodiversity component. Nevertheless, communication between wildlife conservation actors is still not effective. Furthermore, wildlife conservation funds are often allocated to conservation actions incompatible with thorough long-term genetic research. In the Neotropics, the political organization of the territory, the complex socio-economic context, and the environmental heterogeneity impose additional challenges to the use of genetics for wildlife conservation. Here we present an assessment of the state-of-the-art on the conservation genetics of the giant anteater, as a study case. We use this species to discuss key wildlife threats and challenges along nine major Neotropical biomes. We review the main scientific research on the species, comprising and analyzing genetic data, and focusing on each biome and its region-specific threats. Our genetic meta-analysis reveals low levels of genetic diversity for the species, signs of population differentiation and dissimilar demographic trends per biome. Large-scale investigations are needed to disclose between hypotheses of panmixia, population structure and local adaptation, and to better assess the species demography. The limited information available for a known Vulnerable species perfectly illustrates the need for greater and internationally concerted investment in genetic/genomic research in the Neotropics. Finally, we describe the main wildlife conservation challenges per biome assessed, and present open research questions to which genetics could be of paramount importance.

Article
Semi-natural grasslands are biodiverse ecosystems that support many threatened species , but they require management interventions to maintain their habitat characteristics. Although many semi-natural calcareous grasslands historically were grazed, mowing is often used as a substitute disturbance when livestock access is not feasible. Mowing may have different effects on vegetation than grazing, but it is unclear if these differences cause changes in animal diversity or grasslands' ability to support endangered species. We studied carabid beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) assemblages in semi-natural calcareous grasslands in southern Germany managed with either different intensities of grazing or by mowing. There were no differences in overall activity density, richness, or functional trait diversity of carabid beetles between management methods, but mowing reduced threatened species richness and their proportions in the assemblages. Grazing intensity, measured by livestock faeces density, had little effect on carabid assemblages. The benefits of grazing for threatened species were most apparent in small sites, indicating that using grazing management to conserve endangered beetle species may be particularly important where habitat area is limited, even though these are the sites most likely to use mowing management.

Article
Distribution data sharing in global databases (e.g. GBIF) allowed the knowledge synthesis in several biodiversity areas. However, their Wallacean shortfalls still reduce our capacity to understand distribution patterns. Including exclusive records from other databases, such as national ones (e.g. SpeciesLink), could mitigate these shortfall problems, but it remains not evaluated. Therefore, we assessed whether (i) the inventory completeness, (ii) taxo-nomic contribution and (iii) spatial biases could be improved when integrating both global and national biodiversity databases. Using Amazonian epiphytes as a model, we compared the available taxonomic information spatially between GBIF and SpeciesLink databases using a species contribution index. We obtained the inventory completeness from sources using species accumulation curves and assessed their spatial biases by constructing spatial autoregressive models. We found that both databases have a high amount of exclusive records (GBIF: 36.7%; SpeciesLink: 21.7%) and species (17.8%). Amazonia had a small epiphyte inventory completeness, but it was improved when we analyzed both databases together. Individually, both database records were biased to sites with higher altitude, population and herbarium density. Together, river density appeared as a new predictor, probably due to the higher species contribution of SpeciesLink along them. Our findings provide strong evidence that using both global and national databases increase the overall biodiversity knowledge and reduce inventory gaps, but spatial biases may persist. Therefore, we highlight the importance of aggregating more than one database to understand biodiversity patterns, to address conservation decisions and direct shortfalls more efficiently in future studies.

Article
Climate change is projected to be the most extensive human-induced disturbance to occur on natural ecosystems, inducing changes in different biodiversity features including the evolutionary history of a region through the decline and loss of its phylogenetic diversity. Amphibians, given their ectothermic life cycle and critical conservation status, would potentially be exposed to extinction processes under conditions of climate change, with the corresponding loss of evolutionary history in regions of high biodiversity. This research addresses the effects of climate change on the evolutionary history of amphibians in the Chilean Biodiversity Hotspot, by estimating the PD (Phylogenetic diversity) and PE (Phylogenetic endemism) of 27 species. Using different RCP (RCP 4.5 and 8.5) and time frames (years 2050 and 2070), we create species distribution models (SDM) to evaluate the species range dynamics and the phylodiversity in the Hotspot. Also, given that Protected Areas (PA) are the main global strategy to ensure the conservation of species and their features, we evaluate the capacity of PA to conserve the evolutionary history in the Hotspot. Our results show a set of modeled species that will become extinct, or will experiment changes in their distributional ranges, inducing a clear decline of amphibian evolutionary history for the next 30 to 50 years, and a worrying low capacity of the PA to contain current and future PD and PE. Given the critical amphibian scenario, our results highlight the need for further research to improve the decision-making process in the hotspot area addressing the potential amphibian extinction risk, the lack of protection by the PA system, and the loss of evolutionary history as a key aspect of biodiversity.

Article
Insects perform many ecosystem functions, yet their responses to disturbance can be unpredictable. Changes in climate may interact with land use disturbances, and given that arthro-pod species diversity, abundance, and traits within assemblages vary with habitat structure and climatic variables, ecological function may be impaired. Here, we assessed how dung beetle species richness, abundance, functional diversity, mean body size and body size inequality (which can signal assemblage stress responses) varied with climatic, management and habitat variables on livestock farms and protected areas across a rainfall gradient (138-381 mm/year) in arid/semi-arid shrubland (Karoo, South Africa, an area for which entomological biodiversity is relatively poorly known), during a prolonged drought. Species richness was similar between farms and protected areas, but abundance was greater in protected areas. Farms tend to be dominated by sheep in this region, and the type of dung and paucity of dung diversity, along with use of anthelmintics may explain this reduced abundance. Species richness and abundance increased with mammalian herbivore stocking rates and rainfall. Most recent rainfall best predicted species richness, but abundance was best explained by the long-term measure of rainfall (Mean Annual Precipitation). Functional diversity showed no patterns with the environmental or management variables we measured. Mean body length and size variation did not differ between protected areas and farms, but the spread of beetle sizes was more even as vegetation cover increased and soil clay content decreased. Future climate projections indicate extreme declines in rainfall in this area, and our results suggest that this would dramatically impact dung beetle communities. Maintaining vegetation cover may help mitigate effects of climate change.

Article
Here, we aimed to define ecological indicators of environmental change for monitoring the effect of a reintroduced species, the Iberian ibex ( Capra pyrenaica ), over the vegetation of a natural protected area with contrasting habitats. This species was reintroduced 30 years ago in the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park, Spain, and its population has since grown exponentially, reaching high densities in some areas. We tested the suitability of two complementary indicators: browsing damage on woody species and the percentage of moss cover loss on rocky outcrops. For this purpose, we used a mathematical approach to zone the natural protected area according to the historical presence of the species and established five different Iberian ibex pressure classes (Classes I–V). Our results showed a direct link between Iberian ibex pressure and vegetation status. Model predictions suggested 10% moss loss in the areas with low pressure (Class I) but 64% loss in the areas with high pressure (Class III), mostly due to ungulate trampling on rocks. Similarly, browsing damage increased with increasing pressure classes for different woody species. Low palatable plant species such as Pinus spp. showed little change in browsing damage for increasing ungulate pressure whereas more palatable plants (e.g., Erica arborea ) showed significantly greater browsing damage variation across pressure classes (i.e., high sensitive to herbivory pressure). Both, moss cover on rocks and widely distributed palatable woody plants proved useful ecological indicators for monitoring ungulate populations in mountainous areas with a diverse array of habitats (e.g., rocky vs. woody). This methodology may help select the most suitable indicators for each type of ecosystem or dominant habitat in ungulate-dominated ecosystems.

Article
In 2012, a new volunteer-based recording scheme for vascular plants was launched in the Netherlands. Its purpose is to track the changes in the number of occupied 1-km grid cells for as many native plant species as possible between survey rounds of 8 years. We did not prescribe a strict field protocol to minimize variation in observer effort, but instead chose to statistically correct for this variation with occupancy models. These models require replicated visits to a grid cell per season, which was implemented by having two independent observers survey grid cells and record all plant species observed. Now that a first survey round has ended (2012–2019), we evaluate our approach, i.e. we tested whether the scheme has the potential to produce proper trend estimates. The number of occupied grid cells in the first round was estimated per species, using an occupancy model with day of year, visit duration and observer experience as covariates for detection. The detection probability, which was 0.43 on average, strongly depended on visit duration and day of year. It was possible to estimate the number of occupied grid cells quite precisely for several hundreds of species, such that the statistical power is expected to be high enough to detect changes of 10% between survey rounds. For rare species, however, the power to detect changes is expected to be quite low. We conclude that the approach works well, but further improvements are suggested.

Article
Sturgeon populations are declining worldwide and are the target of extensive conservation efforts. Addressed in several pieces of legislation, sturgeons have received considerable attention as flagship or umbrella species. Despite the need for a better understanding of the distribution and population status, the use of traditional sampling methods failed in the past, thereby hampering reliable assessments, a prerequisite for conservation. Here, we describe the development and application of an environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding approach for detecting rare sturgeons in large rivers. Exemplarily, we developed a reference database for five native Danube sturgeons ( Acipenser stellatus , Acipenser gueldenstaedtii , Acipenser ruthenus, Acipenser nudiventris, and Huso huso ) and two non-native species ( Acipenser baerii and Acipenser transmontanus ), assessed these ex situ, and used eDNA as a detection tool along the entire length of the Danube (Europe, ~ 2850 km) and major tributaries. In ex situ analyses, all assays yielded positive amplifications for the assessed sturgeon species. In the Danube, the presence of A. ruthenus was confirmed at 14 of 29 sites (48.3%), and in 2 of 18 tributary sites (11.1%), providing the first comprehensive large-scale biogeographical snapshot of this species. Relative number of reads assigned to A. ruthenus varied between 0 and 2.5%, with sites registering positive detections being clustered in 3 sections of the Danube. Our findings enabled us to confirm the advantages of eDNA monitoring over traditional sampling methods for comprehensive whole-river snapshot studies of sturgeons conducted on a large geographical scale, and therefore we consider it to be a promising approach for application in conservation measures, fisheries management, scientific studies, and adaptive management plans for sturgeons on a global scale.

Article
The establishment of the minimum size for a viable population (MVP) has been used as a guidance in conservation practice to determine the extinction risks of populations and species. A consensus MVP rule of 50/500 individuals has been attained, according to which a minimum effective population size of N e = 50 is needed to avoid extinction due to inbreeding depression in the short term, and of N e = 500 to survive in the long term. However, the large inbreeding loads ( B ) usually found in nature, as well as the consideration of selection affecting genetic diversity, have led to a suggestion that those numbers should be doubled (100/1000). Purging of deleterious mutations can also be a main factor affecting the suggested rules. In a previous simulation study, the reduction of B by the action of purging pointed towards an MVP intermediate between the two rules for short term survival. Here, we focused on the consequences of purging in the establishment of MVPs for long term survival. We performed computer simulations of populations under the action of purging, drift, new mutation, and environmental effects on fitness to investigate the extinction times and the loss of genetic diversity for a range of effective population sizes. Our results indicate that purging can reduce the MVP needed for a population to persist in the long term, with estimates close to N e = 500 for species with moderately large reproductive rates. However, MVP values appear to be of at least N e = 1000 when the species´ reproductive rates are low.

Article
Cryptogamic diversity is a reliable indicator of the state of forest ecosystems. In this study we analysed the variations in both bryophyte species richness overall and number of hemerophobic bryophyte species in Central European managed forests over a 20-year time span, based on data collected in 132 plots scattered across Poland. We tested differences in species richness among five temporal replicates, as well as among site types grouped based on elevation a.s.l., dominant tree species and stand age. The analyses revealed no significant trend in species richness across years. Meanwhile, species richness significantly increased along with elevation a.s.l., especially in broadleaved forests. No significant difference in species number between spruce and pine dominated stands emerged for mature stands, while there was a strong difference for young stands, with spruce forest hosting a much higher number of species. Species richness exhibited a slight, but not significant, increase over time in broadleaved forests, no significant variations in pine dominated stands and significant fluctuations in spruce dominated stands, yet without a significant trend. Out of the tested drivers, dominant tree species exhibited the strongest impact on species community composition. Number of hemerophobic and strongly hemerophobic species did not undergo significant variations across years either. The lack of bryophyte diversity trends highlighted in this study suggests Central European managed forests are in an equilibrium sate, maintained by the opposing effects of climate changes, on one side and of more sustainable forest management and pollutant deposition decline, from the other.

Article
In dung beetles, spatial and temporal segregation is determined by the niche and evolutionary history of the species and is mediated by competition. Different functional guilds of dung beetles use this segregation to reduce competitive pressure and optimize usage of ephemeral resources. We sought to understand the spatial (open and closed areas) and temporal (diurnal, nocturnal, and crepuscular periods of activity) segregation of the dung beetle community in the Brazilian Cerrado. We collected dung beetles during the day, dusk, and night in two phytophysiognomies, one representative of open areas and the other of closed areas in two protected areas of the Brazilian Cerrado, and used statistical models to understand how segregation explains richness, total abundance, and abundance of each guild. We collected a total of 2253 individuals and 58 species; 44 from open areas and 22 from closed ones, of which eight were collected in both habitats. Our hypotheses were confirmed, that is, in the Cerrado, the highest abundance of dung beetles occurred in the more closed areas during nocturnal and crepuscular periods, and the highest number of species occurred in the more open areas. The dung beetle community is distinct between different activity periods and phytophysiognomies, and its their functional guilds exhibit preferences for habitat and/or activity periods, according to their ecological characteristics. Therefore, we found that both activity period and habitat type are important for characterizing the dung beetle community, which exhibits different patterns of dominant species and functional guilds throughout the day. Thus, we propose that to determine the species composition of the dung beetle community, one should consider not only the habitat type but also the different periods of activity.

Article
The Amazon region is a mosaic of distinct areas of endemism (AoE), each with its evolutionary relationships and biotic assemblages. Among them, the Tapajós AoE is one of the least sampled, and it has been identified as one of the regions with the lowest conservation value. Here we provide a checklist of small mammals based on field and molecular-based identification. We report small mammal taxa from the Tapajós River region identified at the species level and three only identified at the genus level (including lineages of the genera Oecomys, Mesomys, and Monodelphis). An intense sampling effort using complementary methods was undertaken during which specimens were sampled at twelve sampling units, six on each riverbank, then combined with molecular identification to help species identification. Most of the taxa occurring in the Tapajós region are widely found in the eastern part of the Amazon Forest, and three species are endemic. Here, we highlight the unique and important mammal assembly of the Tapajós region and its significance with conservation priorities, which had been neglected until now due to a deficit of sampling efforts. We also point out that increasing research efforts to sample small mammals in the Amazon is crucial to understanding this biome’s biodiversity patterns and biogeography.

Article
In recent years, there has been a rather acrimonious debate on matters concerning the biology of invasive species, some as fundamental as the definition and what constitutes an invasive species. However, an abiding commonality of all invasive species is the fact that they have all moved away from their native ranges to newer and often non-native ranges. In plants, Lantana camara has shifted from its native South American range distribution to most other parts of the world. In animals, the African giant snail has dispersed from Africa to most parts of Asia. What do such niche shifts signify about the nature and quality of the habitats to which the invasive species have moved? In this paper, using the classical niche paradigm, we analyse if niche shifts of thirty-three of the world’s top invasive species constitute just moving from one habitat to another similar habitat somewhere on the earth (home away from home) or that they have moved to totally new habitats (different from their native home). Surprisingly, our results show that for 90% of the world’s top invasive species, movements have been largely restricted to homes away from home, rather than into alien homes. This clearly indicates the potential inertia that species might face in moving out of their fundamental niche. We discuss these results in the context of the overall debate on invasion biology and how niche conservatism may have played a role in dampening the rates of invasion.

Article
The work of Santana and Simon (2022) provides a unique database on angiosperm flora in the Cerrado?s agricultural frontier (known as MATOPIBA), revealing that its plant biodiversity remains largely unknown. However, ongoing deforestation combined with areas that can still be legally deforested, has the potential to jeopardize plant conservation in the region if measures to prevent land clearing are not adopted. Based on the databased provided by the authors, high resolution vegetation maps and land tenure data, it is demonstrated that almost 5 Mha of Cerrado vegetation has been converted from 1990 to 2020, and further 10.1 Mha can still be legally cleared, which 1.58 Mha in small, 2.25 Mha in medium and 6.27 Mha in large farms. This has practical implications for biodiversity conservation in the MATOPIBA and, thus, the clearing of “areas where populations of endemic and threatened”, as well as rare, species occur should be avoided. In general, the whole region should be better sampled in order to fill the knowledge gap on its plant diversity, but certain areas could be prioritized to optimize sampling efforts and provide botanical information that inform conservation plans with the objective to avoid the extinction of endemic, threatened and unknown species. Proactive conservation measures are yet palliative because the current environmental legislation still allows the suppression of large extensions of Cerrado vegetation – likely to be converted to mechanized agriculture as soon as it becomes profitable.

Article
The concept of the “wilderness ethic” is at an impasse. Despite calls for action to conserve wilderness, any notion of wilderness thinking still resides outside of most major global environmental policy mechanisms. We posit the wilderness ethic must evolve with haste, to better reflect contemporary conservation framings; that is a “people and nature” focused approach. Only once the central role and rights of people are incorporated into the traditional wilderness ethic, will policy better allow the navigation of pathways towards sustainability.

Article
Arthropod populations are constantly changing due to changes in climate and the globalisation of trade and travel. Effective and diverse monitoring techniques are required to understand these changes. DNA metabarcoding has facilitated the development of a broad monitoring method to sample arthropod diversity from environmental and faecal samples. In this study, we applied DNA metabarcoding to DNA extracted from bat faecal pellets collected in Ireland from the lesser horseshoe bat, Rhinolophus hipposideros, a protected bat species of conservation concern in Europe. From as few as 24 bat faecal pellets, we detected 161 arthropod species from 11 orders, including 38 pest species of which five were determined to be priority pests, highlighting potential ecosystem services provided by R. hipposideros which are important for the functioning of healthy ecosystems. We also report the potential identification of 14 species not previously recorded in Ireland, but upon further investigation found that many of these could have been misidentified due to inadequacies in the genetic reference database. Despite the small sample size, we found that male and female diets did not differ significantly. However, sampling location did explain variation within the diet, highlighting how landscape features influence arthropod composition and diversity. We discuss the current limitations of the methodology in Ireland, how these can be overcome in future studies, and how this data can be used for biodiversity monitoring and informing conservation management of protected bat species.

Article
Until the 1980s, large wood removal from streams was widely promoted across North America because in-stream logs were considered undesirable. At present, millions of dollars are invested annually to place large wood back in streams owing to its importance for the geomorphology of channels, stream discharge, sediment deposits, and habitat for fish. Yet, little is known about the role of large wood in streams for wildlife. Here, we used 12 months of camera trap videos (effort of 4703 camera days) to document wildlife biodiversity and animal activities at several log complexes located in Rock Creek, Wil-lamette River basin, Oregon. Our dataset (1921 independent videos) documented up to 40 species including small mammals, aquatic and terrestrial birds, meso-carnivores, large carnivores, and semi-aquatic mammals. We found a strong seasonality in detections and species richness with the highest values occurring in summer and spring, and the lowest values in winter. There were idiosyncratic responses for species richness and assemblages at each large wood complex. Most common animal activities included movement (68%), rest (18%), and food handling/eating (9%) suggesting that large wood structures in streams act as lateral corridors connecting terrestrial habitats year-round for wildlife. Collectively, we reveal multiple functions that large wood plays to support wildlife biodiversity across the aquatic-terrestrial interface demonstrating the value of restoration projects that involve wood placement into streams.

Article
Deserts are typically governed by bottom-up forces and are predicted to be further depleted of their resources, exacerbating extinction risk for local wildlife populations. Additionally, human populations living in these ecosystems are predicted to increase, exposing wildlife to additional human-induced top-down constraints and intensifying human-wildlife conflicts. We aim to investigate how surface water availability, forage availability and other landscape factors shape the spatial arrangement of large herbivore populations in a desert region, and to explore wildlife-livestock co-occurrence patterns to inform coexistence strategies that maximize conservation outputs. We fitted Bayesian zero-inflated binomial N-mixture models (Kéry and Royle 2015) to group count data collected over a 4 year period in the northern Namib desert (Iona National Park, Angola), and found that Hartmann’s mountain zebra and gemsbok preferentially forage in suboptimal low productivity flat areas, away from human activities. Conversely, springbok preferentially occurred in more productive and relatively rugged terrain. We also found a reliance of Hartmann’s mountain zebra on natural water sources (βDistWater=-1.04±0.26\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$${\beta }_{DistWater}=-1.04\pm 0.26$$\end{document} and βDistWater=-0.77±0.20,\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$${\beta }_{DistWater}=-0.77\pm 0.20,$$\end{document} for dry and wet seasons, respectively), and a weaker reliance by gemsbok (βDistWater=0.20±0.10\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$${\beta }_{DistWater}=0.20\pm 0.10$$\end{document} and βDistWater=-0.15±0.10\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$${\beta }_{DistWater}=-0.15\pm 0.10$$\end{document}, respectively for dry and wet seasons). Conversely, we found springbok to forage further from available water (βDistWater=0.43±0.05\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$${\beta }_{DistWater}=0.43\pm 0.05$$\end{document} and βDistWater=0.26±0.06\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$${\beta }_{DistWater}=0.26\pm 0.06$$\end{document}, for dry and wet seasons, respectively), suggesting this species may be able to balance hydric requirements from dietary water. Our results support that human activities (inc. livestock herding) induce broad scale top-down regulation in landscape use by our target species, which are then susceptible to resource-driven bottom-up forces at a finer scale. These constraints reflect differences between the realized and expected conservation value of Iona National Park, because human-occupied areas force wildlife to suboptimal habitats. Additionally, we found significant stretches of the landscape to be co-occupied by wildlife and livestock, increasing competition for already limited resources. Our results are useful for informing conservation actions, namely through protected area zonation. Securing exclusive access to key resources by wildlife could be of utmost importance to ensure the long-term survival of these species, and to foster sustained human-wildlife coexistence.

Article
There are about 10% of the world's land plants in China, of which 11% are threatened species. Here, we used China as a proxy to identify hotspots of threatened species, evaluate the effectiveness of current conservation networks and assess the correlations between distribution patterns of different groups. We built the most complete database of 3,881 species of threatened land plants in China (TLPCs) to date, based on 43,710 occurrence records at county level. A total of 467 counties identified as hotspot by species richness, complementarity, and weighted algorithms, mostly confined to the mountainous areas in southern China, which account for 15.58% of land area, however, hold 95.34% of the total TLPCs. The correlation analysis revealed weak to moderate relationship between the distribution patterns of three groups (bryophytes, ferns, and gymnosperms) and angio-sperms of TLPCs. We found 86.34%, 84.05% and 95.77% of TLPCs protected by NNRs, PNRs and NRs [nature reserves, including both national NRs (NNRs) and provincial NRs (PNRs)], respectively. Besides, there were 41.11% and 18.84% of hotspots identified as conservation gaps of NNRs and NRs, respectively. In conclusion, the NNRs do not play a more dominant role in conserving TLPCs diversity in comparison to PNRs. We proposed that conservation planning need to be established in the periphery of Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau due to a large number of hotspots and conservation gaps located in this area. Since a large proportion of unprotected TLPCs are critically endangered and narrow-ranged species , it is urgent to set priorities for their conservation in the nearest future.

Article
Phylogenies are crucial for understanding historical patterns of genetic biodiversity, but very few are incorporated practically into existing conservation programs. Xishuangbanna, a tropical–subtropical forest transition, is a key biodiversity hotspot in Southwest of China; however, gaps between practical protection and national planning need to be bridged, as ongoing, rapid expansion of rubber plantations in the region increasingly threatens local diversity. Here, we used administrative regions as study units to identify spatial patterns for 158 threatened woody species and investigate the ratio of tropical floristic to temperate floristic in the transition zone. We used all-subsets regression analysis to test the impacts of environments (climatic, edaphic, topographic) on biodiversity patterns. Spatial patterns using several conservation metrics gave different results, with species richness, phylogenetic diversity, and evolutionary distinctiveness and global endangerment highly consistent spatially, while either standardized phylogenetic diversity and phylogenetic structure performed differently from others for spatial patterns. The biodiversity patterns of threatened woody species in Xishuangbanna are affected by the combined impact of rubber plantations and abiotic environments, but their evolutionary history is not, with only c. 69% of phylogenetic diversity currently protected by traditional nature reserves. Although the Menglong and Xiangming townships show high conservation values, they are not in the reserves. Eleven threatened woody species were required for ex situ conservation due to threats from clearance for rubber plantations and in all, 21 regionally and internationally important species are currently unprotected. We recommend incorporating the phylogenetic component of biodiversity in improving current and establishing new reserves.

Article
Cryptic ecologies, the Wallacean Shortfall of undocumented species' geographical ranges and the Linnaean Shortfall of undescribed diversity, are all major barriers to conservation assessment. When these factors overlap with drivers of extinction risk, such as insular distributions, the number of threatened species in a region or clade may be underestimated, a situation we term 'cryptic extinction risk'. The genus Lepidodactylus is a diverse radiation of insular and arboreal geckos that occurs across the western Pacific. Previous work on Lepidodactylus showed evidence of evolutionary displacement around continental fringes, suggesting an inherent vulnerability to extinction from factors such as competition and predation. We sought to (1) comprehensively review status and threats, (2) estimate the number of undescribed species, and (3) estimate extinction risk in data deficient and candidate species, in Lepidodactylus. From our updated IUCN Red List assessment, 60% of the 58 recognized species are threatened (n = 15) or Data Deficient (n = 21), which is higher than reported for most other lizard groups. Species from the smaller and isolated Pacific islands are of greatest conservation concern, with most either threatened or Data Deficient, and all particularly vulnerable to invasive species. We estimated 32 undescribed candidate species and linear modelling predicted that an additional 18 species, among these and the data deficient species, are threatened with extinction. Focusing efforts to resolve the taxonomy and conservation status of key taxa, especially on small islands in the Pacific, is a high priority for conserving this remarkably diverse, yet poorly understood, lizard fauna. Our data highlight how cryptic ecologies and cryptic diversity combine and lead to significant underestimation of extinction risk. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10531-022-02412-x.

Article
The recognition of the ecological quality of ecosystems and habitats therein is increasingly important in the Anthropocene. However, there are still scarcely explored ways of how and what to assess to obtain a sound ecological status of habitats. Ferns are an understudied plant group, especially given their usefulness as ecological indicators. Disentangling biotic and abiotic factors that drive fine-scale fern distribution could provide insight into the quality of their habitats. We investigated the environmental factors affecting the distribution of different largely distributed fern species in Europe. We studied their presence and abundance at different life stages in a forest habitat of European priority conservation concern. Our aim was to understand whether fern species can be used as an ecological indicator group in riparian alderwood habitat. We sampled 120 plots of 50 m2 in randomly selected transects along streams of a riparian forest habitat characterized by the presence of many fern species in the understory, controlling for the effects of geology and elevation. Within each plot, fern species were recorded, including vegetative and generative stages of each ramet (rosette of fronds). We modelled fern occurrence and abundance for the different fern life stages, and diversity indices of the fern community in relation to environmental predictors. We found that population- and community-level responses of ferns mainly depended on soil granulometry and, to a lesser extent, moss cover and stream orientation. We also found that the generative life stage compared to the vegetative adult stage benefits from different ecological characteristics for certain fern species. Alterations of the natural hydrology might lead to a general deterioration in habitat quality for ferns. We suggest that some fern species acting as early-warning species, and potentially their life stages, can be used as an ecological quality indicator for riparian forest habitats. This study deepened the understanding of the fine-scale ecology of an array of European ferns in riparian forests and provides valuable information to assist in the conservation of fern species and their populations.

Article
Landscape changes in tropical environments result in long-lasting and complex changes in biodiversity that involve several biological responses (e.g., loss of species diversity and functional diversity). Both taxonomic and functional diversity might respond differently to land-use change, and this response might also vary depending on several factors, such as the taxonomic group or landscape context. Even though each level of diversity expresses different properties of the community structure, studies characterizing the species community in human-dominated landscapes have often only focused on patterns involving taxonomic diversity. Here, we evaluated different descriptors of taxonomic (i.e., richness, diversity, and dominance) and functional entropy (i.e., richness, diversity, and redundancy) and the taxonomic and functional composition of ants in a forest cover gradient (%) in 16 highly fragmented tropical humid forest landscapes in Mexico. We found that all descriptors of taxonomic diversity decreased along a gradient of forest loss. Furthermore, functional redundancy was the only component of functional diversity that was positively associated with forest cover (%). These findings suggest an ecological backup of functions provided by species in landscapes with higher forest cover, protecting these landscapes against habitat disturbance or species loss. We also observed that landscapes with larger forest cover were inhabited by ant species with larger interocular distances and smaller femurs, which could allow predator ants the exploitation of ground cracks and higher mobility in leaf-litter microhabitats. Our results highlight the importance of the primary forest as a reservoir of the taxonomic and functional diversity of ants in highly fragmented tropical rainforest landscapes.

Article
Astragalus (Fabaceae), as a mega genus, among 57 Angiosperm genera, with high diversity, has vast distribution in the World. However, there is a lack of up-to-date information about species richness, sections, centers of endemism, and distribution patterns of the genus Astragalus in the Old-World. In this study, we extracted the geographic data of the Astragalus genus from a 40 years field survey, floras, monographs, and former literature. Using this comprehensive dataset, the endemic and common species in each region of the Old-World were revealed. We identified centers of endemism and hotspots of Astragalus based on three metrics: species richness (SR), weighted endemism (WE) and corrected weighted endemism (CWE). The results showed that the genus of Astragalus has 2748 taxa and about 150 sections in the Old-World. Iran, Turkey, and Afghanistan in Southwest Asia are the main centers of diversity and endemism of genus Astragalus in the Old-World. Iran plays as a migratory corridor between countries of the Old-World that has many common species with other countries. The Irano-Anatolian hotspot covered the most areas of the three metrics (SR-WE-CWE), followed by the Caucasus, Mountains of Central Asia, Himalayas, and Mediterranean Basin. These regions are the most critical hotspots with the strongest species diversification, which can be considered areas with a high degree of protection. However, nearly half of the identified hotspot areas of Astragalus (1.7 × 10⁶‬ km²) were not covered by the global biodiversity hotspot map, which can be identified as conservation gaps and could be introduced as new reserves.

Article
Biodiversity losses can lead to global environmental crisis. Humans utilize biodiversity for a variety of ecosystem services. However, what drives biodiversity losses have become a critical question during the 21st century. Lately, the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region in Asia, one of the world’s pristine habitats with the origin of majestic river systems including Brahmaputra, Indus, Mekong, and Yangtze, has witnessed rapid climatic warming. The unprecedented rates of climate warming in HKH has threatened biodiversity losses, ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services, and consequently the existence of mankind in the region. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Science and Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) highlight the risks to humanity arising from unsustainable use of natural resources and loss of biodiversity worldwide under rapid climate warming condition. In addition, the growing economic transformation in HKH can have high environmental costs and biodiversity losses. By realizing this fact, the Convention on Biological Diversity addresses the key issues of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the HKH by liaising with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Paris Agreement, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Hence, the challenges of biodiversity losses, poor ecosystem functioning followed by reduced ecosystem services posed by climate warming and anthropogenic impacts needs to be addressed urgently by countries and multilateral agencies in HKH by identifying threatened ecosystem services and by providing better sustainability solutions. Here, I have outlined the current state of Himalayan biodiversity and ecosystem function and developed a framework for resilience management with an integrated approach of science and society to advance knowledge through learning. The resilience framework offers practical solutions comprising a robust and harmonized monitoring of climatic data, the use of multi-indicator approaches and modelling, and to make collaborated efforts among policy makers, implementers, and analysts to tackle evolving losses of biological diversity and reduction in ecosystem services in the HKH region.

Article
Appropriate vegetation management in semi-natural grasslands can provide important habitats for grassland species. However, an increasing number of semi-natural grasslands are being abandoned worldwide due to changes in lifestyle and resource use, which has resulted in a drastic decline in grassland-dependent species. Ski pistes can function as important habitats for various grassland flora and fauna, but they have been increasingly closed because of climate change and population decline. However, it remains unclear how the abandonment of pistes affects biodiversity. Here, we examined how butterfly communities change with time since the abandonment of pistes in Japan. We assessed the species richness and abundance of grassland, ruderal, and forest butterflies; vegetation height; and the amount of food resources for larval and adult butterflies on both abandoned and active pistes. We then analyzed the relationships between butterfly species richness and abundance and years since abandonment to explore their potential drivers. The species richness and abundance of grassland and ruderal butterflies were negatively related to years since piste abandonment, whereas those of forest butterflies were highest in pistes abandoned for around 10 years. We also found that butterfly species richness and abundance were largely explained by vegetation height and food resource availability. Our results indicate that the abandonment of pistes likely negatively affects the butterfly communities in these environments. Regular vegetation management could mitigate the biodiversity loss caused by abandonment.

Article
Public lands face growing demands to provide ecosystem services, while protecting species of conservation concern, like insect pollinators. Insect pollinators are critical for the maintenance of biodiversity and ecosystem function, but it is unclear how management of public lands influence pollinator conservation. We found 63 studies investigating the effects of prescribed burning, logging, grazing, invasive species removal, revegetation with wildflower mixes, and hosting commercial pollinators, on native insect pollinators on natural and semi-natural ecosystems in the US and summarized the results across taxa and habitat types. Manual removal of invasive shrubs and revegetation with wildflower mixes had consistently positive effects on pollinators. Grazing had neutral effects on pollinators in the Great Plains, but negative effects elsewhere. Prescribed burning had neutral or positive effects for bees depending on the habitat type, with occasional negative effects on butterflies. Logging had neutral to positive effects that were more uniform across ecosystems and taxa than burning. Burning combined with logging benefited pollinators, even when burning or logging alone had no effects. Although poorly studied, hosting commercial pollinators may negatively affect wild bees through pathogen transmission and competition for floral resources. Despite the rapid accumulation of information on factors contributing to pollinator declines, the effects of management actions on pollinators remain understudied for many taxa and habitat types in the US. Improving our understanding of the effects of public land management on pollinators is essential to conserve ecosystem health and services required by society.

Article
South America is a high biodiversity continent with five out of 13 countries considered megadiverse. Many major groups within this fauna exhibit high diversity, including non-marine molluscs. With at least 1401 known species, South American molluscs are seriously understudied. The aim of this paper is to review the conservation status of non-marine molluscs in South America, pointing out significant gaps in knowledge and suggesting possible future directions. According to the most recent IUCN Red List only 231 South American non-marine molluscs have been evaluated, with 84 (36%) categorized as Data Deficient. The main knowledge gaps are in taxonomic inventory, especially in unexplored areas, information about current and historic distributions and population sizes, and basic ecological information. Implementation of integrative taxonomy, ecological and distributional studies, exploration of areas and groups as yet largely ignored, development of researcher networks and improvement of public and political awareness and concern about these important and diverse animals are necessary actions for conservation of non-marine molluscs in South America to have any chance of success.

Article
Mammalian carnivores are elusive and enigmatic species that often play keystone roles in ecosystems through direct and indirect effects. Growing evidence shows that human activity can impact carnivore behavior and community structure by altering predator-prey interactions, shifting diel activity patterns, and altering wildlife movement. Our goal was to investigate the ecological role of bobcats (Lynx rufus) across carnivore communities in the continental USA by quantifying variation in spatiotemporal patterns and determining what environmental and human factors influenced carnivore community interactions. Using camera trap data from the inaugural nationwide Snapshot USA project dataset collected from September-October 2019, we constructed diel activity density curves, applied multispecies occupancy models, and calculated attraction-avoidance ratios. Our results suggest that bobcats display the greatest flexibility in their diel activity among the suite of carnivores sampled. Further, bobcats respond differentially at large spatial scales relative to the presence of dominant or subordinate carnivores, with fluctuating impacts mediated by human and environmental factors. Bobcats' co-occurrence with dominant carnivores (i.e., wolves Canis sp., pumas Puma concolor) was influenced primarily by human-related factors, whereas co-occurrence with subordinate carnivores (i.e., foxes) was more influenced by environmental factors (i.e., precipitation, gross primary production [GPP]). Bobcats appear to interpret humans as the apex predator on the landscape regardless of the presence of dominant or subordinate species. Understanding the influence of humans as "super predators'', as well as the importance of environmental factors that impact intraguild carnivore interactions across the USA is critical for establishing successful management practices to promote functioning communities.

Article
The geographical distributions of non-native forest insects and pathogens (pests) result from a multitude of interacting abiotic and biotic factors. Following arrival, the presence of suitable host trees and environmental conditions are required for pests to establish and spread, but the role of forest biodiversity in this process is not well-understood. We analyzed county-level data for 22 non-native forest pests in the conterminous United States, developing species-specific models to investigate the effects of spatial contagion, human activities, and host and non-host tree biomass or richness on the occurrence of pest species. Species-specific models indicated that (i) the spatial contagion of invasions was the most common driver of invasion incidence, (ii) facilitation effects from host biomass and richness were present in approximately half of the invasions and almost entirely observed in invasions by sap-feeding insects or pathogens, and (iii) there was substantial variation in the direction and magnitude of the effects of non-host tree biomass and richness on invasion. Our analyses highlighted the prominent role of spatially derived propagule pressure in driving intracontinental invasions whereas effects of forest biodiversity were variable and precluded broad generalizations about facilitation and dilution effects as drivers of forest pest invasions at large spatial scales.

Article
The values and roles of biodiversity at the grassroots level get little attention and are usually ignored, despite mounting evidence that effective relationships between biodiversity and indigenous people are critical to both ecological integrity and rural survival. ‘Jhumscape’ (the landscape of shifting cultivation) can contribute a great deal to enriching agrobiodiversity and ensuring food security, but this system of cultivation has been mostly neglected. The objective of the present study was twofold: (1) to quantify the agrobiodiversity of a jhumscape in the Eastern Himalayas, especially its contribution to food and nutritional security, and (2) to examine the jhum practices in view of the agroecological principles recently proposed by the Food and Agricultural Organization. Applying mixed-method research and using primary data from 97 households representing eleven villages, transect walks, and interviews of key informants, the plant diversity maintained in a traditional jhum system by the indigenous people was seen to comprise of 37 crops including many landraces and four non-descript breeds of livestock. The food basket was supplemented with wild edible plants collected from fringes of forests and fallow lands that are a part of the jhumscape. Diversity in food groups and the share of expenditure on food in the total budget indicates that the indigenous people are secure in terms of food and nutrition. Jhum agroecological practices such as zero tillage and organic mixed-crops farming based on traditional ecological knowledge helps to maintain a high level of agrobiodiversity. Using biodiversity more effectively for agroecological transition does not mean merely returning to traditional practices but requires a deeper understanding of how agrobiodiversity contributes to better nutrition, greater food security, and sustainability. Although some principles and local practices related to jhum are applicable globally, others may be specific to the region and the culture.

Article
The Chaco and Pampean provinces in the Neotropical region are highly disturbed by intensive forestry and livestock raising. This study is an integrative approach that aims to identify areas to be protected in these provinces. The distribution of 57 phytophagous coleoptera species was used, with a dataset comprising about 1500 georeferenced records. This information was used to analyze species richness and endemicity, build species distributional models projected to the Mid-Holocene, and perform a spatial conservation prioritization analysis of the landscape. Areas with high species richness, endemism areas, refugia (areas where the climate has remained favorable for most of the study species since the Mid-Holocene), and areas with a high conservation value of the landscape were recovered. Finally, all the evidence was considered together, and regions were recognized where the areas recovered following the previous four approaches were congruent. These areas are currently only partially protected and are regions where human activities pose a threat to biodiversity. All the evidence indicates that these are unique regions with features that make them particularly worthy of conservation. Integrating different approaches provides valuable information for recognizing areas that should be prioritized for biodiversity conservation.

Article
Local ecological knowledge (LEK) is considered useful for biodiversity monitoring and conservation management. However, LEK may provide limited information if the LEK providers only recognize species that are of their interest. We investigated the utility of LEK provided by community members of the Dai people, one of the major ethnic groups in Xishuangbanna, Southwest China’s biodiversity hotspot. Local villagers of different age and gender were asked to answer a questionnaire to assess the demographic variation in the awareness and perception of butterfly diversity and conservation. A subset of questionnaire respondents provided LEK regarding the current state of local butterfly species. We investigated the taxonomic and morphological characteristics of butterflies identified by the LEK providers. Despite their traditional connections with nature, the local people showed limited awareness and perception of butterfly diversity and conservation. The LEK was provided primarily by older adults who had experience in collecting butterflies for commercial purposes. Taxonomy and morphological characteristics of the butterfly species recognized by the LEK providers clearly reflected their current utilitarian purposes (selling butterflies as souvenirs to tourists). Despite some limitations, the LEK—the status of local butterfly species—may be valuable for areas, such as Xishuangbanna, where long-term monitoring and conservation management are not fully developed.

Article
Rivulidae represents one of the most endangered taxa in Brazil. This family encompasses species known as annual or seasonal fish because they possess unique adaptations that enable their survival in seasonal ponds. Several Brazilian species of annual fish inhabit the Patos-Mirim Lagoon System (PMLS), which is considered a hotspot of these species. However, within this area, no strategic regions have yet been defined for in situ conservation of annual fish. Therefore, the aim of this study is to assist in the delimitation of micro-hotspots of endemism, sympatry and richness of annual fish along the PMLS, while assessing conservation priorities of evolutionary lineages and areas. For this purpose, distribution data were compiled for 42 species or evolutionary lineages that occur along 144 ponds located at the PMLS, which enabled to evaluate patterns of distribution of endemism, sympatry and richness. Moreover, measures of genetic diversity were obtained using sequences from one mitochondrial gene, and phylogenetic positioning was assessed using one mitochondrial and one nuclear marker. These values were considered in the context of the number of populations within and outside conservation units to evaluate conservation priority for 29 of these lineages (Wlineage) and 112 of these ponds (Wpond). Among the evaluated species and lineages, eight were detected as strictly endemic, and 55 of the evaluated ponds showed records of sympatry. The patterns of lineage richness showed a heterogeneous distribution of annual fish along the sampling area, with seven grids presenting records for four or more lineages. Interestingly, these are concentrated in four larger areas, located on the Southeast and on the Southwest margins of the Patos Lagoon and on the Southeast and Center-West Margins of the Mirim Lagoon, which present several ponds whose conservation is urging.

Article
As a form of green infrastructure, green roofs can enhance urban biodiversity by providing complex vegetation structures, supplying increased foraging and roosting opportunities for animals and increasing habitat connectivity. Although it is widely believed that green roofs can promote urban biodiversity, this idea has not been widely studied on an empirical scale. Therefore, a systematic understanding of the relationship between green roofs and biodiversity from different perspectives is still lacking. Here we provide a systematic review of the empirical literature on the relationship between green roofs and biodiversity. The results suggest that green roofs benefit urban biodiversity to some extent but cannot replace quondam natural habitats or complex artificial greening environments. Additionally, the studies reviewed here focused primarily on the diversity of plants or arthropods and were conducted almost exclusively in the United States and the United Kingdom. Moreover, most studies investigating the factors of green roofs affecting biodiversity focused on roof area, height, age, substrate depth, and plant community. To improve our understanding of the relationship between green roofs and urban biodiversity, more extensive research, particularly in developing countries, as well as more in-depth studies of a greater number of species and taxa, including chordates, mollusks and microbes, from different perspectives (e.g. at the genetic level) and other potential pathways are needed. In the future, the density, distribution pattern, distance and location relationship between different green roofs should be considered in an integrated manner. In order to more effectively support urban biodiversity, green roofs should be used in conjunction with other urban green spaces.

Article
This study aims to analyze the impact of outdoor recreational activities on the status of forest plant communities based on long-term data. The study was conducted in 2008–2019 in the vicinity of St. Petersburg (Russian Federation). A total of 1,284 transect lines 50–500 m long, 6 m wide, and at 25 m distance between each other were laid. Since 2011, the study area received the status of Specially Protected Area. According to the data obtained, maps were drawn showing an increase or decrease in the degradation rate due to recreation activities. Following the closure of vehicle access to the study area in 2011, the flow of vacationers nearly halved (25 people per 100 m of shoreline, p ≤ 0.05 vs. 2008). In 2018, their number virtually did not change (p > 0.05 vs. 2012). The emergence of parking lots and the prohibition on motor vehicles did not affect the number of vacationers on sand beaches (p > 0.05 between 2018 and previous years). However, their number significantly decreased (2-fold, p ≤ 0.05 between 2018 and 2008) on undulating and gently undulating plains. Recreation impacts on the condition of various landscapes were graded according to the state of the forest site.

Article
Assessments of the performance of protected-area (PA) networks for aquatic biodiversity conservation are rare yet essential for successful conservation of species. This is especially crucial in highly biodiverse, developing tropical countries where biodiversity loss is most pronounced. We assessed a PA network in the central Andes of Peru that encompasses parts of the geographical distribution of two endangered, endemic, high-elevation Telmatobius frogs. Sites within and beyond PA boundaries were classified into three different PA types: (a) strict-use (prohibits use by local inhabitants), (b) multi-use (allows some use by local inhabitants), and (c) unprotected (no restrictions). We conducted spatial analysis of species distributions, quantified species abundances and population trends, and measured potential threats and ecological integrity in each PA type. Spatial analysis indicated range contractions of 57.7% (T. macrostomus) and 69.0% (T. brachydactylus). Defaunation rates and species abundances in PAs were similar to those outside PAs. Poaching, livestock, and solid waste were the predominant threats. Analysis of ecological integrity indicated that strict-use sites had greater biotic index and habitat assessment scores compared to multi-use sites. These results suggest that despite benefits of greater ecological integrity in strict-use PAs, protection type has little effect on the conservation of aquatic species by itself. Protected areas are unlikely to be effective without better management of the trade-offs between cultural activities and biodiversity conservation. For PA networks to be of better conservation value for aquatic biodiversity in the developing world, they should be community-oriented and connect high-quality habitats, with their borders defined by catchments.

Article
Land use change and intensification are the most important direct drivers of decreasing biodiversity globally. Therefore, the European Union created the Natura 2000 network to protect endangered species and habitats. Here we are interested how the ambitious European goals are actually implemented studying a Natura 2000 habitat, the “Sarmatic steppe pine forests” (Code 91U0) in a national hotspot of biodiversity in Franconia (Germany). These forests are a relic of the postglacial warm stage, preserved by human land use since the Neolithic, but are now heavily declining due to abandonment of traditional land use practices. Applying a long-term monitoring over 30 years including all existing (> 600) stands and a Random Forest classification model, we show that less than a quarter of the area of 1990 and only about 1% of 1950 still exists. Immigration of spruce and beech and forest conversion was responsible for this massive loss, impacting the light-demanding species composition. However, nearly no conservation efforts were undertaken, and replanting with broadleaved trees is still ongoing even after the designation as protected habitat in 2008. Therefore, these forests demonstrate how land use change and intensification (i.e. global change) continuously endanger a habitat protected by national and European law.

Article
We reviewed Coram et al. (Biodivers Conserv 30:2341–2359, 2021, https://doi.org/10. 1007/s10531-021-02196-6), a paper that highlights the use of social media data to under- stand marine litter and marine mammals in Southeast Asia. While we commend its intent, we find that the methodology used and conclusions drawn portray an incomplete and inac- curate perception of how strandings, stranding response, and analysis of stranding data have been conducted in the region. By focusing on investigative results revealed by a very limited search of one social media platform (Facebook), using only English keywords, and insufficient ground-truthing, Coram et al. (2021) have, unintentionally, given the percep- tion that Southeast Asian scientists have not conducted even the bare minimum of inves- tigation required to better understand the issue of marine litter and its impact on marine mammals. In this commentary we provide a more accurate account of strandings research in Asia and include recommendations to improve future studies using social media to assess conservation issues.

Article
South Central US milkweeds (Asclepias) are critical adult nectar and larval food resources for producing the first spring and last summer/fall generations of declining eastern migratory monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus). This study addresses multiple gaps in assessment of monarch conservation priorities for the South Central US through analyses of monarch larval host selectivity, phenology, and spatial density, as well as the phenology, niche modeled distribution, and land cover selectivity of important milkweed hosts. Results are synthesized to estimate seasonal milkweed resource areas. About 70% of monarch larval activity occurred from mid-March to mid-July (early season) and 30% from mid-August to late November (late season). Twenty-six wild milkweed (Apocynaceae) hosts were mapped, including four new records for North America. Important hosts included Asclepias a. ssp. capricornu, A. viridis, and A. oenotheroides, that were utilized more frequently during early season, and Asclepias latifolia, utilized more frequently during late season. Landscape host selectivity was positive for A. viridis and A. a. ssp. capricornu in late and early seasons, respectively, and negative for A. oenotheroides in late season. Milkweed land cover selectivity was positive for Developed-Open Space and Grassland Herbaceous, and negative for Cultivated Crops and Shrub/Scrub. Seasonal milkweed resource areas and larval spatial densities resolved interior and coastal corridors providing functional connectivity for monarch spring and fall migrations. A potential gap in milkweed resource areas was identified in South Texas. The novel merging of milkweed niche models with larval phenology, host selectivity, milkweed phenology, and land cover selectivity informs conservation assessment.

Article
The present article aims to identify the spectral pattern of several species of mosses, lichens, and of an alga found in Maritime Antarctica from hyperspectral data obtained in situ. Spectral data from 17 species of Antarctic vegetation were collected in Harmony Point, between February 8th and 15th, 2019. To evaluate the possibility of distinguishing the species of vegetation obtained in the field from satellite images, band simulations have been performed, in addition to spectral vegetation indices calculation and statistical analyses for the comparison of results. The results show that the first record of the spectral pattern of species as Andreaea gainii, Haematomma erythromma, and Polytrichum juniperinum. The sensors with a better spectral resolution, such as MultiSpectral Instrument (MSI) and RedEdge-MX Dual Camera Imaging System, revealed a greater capacity of species differentiation. In this regard, it is possible to conclude that the spectral resolution of the simulated sensors is capable of identifying most of the analyzed species.

Article
Public gardens can help prevent detrimental effects of plant invasions by collecting and sharing data on taxa spreading from cultivation early in the invasion process, thereby acting as sentinels of plant invasion. Existing initiatives have called for public gardens to adopt measures preventing plant invasion, but it is unclear what actions individual gardens are implementing, as there is no formal mechanism for communicating their progress. This study used internal lists of escaping taxa from seven public gardens in the Midwestern United States and Canada to demonstrate how public gardens can collectively contribute data that is critical to assessing potential invasiveness. It also reveals methodological differences in how gardens develop their lists of escaping plants, leading to recommendations for standardization. Data pooled across gardens yielded 769 species spreading from cultivation at one or more gardens. Eight woody species were listed by all gardens despite not consistently being recognized as invasive by states and provinces containing the gardens; some species recorded by multiple gardens did not appear on any invasive lists. While it may be premature to call taxa escaping from cultivation at a few public gardens “invasive” or even “potentially invasive”, these plants should be monitored and evaluated with this information shared to facilitate stronger conclusions about risk. Thus, public gardens have a unique expertise in assisting invasive plant efforts as sentinels, particularly if challenges related to methodological inconsistencies and data sharing are suitably addressed, which is herein recommended through the adoption of a set of standardized guidelines.

Article
Protected areas (PAs) are fundamental for global biodiversity conservation but many are not delivering their conservation potential. In particular, the European Natura 2000 (N2K)–the largest coordinated network of PAs in the world—has insofar proved insufficient to achieve the EU’s biodiversity conservation targets. Despite the adoption of innovative legislation on the prevention and management of biological invasions, invasive alien species (IAS) remain a main threat to N2K. We explored whether the regulatory status of N2K has been efficient to prevent the establishment of regulated IAS (those under the scope of EU or national regulations) by conducting a case study in a highly biodiverse Mediterranean region of Spain. We: (1) analyzed whether the number of both regulated and unregulated IAS differ across adjacent unprotected areas (belt zones), N2K sites and N2K sites with additional protection as national park or nature reserve (APAs); (2) compared the spread pathways of regulated IAS present in areas with different protection status. While APAs hosted fewer regulated IAS, N2K sites did not perform better than belt zones. Specifically, there were fewer regulated IAS that spread through natural dispersal or intentional human assistance in APAs compared to N2K and belt zones, but those dispersing with unintentional human assistance were similarly distributed in PAs and belt zones. Further, protection level did not reduce the number of unregulated IAS. Thus, observed patterns indicate that the conservation obligations bound to the designation of an area as an N2K site are not sufficient to prevent or slow down biological invasions.

Article
The European Union Habitats Directive requires the identification of typical species that reflect the structure and functions of habitat types, as well as early changes in the habitat condition, but no common methods are available for their selection. Diagnostic species with high fidelity to a specific group of plots are identified by traditional methods, but their value as typical species is still debated. We designed a protocol for the identification of typical plant species based on a recently proposed method to detect diagnostic species by combining abundances and functional traits. We tested the method on a set of alpine habitat subtypes, comparing diagnostic species based on traits or Grime’s CSR strategies (competitive, stress-tolerant, ruderal) with those based on presence/absence or abundance only, and then we calculated for each species the dark diversity probability—i.e. probability of being absent from a habitat type with suitable ecological conditions. Functional-based methods allowed to recognize larger sets of exclusive species, adding dominant species linked to the structure and functions of habitat subtypes (i.e. to the functional centroid). Dark diversity probability was equally distributed between diagnostic and non-diagnostic species identified by functional-based methods. Species with higher dark diversity probability among those associated with the functional centroid can be considered as early warning indicators of changes in habitat conditions. The protocol proposed here enables species ranking on measurable variables (functional association, dark diversity probability) and can be applied as a standardized tool for the identification of typical plant species for habitat types dominated by plants.

Article
Biodiversity information and precise knowledge are critical for its conservation and management for sustainable development. With the advancement of information technology, various efforts have been made by the scientific and internet community to digitize the biodiversity information and put it on an open-source platform equipped with structured information, compiled knowledge, mapping, and spatial analysis tools. These portals assist researchers and conservation managers in a variety of ways, including providing open access bio-resource-related data and analysis tools, which has accelerated biodiversity and conservation research and management practices in recent years. The dissemination of knowledge about various aspect of these portals will expedite the current scenario. This paper is intended to highlight the various aspects of these portals. In this paper, globally recognized portals with rich biodiversity information, global coverage, and powerful spatial analysis tools are reviewed to characterize their vocabulary differences, strengths, and limitations. In addition to the global database, some country-specific initiatives that use biodiversity data in a geospatial context are included. It is observed that many portals have been solely developed for the purpose of creating an open access digital database of bio-resources, with the geographical aspect being ignored. Some of the global and regional initiatives such as Atlas of Living Australia (ALA), Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), etc. have attempted to fill this void by developing a variety of tools and integrating biodiversity data with geographic locations and other location-based parameters. Despite significant efforts, some issues remain unaddressed, viz., digitization of georeferenced information from natural history from across the world, the inclusion of more advanced web-GIS based tools for spatial analysis, development of agreed data standard, and so on, which could be the primary set of actions for future portals. The effort to address these issues is underway, and we anticipate that these will be resolved in the near future.

Article
Landscape connectivity has traditionally been studied for animal species rather than for plants, especially under a multispecies approach. However, connectivity can be equally critical for both fauna and flora and, thus, an essential point in the selection of key management areas and measures. This paper explores a spatially explicit framework to assess the contribution of habitat patches in the conservation and enhancement of plant functional connectivity and habitat availability in a multispecies context. It relies on graph theory and a habitat availability index and differentiates between two management scenarios: (i) conservation; and (ii) restoration, by considering current and potential species distribution based on species distribution models together with a vegetation survey. The results mapped at high spatial resolution priority target areas to apply management measures. We found that intervening in a small proportion of the study area may lead to double the average overall landscape connectivity of the studied species. This study aimed at proposing an innovative methodology that allows studying connectivity for multiple plant species at landscape scale while integrating their individual characteristics. The proposed framework is a step toward incorporating connectivity concerns into plant biodiversity management, based on a better understanding of landscape structure and functionality. Here, we illustrated its significant potential for local conservation and restoration planning and resource optimization.

Top-cited authors
• Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia
• UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
• French National Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Environment (INRAE)
• Umweltbundesamt, Austria