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Conservation, Volume 2, Issue 4 (December 2022) – 10 articles

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Article
Predicting the Geographical Distribution Shift of Medicinal Plants in South Africa Due to Climate Change
Conservation 2022, 2(4), 694-708; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation2040045 - 09 Nov 2022
Viewed by 291
Abstract
There has been a recent rise in the number of medicinal plant users in Southern Africa, with approximately a million users reported to utilize these plants for various health conditions. Unfortunately, some of these plants are reportedly endangered and facing extinction due to [...] Read more.
There has been a recent rise in the number of medicinal plant users in Southern Africa, with approximately a million users reported to utilize these plants for various health conditions. Unfortunately, some of these plants are reportedly endangered and facing extinction due to harvesting pressure. In addition, climate change is likely to negatively affect the geographical distribution of these medicinal plants. In the current study, future greenhouse gas emission scenarios of the representative concentration pathways, RCP2.6 and RCP8.5, for future projections to 2050 and 2080 were used to simulate the effect of climate change on three medicinal plants’ (Aloe ferox, Bowiea volubilis, and Dioscorea elephantipes) distribution in South Africa. We studied these plant species as the International Union for Conservation of Nature stated that A. ferox is currently of least concern in South Africa, while B. volubilis and D. elephantipes are categorised as declining and vulnerable, respectively. Specifically, we utilised a species distribution model (i.e., the maximum entropy: MaxEnt) to investigate the effect of climate change on the future spatial distribution of medicinal plants in South Africa. In 2050 and 2080, under both RCP scenarios, the suitable habitat of the studied plant species will reduce in the country’s northern parts. Specifically, the habitat for D. elephantipes will totally disappear in the country’s northern parts. However, there will be slight additions of suitable habitats for the species in the country’s southern parts. Model validation indicated that the area under curve (AUC) for A. ferox was 0.924 ± 0.004, while for B. volubilis and D. elephantipes it was 0.884 ± 0.050 and 0.944 ± 0.030, respectively. Using the results from this study, there is a need for the long-term in situ and ex situ conservation of these medicinal plants. The results of the present study could guide the development of effective and efficient policies and strategies for managing and conserving medicinal plants in South Africa. Full article
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Review
Harmony in Conservation
Conservation 2022, 2(4), 682-693; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation2040044 - 01 Nov 2022
Viewed by 521
Abstract
Many authors have noted the role that anthropocentrism has played in creating humanity’s dysfunctional relationship with the natural world. As human hubris (excessive pride or self-confidence) is an ailment that contributes to the anthropogenic sixth mass extinction of Earth’s biodiversity, we argue instead [...] Read more.
Many authors have noted the role that anthropocentrism has played in creating humanity’s dysfunctional relationship with the natural world. As human hubris (excessive pride or self-confidence) is an ailment that contributes to the anthropogenic sixth mass extinction of Earth’s biodiversity, we argue instead for ‘harmony with nature’. In recent decades, even the conservation discourse has become increasingly anthropocentric. Indeed, justification for nature conservation has in part shifted from nature’s intrinsic value to ‘ecosystem services’ for the benefit of people. Here we call for a transformation to a more harmonious human-nature relationship that is grounded in mutual respect and principled responsibility, instead of utilitarianism and enlightened self-interest. Far from what Tennyson called ‘red in tooth and claw’, we argue nature is a mixture of cooperation as well as competition. We argue that the UN’s ‘Harmony with Nature’ program is an innovative and refreshing path for change. If we are to achieve harmony with nature, modern industrial society will need to abandon its anthropocentric ‘human supremacy’ mindset and adopt an ecocentric worldview and ecological ethics. We conclude it is thus both appropriate (and essential) for conservationists to champion harmony with nature. Full article
Article
Factors Influencing Acceptance of Hippopotamus at a Large Reservoir in Nigeria
Conservation 2022, 2(4), 662-681; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation2040043 - 27 Oct 2022
Viewed by 430
Abstract
In a world increasingly affected by human presence and activities, achieving human–wildlife coexistence has become the goal of many wildlife conservation programs. Coexistence requires an understanding of factors that contribute to human tolerance and acceptance of problematic wildlife. In four communities in Nigeria, [...] Read more.
In a world increasingly affected by human presence and activities, achieving human–wildlife coexistence has become the goal of many wildlife conservation programs. Coexistence requires an understanding of factors that contribute to human tolerance and acceptance of problematic wildlife. In four communities in Nigeria, we used structured and semi-structured interviews to explore local people’s acceptance of the river hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) at a large reservoir with high human impact and where other conspicuous, damage-causing species are absent. We collected data two years apart to evaluate whether acceptance changed over time. Acceptance was low among respondents (21%). Logistic-regression results showed that attitudes, beliefs related to benefits and risks, behaviors toward hippos, study period, and income source significantly influenced acceptance of hippos. Results from Woolf tests showed that hippo-caused human fatalities most notably modified the observed decline in acceptance between study years. The potential significant impact of rare, yet severe events (in this case, human fatalities) on acceptance of wildlife and thus human–wildlife coexistence was supported in this study, one of few focused on hippo-human relations. For conservation and development interventions to be effective at this site, they should, at a minimum, improve human safety around hippos, emphasize current and potential benefits of hippos, create avenues for off-farm income, and reduce crop losses owing to hippos. Full article
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Article
Haor-Based Floodplain-Rich Freshwater Ichthyofauna in Sylhet Division, Bangladesh: Species Availability, Diversity, and Conservation Perspectives
Conservation 2022, 2(4), 639-661; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation2040042 - 21 Oct 2022
Viewed by 414
Abstract
Biodiversity assessment is important for evaluating community conservation status. The haor basin in Sylhet Division represents a transitional zone with high species availability, rare occurrences and endemism. As a result, this study aims to describe the haor-based freshwater fish composition, including habitat, [...] Read more.
Biodiversity assessment is important for evaluating community conservation status. The haor basin in Sylhet Division represents a transitional zone with high species availability, rare occurrences and endemism. As a result, this study aims to describe the haor-based freshwater fish composition, including habitat, trophic ecology, availability and conservation status. Semi-structured questionnaires were used to collect data on fish samples through focus group discussions, field surveys, and interviews with fisheries stakeholders on a monthly basis. We identified 188 morpho-species, of which 176 were finfish and 12 shellfish, distributed into 15 orders and 42 families where 29%, 42%, 15%, and 14% species were commonly available, moderately available, abundantly available, and rarely available, respectively. Cypriniformes was the dominant order in both total species and small indigenous species identified. Approximately 45.34% of species were riverine, 31.58% floodplain residents, 12.55% estuarine, 2.83% migratory, and 7.69% were exclusively hill stream residents. Carnivores and omnivores were the most dominant trophic groups. A total of 87.76% species were used as food, 12.23% as ornamental and 6.91% as sport fish. Approximately 50 species were threatened (7 critically endangered, 23 endangered and 20 vulnerable) at the national level, most of them belonging to Cypriniformes and Siluriformes. Based on endemism, 16 species were endemic of which Sygnathidae, Cobitidae, Olyridae, Cyprinidae and Balitoridae fell under the threatened category. Minimizing intense fishing efforts, banning indiscriminate fishing and destructive fishing gear, initiating fish sanctuaries and beel nurseries, and implementing eco-friendly modern fishing technology are suggested to conserve the threatened species. This study represents a guideline for assessing the availability and conservation of freshwater fish in the Sylhet belt and serves as a reference for decision-makers in order to allow for the sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources within an ecosystem-based framework. Full article
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Article
Abundance, Distribution and Association of Paphiopedilum fairrieanum (Lindl.) Stein with Site Factors in Brongshing, Samdrup Jongkhar District
Conservation 2022, 2(4), 627-638; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation2040041 - 14 Oct 2022
Viewed by 287
Abstract
The long-lived and attractive flower of Paphiopedilum fairrieanum (Lindl.) Stein has made it one of the most commercialized flowers in the world, and its distribution is restricted to small areas. Thus, it was listed as a critically endangered orchid species by the IUCN [...] Read more.
The long-lived and attractive flower of Paphiopedilum fairrieanum (Lindl.) Stein has made it one of the most commercialized flowers in the world, and its distribution is restricted to small areas. Thus, it was listed as a critically endangered orchid species by the IUCN in 2015. Therefore, the aim of this study was to generate information on the abundance and distribution of Paphiopedilum fairrieanum and assess the relationship between the abundance and distribution of Paphiopedilum fairrieanum with site factors in the study area. A systematic sampling method was followed for the data collection, with a 200 m distance between the plots. A total of 34 sample plots with 5.64 m radii were established. In total, 1004 individuals of orchid species were recorded. The abundance and distribution of the Paphiopedilum fairrieanum showed statistically significant associations with the elevation (r = −0.350, p = 0.042), slope (r = 0.666, p = 0.000), precipitation (r = −0.630, p = 0.000) and temperature (r = 0.371, p = 0.031). A southeast aspect was found to have the highest number of Paphiopedilum fairrieanum, and a northwest aspect had the least. The findings of this study would help researchers to find suitable sites and the distribution of Paphiopedilum fairrieanum in unexplored areas. Full article
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Article
Impact of European Beaver (Castor fiber L.) on Vegetation Diversity in Protected Area River Valleys
Conservation 2022, 2(4), 613-626; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation2040040 - 13 Oct 2022
Viewed by 318
Abstract
The aim of the study was to evaluate the impact of European beaver (Castor fiber L.) on vegetation diversity and the expansion of non-native plant species in areas surrounding watercourses in Polesie National Park, Poland. The investigation was carried out within six [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to evaluate the impact of European beaver (Castor fiber L.) on vegetation diversity and the expansion of non-native plant species in areas surrounding watercourses in Polesie National Park, Poland. The investigation was carried out within six watercourses inhabited by beavers and four comparison watercourses where beaver were absent. European beaver living in the park had a small excursion range, reaching a maximum distance of 25 m from the watercourse so that effects on vegetation diversity were limited to the immediate vicinity of the watercourse. Beaver significantly influenced diversity of the tall tree and forest floor vegetation, while it did not significantly modify the diversity of the low tree and shrub layer. Five alien plant species were documented. The alien species most strongly associated with beaver activity was devil’s beggartick (Bidens frondosa L.), which occurred in the immediate vicinity of beaver dams. Other alien species most benefiting from the presence of beaver were giant goldenrod (Solidago gigantea Aiton) and black cherry (Prunus serotina Ehrh.). Our study confirmed hypotheses found in literature according to which beaver activities that reduce the proportion of native species can promote the expansion of plant alien species. Full article
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Article
Phytoplankton Community in Relation to Environmental Variables in the Tidal Mangrove Creeks of the Pasur River Estuary, Bangladesh
Conservation 2022, 2(4), 587-612; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation2040039 - 09 Oct 2022
Viewed by 366
Abstract
The Pasur River estuary (PRE) provides vital fishery resources and supports millions of livelihoods in the southwestern coastal region of Bangladesh. Our research focused on phytoplankton community assemblages, alpha diversity indices, and the seasonal succession of major phytoplankton species in relation to physicochemical [...] Read more.
The Pasur River estuary (PRE) provides vital fishery resources and supports millions of livelihoods in the southwestern coastal region of Bangladesh. Our research focused on phytoplankton community assemblages, alpha diversity indices, and the seasonal succession of major phytoplankton species in relation to physicochemical parameters in the tidal mangrove creeks of the Pasur River estuary. Spatial and temporal variations were assessed by water sampling at 17 stations in the study area from January to December 2019. The mean salinity level in the tidal mangrove creeks of the PRE was significantly (p < 0.05) higher during the dry season than during the wet season. Spatially, no significant variation (p > 0.05) was observed in the dissolved inorganic nitrogen and dissolved inorganic phosphorus between PRE and mangrove creeks, but temporally, the variables varied significantly (p < 0.05). Spatially, no significant variation (p > 0.05) was observed in the alpha diversity of the phytoplankton community but significantly (p < 0.05) varied temporally. Blue-green algae became dominant in the oligohaline conditions during the wet season, while diatoms were dominant during the dry season which severely depleted dissolved silica. In terms of phytoplankton species diversity, our study classifies the study areas as highly diversified zones. Phytoplankton succession from diatoms (dry season) to blue-green algae (wet season) is attributed to the changes in the physicochemical and nutrient parameters depending on seasonal environmental parameter fluctuations. This study illustrated that phytoplankton diversity and density varied with the degrees of habitat and seasonal changes, implying the potential impacts of anthropogenic activities and natural causes on their community structure in tropical estuaries and mangrove creeks. Full article
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Article
Attitudes, Involvement and Public Support for Pest Control Methods
Conservation 2022, 2(4), 566-586; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation2040038 - 09 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 347
Abstract
Public support is crucial to the widespread application of pest control methods both in the form of political support and, where people have direct agency in control methods, compliance with the demands of the methods. It is commonplace for personal behaviours reflecting political [...] Read more.
Public support is crucial to the widespread application of pest control methods both in the form of political support and, where people have direct agency in control methods, compliance with the demands of the methods. It is commonplace for personal behaviours reflecting political support for public policies to be presumed to depend on relevant attitudes, beliefs and values of the person. The finite amount of attention and cognitive effort each person possesses implies that attention and effort are rationed, indicating that changing behaviour requires that the targeted individual is attentive and willing to invest the required cognitive effort; that is, they are motivated to consider new information and, subsequently, to reviewing their attitudes and behaviour. We examine whether attitudes and involvement (a measure of motivation) together provide better predictions of public support for pest control methods than attitudes alone, using the distribution of baits containing sodium fluoroacetate (1080) in New Zealand to control invasive, non-native rats and possums as a case study. We found the novel combination of involvement and attitudes did provide significantly better predictions of an individual’s support for using 1080 for the purpose of environmental conservation, and their pest control behaviour, than did attitudes alone. Full article
Article
Fruticose Lichen Communities at the Edge: Distribution and Diversity in a Desert Sky Island on the Colorado Plateau
Conservation 2022, 2(4), 550-565; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation2040037 - 30 Sep 2022
Viewed by 365
Abstract
Subalpine habitats in sky islands in the Southwestern USA are currently facing large-scale transformations. Lichens have widely been used as bioindicators of environmental change. On the Colorado Plateau, fruticose lichens occur in patchy, disconnected populations, including unique lichen-draped conifer sites in subalpine forests [...] Read more.
Subalpine habitats in sky islands in the Southwestern USA are currently facing large-scale transformations. Lichens have widely been used as bioindicators of environmental change. On the Colorado Plateau, fruticose lichens occur in patchy, disconnected populations, including unique lichen-draped conifer sites in subalpine forests in the La Sal Mountains in southeastern Utah. Here, we document the distribution and fungal diversity within these lichen communities. We find that lichen-draped conifer sites in the La Sal Mountains are restricted to only three known, small areas in Picea englemannii forests above 3000 m above sea level, two of which have recently been impacted by wildfire. We document 30 different species of lichen-forming fungi in these communities, several which represent the first reports from the Colorado Plateau. We also characterize mycobiont haplotype diversity for the fruticose lichens Evernia divaricata, Ramalina sinensis, and multiple Usnea species. We also report a range of diverse fungi associated with these lichens, including genetic clusters representing 22 orders spanning seven classes of Ascomycetes and fewer clusters representing Basidiomycetes. Our results provide a baseline for ongoing monitoring and help to raise awareness of unique lichen communities and other biodiversity in the region. Full article
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Article
The Hwaseong Wetlands Reclamation Area and Tidal Flats, Republic of Korea: A Case of Waterbird Conservation in the Yellow Sea
Conservation 2022, 2(4), 526-549; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation2040036 - 27 Sep 2022
Viewed by 504
Abstract
The reclamation of tidal flats is implicated in the declines of a large number of migratory waterbird species along the East Asia-Australasian Flyway, and has resulted in the assessment of Yellow Sea tidal flats as an Endangered habitat by the IUCN. Created in [...] Read more.
The reclamation of tidal flats is implicated in the declines of a large number of migratory waterbird species along the East Asia-Australasian Flyway, and has resulted in the assessment of Yellow Sea tidal flats as an Endangered habitat by the IUCN. Created in their present form by large-scale reclamation, the Hwaseong Wetlands on the Yellow Sea coast of the Republic of Korea are comprised of tidal flats, a large reclamation lake, and extensive areas of rice-fields and fallow land. As part of preparation for increased protections for these wetlands, we conducted bird surveys between late June 2020 and mid-June 2021. During this period, we recorded more than 150,000 waterbirds in the wetland and concentrations of 1% or more of 25 populations of waterbird. We also recorded a total of 16 globally threatened wetland species. As at many other coastal wetlands in the Yellow Sea, tidal flat obligate waterbird species used the tidal flats for foraging; and roosted in artificial wetlands which had been created through the reclamation process. The extensive areas of rice-field and other freshwater habitats in the Hwaseong Wetlands were also internationally important in their own right, supporting globally threatened amphibians and internationally important concentrations of foraging geese and floodplain-associated waterbird species. The movements of waterbirds between foraging and roosting areas we recorded make clear that conservation of the site’s biodiversity either as a Ramsar site or within a serial World Heritage Property would require protection of all the contiguous tidal flats and also of the most biodiverse rice-field and freshwater wetland areas. As elsewhere in the coastal zone of the Republic of Korea, this would first require the support of local stakeholders and also a reduction in jurisdictional issues between various local and national decision-making bodies. Full article
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