Academic Articles October 7th

Source: Biodiversity: Why the nature crisis matters, in five graphics


The latest academic papers on conservation. If you have a paper that you would like to share, please get in contact with us. Click on the title to follow the link to each article. Please note that some of these articles are behind a paywall.

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A boost for freshwater conservation

  • Source: Science
  • Author(s): Robin Abell, Ian J. Harrison
  • Systematic conservation planning—a data-driven process for prioritizing biodiversity conservation resources—has been strongly biased over the past two decades toward terrestrial and marine species and systems. Freshwater ecosystems, which are among the most threatened on Earth, have received less attention… There is an urgent need for prioritizing resources toward freshwater conservation…

How the diversity of human concepts of nature affects conservation of biodiversity

  • Source: Conservation Biology
  • Author(s): Frédéric Ducarme, Fabrice Flipo, Denis Couvet
  • Protecting nature has become a global concern. However, the very idea of nature is problematic. We examine the etymological and semantic diversity of the word used for translating “nature” in a conservation context in 76 of the main languages of the world, in order to identify different visions of the relationship between humankind and nature…

Benefits of protected areas for nonbreeding waterbirds adjusting their distributions under climate warming

  • Source: Conservation Biology
  • Author(s): Elie Gage et al.
  • Climate warming is driving changes in species distributions and community composition. Many species show a so‐called climatic debt, where shifts in range have lagged behind faster shifts in temperature isoclines. Inside protected areas (PAs), community changes in response to climate warming can be facilitated by greater colonization rates by warm‐dwelling species, but also mitigated by lowering extinction rates of cold‐dwelling species. An evaluation of the relative importance of colonization‐extinction processes is important to inform conservation strategies, aiming for both climate debt reduction and species conservation…

Shifting fish distributions in warming sub-Arctic oceans

  • Source: Scientific Reports
  • Author(s): Steven Campana, Ragnhildur Stefánsdóttir, Klara Jakobsdóttir, Jón Sólmundsson 
  • The distributional response of marine fishes to climate warming would be expected to be very different than that of homeothermic birds and mammals, due both to more direct thermal effects on poikilothermic fish physiology and on reduced habitat fragmentation. In this study, we use a combination of linear models and graphical tools to quantify three-dimensional distribution shifts in 82 fish species caught in 5390 standardized groundfish survey tows over a 22-year time frame in the highly-productive sub-Arctic waters around Iceland…

Dust dominates high-altitude snow darkening and melt over high-mountain Asia

  • Source: Nature Climate Change
  • Author(s): Chandan Sarangi et al.
  • Westerly driven, long-range transportation of dust particles in elevated aerosol layers (EALs) is a persistent phenomenon during spring and summer over the Indian subcontinent. During the snow accumulation season, EALs transport substantial amounts of dust to the snow-covered slopes of high-mountain Asia (HMA). Here we use multiple satellite-based estimates to demonstrate a robust physical association between the EALs and dust-induced snow darkening over HMA…

Native woodland establishment improves soil hydrological functioning in UK upland pastoral catchments

  • Source: Land Degradation and Development
  • Author(s): Thomas Murphy, Mick Hanley, Jon Ellis, Paul Lunt
  • Extreme rainfall and flood events are predicted to increase in frequency and severity as a consequence of anthropogenic climate change. In UK upland areas, historical over‐grazing and associated soil compaction have further exacerbated peak flood levels and flash‐flood risk along many river catchments. As a result, the reinstatement of upland woodland is increasingly seen as a key component of an integrated suite of options forming part of…

Projecting the continental accumulation of alien species through to 2050

  • Source: Global Change Biology
  • Author(s): Hanno Seebens et al.
  • Biological invasions have steadily increased over recent centuries. However, we still lack a clear expectation about future trends in alien species numbers. In particular, we do not know whether alien species will continue to accumulate in regional floras and faunas, or whether the pace of accumulation will decrease due to the depletion of native source pools. Here, we apply a new model to simulate future numbers of alien species based on estimated sizes of source pools and dynamics of historical invasions, assuming a continuation of processes in the future as observed in the past (a business‐as‐usual scenario)…

Mapping carbon accumulation potential from global natural forest regrowth

  • Source: Nature
  • Author(s): Susan Cook-Patton et al.
  • To constrain global warming, we must strongly curtail greenhouse gas emissions and capture excess atmospheric carbon dioxide. Regrowing natural forests is a prominent strategy for capturing additional carbon, but accurate assessments of its potential are limited by uncertainty and variability in carbon accumulation rates. To assess why and where rates differ, here we compile 13,112 georeferenced measurements of carbon accumulation…

Coastal flooding will disproportionately impact people on river deltas

  • Source: Nature Communications
  • Author(s): Douglas Edmonds, Rebecca Caldwell, Eduardo Brondizio, Sacha Siani 
  • Climate change is intensifying tropical cyclones, accelerating sea-level rise, and increasing coastal flooding. River deltas are especially vulnerable to flooding because of their low elevations and densely populated cities. Yet, we do not know how many people live on deltas and their exposure to flooding. Using a new global dataset, we show that 339 million people lived on river deltas in 2017 and 89% of those people live in the same latitudinal zone as most tropical cyclone activity…

Climate change exposure and vulnerability of the global protected area estate from an international perspective

  • Source: Diversity and Distributions
  • Author(s): Samuel Hoffmann, Carl Beierkuhnlein
  • Protected areas are essential to conserve biodiversity and ecosystem benefits to society under increasing human pressures of the Anthropocene. Anthropogenic climate change, however, threatens the enduring effectiveness of protected areas in conserving biodiversity and providing ecosystem services, because it modifies and redistributes biodiversity with unknown consequences for ecosystem functioning within protected areas. Here, we assess (a) the climate change exposure of the global terrestrial protected area estate and (b) the climate change vulnerability of national protected area estates…

Flood variability determines the location of lobe‐scale avulsions on deltas: Madagascar

  • Source: Geophysical Research Letters
  • Author(s): Sam Brooke, Vamsi Ganti, Austin Chadwick, Michael Lamb
  • River deltas grow through abrupt channel shifts, called avulsions, which pose a threat to life and property, but we do not understand why avulsions occur where they do. One hypothesis is that…Our work highlights that changes in flood regime and sediment grain size of coastal rivers due to land‐use and climate changes can influence avulsion location…

Hysteresis of tropical forests in the 21st century

  • Source: Nature Communications
  • Author(s): Arie Staal et al.
  • Tropical forests modify the conditions they depend on through feedbacks at different spatial scales. These feedbacks shape the hysteresis (history-dependence) of tropical forests, thus controlling their resilience to deforestation and response to climate change. Here, we determine the emergent hysteresis from local-scale tipping points and regional-scale forest-rainfall feedbacks across the tropics under the recent climate and a severe climate-change scenario…

An integrated approach to measure hunting intensity and assess its impacts on mammal populations 

  • Source: Journal of Applied Ecology
  • Author(s): Michael Dobbins, Rahel Sollmann, Scot Menke, Angelica Almeyda Zambrano, Eben Broadbent
  • Unsustainable hunting of wildlife is a global phenomenon with wide‐ranging implications for ecological communities, especially mammals. Our study highlights mammal sensitivity to increasing hunting pressure at the community and species level and emphasizes the necessity for developing robust tools…

Built-up areas within and around protected areas: global patterns and 40-year trends

  • Source: Global Ecology and Conservation
  • Author(s): Begoña de la Fuente et al.
  • Protected areas (PAs) are a key strategy in global efforts to conserve biodiversity and ecosystem services that are critical for human well-being. Most PAs have some built-up structures within their boundaries or in surrounding areas, ranging from individual buildings to villages, towns and cities. These structures, and the associated human activities, can exert direct and indirect pressures on PAs. Here we present the first global analysis of current patterns and observed long-term trends in built-up areas within terrestrial PAs and their immediate surroundings…

An expert-based assessment of global threats and conservation measures for spiders

  • Source: Global Ecology and Conservation
  • Author(s): Vasco Branco, Pedro Cardoso
  • Despite the prominent role of spiders in most ecosystems, these invertebrates are still notably endangered as well as underrepresented in current conservation efforts. We sent a survey to spider experts and enthusiasts belonging to arachnological societies across the globe to determine the general consensus on globally relevant threats to spiders as well as the most relevant conservation measures…

Giant panda distribution and habitat preference: The influence of sympatric large mammals 

  • Source: Global Ecology and Conservation
  • Author(s): Zheng-Xiao Liu et al
  • Understanding the relationships between giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and their sympatric species is an important component in their conservation. In this study we evaluate the impact of sympatric species with three ranges of body size on the distribution and habitat selection of giant panda…

Shift in proximate causes of mortality for six large migratory raptors over a century

  • Source: Biological Conservation
  • Author(s): Federico De Pascalis, Michele Panuccio, Giovanni Bacaro, Flavio Monti
  • Delayed maturity and low reproductive rate make raptors naturally sensitive to high mortality rates, yet a wide variety of human-related threats negatively affect their population dynamics and persistence over time. We modelled the variability in the proximate causes of mortality associated with six species of large migratory raptors characterized by different ecological traits…
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