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The 15th UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (COP15) will be held in Kunming, China in October 2021. Historically, CBDs and other multilateral treaties have either alluded to or entirely overlooked the subterranean biome. A multilateral effort to robustly examine, monitor, and incorporate the subterranean biome into future conservation targets will enable the CBD to further improve the ecological effectiveness of protected areas by including groundwater resources, subterranean ecosystem services, and the profoundly endemic subsurface biodiversity. To this end, we proffer a conservation roadmap that embodies five conceptual areas: (1) science gaps and data management needs; (2) anthropogenic stressors; (3) socioeconomic analysis and conflict resolution; (4) environmental education; and (5) national policies and multilateral agreements.
Received:  June  Accepted:  July 
DOI: ./conl.
A conservation roadmap for the subterranean biome
J. Judson Wynne1Francis G. Howarth2Stefano Mammola3,4
Rodrigo Lopes Ferreira5Pedro Cardoso3Tiziana Di Lorenzo6
Diana M. P. Galassi7Rodrigo A. Medellin8Bruce W. Miller9
David Sánchez-Fernández10 Maria Elina Bichuette11 Jayant Biswas12
Cory W. BlackEagle13 Chaichat Boonyanusith14 Isabel R. Amorim15
Paulo Alexandre Vieira Borges15 Penelope J. Boston16 Reynold N. Cal17
Naowarat Cheeptham18 Louis Deharveng19 David Eme20 Arnaud Faille21
Danté Fenolio22 Cene Fišer23 Žiga Fišer23 Samuel M. ʻOhukaniʻ¯
Gon III24 Forough Goudarzi25 Christian Griebler26 Stuart Halse27
Hannelore Hoch28 Enock Kale29 Aron D. Katz30 Ľubomír Kováč31
Thomas M. Lilley3Shirish Manchi32 Raoul Manenti33 Alejandro Martínez4
Melissa B. Meierhofer3Ana Z. Miller34 Oana Teodora Moldovan35
Matthew L. Niemiller36 Stewart B. Peck37 Thais Giovannini Pellegrini5
Tanja Pipan38 Charity M. Phillips-Lander39 Celso Poot40 Paul A. Racey41
Alberto Sendra42,43 William A. Shear44 Marconi Souza Silva5Stefano Taiti45
Mingyi Tian46 Michael P. Venarsky47 Sebastián Yancovic Pakarati48,49,50
Maja Zagmajster23 Yahui Zhao51
Department of Biological Sciences, Center for Adaptable Western Landscapes, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona
Hawaii Biological Survey, Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii
Finnish Museum of Natural History Luomus, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
DarkMEG—Molecular Ecology Group, Water Research Institute, National Research Council of Italy, Verbania Pallanza, Italy
Centro de Estudos em Biologia Subterrânea, Setor de Biodiversidade Subterrânea, Departamento de Ecologia e Conservação, Universidade Federal de
Lavras, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Research Institute on Terrestrial Ecosystem of the Italian National Research Council, Florence, Italy
Department of Life, Health & Environmental Sciences, University of L’Aquila, L’Aquila, Italy
Instituto de Ecologia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México
Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx Zoo, Bronx, NY (Ret.) and Bat Sound Services, Canadian Lakes, Michigan
 Departamento de Ecología e Hidrología, Universidad de Murcia, Murcia, Spain
 Laboratório de Estudos Subterrâneos, Departamento de Ecologia e Biologia Evolutiva, Universidade Federal de São Carlos, São Carlos, São Paulo,
 National Cave Research and Protection Organization, Raipur, Chhattisgarh, India
 Department of Geosciences, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the
original work is properly cited.
©  The Authors. Conservation Letters published by Wiley Periodicals LLC
Conservation Letters. ;e. 1of6./conl.
2of6 WYNNE  .
 School of Biology, Nakhon Ratchasima Rajabhat University, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
 Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes/Azorean Biodiversity Group and Universidade dos Açores, Faculty of Agrarian and
Environmental Sciences, Azores, Portugal
 NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California
 Runaway Creek Nature Reserve, Belmopan, Belize
 Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada
 Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France
 IFREMER Centre Atlantique, Unité Ecologie et Modèles pour l’Halieutique, Nantes, France
 Stuttgart State Museum of Natural History, Stuttgart, Germany
 Center for Conservation and Research, San Antonio Zoo, San Antonio, Texas
 SubBio Lab, Department of Biology, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
 The Nature Conservancy, Honolulu, Hawaii
 Department of Environment, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran
 Department of Functional and Evolutionary Ecology, Division of Limnology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
 Bennelongia Environmental Consultants, Perth, Australia
 Department Center for Integrative Biodiversity Discovery, Museum für Naturkunde, Leibniz Institute for Research on Evolution and Biodiversity,
Berlin, Germany
 Ecomate Management Ltd., Boroko, NCD, Papua New Guinea
 Engineer Research and Development Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Champaign, Illinois
 Department of Zoology, Institute of Biology and Ecology, P.J. Šafárik University, Košice, Slovakia
 Conservation Ecology Division, Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Coimbatore, India
 Department of Environmental Science and Policy, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy
 Laboratório HERCULES, University of Évora, Évora, Portugal and Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiología de Sevilla, Consejo Superior de
Investigaciones Científicas, Seville, Spain
 Emil Racovita Institute of Speleology, Cluj-Napoca Department, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
 Department of Biological Sciences, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, Alabama
 Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
 ZRC SAZU Karst Research Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia and UNESCO Chair on Karst Education, University of Nova Gorica, Vipava, Slovenia
 Space Science and Engineering Division, Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas
 The Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center, Belmopan, Belize and School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Florida,
Gainesville, Florida
 Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter, UK
 Colecciones Entomológicas Torres-Sala, Servei de Patrimoni Històric, Ajuntament de València, València, Spain
 Departament de Didàctica de les Cièncias Experimentals i Socials, Facultat de Magisteri, Universitat de València, València, Spain
 Department of Biology, Hampden-Sydney College, Hampden Sydney, Virginia
 Istituto di Ricerca sugli Ecosistemi Terrestri CNR-IRET, Museo di Storia Naturale, Sezione di Zoologia, Firenze, Italy
 Department of Entomology, College of Plant Protection, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, China
 Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions, Government of Western Australia, Washington, Kensington, Australia
 Laboratorio de Socioecosistemas, Departamento de Ecología, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
 Consejo Asesor de Monumentos Nacionales de Chile - Rapa Nui, Chile
 Manu Project, Rapa Nui, Chile
 Key Laboratory of Zoological Systematics and Evolution, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
J. Judson Wynne,Department of Biological
Sciences, Center for Adaptable Western
Landscapes, Northern Arizona University,
Flagstaff, AZ .
The th UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (COP) will be held
in Kunming, China in October . Historically, CBDs and other multilat-
eral treaties have either alluded to or entirely overlooked the subterranean
biome. A multilateral effort to robustly examine, monitor, and incorporate the
WYNNE  . 3of6
subterranean biome into future conservation targets will enable the CBD to fur-
ther improve the ecological effectiveness of protected areas by including ground-
water resources, subterranean ecosystem services, and the profoundly endemic
subsurface biodiversity. To this end, we proffer a conservation roadmap that
embodies five conceptual areas: () science gaps and data management needs; ()
anthropogenic stressors; () socioeconomic analysis and conflict resolution; ()
environmental education; and () national policies and multilateral agreements.
biodiversity, caves, convention on biological diversity, hypogean, indicator species
The th UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
(COP) (UNEP, )willbeheldinKunming,China
in October . Historically, CBDs and other multi-
lateral treaties have either alluded to or entirely over-
looked the subterranean biome (Sánchez-Fernández et al.,
). Importantly, while the post- global biodiver-
sity framework (IUCN, ) briefly mentioned subter-
ranean ecosystems, the need for an effective protected area
network to safeguard biodiversity, freshwater, and ecosys-
tem services had been strenuously and broadly empha-
sized. Globally, only % of the modeled extent of the sub-
terranean biome overlaps with protected areas (Sánchez-
Fernández et al., ).
As the upcoming CBD meeting will be held in the
South China Karst, a region supporting the highest diver-
sity of subterranean-adapted fishes, beetles, and millipedes
globally (and likely to emerge as a subterranean biodi-
versity hotspot), we provide this roadmap for conserving
the world’s subterranean resources. Through a multilateral
effort to robustly examine, monitor, and incorporate the
subterranean biome into future conservation targets, the
CBD will further improve the ecological effectiveness of
protected areas by including groundwater resources, sub-
terranean ecosystem services, and the profoundly endemic
subsurface biodiversity (Elshall et al., ; Mammola
et al., ,). To this end, this roadmap embodies
five conceptual areas: () science gaps and data man-
agement needs; () anthropogenic stressors; () socioeco-
nomic analysis and conflict resolution; () environmen-
tal education; and () national policies and multilateral
Perhaps even more than surface ecosystems, the terres-
trial subterranean biome is riddled by extensive knowl-
edgegaps(Box,Figure). For example, for most known
subterranean-obligate species, we have little more than
observational data from a few human-accessible locali-
ties (Mammola et al., ,); this makes assessing
species for protective management extremely challenging.
While the importance of ecosystem services associated
with groundwater quality and cave-roosting bats is rela-
tively well-documented (Elshall et al., ; Griebler et al.,
; Mammola et al., ), a substantial effort will be
required to quantify the scope, importance, and habitat
requirements of subterranean bioindicator and ecosystem
service species (Elshall et al., ).
Natural history information on the subterranean biome
lags equally behind. Data deficiencies to be addressed
should include developing a network of voucher speci-
men collections available both in brick-and-mortar loca-
tions and as digital archives. Additionally, the creation or
adoption of an array of digital archives, tantamount to
the World Karst Spring hydrograph database (Olarinoye
et al., ), will provide conservationists and resource
managers with the data to identify research needs and fos-
ter international and interdisciplinary collaborations. Such
archives must house information on the geospatial extent
of subterranean habitats, reference barcode/genetic and
functional trait data on subterranean species, and syner-
gistically contribute to or augment existing archives (Frick
et al., ) (e.g., GBIF, iDigBio, and BoldSystems).
Although researchers have qualitatively summarized
most of the likely anthropogenic stressors threatening sub-
terranean biodiversity and ecosystem function (Box )
(Elshall et al., ; Griebler et al., ; Leclère et al.,
; Mammola et al., ), their potential impacts have
not been quantified (Mammola et al., ). Strategically
focused, global studies to examine key impacts (in par-
ticular, surface habitat loss) (Hedrick et al., ) should
be conducted across a range of subterranean habitats, a
panoply of associated indicators, and ecosystem service
and short-range endemic species. Through such a coordi-
nated effort, researchers and policymakers can amass the
information required to develop mitigation strategies to
optimize decision-making.
Solutions (Box ) will require scientists and legisla-
tors to work closely with local communities and munic-
ipalities to both ameliorate future land-use disputes and
to find sustainable and economically viable pathways
4of6 WYNNE  .
FIGURE 1 Conservation roadmap flows from addressing data gaps and data management needs (green ovals with callout box) to policy
development and implementation (blue). Data acquisition and management moves in two directions: () toward a feedback loop of
monitoring, adaptive management, and local resource policy development – with monitoring and management iteratively improved as
scientific data dictates; and () to providing information necessary to create educational outreach programs (yellow), which are further
sculpted by human activities (red). Socio-economic analyses (purple) aim to both characterize and lessen anthropogenic impacts and
stressors. This information then feeds into local resource management formulation; national policy and multilateral agreements are both
shaped and influenced by local decision-making
forward. Importantly, % of humans rely on groundwater
for consumption, while % use it for agricultural purposes
(Elshall et al., ). As we increasingly convert natural
ecosystems to agriculture, pastureland, and human habita-
tion, surface biodiversity, and ecosystem function (Gibson
et al., ), as well as aquifers and other groundwater habi-
tats will become increasingly threatened and degraded. To
maximize effectiveness and reduce conservation conflicts,
improved dialog between social and natural scientists must
occur so that social, political, and scientific contexts are
well articulated, and stakeholders can negotiate with com-
plete transparency (Gibson et al., ).
WYNNE  . 5of6
Successful environmental and conservation education
programs (Box ) should be crafted to: (i) address local
problems/topics; (ii) establish partnerships and programs
with local researchers and resource managers; (iii) empha-
size action focused projects (e.g., ecological restoration,
cave cleanups, and monitoring bioindicators and bat/bird
roosts); and (iv) create targeted projects that quantify
and report program outcomes (Redpath et al., ).
Educational efforts must be established in partnership
with local schools and universities, scientific organiza-
tions, indigenous and community groups, businesses, non-
governmental organizations, and government agencies.
Conservation policies (Box ) to protect significant
subterranean habitats are lacking at most regional and
national levels (Mammola et al., ). However, poli-
cies have been implemented to better manage local and
regional groundwater resources (Elshall et al., ).
Barring the European Union’s Habitat Directive (which
marginally considers subterranean habitats; EU, ), no
multilateral agreements have been adopted to specifically
include the subterranean biome (Sánchez-Fernández et al.,
). Solidly integrating surface with subsurface con-
servation targets through equitable stakeholder participa-
tion represents a foundational next step toward optimally
securing the groundwater supply (Elshall et al., ), safe-
guarding ecosystem services (Frick et al., ; Mammola
et al., ), and protecting subterranean diversity.
While numerous lacunae exist concerning subterranean
resources, sound directives can be enacted promptly with
adaptive management. This roadmap represents a viable
framework for near-term and longer duration conserva-
tion actions to protect the world’s subterranean ecosys-
tems. Formulating targets to further reduce threats to the
subterranean biome is essential to this year’s CBD meeting
in Kunming. We must act now.
J. Judson Wynne and Stefano Mammola conceived the
project. Francis Howarth developed the initial roadmap.
All other authors contributed to roadmap development
and finalization.
No data collection or scientific inquiries requiring ethics
considerations were undertaken. Thus, this work complies
with appropriate ethical standards.
We did not collect any primary data to develop this
manuscript. All references that aided in refining our posi-
tions are provided.
We declare no conflict of interest with this work.
J. Judson Wynne---
Stefano Mammola---
Diana M. P. Galassi---
David Sánchez-Fernández--
Maria Elina Bichuette--
Jayant Biswas---
Chaichat Boonyanusith--
Isabel R. Amorim---
David Eme---
Samuel M. ʻOhukaniʻ¯
ohiʻa Gon III
Ľubomír Kováč---
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How to cite this article: Wynne JJ, Howarth FG,
Mammola S, et al. A conservation roadmap for the
subterranean biome. Conservation Letters.
... Caves are important habitats for bats and other unique species but are nonetheless threatened and in need of urgent conservation 10 . Despite hosting high endemism, cave ecosystems receive little attention in terms of fund allocation and appropriate priorities for scientific studies and conservation compared to their surface counterparts such as agricultural and forest ecosystems 10,13,[15][16][17][18] . Cave taxa are adapted to light-limited underground environments and most of them are dependent on mobile species such as bats to transport organic nutrients into these environments [19][20][21] . ...
... Effective conservation decision-making relies on the accuracy and precision of the data used to design present and future management strategies 5,7 . Identifying priority caves for conservation requires an understanding of species diversity, endemism patterns, interactions with other organisms, and threats within and outside these systems 17,23 . Additionally, while numerous organisations and collaborative efforts aim to database bat distributions, comprehensive and specific datasets for cave-dwelling bats, including their distributions and ecological # A full list of authors and their affiliations appears at the end of the paper. ...
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Understanding biodiversity patterns as well as drivers of population declines, and range losses provides crucial baselines for monitoring and conservation. However, the information needed to evaluate such trends remains unstandardised and sparsely available for many taxonomic groups and habitats, including the cave-dwelling bats and cave ecosystems. We developed the DarkCideS 1.0 (, a global database of bat caves and species synthesised from publicly available information and datasets. The DarkCideS 1.0 is by far the largest database for cave-dwelling bats, which contains information for geographical location, ecological status, species traits, and parasites and hyperparasites for 679 bat species are known to occur in caves or use caves in part of their life histories. The database currently contains 6746 georeferenced occurrences for 402 cave-dwelling bat species from 2002 cave sites in 46 countries and 12 terrestrial biomes. The database has been developed to be collaborative and open-access, allowing continuous data-sharing among the community of bat researchers and conservation biologists to advance bat research and comparative monitoring and prioritisation for conservation.
... A trait dataset such as the one released in this work is a first, necessary step towards the goal of obtaining a multi-pronged prioritization that accounts for multiple biodiversity facets 97 . This is of the utmost importance given the current threats on subterranean ecosystems, and the unique conservation challenges associated with these biota [98][99][100] . ...
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Species traits are an essential currency in ecology, evolution, biogeography, and conservation biology. However, trait databases are unavailable for most organisms, especially those living in difficult-to- access habitats such as caves and other subterranean ecosystems. We compiled an expert-curated trait database for subterranean spiders in Europe using both literature data (including grey literature published in many different languages) and direct morphological measurements whenever specimens were available to us. We started by updating the checklist of European subterranean spiders, now including 512 species across 20 families, of which at least 192 have been found uniquely in subterranean habitats. For each of these species, we compiled 64 traits. The trait database encompasses morphological measures, including several traits related to subterranean adaptation, and ecological traits referring to habitat preference, dispersal, and feeding strategies. By making these data freely available, we open up opportunities for exploring different research questions, from the quantification of functional dimensions of subterranean adaptation to the study of spatial patterns in functional diversity across European caves.
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The conservation of biodiversity is a central imperative of the 21st century. Subterranean ecosystems deliver critical nature's contributions to people and harbour a broad diversity of poorly-understood specialized organisms that are of interest from both a conservation and evolutionary perspective. However, the subterranean biome is still systematically overlooked in global biodiversity targets and conservation agendas. The main objective of this study was to assess how far subterranean biodiversity is represented in protected areas (Natura 2000 and Emerald networks) in two global hotspots of subterranean biodiversity (the Pyrenees and the Alps). For this, we used the most complete databases of terrestrial subterranean biodiversity known to us, i.e., leiodids (beetles) from the Pyrenees and spiders from the Alps, and identi ed priority areas in each region using both species richness and geographic rarity patterns. Our results show the incapacity of surface protected area networks to represent subterranean fauna, as more than 70 and 90% of the identi ed priority areas (and the 40 and 22% of the species) are not effectively covered by protected areas in the Pyrenees and the Alps, respectively. These ndings call for urgent policies and would be key to developing a coherent plan for subterranean biodiversity conservation within the European Biodiversity Strategy for 2030.
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Subterranean ecosystems are among the most widespread environments on Earth, yet we still have poor knowledge of their biodiversity. To raise awareness of subterranean ecosystems, the essential services they provide, and their unique conservation challenges, 2021 and 2022 were designated International Years of Caves and Karst. As these ecosystems have traditionally been overlooked in global conservation agendas and multilateral agreements, a quantitative assessment of solution-based approaches to safeguard subterranean biota and associated habitats is timely. This assessment allows researchers and practitioners to understand the progress made and research needs in subterranean ecology and management. We conducted a systematic review of peer-reviewed and grey literature focused on subterranean ecosystems globally (terrestrial, freshwater, and saltwater systems), to quantify the available evidence-base for the effectiveness of conservation interventions. We selected 708 publications from the years 1964 to 2021 that discussed, recommended, or implemented 1,954 conservation interventions in subterranean ecosystems. We noted a steep increase in the number of studies from the 2000s while, surprisingly, the proportion of studies quantifying the impact of conservation interventions has steadily and significantly decreased in recent years. The effectiveness of 31% of conservation interventions has been tested statistically. We further highlight that 64% of the reported research occurred in the Palearctic and Nearctic biogeographic regions. Assessments of the effectiveness of conservation interventions were heavily biased towards indirect measures (monitoring and risk assessment), a limited sample of organisms (mostly arthropods and bats), and more accessible systems (terrestrial caves). Our results indicate that most conservation science in the field of subterranean biology does not apply a rigorous quantitative approach, resulting in sparse evidence for the effectiveness of interventions. This raises the important question of how to make conservation efforts more feasible to implement, cost-effective, and long-lasting. Although there is no single remedy, we propose a suite of potential solutions to focus our efforts better towards increasing statistical testing and stress the importance of standardising study reporting to facilitate meta-analytical exercises. We also provide a database summarising the available literature, which will help to build quantitative knowledge about interventions likely to yield the greatest impacts depending upon the subterranean species and habitats of interest. We view this as a starting point to shift away from the widespread tendency of recommending conservation interventions based on anecdotal and expert-based information rather than scientific evidence, without quantitatively testing their effectiveness.
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Increased efforts are required to prevent further losses to terrestrial biodiversity and the ecosystem services that it provides1,2. Ambitious targets have been proposed, such as reversing the declining trends in biodiversity³; however, just feeding the growing human population will make this a challenge⁴. Here we use an ensemble of land-use and biodiversity models to assess whether—and how—humanity can reverse the declines in terrestrial biodiversity caused by habitat conversion, which is a major threat to biodiversity⁵. We show that immediate efforts, consistent with the broader sustainability agenda but of unprecedented ambition and coordination, could enable the provision of food for the growing human population while reversing the global terrestrial biodiversity trends caused by habitat conversion. If we decide to increase the extent of land under conservation management, restore degraded land and generalize landscape-level conservation planning, biodiversity trends from habitat conversion could become positive by the mid-twenty-first century on average across models (confidence interval, 2042–2061), but this was not the case for all models. Food prices could increase and, on average across models, almost half (confidence interval, 34–50%) of the future biodiversity losses could not be avoided. However, additionally tackling the drivers of land-use change could avoid conflict with affordable food provision and reduces the environmental effects of the food-provision system. Through further sustainable intensification and trade, reduced food waste and more plant-based human diets, more than two thirds of future biodiversity losses are avoided and the biodiversity trends from habitat conversion are reversed by 2050 for almost all of the models. Although limiting further loss will remain challenging in several biodiversity-rich regions, and other threats—such as climate change—must be addressed to truly reverse the declines in biodiversity, our results show that ambitious conservation efforts and food system transformation are central to an effective post-2020 biodiversity strategy.
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Concerns over groundwater depletion and ecosystem degradation have led to the incorporation of the concept of groundwater sustainability as a groundwater policy instrument in several water codes and management directives worldwide. Because sustainable groundwater management is embedded within integrated, co-evolving hydrological, ecological, and socioeconomic systems, implementing such policies remains a challenge for water managers and the scientific community. The problem is further exacerbated when participatory processes are lacking, resulting in a communication gap among water authorities, scientists, and the broader community. This paper provides a systematic review of the concept of groundwater sustainability, and situates this concept within the calls from the hydrologic literature for more participatory and integrated approaches to water security. We discuss the definition of groundwater sustainability from both a policy and scientific perspective, tracing the evolution of this concept from safe yield, to sustainable groundwater management. We focus on the diversity of societal values related to groundwater sustainability, and the typology of the aquifer performance and governance factors. In addition, we systematically review the main components of an effective scientific evaluation of groundwater sustainability policy, which are multi-process modeling, uncertainty analysis, and participation. We conclude that effective groundwater sustainability policy implementation requires an iterative scientific evaluation that (i) engages stakeholders in a participatory process through collaborative modeling and social learning; (ii) provides improved understanding of the coevolving scenarios between surface water-groundwater systems, ecosystems, and human activities; and (iii) acknowledges and addresses uncertainty in our scientific knowledge and the diversity of societal preferences using multi-model uncertainty analysis and adaptive management. Although the development of such a transdisciplinary research approach, which connects policy, science, and practice for groundwater sustainability evaluation, is still in its infancy worldwide, we find that research towards groundwater sustainability is growing at a much faster rate than groundwater research as a whole.
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Effective environmental education represents more than a unidirectional transfer of information: rather, this suite of tools develops and enhances environmental attitudes, values, and knowledge, as well as builds skills that prepare individuals and communities to collaboratively undertake positive environmental action. Environmental education also facilitates connections between actionable research findings and on-the-ground practices, creating synergistic spaces where stakeholders collaborate to address dynamic environmental issues over time. Because of this commitment to application and iteration, environmental education can result in direct benefits to the environment and address conservation issues concretely. Yet, the path to achieving those tangible impacts can be winding, with robust data documenting changes challenging to produce. To better understand the research-implementation spaces where those environmental education outcomes occur, are measured, and are reported, we undertook a systematic review of research on environmental education's contributions to conservation and environmental quality outcomes. Given the variation in research designs and data, we used a mixed-methods approach to the review; analysis of the 105 resulting studies documented strongly positive environmental education outcomes overall and highlighted productive research-implementation spaces. Chi-square analyses revealed that programs reporting direct outcomes, compared with those reporting indirect outcomes, differed on primary topic addressed. A narrative analysis indicated that environmental education programs documenting direct impacts included: a focus on localized issues or locally relevant dimensions of broader issues; collaboration with scientists, resource managers, and/or community organizations; integrated action elements; and intentional measurement/reporting structures. Those themes suggest program development and documentation ideas as well as further opportunities for productive research-implementation spaces. Full Text Available:
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Bats are an ecologically and taxonomically diverse group accounting for roughly a fifth of mammalian diversity worldwide. Many of the threats bats face (e.g., habitat loss, bushmeat hunting, and climate change) reflect the conservation challenges of our era. However, compared to other mammals and birds, we know significantly less about the population status of most bat species, which makes prioritizing and planning conservation actions challenging. Over a third of bat species assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are considered threatened or data deficient, and well over half of the species have unknown or decreasing population trends. That equals 988 species, or 80% of bats assessed by IUCN, needing conservation or research attention. Delivering conservation to bat species will require sustained efforts to assess population status and trends and address data deficiencies. Successful bat conservation must integrate research and conservation to identify stressors and their solutions and to test the efficacy of actions to stabilize or increase populations. Global and regional networks that connect researchers, conservation practitioners, and local stakeholders to share knowledge, build capacity, and prioritize and coordinate research and conservation efforts, are vital to ensuring sustainable bat populations worldwide. This paper provides an overview of the global status of bat conservation by reviewing the major anthropogenic threats to bats and special challenges to bat conservation. The authors also discuss two habitats with particular significance for bat conservation, namely islands and subterranean features, and the value of bats to ecosystems. The article concludes with suggestions toward meeting the enduring challenges for global bat conservation.
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Conservation conflicts are increasing and need to be managed to minimise negative impacts on biodiversity, human livelihoods, and human well-being. Here, we explore strategies and case studies that highlight the long-term, dynamic nature of conflicts and the challenges to their management. Conflict management requires parties to recognise problems as shared ones, and engage with clear goals, a transparent evidence base, and an awareness of trade-offs. We hypothesise that conservation outcomes will be less durable when conservationists assert their interests to the detriment of others. Effective conflict management and long-term conservation benefit will be enhanced by better integration of the underpinning social context with the material impacts and evaluation of the efficacy of alternative conflict management approaches.
The 2019 United Nations Global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services estimated that approximately 1 million species are at risk of extinction. This primarily human-driven loss of biodiversity has unprecedented negative consequences for ecosystems and people. Classic and emerging approaches in genetics and genomics have the potential to dramatically improve these outcomes. In particular, the study of interactions among genetic loci within and between species will play a critical role in understanding the adaptive potential of species and communities, and hence their direct and indirect effects on biodiversity, ecosystems and people. We explore these population and community genomic contexts in the hope of finding solutions for maintaining and improving ecosystem services and nature’s contributions to people.
In light of recent alarming trends in human population growth, climate change, and other environmental modifications, a "Warning to humanity" manifesto was published in BioScience in 2017. This call reiterated most of the ideas originally expressed by the Union of Concerned Scientists in 1992, including the fear that we are "pushing Earth's ecosystems beyond their capacities to support the web of life. " As subterranean biologists, we take this opportunity to emphasize the global importance and the conservation challenges associated with subterranean ecosystems. They likely represent the most widespread nonmarine environments on Earth, but specialized subterranean organisms remain among the least documented and studied. Largely overlooked in conservation policies, subterranean habitats play a critical role in the function of the web of life and provide important ecosystem services. We highlight the main threats to subterranean ecosystems and propose a set of effective actions to protect this globally important natural heritage.