88 research outputs found

    Subjective risk assessment for planning conservation projects

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    Conservation projects occur under many types of uncertainty. Where this uncertainty can affect achievement of a project\u27s objectives, there is risk. Understanding risks to project success should influence a range of strategic and tactical decisions in conservation, and yet, formal risk assessment rarely features in the guidance or practice of conservation planning. We describe how subjective risk analysis tools can be framed to facilitate the rapid identification and assessment of risks to conservation projects, and how this information should influence conservation planning. Our approach is illustrated with an assessment of risks to conservation success as part of a conservation plan for the work of The Nature Conservancy in northern Australia. Risks can be both internal and external to a project, and occur across environmental, social, economic and political systems. Based on the relative importance of a risk and the level of certainty in its assessment we propose a series of appropriate, project level responses including research, monitoring, and active amelioration. Explicit identification, prioritization, and where possible, management of risks are important elements of using conservation resources in an informed and accountable manne

    Electronic monitoring for improved accountability in western Pacific tuna longline fisheries

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    The collection of accurate fisheries catch data is critical to ensuring sustainable management of tuna fisheries, mitigating their environmental impacts and for managing transboundary fish stocks. These challenges are exemplified by the western Pacific tuna longline fishery, who's management includes >26 nations, but is informed by critically low coverage of fishing activities by scientific observers. The gap in observer data could be filled by electronic monitoring (EM), but there are few trials that span multiple nations. A large-scale trial of EM systems on tuna longliners based in Palau, Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, is reported on. Comparisons are made of catch rates of market and bycatch species in corresponding EM, logbook and human observer data. Retained species were under-reported in logbooks by up to three times and discards of many species were not reported in logbooks. Discards identified in the EM data included threatened species such as marine turtles. Catch rate estimates from EM data were comparable to those estimated by human observers. EM data recorded a higher species diversity of catches than logbook data. Analysis of the EM data indicated clusters of bycatch that were associated with specific fishing practices. These results suggest further expansion of EM could inform improved management of both target and bycatch species. Ultimately greater coverage of EM data could contribute to reconciling debates in international stock allocation schemes and support actions to reduce the impacts of the fishery on threatened bycatch species

    An Assessment of the Representation of Ecosystems in Global Protected Areas Using New Maps of World Climate Regions and World Ecosystems

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    Representation of ecosystems in protected area networks and conservation strategies is a core principle of global conservation priority setting approaches and a commitment in Aichi Target 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) explicitly call for the conservation of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems. Accurate ecosystem distribution maps are required to assess representation of ecosystems in protected areas, but standardized, high spatial resolution, and globally comprehensive ecosystem maps have heretofore been lacking. While macroscale global ecoregions maps have been used in global conservation priority setting exercises, they do not identify distinct localized ecosystems at the occurrence (patch) level, and instead describe large ecologically meaningful areas within which additional conservation planning and management are necessary. We describe a new set of maps of globally consistent climate regions and ecosystems at a much finer spatial resolution (250 m) than existing ecological regionalizations. We then describe a global gap analysis of the representation of these ecosystems in protected areas. The new map of terrestrial World Ecosystems was derived from the objective development and integration of 1) global temperature domains, 2) global moisture domains, 3) global landforms, and 4) 2015 global vegetation and land use. These new terrestrial World Ecosystems do not include either freshwater or marine ecosystems, but analog products for the freshwater and marine domains are in development. A total of 431 World Ecosystems were identified, and of these a total of 278 units were natural or semi-natural vegetation/environment combinations, including different kinds of forestlands, shrublands, grasslands, bare areas, and ice/snow regions. The remaining classes were different kinds of croplands and settlements. Of the 278 natural and semi-natural classes, 9 were not represented in global protected areas with a strict biodiversity conservation management objective (IUCN management categories I-IV), and an additional 206 were less than 8.5% protected (half way to the 17% Aichi Target 11 goal). Forty four classes were between 8.5% and 17% protected (more than half way towards the Aichi 17% target), and only 19 classes exceeded the 17% Aichi target. However, when all protected areas (IUCN management categories I-VI plus protected areas with no IUCN designation) were included in a separate global gap analysis, representation of ecosystems increases substantially, with a third of the ecosystems exceeding the 17% Aichi target, and another third between 8.5% and 17%. The overall protection (representation) of global ecosystems in protected areas is considerably less when assessed using only strictly conserved protected areas, and more if all protected areas are included in the analysis. Protected area effectiveness should be included in further evaluations of global ecosystem protection. The ecosystems with the highest representation in protected areas were often bare or sparsely vegetated and found in inhospitable environments (e.g. cold mountains, deserts), and the eight most protected ecosystems were all snow and ice ecosystems. In addition to the global gap analysis of World Ecosystems in protected areas, we report on the representation results for the ecosystems in each biogeographic realm (Neotropical, Nearctic, Afrotropical, Palearctic, Indomalayan, Australasian, and Oceania)

    It\u27s Time to Listen: There is Much to be Learned from the Sounds of Tropical Ecosystems

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    Knowledge that can be gained from acoustic data collection in tropical ecosystems is low‐hanging fruit. There is every reason to record and with every day, there are fewer excuses not to do it. In recent years, the cost of acoustic recorders has decreased substantially (some can be purchased for under US$50, e.g., Hill et al. 2018) and the technology needed to store and analyze acoustic data is continuously improving (e.g., Corrada Bravo et al. 2017, Xie et al. 2017). Soundscape recordings provide a permanent record of a site at a given time and contain a wealth of invaluable and irreplaceable information. Although challenges remain, failure to collect acoustic data now in tropical ecosystems would represent a failure to future generations of tropical researchers and the citizens that benefit from ecological research. In this commentary, we (1) argue for the need to increase acoustic monitoring in tropical systems; (2) describe the types of research questions and conservation issues that can be addressed with passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) using both short‐ and long‐term data in terrestrial and freshwater habitats; and (3) present an initial plan for establishing a global repository of tropical recordings

    How do practitioners characterize land tenure security?

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    Improving land tenure security (LTS) is a significant challenge for sustainable development. The Sustainable Development Goals and other recent global initiatives have renewed and increased the need to improve LTS to address climate change, biodiversity loss, food security, poverty reduction, and other challenges. At the same time, policymakers are increasingly interested in evidence- based policies and decisions, creating urgency for practitioners and researchers to work together. Yet, incongruent characterizations of LTS (identifying the key components of LTS) by practitioners and researchers can limit collaboration and information flows necessary for research and effective policymaking. While there are systematic reviews of how LTS is characterized in the academic literature, no prior study has assessed how practitioners characterize LTS. We address this gap using data from 54 interviews of land tenure practitioners working in 10 countries of global importance for biodiversity and climate change mitigation. Practitioners characterize LTS as complex and multifaceted, and a majority of practitioners refer to de jure terms (e.g., titling) when characterizing it. Notably, in our data just one practitioner characterized LTS in terms of perceptions of the landholder, contrasting the recent emphasis in the academic literature on landholder perceptions in LTS characterizations. Researchers should be aware of incongruence in how LTS is characterized in the academic literature when engaging practitioners.Peer Reviewedhttps://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/155485/1/csp2186.pdfhttps://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/155485/2/csp2186_am.pd

    Incorporating climate change into systematic conservation planning

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    Abstract The principles of systematic conservation planning are now widely used by governments and non-government organizations alike to develop biodiversity conservation plans for countries, states, regions, and ecoregions. Many of the species and ecosystems these plans were designed to conserve are now being affected by climate change, and there is a critical need to incorporate new and complementary approaches into these plans that will aid species and ecosystems in adjusting to potential climate change impacts. We propose five approaches to climate change adaptation that can be integrated into existing or -012-0269-3 new biodiversity conservation plans: (1) conserving the geophysical stage, (2) protecting climatic refugia, (3) enhancing regional connectivity, (4) sustaining ecosystem process and function, and (5) capitalizing on opportunities emerging in response to climate change. We discuss both key assumptions behind each approach and the trade-offs involved in using the approach for conservation planning. We also summarize additional data beyond those typically used in systematic conservation plans required to implement these approaches. A major strength of these approaches is that they are largely robust to the uncertainty in how climate impacts may manifest in any given region. Conserv (2012) 21:1651-1671 DOI 10.1007/s1053

    Accommodating Dynamic Oceanographic Processes and Pelagic Biodiversity in Marine Conservation Planning

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    Pelagic ecosystems support a significant and vital component of the ocean's productivity and biodiversity. They are also heavily exploited and, as a result, are the focus of numerous spatial planning initiatives. Over the past decade, there has been increasing enthusiasm for protected areas as a tool for pelagic conservation, however, few have been implemented. Here we demonstrate an approach to plan protected areas that address the physical and biological dynamics typical of the pelagic realm. Specifically, we provide an example of an approach to planning protected areas that integrates pelagic and benthic conservation in the southern Benguela and Agulhas Bank ecosystems off South Africa. Our aim was to represent species of importance to fisheries and species of conservation concern within protected areas. In addition to representation, we ensured that protected areas were designed to consider pelagic dynamics, characterized from time-series data on key oceanographic processes, together with data on the abundance of small pelagic fishes. We found that, to have the highest likelihood of reaching conservation targets, protected area selection should be based on time-specific data rather than data averaged across time. More generally, we argue that innovative methods are needed to conserve ephemeral and dynamic pelagic biodiversity

    Prioritizing Land and Sea Conservation Investments to Protect Coral Reefs

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    Background: Coral reefs have exceptional biodiversity, support the livelihoods of millions of people, and are threatened by multiple human activities on land (e.g. farming) and in the sea (e.g. overfishing). Most conservation efforts occur at local scales and, when effective, can increase the resilience of coral reefs to global threats such as climate change (e.g. warming water and ocean acidification). Limited resources for conservation require that we efficiently prioritize where and how to best sustain coral reef ecosystems

    An attainable global vision for conservation and human well-being

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    A hopeful vision of the future is a world in which both people and nature thrive, but there is little evidence to support the feasibility of such a vision. We used a global, spatially explicit, systems modeling approach to explore the possibility of meeting the demands of increased populations and economic growth in 2050 while simultaneously advancing multiple conservation goals. Our results demonstrate that if, instead of “business as usual” practices, the world changes how and where food and energy are produced, this could help to meet projected increases in food (54%) and energy (56%) demand while achieving habitat protection (>50% of natural habitat remains unconverted in most biomes globally; 17% area of each ecoregion protected in each country), reducing atmospheric greenhouse-gas emissions consistent with the Paris Climate Agreement (≤1.6°C warming by 2100), ending overfishing, and reducing water stress and particulate air pollution. Achieving this hopeful vision for people and nature is attainable with existing technology and consumption patterns. However, success will require major shifts in production methods and an ability to overcome substantial economic, social, and political challenges

    Synergies between the key biodiversity area and systematic conservation planning approaches

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    Systematic conservation planning and Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) are the two most widely used approaches for identifying important sites for biodiversity. However, there is limited advice for conservation policy makers and practitioners on when and how they should be combined. Here we provide such guidance, using insights from the recently developed Global Standard for the Identification of KBAs and the language of decision science to review and clarify their similarities and differences. We argue the two approaches are broadly similar, with both setting transparent environmental objectives and specifying actions. There is however greater contrast in the data used and actions involved, as the KBA approach uses biodiversity data alone and identifies sites for monitoring and vigilance actions at a minimum, whereas systematic conservation planning combines biodiversity and implementation‐relevant data to guide management actions. This difference means there is much scope for combining approaches, so conservation planners should use KBA data in their analyses, setting context‐specific targets for each KBA type, and planners and donors should use systematic conservation planning techniques when prioritizing between KBAs for management action. In doing so, they will benefit conservation policy, practice and research by building on the collaborations formed through the KBA Standard's development
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