Arash Ghoddousi

Arash Ghoddousi
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | HU Berlin

PhD

About

99
Publications
49,359
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1,018
Citations
Introduction
My research interests lie in understanding the interaction of ecological and social factors in natural systems and how they impact the effectiveness of conservation interventions. The focus of my research is in understanding and improving the effectiveness of protected areas and law enforcement mechanisms, offering insight into human-wildlife conflict and poaching, as well as, improving methods in monitoring large mammals. I am particularly interested in the conservation of big cats and mountain ungulates with a special focus on southwest Asia and the Caucasus. My current project (PArCS) focuses on understanding the effects of socioeconomic and political shocks on protected area effectiveness in the Caucasus.
Education
October 2012 - September 2016
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Field of study
  • Biodiversity & Ecology
October 2009 - September 2010
Imperial College London
Field of study
  • Conservation Science
September 2002 - February 2007
Shahid Beheshti University
Field of study
  • Marine Biology

Publications

Publications (99)
Article
Overexploitation of wildlife for meat is a widespread phenomenon, which drives populations of many species toward extinction and may in turn affect large carnivores. Therefore, human hunters may compete with large carnivores over food resources and threaten their survival. In this study, we assessed the trophic competition of endangered Persian leo...
Article
Full-text available
Context - Many large carnivores depend on habitat patches outside protected areas, as well as safe corridors between them. However, corridor assessments typically ignore potential conflicts between carnivores and people, which can undermine corridor effectiveness and thus conservation success. Objectives - We identified safe dispersal corridors and...
Article
Maintaining or restoring connectivity among wildlife populations is a primary strategy to overcome the negative impacts of habitat fragmentation. Yet, current connectivity planning efforts typically assess landscape resistance, the ability of organisms to cross various biophysical elements in a landscape, while overlooking the various ways in which...
Article
Full-text available
Both the number and the extent of protected areas have grown considerably in recent years, but evaluations of their effectiveness remain partial and are hard to compare across cases. To overcome this situation, first, we suggest reserving the term effectiveness solely for assessing protected area outcomes, to clearly distinguish this from managemen...
Article
Full-text available
Poaching is driving many species towards extinction, and lowering poaching pressure is, therefore, a conservation priority. This requires understanding where poaching pressure is high, and which factors determine these spatial patterns. But the cryptic and illegal nature of poaching makes this difficult. Ranger patrol data, typically recorded in pr...
Article
Full-text available
Large carnivores are making remarkable comebacks in Europe, but how this affects human-wildlife conflict remains unclear. Rebounding carnivore populations lead to increasing livestock depredation, which in turn leads to greater economic losses for farmers. However, returning carnivores could also influence the behavior of wild ungulates, which are...
Article
Full-text available
Many large mammalian carnivores are facing population declines due to illegal killing (e.g., shooting) and habitat modification (e.g., livestock farming). Illegal killing occurs cryptically and hence is difficult to detect. However, reducing illegal killing requires a solid understanding of its magnitude and underlying drivers, while accounting for...
Article
Mountain ungulates around the world have been decimated to small, fragmented populations. Restoring these species often is limited by inadequate information on where suitable habitat is found, and which restoration measures would help to increase and link existing populations. We developed an approach to spatially target threat-specific restoration...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives We identified safe dispersal corridors and conflict-prone movement bottlenecks for Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor) between protected areas in the Alborz Mountains, Iran, by mapping habitat, landscape permeability, and conflict risk. We then identified priority areas for conservation interventions according to the intensities...
Article
Climate change disproportionately threatens alpine species, by reducing available habitat and by isolating their populations. These pressures are particularly relevant for rear-edge populations, which typically occupy more marginal habitat compared to populations at the core of species' ranges. We studied Caucasian grouse Lyrurus mlokosiewiczi in t...
Article
Full-text available
1. To be effective, the next generation of conservation practitioners and managers need to be critical thinkers with a deep understanding of how to make evidence-based decisions and of the value of evidence synthesis. 2. If, as educators, we do not make these priorities a core part of what we teach, we are failing to prepare our students to make an...
Article
Full-text available
1. To be effective, the next generation of conservation practitioners and managers need to be critical thinkers with a deep understanding of how to make evidence‐based decisions and of the value of evidence synthesis. 2. If, as educators, we do not make these priorities a core part of what we teach, we are failing to prepare our students to make an...
Article
Full-text available
Large carnivores are currently disappearing from many world regions due to habitat loss, prey depletion, and persecution. Ensuring large carnivore persistence requires safeguarding and sometimes facilitating the expansion of their populations. Understanding which conservation strategies, such as reducing persecution or restoring prey, are most effe...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change disproportionately threatens alpine species, by reducing available habitat and by isolating their populations. These pressures are particularly relevant for rear-edge populations, which typically occupy more marginal habitat compared to populations at the core of species' ranges. We studied Caucasian grouse Lyrurus mlokosiewiczi in t...
Article
Full-text available
By compiling a wildcat catalogue of georeferenced digital photographs from Southwest Asia, we investigated the plausibility of phenotypically identifying Felis silvestris caucasica (Caucasian wildcat), Felis lybica ornata (Asiatic wildcat) and Felis lybica lybica (African wildcat) through external phenotypic traits, in order to verify their known d...
Article
Full-text available
Mountain ungulates around the world have been decimated to small, fragmented populations. Restoring these species often is limited by inadequate information on where suitable habitat is found, and which restoration measures would help to increase and link existing populations. We developed an approach to spatially target threat-specific restoration...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Eco-tourism is often proposed as an alternative sustainable livelihood for people living near protected areas, who are largely dependent on the resources from these areas. However, the role of eco-tourism in promoting conservation and reducing the conflict between people and the protected areas is yet unclear. We addressed this question in Golestan...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Embedding monitoring in conservation efforts is crucial for developing proactive conservation and management strategies, and for evaluating their effectiveness. To work towards the long-term survival of leopard in the Caucasus, monitoring core populations, the connectivity among them, and prey availability is of high priority. Although the informat...
Article
Full-text available
Brazil, home to one of the planet’s last great forests, is currently in trade negotiations with its second largest trading partner, the European Union (EU). We urge the EU to seize this critical opportunity to ensure that Brazil protects human rights and the environment. Brazil’s forests, wetlands, and savannas are crucial to a great diversity of I...
Article
Full-text available
During a camera trapping survey to assess the population of Persian leopard Panthera pardus saxicolor in Bamu National Park BNP, a caracal Caracal caracal was captured by camera trap for the first time. This is the first confirmed report of the caracal from Bamu. The closest locality where the species is known to occur is almost 60 km (aerial dista...
Article
Full-text available
1.Illegal hunting of ungulates can reduce the prey base of carnivores, which can increase human‐carnivore conflict (HCC) through livestock depredation. However, the relationship between ungulate poaching, wild prey abundance and livestock depredation has rarely been empirically studied. 2.We surveyed 18 sites across the Hyrcanian forest in northern...
Article
Poaching is cryptically but rapidly driving many species towards extinction. Knowledge of population trends of exploited species and incentives for poaching is necessary to inform appropriate conservation measures. We estimated the abundance of four ungulate species in Golestan National Park, Iran, the country's oldest protected area, where poachin...
Article
Full-text available
Large carnivores are among the most threatened species in the world because of their natural low densities and need for expansive habitats. The brown bear (Ursus arctos) is the largest carnivore in the southwestern Asia, and faces threats in much of its range from conflict with humans over shared resources and shrinkage of habitat. In this study, w...
Article
Aim: Populations of large ungulates are dwindling worldwide. This is especially so for wild sheep, which compete with livestock for forage, are disturbed by shepherds and their dogs, and are exposed to disease transmissions from livestock. Our aim was to assess spatial patterns in realized niche overlap between wild and domestic sheep to better und...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Globally, land-use change and infrastructure development are causing habitat fragmentation, making corridor planning an increasingly important tool for the conservation of wide-ranging species. Several approaches now allow for the top-down identification of corridors, however, the functionality of these corridors on the ground has been rarely inves...
Article
This paper addresses the role of ecotourism in promoting biodiversity conservation in Golestan National Park (GNP), located in northeastern Iran. Three communities living close to GNP were selected as a case study. A questionnaire survey to local residents revealed that most respondents (80%) have economic benefits from the national park. However,...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Livestock depredation by large carnivores and consequently, retaliatory persecution by humans, are among the oldest interactions between humans and wildlife in agricultural landscapes. Such conflicts are anticipated to increase in the future as more landscapes around the globe become human-dominated due to agricultural expansion and intensification...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Human-wildlife conflict causes socioeconomic losses to people and leads to wildlife killing, both of which undermines conservation success. Important improvements regarding our understanding of the ecological, socioeconomic, and psychological factors involved in leading to conflicts or promoting coexistence between people and carnivores have recent...
Article
Full-text available
Qualitative methods are important to gain a deep understanding of complex problems and poorly researched areas. They can be particularly useful to help explain underlying conservation problems. However, the significance in choosing and justifying appropriate methodological frameworks in conservation studies should be given more attention to ensure...
Article
Full-text available
We opportunistically collected and analyzed 80 scats of the Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) from den entrances and other areas at 2 sites within Hormozgan Province, Iran, from March 2010 to February 2011. We identified 27 food items dominated by cultivated date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) fruit, oriental hornet (Vespa orientalis), and Christ's...
Article
Full-text available
The maral red deer Cervus elaphus maral, once widespread throughout the whole Hyrcanian and Caucasus forests in southwest Asia, has undergone a dramatic decline due to heavy poaching and habitat transformation. Maral is now extinct in the wild in western and northwestern Iran, but still persists in the Caspian montane forests of northern Iran, also...
Article
Full-text available
Biomass regression models and associated correction factors derived from feeding trials are essential to convert frequency of prey occurrence from scats into biomass and numbers of prey individuals consumed by carnivores. These dietary analyses form a substantial part of many research projects on predator–prey relationships and human–carnivore conf...
Article
Full-text available
Human-carnivore conflicts over livestock depredation are increasingly common, yet little is understood about the role of husbandry in conflict mitigation. As shepherds and guarding dogs are most commonly used to curb carnivore attacks on grazing livestock, evaluation and improvement of these practices becomes an important task. We addressed this is...
Data
Information on 39 attacks of leopards (Panthera pardus) on sheep and goats in villages around Golestan National Park, Iran
Article
Full-text available
The elusive Caspian red deer Cervus elaphus maral lives at low densities in rugged forest habitats of the Caucasus and the south Caspian region, and its declining population requires urgent attention. We here address the precision and reliability of dung counts (fecal standing crop approach FSC) and camera trapping (random encounter model REM) for...
Thesis
Poaching is a global environmental threat, which drives populations of many species toward extinction. Current levels of poaching are unsustainable, causing substantial impacts on ecosystems and wildlife. By poaching, humans also limit the prey resources of large carnivores. Therefore, human hunters may compete with large carnivores over food resou...
Article
Full-text available
Ranger stations are essential to combat poaching in protected areas and the distance from ranger stations is sometimes used as a proxy for poaching levels and law enforcement intensity. However, the influence of the spatial distribution of ranger stations on wildlife abundance and population structure has rarely been investigated. We evaluated the...
Data
Accumulation curve of prey species diversity in leopard scat samples. (PDF)
Data
Domestic sheep and goat numbers, reported killed numbers by leopard and satisfaction with veterinary services in the villages <2.5 km from Golestan National Park borders. (XLSX)
Data
Line transect sampling data on wild boar in Golestan National Park. (XLSX)
Data
Top four prey species of leopard from scat sampling [29] and the pooled data with this study. (XLSX)
Data
Interview surveys with shepherds in conflict villages. (XLSX)
Article
Full-text available
Livestock is represented in big cat diets throughout the world. Husbandry approaches aim to reduce depredation, which may influence patterns of prey choice, but whether felids have a preference for livestock or not often remains unclear as most studies ignore livestock availability. We assessed prey choice of the endangered Persian leopard (Panther...
Poster
Full-text available
- Robust monitoring is crucial for evaluation and guidance of conservation efforts, but is often missing in rugged landscapes. We assessed the feasibility of various methods to improve traditional practices of ungulate monitoring in north-eastern Iran and updated the population status of four species. We found that all methods tested had some short...