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Improving the surrogacy effectiveness of charismatic megafauna with well-surveyed taxonomic groups and habitat types

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Abstract

Conservation planning often relies on the use of surrogates for representing many aspects of biodiversity. Previous tests on the effectiveness of charismatic mammals as biodiversity surrogates have suffered from the lack of fine resolution data, and produced varied and contrasting results.In this study, we used unique high-resolution data for more than 600 biodiversity features from the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany global biodiversity hotspot to assess how the surrogacy effectiveness of the ‘Big Five’ charismatic mammal species could be improved.We found that combining the ‘Big Five’ charismatic mammal species with well-known and surveyed taxonomic groups, such as birds, amphibians, and reptiles, and habitat types, which can be mapped quickly and inexpensively, increases the representation of poorly surveyed taxonomic groups, such as endemic and threatened invertebrate and plant species, as well as other mammal species. In particular, habitat types were found to be an integral component of a successful surrogate strategy. Nevertheless, a broad cross-taxon surrogate group composed of the ‘Big Five’, birds, amphibians, and reptiles, was found to be a more effective surrogate than habitat types on their own. Meanwhile, other taxonomic groups and habitat types were not effective surrogates for the ‘Big Five’ charismatic species.As charismatic mammals have an important marketing value, they can be promoted to generate funding, which can then facilitate the implementation of conservation action and cover management costs, thereby indirectly benefiting other threatened biodiversity.Synthesis and applications. While some geographic areas and taxa have been extensively studied, detailed information about the distributions of species is missing for much of the world. This study provides important information that can have operational relevance to prioritize areas for conservation action in areas of the world with poor data on biodiversity. We found that other taxa are not good surrogates for charismatic mammal species. We also found that habitat types are a necessary component of surrogacy strategies that cover plants and insects. Overall, a combination of habitat types and charismatic mammals, complemented with other well-known taxa (birds, amphibians and reptiles), provided the highest surrogacy effects. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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... .] represent (i.e., serve as a proxy for) another aspect of an ecological system" [8]. The efficacy and efficiency of surrogates for overall biodiversity (known and unknown) have progressively been evaluated [7,[9][10][11][12][13], and appear to be influenced by factors such as the size of the study area, type of surrogate, and the spatial resolution of surrogate data (e.g. [13][14][15]). ...
... The efficacy and efficiency of surrogates for overall biodiversity (known and unknown) have progressively been evaluated [7,[9][10][11][12][13], and appear to be influenced by factors such as the size of the study area, type of surrogate, and the spatial resolution of surrogate data (e.g. [13][14][15]). Nevertheless, it often remains ambiguous to what extent a surrogate represents other levels of biodiversity, in particular across different levels of organization. ...
... see [6,16] for a review, [17][18][19][20][21]). Although the reciprocal surrogacy among taxonomic groups is often limited ( [13,14,22], see [23] for a review, [24,25]), and prioritization should preferably be based on multiple groups [14,26]. accurate species distribution data is scarce for many areas in the world. ...
Article
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Because it is impossible to comprehensively characterize biodiversity at all levels of organization, conservation prioritization efforts need to rely on surrogates. As species distribution maps of relished groups as well as high-resolution remotely sensed data increasingly become available, both types of surrogates are commonly used. A good surrogate should represent as much of biodiversity as possible, but it often remains unclear to what extent this is the case. Here, we aimed to address this question by assessing how well bird species and habitat diversity represent one another. We conducted our study in Romania, a species-rich country with high landscape heterogeneity where bird species distribution data have only recently started to become available. First, we prioritized areas for conservation based on either 137 breeding bird species or 36 habitat classes, and then evaluated their reciprocal surrogacy performance. Second, we examined how well these features are represented in already existing protected areas. Finally, we identified target regions of high conservation value for the potential expansion of the current network of reserves (as planned under the new EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030). We found a limited reciprocal surrogacy performance, with bird species performing slightly better as a conservation surrogate for habitat diversity than vice versa. We could also show that areas with a high conservation value based on habitat diversity were represented better in already existing protected areas than areas based on bird species, which varied considerably between species. Our results highlight that taxonomic and environmental (i.e., habitat types) data may perform rather poorly as reciprocal surrogates, and multiple sources of data are required for a full evaluation of protected areas expansion.
... Nonetheless, it is recommended to make the best use of the data at hand immediately than waiting until sufficient data becoming available in the future . As a consequence, conservation planning analyses are frequently performed using biodiversity surrogates; for example using data on a well-studied species group as representative for the conservation status of other species groups or biodiversity altogether (Margules & Pressey, 2000;Possingham et al., 2006;Rodrigues, 2011;Di Minin & Moilanen, 2014). Surrogates vary in their performance Franco et al., 2009;Wilson et al., 2009), and their choice is more often driven by data availability than ecological appropriateness (Margules & Pressey, 2000;Lentini & Wintle, 2015). ...
... Although priority rankings of the four surrogates are (fairly) positively correlated (Table S2), the choice of the target group for conservation strongly affects the mean species representation of the solution (Fig. 1). The variation due to surrogates implies that the taxonomic groups are not sufficiently representing each other (Franco et al., 2009;Di Minin & Moilanen, 2014). As a consequence, even the collective use of these three groups will not adequately represent Egyptian biodiversity as a whole. ...
... Although priority rankings of the four surrogates were (fairly) positively correlated in Egypt, the choice of surrogate strongly affects the mean species representation of the solution. This implies that the used taxonomic groups are not sufficiently representing each other (Franco et al., 2009;Di Minin & Moilanen, 2014). As a consequence, even the collective use of the three taxonomic groups (butterflies, reptiles, and mammals) will inadequately represent the entire Egyptian biodiversity. ...
Thesis
Species distribution models have become essential tools in ecology and wildlife conservation. However, their reliability when used for conservation management is often compromised by many challenges and limitations, as for example the lack of sufficient data-quality and sampling bias. Especially when used for areas in developing countries, where unbiased good-quality data are scarce, the robustness of species distribution models is questionable. In this thesis, I studied some crucial issues affecting the reliability of presence-only species distribution models for wildlife conservation in developing countries. In the first chapter, I studied the issue of sampling bias in data-poor situations of developing countries and how to correct for it in presence-only species distribution models. I implemented model-based bias correction by incorporating additional bias-predictors describing site accessibility (distance to closest city, road, and protected area) or estimated sampling effort. I showed that bias correction led to improved predictions, with comparable results using the three modelling algorithms (GLMs with subset selection, GLMs fitted with an elastic-net penalty and Maxent, all under the point process modelling framework). The improved prediction due to sampling bias correction was dependent on how well the bias-predictors describe the bias in the available data, with higher improvement when accessibility bias variables were used. However, objectively evaluating sampling bias correction requires bias-free presence-absence testing data, which is typically not available in data-poor situations. Nevertheless, my results showed that model-based bias correction is a useful tool to improve predictions in data-poor situations, in which other bias correction methods may not be applicable. In the second chapter, I evaluated the adequacy of presence-only data from within one developing country’s boundary to calibrate national species distribution models. I used spatially explicit information representing predictions from the species’ global environmental niche (potential distribution) as an additional predictor (prior) in regional models aiming to improve predictions. The use of priors did not lead to improved regional predictions; meanwhile, the correction for sampling bias led to improved predictions whichever prior was used, making the use of priors less pronounced. Under biased and incomplete sampling, the use of global data did not improve regional model performance. However, the actual improvement could not be quantified without enough bias-free regional data. Nevertheless, predictions from global models, interpolated to regional scales, can still have great potential to guide future surveys and improve regional sampling in data-poor regions. In the third chapter, I assessed the sensitivity (robustness) of a spatial conservation prioritisation application in an exemplary data-poor developing country to common sources of uncertainty, which are related to the quality of available species distributional data and the choice of some of the user-defined software parameters. I also evaluated the effectiveness of the Egyptian protected areas network for conservation. Conservation planning in data-poor situations was found to be sensitive to the selection of the surrogate group, correction for sampling bias, connectivity parameters, and the choice of modelling algorithm; collectively, these reflect data quality issues. Results showed a lower limit for data quality for the usefulness of the spatial conservation prioritisation approach, demanding improved data quality for data-poor countries. Using currently available data on the Egyptian butterflies, reptiles, and mammals, the Egyptian protected areas network was found inefficient for wildlife conservation. I determined the top priority sites for further on-the-ground field evaluation as potential areas for protected areas expansion. Despite the promising results of improved predictions after correcting for sampling bias in data-poor developing countries, this improvement is not guaranteed and hence should not be considered a replacement for the urgent need for improving sampling strategies for the collection of biodiversity data on as many taxonomic groups as possible. Improving sampling strategies and data-quality from data-poor countries (mainly from the less visited areas) will consolidate the use of species distribution models for conservation planning in these areas.
... Because cross-taxonomic surrogates offer expedient means to evaluate biodiversity for conservation planning, easily surveyed taxa such as birds have been widely proposed as surrogates (e.g. Eglington et al., 2012;Carrascal et al., 2012;Di Minin and Moilanen, 2014). However, while some studies endorse the use of cross-taxonomic surrogates (e.g. ...
... This question is important because it allows initially identified surrogate taxa to be validated in realistic conservation planning scenarios. Ideally, an effective surrogate taxon should be expected to capture a high proportion of the representation targets for other taxa (Larsen et al., 2012;Di Minin and Moilanen, 2014), without being excessively costly itselfi.e. requiring the conservation of a large amount of woodland patches. ...
Article
Cross-taxonomic surrogates are often used in conservation planning because inventorying large suites of taxa is either not feasible or too costly. However, cross-taxonomic surrogates are seldom tested rigorously using both correlational and representation-based approaches at the spatial scales at which conservation management occurs. Here, we evaluated the effectiveness of five ecologically contrasting taxa (birds, herpetofauna, wild bees, beetles, trees) as cross-taxonomic surrogates in native woodland patches within a heavily modified, farming and plantation-dominated landscape. We first compared species richness and compositional heterogeneity across taxa before testing for cross-taxonomic congruence using a correlative approach. We then quantified how well each taxon incidentally represented other taxa in their best patch sets, and the costs of doing so using a complementarity-based approach. We found significant pairwise associations between some taxa (birds, bees), but no single taxon was strongly correlated with all other taxa. Woodland patch sets prioritised for beetles represented other taxa best, followed by birds, but were the costliest and required the largest amount of woodland. This contrasted with patch sets prioritised for wild bees or herpetofauna, which achieved higher representation of other taxa at lower costs. Our study highlighted the influence of taxon-specific patterns of diversity and heterogeneity on how remnant vegetation patches should be prioritised for conservation, a consideration not immediately obvious in correlative analyses of surrogacy. Second, taxa that are not the most speciose (e.g. wild bees) can be efficient surrogates, achieving higher incidental representation for other taxa at lower costs. Thus, while species-rich taxa are ideal as surrogates for prioritising conservation, conservation planners should not overlook the potential of less speciose taxa such as bees, while considering the cost-effectiveness of surveying multiple different taxa.
... It requires comprehensive, high-resolution, up-todate data on the distribution of biodiversity, but such data are usually incomplete or do not exist at all, making it challenging to develop reliable assessments in data-poor countries [1,8]. Such analyses are frequently performed using biodiversity surrogates, i.e. well-studied taxa representing biodiversity as a whole [13,17]. Surrogates vary in their representativeness [3,7,18], and their choice is more often driven by data availability than ecological appropriateness [19]. ...
... Here, we used four surrogates for the Egyptian fauna. Although their priority rankings are (fairly) positively correlated (Additional file 1: Table S2), choosing one strongly affects the mean species representation in the solution (Fig. 1), implying that they are not adequate to represent each other [7,17]. As a consequence, even the collective use of all three will not adequately represent Egyptian biodiversity as a whole. ...
Article
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Background: Spatial conservation prioritisation (SCP) is a set of computational tools designed to support the efficient spatial allocation of priority areas for conservation actions, but it is subject to many sources of uncertainty which should be accounted for during the prioritisation process. We quantified the sensitivity of an SCP application (using software Zonation) to possible sources of uncertainty in data-poor situations, including the use of different surrogate options; correction for sampling bias; how to integrate connectivity; the choice of species distribution modelling (SDM) algorithm; how cells are removed from the landscape; and two methods of assigning weights to species (red-list status or prediction uncertainty). Further, we evaluated the effectiveness of the Egyptian protected areas for conservation, and spatially allocated the top priority sites for further on-the-ground evaluation as potential areas for protected areas expansion. Results: Focal taxon (butterflies, reptiles, and mammals), sampling bias, connectivity and the choice of SDM algorithm were the most sensitive parameters; collectively these reflect data quality issues. In contrast, cell removal rule and species weights contributed much less to overall variability. Using currently available species data, we found the current effectiveness of Egypt’s protected areas for conserving fauna was low. Conclusions: For SCP to be useful, there is a lower limit on data quality, requiring data-poor countries to improve sampling strategies and data quality to obtain unbiased data for as many taxa as possible. Since our sensitivity analysis may not generalise, conservation planners should use sensitivity analyses more routinely, particularly relying on more than one combination of SDM algorithm and surrogate group, consider correction for sampling bias, and compare the spatial patterns of predicted priority sites using a variety of settings. The sensitivity of SCP to connectivity parameters means that the responses of each species to habitat loss are important knowledge gaps.
... In addition, any one surrogate cannot perfectly represent all other biodiversity features. Previous studies have also shown that combining multiple taxonomic groups 9,10,12,13,16 or physical environmental features (i.e., land use or ecosystem types) 11,13,14,[16][17][18][19]21 as joint surrogates can improve efficiency. ...
... Hence, analysis of the current status of established protection areas of these priority units in PAPAs could reveal conservation gaps and help prioritize the optimization of these critical units for Yunnan biodiversity conservation. Table 3 showed that four priority units (numbered 7,9,27,30) were not covered by any reserve, and ten priority units (numbered 2, 5, 11,12,16,17,19,20,26,29) were covered by reserves with a coverage lower than 5%. These 14 priority units should be the focus of urgent attention in future YPAS optimization. ...
Article
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Suitable surrogates are critical for identifying optimal priority conservation areas (PCAs) to protect regional biodiversity. This study explored the efficiency of using endangered plants and animals as surrogates for identifying PCAs at the county level in Yunnan, southwest China. We ran the Dobson algorithm under three surrogate scenarios at 75% and 100% conservation levels and identified four types of PCAs. Assessment of the protection efficiencies of the four types of PCAs showed that endangered plants had higher surrogacy values than endangered animals but that the two were not substitutable; coupled endangered plants and animals as surrogates yielded a higher surrogacy value than endangered plants or animals as surrogates; the plant-animal priority areas (PAPAs) was the optimal among the four types of PCAs for conserving both endangered plants and animals in Yunnan. PAPAs could well represent overall species diversity distribution patterns and overlap with critical biogeographical regions in Yunnan. Fourteen priority units in PAPAs should be urgently considered as optimizing Yunnan’s protected area system. The spatial pattern of PAPAs at the 100% conservation level could be conceptualized into three connected conservation belts, providing a valuable reference for optimizing the layout of the in situ protected area system in Yunnan.
... At the same time, carnivores were also good surrogates for other mammals, as expected 38,39 . However, our results also confirm that protecting carnivores might not deliver efficient conservation solutions for birds and reptiles 40 . While the effectiveness of carnivores as surrogates for terrestrial ecoregions was the lowest among the targeted groups, the priority areas for carnivores might also represent currently less known taxonomic groups that are covered by the ecoregions. ...
... Hence, only the carnivore species were influencing the prioritization, while it was possible to track their performance in representing the targeted species. Full details about surrogacy analyses in Zonation can be read in 40 . ...
Article
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Mammalian carnivores have suffered the biggest range contraction among all biodiversity and are particularly vulnerable to habitat loss and fragmentation. Therefore, we identified priority areas for the conservation of mammalian carnivores, while accounting for species-specific requirements for connectivity and expected agricultural and urban expansion. While prioritizing for carnivores only, we were also able to test their effectiveness as surrogates for 23,110 species of amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles and 867 terrestrial ecoregions. We then assessed the risks to carnivore conservation within each country that makes a contribution to global carnivore conservation. We found that land use change will potentially lead to important range losses, particularly amongst already threatened carnivore species. In addition, the 17% of land targeted for protection under the Aichi Target 11 was found to be inadequate to conserve carnivores under expected land use change. Our results also highlight that land use change will decrease the effectiveness of carnivores to protect other threatened species, especially threatened amphibians. In addition, the risk of human-carnivore conflict is potentially high in countries where we identified spatial priorities for their conservation. As meeting the global biodiversity target will be inadequate for carnivore protection, innovative interventions are needed to conserve carnivores outside protected areas to compliment any proposed expansion of the protected area network.
... The review highlights the strengths and weaknesses of different surrogates but does not look at the use of surrogates within a conservation planning context (see Margules & Pressey 2000 and Cowling et al. 2003) as this was beyond the scope of the review. Surrogates of biodiversity can be taxonomic surrogates, based upon the distribution of individual species, sub-sets of species, or higher taxonomic groupings for which we have good knowledge, or can be environmental surrogates, based on broad structural indicators such as landscape metrics or other environmental variables (Margules & Pressey 2000; Grantham et al. 2010; Banks-Leite et al. 2011 ; Di Minin & Moilanen 2014). For instance, Andelman & Fagan (2000) employed a variety of taxonomic surrogates including the distribution of large carnivores and the distribution of habitat specialists, and a variety of landscape/ environmental surrogates including the distribution of riparian vegetation and the location of highpriced real estate. ...
... Environmental surrogates must however be sufficiently detailed and have sufficient biological justification (Grantham et al. 2010). Overall, a combination of environmental and taxonomic surrogates can provide the highest surrogacy effectiveness (Di Minin & Moilanen 2014). Feld et al. (2009) conducted a comprehensive review on surrogates of biodiversity. ...
Technical Report
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In this review we assessed the various approaches to measuring biodiversity at the species level and developing models that can be used to assess the present patterns and project these into the future against possible scenarios. The main categories of approaches are: biodiversity measures, biodiversity models, surrogates of biodiversity. This publication forms part of a suite of six reports which aim to increase the capacity of national and sub-national level decision-makers to understand and support an ecosystem-based approach to agricultural development policy and land-use planning.
... Forestry policy and practice have been designed to deliver habitat enhancement and protection measures for these species (Forestry Commission, 2017), in line with wider conservation effort targeting species which are rare and/or at risk of extinction (Favaro et al., 2014;Winter et al., 2013 knowledge of what habitat features a species requires and how these are distributed. This is complicated by the fact that many of these protected species are cryptic and poorly recorded (Minin and Moilanen, 2014). The challenge is further increased when there is a need to deliver conservation management for multiple protected and data-deficient species simultaneously. ...
... Our modelling approach was wider and more ambitious in scope (a greater number of species and a wider range of taxa) than other attempts to inform conservation planning with multi-species models (e.g. Franco et al., 2009;Lentini and Wintle, 2015;Minin and Moilanen, 2014) and as such is a novel application of EHSMs. Although developed for protected woodland species, the framework could be adapted for use with other habitats or suite of species. ...
Article
First habitat suitability model for all protected woodland species within a country. Predicts potential species occurrence to aid strategic to tactical decision-making. Provides often inaccessible expert knowledge to end user in a user-friendly format. Integrates information on habitat requirements for multiple taxa. Niche classification links to spatial datasets and is interpretable in the field.
... IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and Birdlife International) to inform the location of priority conservation areas (Beresford et al., 2011;Dorji et al., 2018;Pimm et al., 2018;Santarem et al., 2019). However, in many cases, these distributional databases contain geographic biases, are only updated every 5-10 years, and provide very general information on species distributions, limiting their value in developing fine-scale conservation priorities (Rondinini et al., 2006;Hoffmann et al., 2008;Di Minin and Moilanen., 2014;Brooks et al., 2019). For proper zoning and management planning at smaller scales, it is essential to have dimensionally accurate and high-resolution information of the geographical range of target species. ...
... Following past protocols (Tulloch et al., 2011;Di Minin and Moilanen., 2014;Santarem et al., 2019), we selected our five target or flagships from our initial survey of 32 species using the following criteria: (1) the species' should be of relatively large body length (70 cm) and easily identifiable; ...
Thesis
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The black or Myanmar snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus strykeri) was discovered in the Gaoligong Mountains of northeastern Kachin state, Myanmar in 2010, and was subsequently found in the mountains of northwestern Yunnan, China in 2011. Across these regions, there were an estimated 14-15 sub-populations with approximately 950 individuals in total (10 sub-populations with 490-620 individuals in China, and 4-5 sub-populations with 260-330 individuals in Myanmar). However, teams of people conducting field surveys and camera trap studies, of which I was part, only confirmed five sub-populations with 400 individuals on the Sino-Myanmar border from data collected 2012-2017. Based on approximately two years field searching, I and my colleagues discovered one sub-population (Luoma population) in the Gaoligong Mountains and conducted another 203 days of field observation to collect dietary data. I also conducted cafeteria feeding trials with 600 wild plant species on two captive individuals housed at Yaojiaping Wildlife Rescue Centre in the Gaoligong Mountains National Nature Reserve. I found that R. strykeri can potentially consume 593 items from more than 170 food plants of trees, bushes, and herbs representing 76 genera and 41 plant families, as well as 15 species of lichen. Among these food items and species, 14 plant species and four lichen species also are consumed by the wild monkeys as well. The food plants mainly distribute in intact sub-tropical evergreen broadleaf forests and hemlock-broadleaf mixed forests at an altitude of 2200-3000 m. Based on interview surveys, camera trap records, and habitat distribution modelling, I confirm this is the main elevational range used by R. strykeri. Nutritional studies and comparisons of 100 leaf items the monkeys selectively consumed (n = 70 plant species) with the nutrient content of 54 leaf items (n = 48 plant species) the monkeys’ avoided in spring and autumn reveal that R. strykeri preferentially select leaves high in moisture (77.7%), crude protein (21.2%), total nonstructural carbohydrates (34.9%) and phosphorus (0.37%) while tending to avoid foods with a neutral detergent fibre content close to 35%. Foods selected in autumn were characterized by a higher amount of metabolisable energy than those rejected (1350 kJ/100g vs. 1268 kJ/100g). Random Forests modeling, an ensemble learning method, indicated that foods consumed during the two seasons were selected primarily based on their proportion of moisture, crude protein, neutral detergent fibre, metabolisable energy, phosphorus and total nonstructural carbohydrates. This nutritional profile is similar to other snub-nosed monkeys. Using interview-based survey data and MAXENT modelling of R. strykeri along the Sino-Myanmar border, I found that R. strykeri may inhabit a range from E98°20′–98°50′ to N25°40′–26°50′. Within this range, high-quality habitat at 1420 km2, medium-quality habitat at 750 km2, and low-quality habitats at 1410 km2. Only 13.9% of the highly suitable habitat (medium + core habitat) for R. strykeri falls within protected areas in China. Approximately 2.6% of the entire habitat has been lost in the past 15 years, 96% of which has been in Myanmar. Two national parks (Imawbum National Park in Myanmar and Nujiang Grand Canyon National Park in China) are therefore proposed for saving this species. Lastly, for structuring a systematic transboundary conservation network in the highly-biodiverse but poorly-studied Gaoligong Mountains region, I used interview-based survey results (on animal distribution data) of three taxa (Primates, Pheasants and Mishmi Takin) and identified five flagship species (R. strykeri, Hoolock tianxing, Trachypithecus shortridgei, Lophophorus sclateri, Budorcas taxicolor) as surrogates of community biodiversity in the Gaoligong Mountains. After confirming the reliability of species distribution data via selective field surveys, I applied multicriteria decision analysis techniques along with data on habitat suitability (MAXENT Models) to highlight areas for transboundary conservation efforts. My results indicate that approximately 83.4% (10,398.7 km2) of remaining habitat with high conservation value for each of the five flagship species is unprotected. This includes six large zones separated by rivers and human settlements that should be designated as transboundary World Nature Heritage, National Parks, or Wildlife sanctuaries along the northern Sino-Myanmar border. Accordingly, I propose related conservation actions and policies for transboundary conservation in the Gaoligong Mountains along the northern Sino-Myanmar border.
... In contrast, conservation networks for jaguar Panthera onca in Latin America represent substantial proportion of high-quality habitats for other terrestrial mammals (Thornton et al., 2016), and the giant panda Ailuropoda melanoleuca is an effective surrogate for endemic mammal and bird species in China (Li & Pimm, 2016). In Africa, the priority conservation areas for the African "Big Five" species highly represent priority areas for the other mammals, yet provide poor representations for amphibians, reptiles, invertebrates and plants (Di Minin & Moilanen, 2014). ...
... Considering that charismatic megafauna did not represent the whole extent of identified priority areas, even with all species combined, our results suggest that conservation managers and policy makers in Sumatra should protect important areas for biodiversity that occur outside the range of charismatic species. Our findings agree with previous work suggesting that targeting charismatic megafauna in conservation is not enough to achieve broader biodiversity conservation targets, yet the benefit of their protection can be improved by using well-surveyed taxonomic groups and habitat types(Di Minin & Moilanen, 2014). ...
Article
Conservation organisations and governments often use charismatic megafauna as surrogates to represent broader biodiversity. While these species are primarily selected as “flagships” for marketing campaigns, it is important to evaluate their surrogacy potential, i.e., the extent to which their protection benefits other biodiversity elements. Four charismatic megafauna species are used as surrogates in the megadiverse island of Sumatra: the Sumatran tiger Panthera tigris sumatrae, Sumatran elephant Elephas maximus sumatranus, Sumatran orangutan Pongo abelii and Sumatran rhinoceros Dicerorhinus sumatrensis. We examined how well each of these species performed in representing the distribution of all co‐occurring terrestrial mammal species on the island, and the priority areas for the conservation of three facets of mammalian biodiversity (taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional). We used habitat suitability models to represent the distribution of 184 terrestrial mammal species, 160 phylogenetic groups and 74 functional trait groups. We then identified priority conservation areas using the spatial prioritisation software Zonation. We found that the habitat overlaps between each of the four charismatic species and the other mammal species varied, ranging from a mean of 52% (SD = 27%) for the tiger to 2% (SD = 2%) for the rhino. Combining the four species together only improved the representation levels marginally compared to only using the tiger. Among the four charismatic megafauna species, the extent of suitable habitat of Sumatran tiger covered the highest proportion of priority conservation areas. The Sumatran tiger also outperformed most of other mammal species with similar range sizes. We found that some of the top‐ranked conservation areas for taxonomic (28%), phylogenetic (8%) and functional diversity (19%) did not overlap with any of the charismatic species’ suitable habitat. Synthesis and applications. Wide‐ranging charismatic species can represent broader mammalian biodiversity, but they may miss some key areas with high biodiversity importance. We suggest that a combination of systematic spatial prioritisation and surrogacy analyses are important in order to determine the allocation of conservation resources in biodiversity‐rich areas such as Sumatra, where an expansion of the protected area network is required. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... Th e term charismatic species encapsulates the concept of animals that appeal to humans due to specifi c physical and/or behavioral traits and that have therefore been the recipients of intensive focus surrounding their conservation. Such species are now used as fl agships or surrogates and are deployed deliberately across medias to collect funding, political will, and momentum for larger, more species-diverse conservation eff orts (Caro and O'Doherty 1999;Di Minin and Moilanen 2014;Verissimo et al. 2011). How such animals, and the environment more broadly, have come to intersect with media, with celebrity culture, and with constituent consuming publics, has been characterized as a kind of "spectacular environmentalism" (Goodman et al. 2016). ...
Article
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With the International Whaling Commission’s 1982 moratorium on commercial whaling in force, much of today’s cetacean hunting is done by traditional or indigenous communities for subsistence use. However, many communities continue to face pressure from other global stakeholders to stop. Informed by my research with marine hunters in Indonesia, this article combines scholarship from biology, philosophy, and law with global anthropology on cetacean hunting groups to explore a set of recurring arguments arising between hunting communities, management and conservation bodies, and publics. These include the role of charismatic species in Western imagination and conservation; how understandings of animal sentience determine acceptable prey; disputes about the authenticity of and control over traditional hunting practice; and the entanglement of cultural sovereignty and rights to animal resources. Bringing these arguments together allows for an examination of how the dominant global discourse about traditional whaling is shaped and how it affects extant hunting communities.
... Top predators are keystones in the conservation strategy as an integral part of biodiversity and their great importance for ecological community dynamics (Sergio et al. 2006, 2008, Regos et al. 2017. They are usual flagships to promote nature protection, and important for the economic benefits of local communities from nature-friendly management of protected areas (Burgas et al. 2014, di Minin & Moilanen 2014. The Eurasian Eagleowl (Bubo bubo) is the largest and strongest nocturnal avian predator, the least concern and increasing European population of which has an unfavorable conservation status in the continent (BirdLife International 2017). ...
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The effectiveness and efficiency of the natUra 2000 network for the Eurasian Eagle-owl conservation in SE Bulgaria was assessed by comparing data collected during a long-term study on number of breeding pairs and fledglings before and after network establishment. The natUra 2000 network and non-protected areas showed similar values of the calculated indices according to the number of occupied localities. However, the pairs in natUra 2000 sites bred significantly less fledglings after the creation of the network than the pairs in non-protected ones. The Special Protection Areas (SPA) system created specifically for the preservation of birds has the lowest efficiency in respect to Eurasian Eagle-owl protection. Proposals were made after 'gap analysis' for real protection and optimization of the protected-area network to increase the stability of the Eurasian Eagle-owl population in the changing environment. Összefoglalás Délkelet-Bulgária területén hosszú távú vizsgálat alapján elemeztük a natUra 2000 hálózat haté-konyságát és eredményességét az uhu konzervációbiológiájában, amelyhez számos, a hálózat kijelölése előtti és utáni időszakban gyűjtött költőpár és fióka adatait használtuk fel. A natUra 2000-es hálózat és a nem védett terü-letek esetén az elfoglalt területek száma szerint számított mutatók hasonlóak voltak. A natUra 2000-es területe-ken költő párok a hálózat kijelölése után azonban szignifikánsan kevesebb kirepült fiókát neveltek fel, mint a nem védett területeken fészkelő párok. A kifejezetten a madarak megőrzésére létrehozott SPA rendszer az uhu védel-mét tekintve a legkevésbé hatékony. A gap-elemzést követően javaslatot tettünk a védelem hatékonyságának ja-vítására és a védett területek hálózatának optimalizálására annak érdekében, hogy növeljük az uhu populáció sta-bilitását a változó környezetben.
... This number corresponds to more than 11% of the Cerrado's biodiversity (Mendonça et al. 2008), which makes this group highly relevant to the understanding of the biome's patterns and processes. In addition, vegetation has a major role in acting as a biodiversity surrogate when there is little data available for other taxonomic groups (Lombard et al. 2003;Oliver et al. 2004;Di Minin & Moilanen 2014; but see Stoms et al. 2005). ...
Article
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Biological knowledge is important for guidance of conservation polices. In the Cerrado, an extremely diverse biome, the last synthesis of floristic knowledge has more than ten years. To understand the progress on the information, our aim was quantify the tree species of the Cerrado, and assess their distribution. We compiled 167 inventories and rapid surveys of tree species, corresponding to 625 sites. We accessed the species distributions in the Brazilian biomes, and estimated the number of species in the savannas of Cerrado using four algorithms. We observed a greater local richness in more central regions of the biome, but due to high beta diversity, more peripheral regions presented a greater cumulative richness. The Atlantic Forest was the most important neighbouring biome, influencing the floristic composition of the Cerrado. The proportion of typical Cerrado species was 16%. The highest proportion of endemic species is possibly found in other life forms, and it is crucial that these species are included in inventories and floristic surveys. To guide new studies and help supplement the knowledge of the Cerrado’s flora, we identified the main sampling gaps, located mainly in ecotonal regions, which are responsible for the largest number of species recorded in studies of the Cerrado.
... Although there might be other surrogate species and proxies in the study area that outperform our two raptor species, the goshawk and the Ural Owl can add to improve cost-effectiveness of reserve selection. Integration of raptor information into reserve selection procedures for practical use and further testing should be relatively straightforward as recent advances in prioritization algorithms better allow for integration of multiple data sources such as environmental variables, expert opinion, observed and predicted species distribution data (e.g., Carvalho et al., 2010;Di Minin and Moilanen, 2014;Sutcliffe et al., 2015). ...
... Research focusing on charismatic species in freshwaters could improve their surrogacy effectiveness (i.e., benefit a larger set of less charismatic species via their umbrella effects). 149 To conclude, our knowledge of large-scale distribution and risk patterns of freshwater megafauna is still lacking for large parts of the world. Future research should focus on these large animals in order to fill knowledge gap by: (1) collating information on their spatial distributions, (2) exploring the potential of freshwater megafauna to act as flagship and umbrella species, (3) compiling data to quantify the seriousness of each type of threat and their impacts to each taxonomic group, (4) identifying potential regions of conflict between the requirements of freshwater megafauna biodiversity and human activities, (5) examining correlations between biological and ecological traits of freshwater megafauna and extinction risk, and (6) tracking the global population dynamics of freshwater megafauna. ...
Article
Charismatic megafauna species may act as both flagship and umbrella species. They influence local environments and biotas, determine related ecosystem processes and functions, and are associated with high levels of biodiversity. However, the intrinsic characteristics of megafauna species including long lifespan, large body size, sparseness and/or rarity, late maturity, and low fecundity, as well as high market value, make them very prone to extinction. Up to now, scientific interest and conservation efforts have mainly focused on terrestrial and marine megafauna, while freshwater species have received comparatively little attention, despite evidence suggesting that freshwaters are losing species faster than marine or terrestrial realms. The high susceptibility of freshwater megafauna to multiple threats, coupled with immense human pressure on freshwater ecosystems, places freshwater megafauna amongst the most threatened species globally. The main threats include overexploitation, dam construction, habitat degradation, pollution, and species invasion. These threats increase mortality, decrease productivity, and reduce fitness, causing the decline of populations and the extinction of freshwater megafauna species. Given the essential ecological and biological roles of freshwater megafauna, further research should focus on their distribution patterns, extinction risks, and population dynamics, thereby improving the knowledge base for conservation planning. Finally, freshwater megafauna-based conservation strategies may raise public awareness for freshwater conservation and therefore benefit a broader range of freshwater species and functions. For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.
... This absence of correlation between the supply and the hope to see these species hints that ecological attributes like the rarity of mammal species may be less important than the charisma of species and individual preferences of wildlife tourists (Martín-López et al., 2008). Identifying which species receive particular attention from wildlife tourists is crucial because these charismatic species have a high marketing value and can be used as flagship species for conservation (Di Minin and Moilanen, 2014;Walpole and Leader-Williams, 2002;Veríssimo et al., 2014a,b). ...
Article
Assessing cultural ecosystem services provided by biodiversity requires a combination of ecological and social approaches. In this study, we investigated the capacity of large African mammal species to provide the cultural ecosystem service of wildlife tourism by using a supply and demand framework. First, we tested the relationship between supply and demand for large mammal species in wildlife tourism. Second, we tested whether the trophic level and body size of mammals influenced the mismatch between supply and demand, and whether the patterns of mismatches were consistent among four protected areas (PAs) in three Southern African countries. To quantify supply of species, we counted large mammals along 196 five km road transects within the four PAs; to estimate demand, we gathered 651 face-to-face questionnaires of wildlife tourists and distinguished between their expectation and hope to see specific species. Results show that a higher supply of large mammal species increased the expectation to see a species (linear regression slope ? = 0.28, p < 0.01), whereas supply did not affect the hopes to see a specific species (? = ?0.04, p = 0.63). Analyses of mismatches revealed that predator species were more demanded in relation to their supply than ungulates. Finally, we found that the demands of wildlife tourists for mammal species in relation to their supply were consistent across the four PAs. Supply-demand analyses reveal that species? traits, in particular trophic level, shape the hopes of wildlife tourists to see specific mammal species. We propose that the quantification of supply-demand mismatches can be used to identify charismatic species and relevant species? traits, and can be applied for wildlife tourism assessments within as well as across regions. Supply-demand analyses provide a useful framework and deliver indicators for better assessing cultural ecosystem services involving wildlife and nature-based tourism, and can be used for conservation management.
... However, these metrics can also be applied to specific subsets of biodiversity in the assessment of the service of wildlife tourism, since people may also be attracted to specific groups of species. In particular, they may prefer charismatic (Arbieu et al., 2017;Di Minin et al., 2013;Di Minin and Moilanen, 2014), rare (Angulo and Courchamp, 2009;Booth et al., 2011) or threatened species (Siikamäki et al., 2015). Assessments of the recreational service of wildlife tourism should therefore cover different components of biodiversity that reflect different recreational opportunities (see Fig. 1), not only considering all species present in an area, but also subsets of charismatic, rare and threatened species (see Dallimer et al., 2012;Siikamäki et al., 2015). ...
Article
Relationships between biodiversity and cultural ecosystem services have been little studied compared to other ecosystem services, although fundamental for environmental management. Recreational ecosystem services like wildlife tourism are specific cultural ecosystem services that often involve relationships between the supply of opportunities to interact with biodiversity and the demand of wildlife tourists. Here, we first investigated whether different biodiversity measures based on three metrics applied to four components of large mammal diversity influenced the distribution of visitors within four Protected Areas (PAs) in Southern Africa. Second, we explored whether these effects were context-specific across the four PAs. We counted large mammals and visitor numbers along 196 road transects to test these relationships. All species-mammal diversity metrics related positively to visitor numbers. Subsets of mammal diversity were also positively associated with the distribution of visitors in all PAs. Relationships between supply and demand for the recreational service of wildlife tourism were mainly context-specific: the relationships between biodiversity measures and visitor numbers differed among PAs. Our results could help managers to optimize the use of recreational services within PAs, by diversifying viewing opportunities while reducing disturbance to wildlife. The supply-demand approach presented here offers promising avenues for further assessments of recreational ecosystem services.
... All of these can affect species' distributions and their changes (Amano and Yamaura 2007;Yamaura et al. 2009;Thornton and Fletcher 2014), which makes it difficult to generalize community ecology (Wiens 2001). Various approaches have been proposed to overcome this challenge in biodiversity conservation, including multiple surrogate species (Mac Nally and Fleishman 2004;Di Minin and Moilanen 2014) and focusing on the important elements of ecosystems for many species (e.g., snags, logs, and springs), which is called a meso-filter (Hunter 2005). ...
Chapter
Charismatic megafauna are a conservation concern and a flagship of conservation for many other species in the practice of biodiversity conservation. However, some studies support the roles of charismatic megafauna while others do not. In this chapter, we review the ecological mechanisms of why charismatic megafauna can be surrogate species. Based on the niche theory, specialist charismatic species, such as umbrella species, are likely to be surrogate species for richness or abundance of specialist species sharing the same niche axis. Citizen data are promising for testing this hypothesis; however, they are usually collected in a spatially biased manner, which hampers their usage. Here we analyzed citizen data with a hierarchical community model accounting for sampling processes and mapped Hokkaido bird species richness at different resolutions. By overlaying these maps with the distributions of Blakiston’s fish owl and red-crowned crane breeding sites, we show that these sites had higher forest or grassland/wetland bird species richness. Furthermore, the surrogacy was scale-dependent. Conservation practices entail social costs, and continued focus on the role of surrogate species would be due to public understanding and support being prerequisites for their implementation. We advocate selecting species with charismatic features and umbrella roles or flagship-umbrella species, given the strengths and limitations of surrogate schemes, as they play prominent roles linking biodiversity conservation and society.
... However, the amount of data required to ensure biodiversity is fully represented by spatial prioritisation in GB is unknown; prioritisation may be sensitive to the taxonomic groups used or could require only a selection of species or taxa . Although SCP has been applied within Britain before (Franco et al. 2009;Cunningham et al. 2021), a complementarity-based approach across multiple taxa, while incorporating future expected changes to species distributions, has not been implemented in GB despite the importance of such approaches being shown elsewhere (Kremen et al. 2008;Di Minin and Moilanen 2014;Stralberg et al. 2020;Carroll et al. 2010). ...
Article
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Protected area (PA) networks have in the past been constructed to include all major habitats, but have often been developed through consideration of only a few indicator taxa or across restricted areas, and rarely account for global climate change. Systematic conservation planning (SCP) aims to improve the efficiency of biodiversity conservation, particularly when addressing internationally agreed protection targets. We apply SCP in Great Britain (GB) using the widest taxonomic coverage to date (4,447 species), compare spatial prioritisation results across 18 taxa and use projected future (2080) distributions to assess the potential impact of climate change on PA network effectiveness. Priority conservation areas were similar among multiple taxa, despite considerable differences in spatial species richness patterns; thus systematic prioritisations based on indicator taxa for which data are widely available are still useful for conservation planning. We found that increasing the number of protected hectads by 2% (to reach the 2020 17% Aichi target) could have a disproportionate positive effect on species protected, with an increase of up to 17% for some taxa. The PA network in GB currently under-represents priority species but, if the potential future distributions under climate change are realised, the proportion of species distributions protected by the current PA network may increase, because many PAs are in northern and higher altitude areas. Optimal locations for new PAs are particularly concentrated in southern and upland areas of GB. This application of SCP shows how a small addition to an existing PA network could have disproportionate benefits for species conservation.
... At a vernal pool, one local official noted a strip of road where residents help frogs to safely cross the road during mating season. Charismatic animals, as with most environmental conservation efforts, can be useful in gaining public support -especially when the connection between the species and their habitat is clear (48). Beavers, for example, are common in New Paltz wetlands and are generally admired and loved by residents, which made it simpler to help people understand how protecting wetlands also protected these animals. ...
Technical Report
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Local land use regulation has been described as one of the most powerful tools available to address flood risk. In a 2013 New York State survey, Riverkeeper, Inc. found that 78 municipalities had adopted wetland and watercourse regulations above and beyond those required by state law. As our analysis of Dutchess, Ulster, and Westchester counties illustrates, however, these regulations are not evenly distributed or necessarily adopted in areas of highest flood risk. We find that 78% of Westchester County municipalities have adopted wetland and watercourse regulations, while only 54% of Dutchess County municipalities have done so, and just 28% in Ulster County. Widespread adoption of wetland and watercourse regulations could significantly increase the ability of municipalities to govern their floodplains. To understand why some towns have adopted these regulations, and how they overcame the challenges inherent in adopting new local laws, we studied three towns that have successfully adopted local wetland and watercourse regulations: East Fishkill, Dutchess County; New Paltz, Ulster County; and New Castle, Westchester County.
... Moreover, the complexity and dynamics of marine ecosystems make it difficult to evaluate ecosystem services and calculate the spatial subsidy. For example, for humpback dolphins, the challenges that are faced include measuring and experimentally manipulating the number of terrestrial users, their preferences and desires to encounter or see humpback dolphins or their actual costs and willingness to pay for them (Arbieu et al., 2018;Ament et al., 2017;Balmford et al., 2015;Di Minin and Moilanen, 2014;Naidoo et al., 2016). Therefore, we need to propose a new method to quantify environmental supply. ...
Article
Human activities are considered a critical impact factor for decision-making in coupled human-nature systems, such as conservation of coastal systems. Identifying key human activities that cause significant habitat degradation for coastal species remains challenging. We improved the spatial subsidy approach to identify and prioritize control strategies for human-caused distribution shifts of marine species. We applied this method to a threatened Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin (Sousa chinensis) in Xiamen Bay, China. Our results indicate that (1) a significant distribution shift for humpback dolphins from existing nature reserves to peripheral waters occurred from 2011 to 2014; (2) coastal tourism and industrial and urban construction had more significant negative impacts on humpback dolphins than maritime transportation and reclamation; and (3) proactive management should be implemented for maritime transportation and reclamation, while reactive management should be implemented for coastal tourism and industrial and urban construction. Human impact analysis, combined with spatially explicit modeling, contributes to determining the spatial alternatives for conservation planning. In response to possible ecological damage caused by human activities, the improved spatial subsidy results help provide knowledge and platforms for ecological compensation.
... The study was conducted in ten protected areas distributed across KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo provinces, South Africa ( Fig. 1), which represent highly suitable leopard and lion habitat (E Di Minin & Moilanen, 2014;Riggio et al., 2013;Swanepoel, Lindsey, Somers, van Hoven, & Dalerum, 2013). Study sites were state-run (n = 3) and private (n = 7) protected areas that form part of a national leopard monitoring initiative established to systematically assess leopard population status across South Africa. ...
Article
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1.Although interspecific competition plays a principle role in shaping species behaviour and demography, little is known about the population‐level outcomes of competition between large carnivores, and the mechanisms that facilitate coexistence. 2.We conducted a multi‐landscape analysis of two widely distributed, threatened large carnivore competitors to offer insight into coexistence strategies and assist with species‐level conservation. 3.We evaluated how interference competition affects occupancy, temporal activity and population density of a dominant competitor, the lion (Panthera leo), and its subordinate competitor, the leopard (Panthera pardus). We collected camera‐trap data over three years in ten study sites covering 5,070 km2. We used multispecies occupancy modelling to assess spatial responses in varying environmental and prey conditions and competitor presence, and examined temporal overlap and the relationship between lion and leopard densities across sites and years. 4.Results showed that both lion and leopard occupancy was independent of – rather than conditional on – their competitor's presence across all environmental covariates. Marginal occupancy probability for leopard was higher in areas with more bushy, ‘hideable’ habitat, human (tourist) activity and topographic ruggedness, whereas lion occupancy decreased with increasing hideable habitat and increased with higher abundance of very large prey. Temporal overlap was high between carnivores and there was no detectable relationship between species densities. 5.Lions pose a threat to the survival of individual leopards, but they exerted no tractable influence on leopard spatial or temporal dynamics. Furthermore, lions did not appear to suppress leopard populations, suggesting that intraguild competitors can coexist in the same areas without population decline. Aligned conservation strategies that promote functioning ecosystems, rather than target individual species, are therefore advised to achieve cost‐ and space‐effective conservation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... First, multiple surrogate species are better than any single surrogate species, because management actions that target a single species do not necessarily benefit the conservation of all co-occurring species, especially those limited by different ecological factors (Carroll et al., 2001, Roberge andAngelstam, 2004, but see Olds et al., 2014 for an effective single-species design). Second, surrogate species from a given taxon may not necessarily confer protection to assemblages composed of other taxa (Breckheimer et al., 2014;Di Minin and Moilanen, 2014). Third, a systematic selection of a diverse set of species has proven to reflect well the needs of other species (Roberge and Angelstam, 2004;Cushman and Landguth, 2012). ...
... We conclude with three main recommendations: conservation priorities in multiple-use habitats may be better identified by using surrogate groups rather than single flagship species; surrogate group identification may be more accurate if based on local empirical data than literature from other areas; and the divergences in conservation needs among surrogate groups may require simultaneous implementation of both preservationist and coexistence-based policies in multiple-use landscapes. While the charisma of flagship species will remain critical to leverage public support for conservation, actual conservation planning should be based on habitat assessments for multiple species (Di Minin & Moilanen, 2014). ...
Article
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In biodiversity-rich landscapes that are developing rapidly, it is generally impossible to delineate land use and prioritize conservation actions in relation to the full variability of species and their responses to anthropogenic activity. Consequently, conservation policy often focuses on protecting habitat used by a few flagship, indicator or umbrella species like tigers Panthera tigris and Asian elephants Elephas maximus, which potentially leaves out species that do not share these habitat preferences. We demonstrate an empirical approach that clustered 14 mammals into surrogate groups that reflect their unique conservation needs. We surveyed a 787 km2 multiple-use area in the Shencottah Gap of the Western Ghats, India, using foot surveys and camera-trap surveys. Using ecological niche factor analysis, we generated indices of species prevalence (marginality and tolerance) and habitat preferences (factor correlations to marginality axis). We then clustered species by both of the above index types to reveal four clusters based on prevalence and four clusters based on habitat preference. Most clusters contained at least one threatened species. Low-prevalence lion-tailed macaques Macaca silenus and tigers were strongly associated with closed forests and low human disturbance. But elephants, sloth bears Melursus ursinus and gaur Bos gaurus were more tolerant of anthropogenic impact, and sloth bears and gaur preferred open forests and grasslands. Dhole Cuon alpinus and sambar Rusa unicolor were associated with highly anthropogenic habitat (farmland, cash crop and forestry plantations) with high human use. Thus, reliance on flagship species for conservation planning can both underestimate and overestimate the ability of other species to persist in multiple-use landscapes; protecting flagship species would only protect species with similar habitat preferences. For species that avoid human impacts more than the flagship species, core habitat must be protected from human disturbance. For more tolerant species, conservation in anthropogenic habitat may hinge on policies that bolster coexistence with humans.
... The former tends to prevail, generating a species-centered practice that Ernest Small calls "the New Noah's Ark" [15] for its necessary exclusion of a large share of organisms. Those species that are easier to identify and observe, aesthetically remarkable, and thrilling to encounter receive a disproportionate share of attention from the global assemblage of conservation actors [15][16][17]. One analysis found that the "flagship species" of environmental groups are best explained in terms of marketing theory rather than ecological significance [18]. ...
Article
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Across the Gobi Desert in China and Mongolia, millions of newly planted trees struggle to survive amid adverse ecological conditions. They were planted by a wide variety of actors in an attempt to protect, restore, or modify the local environment, despite evidence of their negative consequences upon local ecosystems. This paper investigates how these afforestation projects both challenge and affirm recent theoretical work on conservation, while also providing key insights into the decision-making framework of land management across the world’s third largest desert region. This analysis, supported by evidence from corporate practice, government policy, and participant observation, builds primarily on the work of Jamie Lorimer and other authors who identify the charisma of certain species as a primary driver of contemporary conservation. But the case of afforestation in the Gobi is inadequately explained by a desire to protect individual species; rather, I show how the charisma at the level of the landscape influences conservation practice. I extend this analysis to suggest that the management of deserts worldwide may be mediated by their perception as absent or empty spaces, thus explaining projects like afforestation which seem to re-place rather than conserve. Using the framework of absence and presence to better understand land use and environmental governance could have implications extending well beyond the Gobi Desert.
... China has implemented two important policies, the Natural Forest Conservation Program and the Grain-to-Green Program, which not only help conserve the giant panda's natural habitat ranges, but also make it possible for the government to establish national nature reserves dedicated to its protection (Li & Pimm, 2016;Ren et al., 2015). Conservation planning, as a complex process that often accounts for different goals and many species apart from those well known for their charisma, has relied on proxies like the giant panda to describe, characterize, and measure aspects of progress and overall biodiversity (Di Minin & Moilanen, 2014). While charismatic megafauna are not perfect stand-ins for threatened biodiversity, their effective marketing value can facilitate vital policies and funding that make conservation practices possible, and by sharing the spotlight with other species, charismatic megafauna can bring other threats to the forefront of conservation discourse. ...
Chapter
While anthropogenic climate change, habitat loss from human encroachment, and poaching are leading to increased rates of extinction, mass audiences are exposed to only a few endangered species. These charismatic species become central to conservation efforts worldwide, and no species has become more ubiquitous than the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Through a mixed-methods analysis of the giant panda’s rise to prominence, this chapter advances understanding of the species’ significance in mediated conservation discourse, what roles it plays in global conservation, and what implications a panda-centric point of view may have in protecting endangered and threatened species worldwide.
... 65% of the 57 ranges in Canada's distribution of boreal caribou contain areas with > 10 mammals or birds considered at-risk, offering abundant opportunities to simultaneously conserve caribou and other imperilled fauna, and iii. Recent evidence that forest management practices aimed at maintaining caribou habitat can directly benefit other boreal fauna (Bichet et al., 2016), suggest that woodland caribou in Canada, like other mammals with wide public appeal (Di Minin and Moilanen, 2014), has high value as an umbrella species for boreal biodiversity. ...
Article
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Understanding how conservation of woodland caribou, an at-risk species for which large undisturbed areas are often proposed to maintain viable populations, can contribute to conservation of boreal biodiversity is an important consideration for an ecosystem warming at twice the global average and experiencing rapid resource development. We assess the focal or 'umbrella' value of the boreal population of woodland caribou for conservation of mammalian and avian richness (n = 432) in the boreal region of Canada by (i) evaluating co-occurrence of caribou distribution with that of boreal mammals (n = 102), birds (n = 330), at-risk mammals (n = 11) and at-risk birds (n = 47); and (ii) conducting systematic conservation planning using MARXAN software to identify minimum representative and complementary reserve networks, comprised of planning units deemed large enough (10,000 km 2) for persistence of terrestrial wildlife, both at the extent of boreal caribou distribution and the entire boreal region. While boreal caribou overlap with the range of 90% of boreal birds and mammals, area-efficient networks representative of boreal diversity focus on species-rich areas south of caribou distribution and other areas that contain relatively small-ranged species. A similar pattern occurs when the MARXAN analysis focused only on caribou distribution, i.e. representative networks are preferentially located on southern herd ranges. However, this situation differs markedly to include large areas within the distribution of caribou if anthropogenic footprint on the landscape is considered as a constraint on reserve design. Efforts to sustain boreal caribou offer considerable opportunities to conserve diversity of co-occurring mammals and birds, including areas of the relatively more disturbed caribou southern ranges that have irreplaceable value in an efficient and representative pan-boreal network of reserves. The high focal value of boreal caribou for animal diversity should be considered when making decisions and policy choices about how to best allocate conservation efforts across its extensive distribution.
... In other words, the PI and the AI have different environmental drivers, indicating that one of these indices cannot replace the other. Consistently no single biodiversity surrogate can fully reflect regional biodiversity (Di Minin andMoilanen, 2014, Yang et al., 2016), and this is universal, even in areas with environmental heterogeneity. Therefore, coupling the environmentally heterogeneous regions, which have multiple dimensions of biodiversity, will help increase the effectiveness of biodiversity conservation within priority conservation areas based on environmental heterogeneity. ...
Article
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Understanding regional environmental heterogeneity (EH) and biodiversity relationships (heterogeneity-diversity relationships: HDRs) is the first step toward coupling environmental variables with biodiversity surrogates into regional systematic conservation planning. However, there is no universal method for determining regional HDRs that considers various environmental variables and biodiversity in different regions. This study selected 32 nature reserves as natural areas in Yunnan, China, to examine regional HDRs in Yunnan. We calculated 17 EH parameters (of soil, topography, and climate) and three (ecosystem, plant, and animal) biodiversity indices in the nature reserves. By examining the explanatory power of each EH parameter and area of the nature reserve, we identified the primary parameters and constructed an optimal model for each biodiversity index. The explanatory powers of these parameters varied for each biodiversity index, and those of climatic parameters were generally higher than soil and topographic heterogeneity ones. Heterogeneity of the temperature annual range, followed by area and heterogeneity of soil type, were important parameters for ecosystem diversity of Yunnan and the optimal model explained 56.9%. Plant diversity was explained 54.5% by its optimal model, consisting of heterogeneity of precipitation of the coldest quarter and annual precipitation. Heterogeneity of temperature annual range was important for animal diversity in Yunnan and explained 29.6% of its optimal model. This study suggests that EH parameters can be an effective surrogate for biodiversity, therefore, we suggested that the significance and role of climatically heterogeneous regions for the conservation of biodiversity in Yunnan should be further studied in the future.
... Nor need they be threatened; choice experiments suggest threatened species do not receive more money from public donations (Senzaki et al., 2017). Instead, selected species are often 'charismatic megafauna'large animals with high public appeal (Di Minin and Moilanen, 2014). 'Charismatic' refers to aesthetically appealing species, which are often anthropomorphic (e.g. with forward-facing eyes), vertebrates (particularly mammals), and highly sentient (Ducarme et al., 2013;Lorimer, 2007;Veríssimo et al., 2011). ...
... Our approach is flexible in that it can accommodate different objectives according to organizational values 32 , but is grounded in traditional planning principles that underpin current global conservation policies for representation and complementarity ( Supplementary Fig. 1). This guarantees that all measured biodiversity 33 , not just biodiversity that co-occurs with desirable species or places, is safeguarded in the prioritization approach 30,34 . ...
Article
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Conservation strategies based on charismatic flagship species, such as tigers, lions, and elephants, successfully attract funding from individuals and corporate donors. However, critics of this species-focused approach argue it wastes resources and often does not benefit broader biodiversity. If true, then the best way of raising conservation funds excludes the best way of spending it. Here we show that this conundrum can be resolved, and that the flagship species approach does not impede cost-effective conservation. Through a tailored prioritization approach, we identify places containing flagship species while also maximizing global biodiversity representation (based on 19,616 terrestrial and freshwater species). We then compare these results to scenarios that only maximized biodiversity representation, and demonstrate that our flagship-based approach achieves 79−89% of our objective. This provides strong evidence that prudently selected flagships can both raise funds for conservation and help target where these resources are best spent to conserve biodiversity. Conservation actions focused on flagship species are effective at raising funds and awareness. Here, McGowan et al. show that prioritizing areas for conservation based on the presence of flagship species results in the selection of areas with ~ 79-89% of the total species that would be selected by maximizing biodiversity representation only.
... Systematic conservation planning aiming at safeguarding the maximum number of species is very efficient when species occurrences are thoroughly known (Carvalho et al., 2011;Moilanen et al., 2006). However, in many parts of the world it is almost impossible to have a complete tally of species at any given site, or even distribution data for most species, due to the resources required; therefore, pinpointing places of importance for biodiversity can be challenging (Di Minin & Moilanen, 2014). However, while information on distribution of all species in a given habitat or area is typically lacking, often there is information on the distribution of a few high-profile species. ...
Article
Prioritizing candidate areas to achieve species richness representation is relatively straightforward when distributions are known for many taxa; however, it may be challenging in data-poor regions. One approach is to focus on the distribution of a few charismatic species in areas that overlap with areas with little human influence, and another is to expand protection in the vicinity of existing protected areas. We assessed the effectiveness of these two approaches for protecting the potential distribution of 21 bird species affiliated with the piedmont dry forest in Argentina. We assessed the degree to which current protected areas met the representation target for each bird species. We found that 8% of the piedmont dry forest and 11% of the extent of occurrence of the bird species within piedmont dry forest were protected, indicating a shortfall. Areas with little human influence that overlap with the distribution of charismatic species had a higher number of bird species than areas with high human influence. Areas within the vicinity of protected areas performed similarly to priority areas, but included high human influence areas. We suggest that a prioritization scheme based on areas of charismatic species distribution that overlap with areas of low human influence can function as an effective surrogate for bird species affiliated with the piedmont dry forest in Argentina. Our results have operational implications for conservation planning in those regions of the world where biodiversity data are poor, but where decisions and actions to sustain biodiversity are urgently needed.
... Besides the irreversible loss of vertebrates themselves, the extinction and declines in vertebrate population might change the species composition in local community and further cause great loss in ecosystem function (Dirzo et al., 2014;Tilman et al., 2014;Bello et al., 2015). In addition, threatened vertebrates are often used as umbrella species or surrogates of conservation (Wiens et al., 2008;Di Minin and Moilanen, 2014;Li and Pimm, 2016;Magg et al., 2019), because their critical attributes reflecting the complexity, uniqueness and endangerment of biodiversity (Bonn et al., 2002;Luo et al., 2015). A bunch of evidences have indicated that current species extinction rates are much higher than the natural background (Pimm et al., 2014;Ceballos et al., 2015), and the risk of species extinction is still increasing (IUCN, 2019). ...
... While this resolution may reduce omission errors (when the species is mistakenly thought to be absent) in the distribution data, it may still suffer from commission errors (when the species is mistakenly thought to be present). Beyond the local studies which are already available (Sergio et al., 2006(Sergio et al., , 2008Burgas et al., 2014;Di Minin and Moilanen, 2014), it will be thus important to perform surrogacy analyses of the type presented here at the national or regional level and by considering a broader taxonomic diversity, including non-avian species. This can be possible by harnessing the unprecedented information on species ecology, life-history and biogeography that is now made available thanks to citizen science programs and open data platforms such as e-bird and Global Biodiversity Information Facility (Fink et al., 2020;GBIF.org, ...
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Stemming from a pervasive lack of knowledge on biodiversity, important areas for conservation are typically identified using a subset of well known species, commonly termed surrogate or indicator groups. Birds have been commonly used as biodiversity surrogates due to the good level of knowledge on their taxonomy, ecology and distribution. Raptors in particular have been often proposed as an effective surrogate for other biodiversity based on their dietary diversity, being at the top of the food chain, their preference for highly productive areas, their generally threatened status and high public appeal. However, so far the surrogacy effectiveness of raptors has been largely studied locally or using a narrow selection of surrogate and surrogated taxa. Here we use a spatial conservation planning tool to quantify the surrogacy performance of raptors, overall and by different raptor groups (hawks and eagles, falcons, vultures, owls) to represent important biodiversity areas (such as IUCN protected areas and key biodiversity areas), wilderness areas and the worlds ecoregions. We compared the above surrogacy performance with that of all other non-raptor avian species. We show that raptors perform marginally worse than all other avian species in representing important biodiversity areas and ecoregions. However, raptors representation for wilderness areas was similar or slightly better compared to that of using all non-raptor birds. We also report a large variation in the representation performance by the four raptor groups. Falcons had a particularly high potential in representing protected areas and wilderness areas, equaling or largely surpassing the representation potential provided by all raptors and all other non-raptor birds. Overall, the results suggest that raptors, and particularly falcons, can perform relatively well in representing some important areas for conservation, such as protected areas and wilderness areas, but are relatively poor surrogates for key biodiversity areas and ecoregions. These rather contrasting results call for caution on the use of raptors as global surrogates of wider biodiversity.
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The Mexican Mountain Component (MMC) includes six biogeographical provinces. In this manuscript, we propose to use endemic taxa as surrogates to prioritize for conservation areas of the MMC. We use the distribution of 24 endemic mammals to prioritize conservation sites in the MMC and to evaluate the current Mexican system of protected natural areas (PNA). We used species distribution models and the software ConsNet 2.0 to prioritize areas for conservation, evaluating two algorithms (the representation maximization problem, and the area minimization problem) and two different representation targets (10 % and 25 %) of the distributional area of endemic taxa. In addition, we considered the effects of including existing PNA and/or excluding areas with altered vegetation. The representation maximization problem including current PNA was ineffective for reaching conservation targets. Meanwhile, all area minimization problems allowed us to prioritize areas reaching the targets of surrogates. In particular, a strategy that considers area minimization problem using a target of 10 % of the distribution of surrogates, including PNA and excluding the altered vegetation, was the most favorable for maintaining the distributional patterns of the endemic mammals. This solution proposes the protection of a total of 37,460 km2, covering areas with altitude above 2,400 m located mainly in the Sierra Madre Occidental, the Transmexican Volcanic Belt, and provinces of the Sierra Madre del Sur. A prioritization strategy based on the distribution of endemic mammals as surrogates can help to maintain the distributional patterns of endemism of the Mexican biota.
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Charismatic megafauna have been used as icons and financial drivers of conservation efforts worldwide given that they are useful surrogates for biodiversity in general. However, tests of this premise have been constrained by data limitations, especially at large scales. Here we overcome this problem by combining large-scale citizen-sourced data with intensive expert observations of two endangered charismatic species, Blakiston’s fish owl (forest specialist) and the red-crowned crane (wetland specialist). We constructed large-scale maps of species richness for 52 forest and 23 grassland/wetland bird species using hierarchical community modeling and citizen-sourced data at 1, 2, 5, and 10-km grid resolutions. We compared the species richness of forest and grassland/wetland birds between the breeding and non-breeding sites of the two charismatic birds at each of the four spatial resolutions, and then assessed the scale dependency of the biodiversity surrogates. Regardless of the habitat amounts, owl and crane breeding sites had higher forest and grassland/wetland bird species richness, respectively. However, this surrogacy was more effective at finer scales (1–2-km resolutions), which corresponds to the charismatic species’ home range sizes (up to 9.4 ± 2.0 km2 for fish owls, and 3–4 km2 for cranes). Species richness showed the highest spatial variations at 1–2-km resolutions. We suggest that the agreement of functional scales between surrogate species and broader biodiversity is essential for successful surrogacy, and that habitat conservation and restoration targeting multiple charismatic species with different specialties can complement to biodiversity conservation.
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The management of protected areas (PAs) is widely used in the conservation of endangered plant species under climate change. However, studies that have identified appropriate PAs for endangered fern species are rare. To address this gap, we must develop a workflow to plan appropriate PAs for endangered fern species that will be further impacted by climate change. Here, we used endangered fern species in China as a case study, and we applied conservation planning software coupled with endangered fern species distribution data and distribution modeling to plan conservation areas with high priority protection needs under climate change. We identified appropriate PAs for endangered fern species under climate change based on the IUCN protected area categories (from Ia to VI) and planned additional PAs for endangered fern species. The high priority regions for protecting the endangered fern species were distributed throughout southern China. With decreasing temperature seasonality, the priority ranking of all endangered fern species is projected to increase in existing PAs. Accordingly, we need to establish conservation areas with low climate vulnerability in existing PAs and expand the conservation areas for endangered fern species in the high priority conservation regions. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s40064-016-2588-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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Transfrontier conservation areas potentially play a key role in conserving biodiversity and promoting socioeconomic development. However, socio-political factors often affect their effectiveness in achieving biodiversity conservation and sustainable development objectives. Following a transdisciplinary approach, I assessed the challenges and opportunities in conserving and managing the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) population within the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area (GMTFCA) in Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe, southern Africa. The results showed that the current rate of offtake of bull elephant in the GMTFCA is unsustainable. At current rates of hunting, in fact, trophy bulls were predicted to disappear from the population in less than 10 years. Elephant densities were higher in South Africa and Botswana where the gross domestic product is higher. In addition, elephant densities were higher at sites where the proportion of agricultural land around them was the lowest and where vegetation productivity was the highest. Trophy hunting, as well as other localised human activities, also affected the distribution of elephant within sites, forcing them to trade-off between disturbance avoidance and the availability of food and water. While at the international level, a significant body of law and policy relevant to elephant conservation exists, I found that there was little cooperation among Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe, and a lack of implementation of these provisions on a national and trilateral level. Overall, this study confirmed that poverty was an important factor affecting elephant abundance at the country level, but highlighted that, at the site level, anthropogenic disturbance played a crucial role. A revision of the current hunting quotas within each country and the establishment of a single multi-jurisdictional (cross-border) management authority regulating the hunting of elephant is needed. Further, to reduce the impact of increasing human populations and agricultural expansion, the development of coordinated legislation and policies to improve land use planning, and the development of conservation corridors to link current protected areas, is needed. The issues regarding the management of this elephant population illustrate the significant challenges involved in achieving a comprehensive, consistent and effective implementation of a transboundary population approach. Southern African countries make an important contribution to elephant conservation and could soon become the last stronghold of elephant conservation in sub-Saharan Africa. Therefore, immediate actions are needed to reduce pressures from human activities in order to enhance the long-term persistence of the species.
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Global biodiversity loss seriously threatens the multiple functions and services of ecosystems. Cost-effectively and representatively identifying micro-priority areas on the fine scale is an effective way to promote the success of regional biodiversity conservation. This study selected the endangered, endemic and national protected plants in the southeastern Himalayas priority area as surrogate taxa to represent community biodiversity of the region. Systematic conservation planning model (Zonation) was used along with data on habitat suitability (Maxent) of each plant species to systematically identify the biodiversity micro-priority areas in the study area and analyze its ecological representativeness. Accordingly, the conservation gaps in the study areas were identified. Our results show that: (1) the species distribution model accurately predicts that these representative plant species are mainly concentrated in southeastern Tibet; (2) the identified micro-priority areas are mainly distributed in the high mountains and valleys in southeastern Tibet, the original lake basins and valleys in southern Tibet, and the middle section of the Himalayas in southwestern Tibet; (3) The micro-priority areas identified based on endangered species surrogate has better ecological representation for ecosystem and its services, but it is also necessary to combine species, ecosystem and its services to identify micro-priority areas in conservation planning in the future; (4) There are some differences in the geographical distribution between the micro-priority areas and the in situ protected areas. The conservation gaps were mainly located in Zayü, northern Mêdog, northern Lhozhag, southern Nagrze, Kamba, Yadong, Kangmar, and central Saga. The future optimization work in the national park planning in the southeastern Himalayas should focus on these gap areas. This research can provide methodological support to improve the effectiveness of biodiversity conservation on a fine scale, and provide decision support for local administration to integrate and optimize the protected areas system.
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Gaps in research exist for country-wide analyses to identify areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services to help reach Aichi Target 11 in developing countries. Here we provide a spatial conservation prioritization approach that ranks landowners for maximizing the representation of biodiversity features and ecosystem services, while exploring the trade-offs with agricultural and commercial forestry production and land cost, using Uruguay as a case study. Specifically, we explored four policy scenarios, ranging from a business as usual scenario where only biodiversity and ecosystem services were included in the analysis to a potentially unsustainable scenario where expansion of alternative land uses and economic development would be given higher priority over biodiversity and ecosystem services. At the 17% land target proposed for conservation, the representation levels for biodiversity and ecosystem services were, on average, higher under the business as usual scenario. However, a small addition to the proposed target (from 17 to 20%) allowed to meet same representation levels for biodiversity and ecosystem services, while decreasing conflict with agricultural and commercial forestry production and opportunity costs to local landowners. Under the unsustainable scenario, a striking 41% addition to the conservation target (from 17 to 58%) was needed to meet same representation levels for threatened ecosystems and ecosystem services, which are crucial to sustain human well-being. Our results highlight that more realistic and potentially higher conservation targets, than politically set targets, can be achieved at the country level when sustainable development needs are also accounted for.
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Countries committed to implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity's 2011–2020 strategic plan need effective tools to monitor global trends in biodiversity. Remote cameras are a rapidly growing technology that has great potential to transform global monitoring for terrestrial biodiversity and can be an important contributor to the call for measuring Essential Biodiversity Variables. Recent advances in camera technology and methods enable researchers to estimate changes in abundance and distribution for entire communities of animals and to identify global drivers of biodiversity trends. We suggest that interconnected networks of remote cameras will soon monitor biodiversity at a global scale, help answer pressing ecological questions, and guide conservation policy. This global network will require greater collaboration among remote-camera studies and citizen scientists, including standardized metadata, shared protocols, and security measures to protect records about sensitive species. With modest investment in infrastructure, and continued innovation, synthesis, and collaboration, we envision a global network of remote cameras that not only provides real-time biodiversity data but also serves to connect people with nature.
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Large carnivores play important roles in structuring ecosystems, but carnivores are often the first species lost from an ecosystem. Carnivores are important conservation tools to protect, garner support for, and indicates changes in, biodiversity. One of the challenges in understanding both the ecological and conservation roles of carnivores, however, is that they tend to be rare and elusive. Furthermore, the need for conservation is increasing while budgets for conservation remain tight. Efficiency is needed to monitor multiple carnivore species. Remote cameras may offer an efficient means to meet these challenges collecting data simultaneously on many species. Data from cameras for species that are not uniquely identifiable can be used to estimate occupancy, i.e. the proportion of area occupied. Occupancy data is cost-effective and a recommended state variable to monitor population trends. As with any new monitoring method, prospective power analysis is essential. Using n = 183 remote cameras across 5 national parks, I test how camera-based occupancy models can monitor changes in grizzly bear occupancy. As hypothesized, statistical power increased with both the number of cameras and the number of days cameras were deployed, but power was not affected by the ecological mechanisms of decline. Furthermore, when monitoring multiple species, species-specific occupancy and detection probability estimates can affect statistical power. I also examined how sampling scales define occupancy and occupancy-abundance relationships (OA) in mobile animals. I found that the temporal scale of sampling greatly affected the definition of occupancy, which ranges from occupancy of single or multiple individuals, to partial use by one individual or many individuals. With point-sampling, however, spatial grain had little affect on occupancy estimates or the OA relationship, helping pave the way for robust multi-species monitoring. Ideally, multiple-species monitoring can also provide information on how species interact in food-webs. Using occupancy models for 16 mammal species in the Canadian Rockies (n = 698 cameras), I compare carnivores as candidate umbrella species and assesses their ecological role in food-web structure. Grizzly bear occupancy was highly correlated with other species’ occupancy, but wolves were more correlated with how food webs changed across the landscape. This corroborates the importance of wolves as a keystone species and advances the umbrella-species concept beyond conserving biodiversity. With the insights gained from my research, camera networks can be easily scaled-up to monitoring the planet's biodiversity. Remote cameras excite public support to ultimately help make successes in global conservation possible.
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To quantify and compare species coverage in priority areas for conservation identified using species richness as opposed to approaches that use individual species range maps. Global. We compare the coverage of species when global priority areas for conservation are identified based on (1) twelve species richness maps of all and small-range amphibians, birds and mammals and all and small-range threatened (i.e., vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered) species; (2) weighted range size rarity, a richness measure corrected for range size; and (3) a complementarity-based analysis including species range maps for 21,075 terrestrial vertebrate species listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. We also assessed whether any combination of small-range and/or threatened species richness could be a suitable surrogate for a complementarity-based analysis by assessing species coverage in priority areas located using (1) richness of small-range species only; (2) richness of all threatened species only; and (3) richness of small-range and threatened species. Our results show clear differences in the spatial pattern of priority areas for conservation among the prioritizations based on species richness, weighted range size rarity and species range maps, with the species richness-based priority areas being highly aggregated in the tropics and the species range map priority areas being more evenly spread among the global terrestrial area. We also find that identifying priority areas for conservation using species richness produces a lower coverage of species than priority areas based on complementarity methods and identified using species range maps, where just one species was left without any protection. As methods and software currently exist for processing large numbers of individual species distribution maps in spatial prioritization, the use of species richness appears to be an unnecessary simplification of biodiversity pattern.
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Conservation relies heavily on external funding, much of it from a supportive public. Therefore it is important to know which species are most likely to catalyse such funding. Whilst previous work has looked at the physical attributes that contribute to a species’ appeal, no previous studies have tried to examine the extent to which a species’ sympatriots might contribute to it's potential as flagship for wider conservation. Therefore, here we estimate ‘flexibility’ and ‘appeal’ scores for all terrestrial mammals (n = 4320) and identify which of these might serve as ambassadors (defined as both highly appealing and flexible). Relatively few mammals (between 240 and 331) emerged as ambassadors, with carnivores featuring heavily in this group (representing 5% of terrestrial mammals but 39% of ambassadors). ‘Top ambassadors’ were defined as those with both flexibility and appeal scores greater than 1 standard deviation above the mean. Less than a quarter of the 20 most endangered and evolutionary distinct species in this study were classed as ambassadors, highlighting the need for surrogate species to catalyse conservation effort in areas with such priority species. This is the first global analysis bringing together flexibility and appeal for all terrestrial mammals, and demonstrates an approach for determining how best to market species in order to achieve maximal conservation gain in a world with urgent conservation need but limited resources.
Article
Funding constraints highlight the need for efficient approaches to manage wildlife habitat. One such approach is to monitor a single species that serves as an indicator of management effectiveness. The grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) is an obligate species of dry, upland prairie that has been proposed as a surrogate species for the Eastern Tallgrass Prairie, USA. To evaluate whether this species (or another) would make a suitable indicator for grassland birds, we examined the strength of associations in the density and occurrence of grasshopper sparrows and densities of other grassland species: sedge wren (Cistothorus platensis), Savannah sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis), Henslow's sparrow (A. henslowii), dickcissel (Spiza americana), bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus), and western meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta). No single species was a good predictor for all other species, but grasshopper sparrow density was the best predictor of the densities of other obligate upland prairie species. We also compared avian community composition between grassland sites with and without grasshopper sparrows; densities of all species except sedge wren were significantly higher at sites with grasshopper sparrows. Therefore, the grasshopper sparrow is the best choice as a single indicator species for tallgrass prairies within our study area. However, a better approach would be to select multiple, complementary indicator species to ensure that species not well-indicated by grasshopper sparrows are adequately represented. © 2018 The Wildlife Society.
Thesis
The loss of biodiversity is largely acknowledged by the scientific community but also by the public and politicians. Most research on biodiversity loss is focused on climate change effects, and neglects the main factor of biodiversity loss: habitat destruction. The aim of this thesis is to study species-habitats relationships with a particular focus on the different components of these relationships. In a first part, the thesis deals with the history and the evolution of the concept of habitat in ecology. Particularly, it highlights a complex construction of this concept. For instance, the analysis shows a dichotomy around the definition of the concept of habitat with on one hand, a species-centered approach and on the other hand, a community-centered approach. These definitions are still used nowadays by the different actors of conservation, from scientists to politicians, but with different degrees of importance. Then, through the prism of landscape ecology, the thesis is interested in spatial scale issues via a study of arthropods species distribution in French landscapes. Results show that the spatial scales of species responses to landscapes measures are highly variable. This result holds true whatever the representation of landscape used in the analysis. However, theory would predict some consistencies in spatial scales of response, for example in relation to ecological traits of species. Hence, the spatial scale of relationship between a species and its landscape, which is considered as the scale of perception and interaction of the species with its environment, seems difficult to characterize using usual methodology developed in landscape ecology. Species-habitats relationships can be quantified using specialization measurement. In the next part of the thesis, we try to understand how specialist species are spread along a continuous gradient of habitat and in particular, the role of heterogeneous environments in driving observed patterns of specialization. In this theoretical context, the hypothesis of complementation, which states that particular species need some environmental heterogeneity to strive, cannot be verified. Even if some species prefer heterogeneous landscape, they cannot be classified as specialists. These species seems to be generalists that are excluded from more homogeneous landscape due to competition rather than real specialists that are more often found in these landscapes. These results shed a new light on rules of assemblage of species communities, particularly along a continuous gradient of habitat.Finally, in a last part, the importance of the concept of habitat in conservation public policies is studied. An evaluation of the “habitat” part of the European Habitats Directive is proposed. Different criteria, related to the application, construction, legitimacy and outcomes of the directive were used to evaluate the policy. Through some concrete examples and an extensive literature analysis, this work allows identifying important knowledge gaps in the directive that imped evaluation criteria. Results show a discrepancy between scientific aspects and their application in the directive, questioning the opportunity to use the habitat level to answer to conservation issues. To conclude, this thesis, focused on the concept of habitat, allows identifying important theoretical and applied knowledge gaps that imped a better understanding of species-habitats relationships. This work offers new perspectives and challenges the way we usually think, as scientists, these relationships.
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L’Algérie est un cas d’école en matière d’ignorance en biodiversité. A ce jour, on ne dispose d'aucun inventaire complet pour aucun taxon ni aucun atlas à l’échelle du pays ! Pourtant, l’Algérie est d’une grande importance pour la biodiversité mondiale. La façade littorale de l’Algérie fait partie du hostpot de biodiversité mondial qui est le pourtour méditerranéen et compte plusieurs points rouges de biodiversité régionaux. Par ailleurs, la partie saharienne contient une diversité d’organismes endémiques adaptés aux fortes conditions de sécheresse. Les autorités algériennes déploient un projet ambitieux pour la conservation en fixant 50 % de la surface du pays comme objectif pour les aires protégées ! Mais, l’emplacement de ces aires protégées et leur gestion n’obéit pas à des critères basés sur une bonne connaissance de la diversité, mais sont plutôt panifiés à dire d’expert. L’objectif général de cette thèse c’est l’étude de la distribution de l’ignorance en biodiversité en Algérie en se concentrant sur les « Linnean, Wallacean et Darwinian Shortfalls » et de contribuer à les réduire. J’ai consacré un chapitre qui a pour but de réduire le Linnean Shortfall en proposant 1) une première checklist des reptiles et amphibiens d’Algérie qui est le fruit d’un examen précis des publications scientifiques sur ces taxons en Afrique du Nord. 2) une première pré-évaluation des statuts de conservations des reptiles et amphibiens d’Algérie pour la production de la première liste rouge nationale. La deuxième partie de ce manuscrit traite la question de l’ignorance de la distribution géographique des espèces. Le but de cette partie est de cartographier l’ignorance qui est la différence entre la diversité la richesse spécifique attendue et la richesse spécifique observée. La richesse spécifique attendue a été modélisée avec deux approches : 1 l’utilisation des modèles de niches avec la méthode de maximum d’entropie (MaxEnt) pour prédire les habitats favorables pour chaque espèce puis additionner les différentes couches binaires de présence des espèces pour calculer la richesse spécifique. 2) l’addition des couches des aires d’occurrences des espèces construite par la méthode du minimum convex polygon pour produire la carte de distribution de la richesse spécifique. Les deux approches ont montré la même tendance à l’échelle nationale, c’est-à-dire la concentration des zones les plus riches sur le long de l’Atlas Saharien et des hauts plateaux qui sont la zone de transition entre le Sahara et la partie méditerranéenne de l’Algérie. L’opposition de la partie saharienne globalement pauvre en espèce et la moitié nord plus riche. En fin, les massifs sahariens du Hoggar et Tassili forment une zone très distincte avec une richesse nettement supérieure par rapport au reste du Sahara. Pour ce qui est des lacunes, dans la Partie nord, la Kabylie, le parc national d’El Kala et la région d’Oran sont assez bien prospectées. Dans le Sahara, seuls quelques points sont assez bien prospectés comme Biskra, Béchar et quelques zones du Hoggar et Tassili. En fin, la troisième partie porte sur la distribution des lignées génétiques dans le Maghreb. Les objectif de cette partie est localiser les zones de sutures entre les lignées génétiques divergentes des populations de l’est et de l’ouest du Maghreb et d’essayer de comprendre les mécanismes qui ont conduit à ce patron de diversité génétique. Pour répondre à ces questions, j’ai effectué une phylogéographie comparées sur 11 espèces de reptiles et amphibiens à distribution continue et large dans le Maghreb. Deux zones de sutures ont été identifiées : une zone à la frontière de l’Algérie et du Maroc, l’autre EN Kabylie à l’ouest de la vallée de la Soummam. Les divergences entre les clades est et les clades ouest ont eu lieu entre la période pré-messinienne jusqu’au à la limite plio-pleistocène et se seraient maintenues dans des refuges climatiques à l’est et à l’ouest du Maghreb.
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Aim On the basis of multitaxon biogeographical processes related to region‐specific geohistory and palaeoclimate, we identified a balanced and area‐effective protected area network (PAN) expansion in the East Asian islands, a global biodiversity hotspot. Location Japanese archipelago, Ryukyu archipelago and Izu‐Bonin oceanic islands. Methods We modelled the distributions of 6,325 species (amphibians, birds, freshwater fish, mammals, plants and reptiles) using 4,389,489 occurrence data points. We then applied the Zonation software for spatial conservation prioritization. First, we identified environmental drivers underpinning taxon‐specific biodiversity patterns. Second, we analysed each taxon individually to understand baseline priority patterns. Third, we combined all taxa into an inclusive analysis to identify the most important PAN expansions. Results Biodiversity patterns were well explained by geographical factors (climate, habitat stability, isolation and area), but their explanatory power differed between the taxa. There was remarkably little overlap between priority areas for the individual higher taxa. The inclusive prioritization analysis across all taxa identified priority regions, in particular in southern subtropical and mountainous areas. Expanding the PAN up to 17% would cover most of the ranges for rare and/or restricted‐range species. On average, approximately 30% of the ranges of all species could be covered by the 17% expansion identified here. Main conclusions Our analyses identified top candidates for the expansion of Japan's protected area network. Taxon‐specific prioritization was informative for understanding the conservation priority patterns of different taxa associated with unique biogeographical processes. For the basis of PAN expansion, we recommend multi‐taxon prioritization as an area‐efficient compromise that reflects taxon‐specific priority patterns. Spatial prioritization across multiple taxa provides a promising start for the development of conservation plans with the aim of long‐term persistence of biodiversity on the East Asian islands.
Chapter
Systematic Conservation Planning is a set of sequential steps to define a comprehensive protected area system in any region or scale. The goal is to ensure that critical biodiversity components, such as populations, species occurrences, ecosystems, or ecological processes, are adequately represented in protected areas, considering the existing ones plus the complementary areas that deserve formal protection. The number and potential spatial solutions for selecting additional areas can be high, so reserve selection algorithms are widely used to solve the problem. Implementing the conservation plan for a region is usually the primary constraint of an SCP because local stakeholders and authorities must agree to put in practice the chosen conservation plan.
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Prioritizing conservation areas is a central theme in conservation biology. The use of surrogate species and landscape metrics to identify areas with high conservation value is common. However, few studies have examined the relative efficacy of these two surrogates. In this study, we compared the efficacy of the presence/absence (PA) of a top predator (Eastern Marsh Harrier, Circus spilonotus) and wetland patch area on species richness, total abundance, and community composition of birds, plants, and small mammals, but species richness and community composition only for plants, in a fragmented wetland landscape. Although harrier PA was an effective indicator of the distribution of birds, it had no significant efficacy on the distributions of plants and small mammals. Patch area was more effective indicator of the distributions of plants and small mammals. These results suggest that surrogate species can be more effective indicators than landscape surrogates when there are ecological linkages between surrogate species and the focal taxa (e.g., similarity of habitat requirements between surrogate species and focal taxa or hetero-specific attraction). On the other hand, landscape surrogates would be useful when ecological knowledge about the relationships is limited.
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More biodiversity could be protected in situ if the few species that attract the most popular support (the ‘flagship’ species) had distributions that also covered the broader diversity of organisms. We studied how well different groups of mammals performed for representing the diversity of mammals and breeding birds among 1° areas of sub-Saharan Africa. We demonstrate that choosing areas of sub-Saharan Africa using either conservationists' six primary flagship mammals, or the six ‘Big Five’ mammals popular with wildlife tourists, is not significantly better for representing the diversity of mammals and birds than choosing areas at random. Furthermore, neither of these groups is significantly better for representing the diversity of mammals and birds than groups of the same number of species chosen at random. We show that in order to succeed in representing many mammals and birds in area selection, it is not sufficient for the groups used for selection to occur in many different eco-regions, they must also have low overlaps in distribution, so as to provide high ecological complementarity (a similar pattern of ecological complementarity must be shared by the larger group of species to be represented). Therefore there may be a need for an explicit policy to balance the requirements of flagship conservation and broader biodiversity conservation, which will have implications for the distribution of resources.
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Spatial conservation prioritization concerns the effective allocation of conservation action. Its stages include development of an ecologically based model of conservation value, data pre-processing, spatial prioritization analysis, and interpretation of results for conservation action. Here we investigate the details of each stage for analyses done using the Zonation prioritization framework. While there is much literature about analytical methods implemented in Zonation, there is only scattered information available about what happens before and after the computational analysis. Here we fill this information gap by summarizing the pre-analysis and post-analysis stages of the Zonation framework. Concerning the entire process, we summarize the full workflow and list examples of operational best-case, worst- case, and typical scenarios for each analysis stage. We discuss resources needed in different analysis stages. We also discuss benefits, disadvantages, and risks involved in the application of spatial prioriti- zation from the perspective of different stakeholders. Concerning pre-analysis stages, we explain the development of the ecological model and discuss the setting of priority weights and connectivity re- sponses.We also explain practical aspects of data pre-processing and the post-processing interpretation of results for different conservation objectives. This work facilitates well-informed design and application of Zonation analyses for the purpose of spatial conservation planning. It should be useful for both sci- entists working on conservation related research as well as for practitioners looking for useful tools for conservation resource allocation
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Detailed large-scale information on mammal distribution has often been lacking, hindering conservation efforts. We used the information from the 2009 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as a baseline for developing habitat suitability models for 5027 out of 5330 known terrestrial mammal species, based on their habitat relationships. We focused on the following environmental variables: land cover, elevation and hydrological features. Models were developed at 300 m resolution and limited to within species' known geographical ranges. A subset of the models was validated using points of known species occurrence. We conducted a global, fine-scale analysis of patterns of species richness. The richness of mammal species estimated by the overlap of their suitable habitat is on average one-third less than that estimated by the overlap of their geographical ranges. The highest absolute difference is found in tropical and subtropical regions in South America, Africa and Southeast Asia that are not covered by dense forest. The proportion of suitable habitat within mammal geographical ranges correlates with the IUCN Red List category to which they have been assigned, decreasing monotonically from Least Concern to Endangered. These results demonstrate the importance of fine-resolution distribution data for the development of global conservation strategies for mammals.
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Conservation planners represent many aspects of biodiversity by using surrogates with spatial distributions readily observed or quantified, but tests of their effectiveness have produced varied and conflicting results. We identified four factors likely to have a strong influence on the apparent effectiveness of surrogates: (1) the choice of surrogate; (2) differences among study regions, which might be large and unquantified (3) the test method, that is, how effectiveness is quantified, and (4) the test features that the surrogates are intended to represent. Analysis of an unusually rich dataset enabled us, for the first time, to disentangle these factors and to compare their individual and interacting influences. Using two data-rich regions, we estimated effectiveness using five alternative methods: two forms of incidental representation, two forms of species accumulation index and irreplaceability correlation, to assess the performance of 'forest ecosystems' and 'environmental units' as surrogates for six groups of threatened species-the test features-mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs, plants and all of these combined. Four methods tested the effectiveness of the surrogates by selecting areas for conservation of the surrogates then estimating how effective those areas were at representing test features. One method measured the spatial match between conservation priorities for surrogates and test features. For methods that selected conservation areas, we measured effectiveness using two analytical approaches: (1) when representation targets for the surrogates were achieved (incidental representation), or (2) progressively as areas were selected (species accumulation index). We estimated the spatial correlation of conservation priorities using an index known as summed irreplaceability. In general, the effectiveness of surrogates for our taxa (mostly threatened species) was low, although environmental units tended to be more effective than forest ecosystems. The surrogates were most effective for plants and mammals and least effective for frogs and reptiles. The five testing methods differed in their rankings of effectiveness of the two surrogates in relation to different groups of test features. There were differences between study areas in terms of the effectiveness of surrogates for different test feature groups. Overall, the effectiveness of the surrogates was sensitive to all four factors. This indicates the need for caution in generalizing surrogacy tests.
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