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Conservation, Volume 3, Issue 1 (March 2023) – 18 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Wildflower seed mixes are popular with individuals, community groups, farmers, and civic authorities aiming to promote local biodiversity. Recently, however, these seed mixes have been criticized for containing non-native plant species or representing plant assemblages that would not occur under natural conditions. We examined wildflower seed mixes available in Ireland and separated c70,000 seeds into 92 species. Only a quarter of seed packets we purchased in Ireland originated from Ireland, and less than half (43%) of the plant species are considered native to Ireland. Thus, although creating diverse floral habitats in gardens and urban settings can significantly benefit wildlife, caution is required before using wildflower mixes to restore or recreate natural plant communities. View this paper
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30 pages, 5764 KiB  
Article
Threatened Habitats of Carnivores: Identifying Conservation Areas in Michoacán, México
by Marisol Del Moral-Alvarez, Miguel A. Ortega-Huerta and Rodrigo Nuñez
Conservation 2023, 3(1), 247-276; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation3010018 - 22 Mar 2023
Viewed by 2371
Abstract
The present study contributes to bridging the gap in research related to the presence and distribution patterns of carnivore mammals in western México and identifies priority areas for biodiversity conservation in western Michoacán, México. The distribution of 11 carnivore species (Canis latrans [...] Read more.
The present study contributes to bridging the gap in research related to the presence and distribution patterns of carnivore mammals in western México and identifies priority areas for biodiversity conservation in western Michoacán, México. The distribution of 11 carnivore species (Canis latrans; Urocyon cinereoargenteus; Herpailurus yagouaroundi; Leopardus pardalis; Leopardus wiedii; Puma concolor; Panthera onca; Conepatus leuconotus; Bassariscus astutus; Nasua narica; Procyon lotor) in western México was modeled through the application of a two-scale approach, including a large modeled region that corresponded to the western part of the country, for which consensus models were obtained that represent the species’ bioclimatic envelopes (historic occurrence records); and the second modeled study area that includes only the western portion of the state of Michoacán in which compounded models of the species’ habitat suitability (field occurrence records) for this region were proposed. Using species’ habitat suitability models as biodiversity units, prioritization exercises were carried out on important areas for the conservation of these species, as well as the comparison and analysis of the existing natural protected areas (NPA) and existing proposed conservation areas in the study area. The different exercises for prioritizing areas for conservation yielded similar results and show the potential percentages of the landscape that can be subjected to conservation programs. The highest conservation priority values were mainly located in the Costas del Sur and Cordillera del Sur provinces. This study signifies a flexible basis from which future studies on planning and designing a network of natural protected areas can be carried out in this region. Full article
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15 pages, 1695 KiB  
Article
Mountain Cryosphere Landscapes in South America: Value and Protection
by Sebastián Ruiz-Pereira, Voltaire Alvarado Peterson and Darío Trombotto Liaudat
Conservation 2023, 3(1), 232-246; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation3010017 - 21 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1977
Abstract
Mountain landscapes support hydric and biodiversity potential under different ownership and land use perspectives. A focal point justifying their preservation is often the legislation’s ethical endorsement. Yet, when scales for assessment diverge without a common analytical purpose, the protective measures may become either [...] Read more.
Mountain landscapes support hydric and biodiversity potential under different ownership and land use perspectives. A focal point justifying their preservation is often the legislation’s ethical endorsement. Yet, when scales for assessment diverge without a common analytical purpose, the protective measures may become either ambiguous or insufficient. By considering that mountain cryosphere landscapes have both subjective and supply values, we focused on approaches to protect them and examined conceptual dissonances in their assessment. This ambiguity was examined by analyzing the hydric storage potential of the mountain cryosphere in semi-arid regions in the Andes. We reviewed the technical aspects of cryosphere hydrology and how current legislation aims to preserve freshwater supply and non-instrumental value. The analysis found a clash between instrumental and non-instrumental values and, most importantly, the neglect of a temporal dimension for landscape evolution. Particularly, landscape protection becomes suboptimal as scales of analysis for use and non-use values diverge. Therefore, we recommend analyzing mountain cryosphere landscapes as overlapped sub-units bearing a unified potential (future value) as a hydric resource. This analysis should fit the most inclusive scale on which transaction costs reflecting needs and insurance values reflecting management quality are optimal. Full article
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18 pages, 2417 KiB  
Article
Eudaimonia in the Amazon: Relational Values as a Deep Leverage Point to Curb Tropical Deforestation
by Gabriela Russo Lopes and Mairon G. Bastos Lima
Conservation 2023, 3(1), 214-231; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation3010016 - 14 Mar 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4812
Abstract
Tropical deforestation has been recognized as a major and multi-faceted sustainability issue, frequently analyzed in terms of its economic drivers, the effectiveness of protection policies, or broader political dynamics. Meanwhile, the role of values as underlying social factors affecting land-use choices remains underexplored. [...] Read more.
Tropical deforestation has been recognized as a major and multi-faceted sustainability issue, frequently analyzed in terms of its economic drivers, the effectiveness of protection policies, or broader political dynamics. Meanwhile, the role of values as underlying social factors affecting land-use choices remains underexplored. Recognizing that values can, however, be important “deep” leverage points for transformative change, we delve into that dimension using the Brazilian Amazon as a case study. Through a total of 72 key-informant interviews and field visits to 25 sustainable land-use initiatives in the states of Acre and Mato Grosso, we identify values that have motivated choices for conservation in deforestation frontiers and how stakeholders articulate them. Our results reveal that different land users make economic considerations, but these are interwoven with relational values—about connections to the landscape or social relations mediated by nature. Eudaimonic values, such as increased meaningfulness, personal growth through learning and knowledge sharing, as well as a sense of contributing to the world, are shown to be key in those initiatives. These findings challenge the commonplace distinction between ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ people, showing that relational values are relevant across the board and may deserve much more attention as leverage points. Full article
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15 pages, 5834 KiB  
Article
Efficacy of Bomas (Kraals) in Mitigating Livestock Depredation in Maasai Mara Conservancies, Kenya
by Elizabeth Wakoli, Dorothy Masiga Syallow, Evans Sitati, Paul W. Webala, Hellen Ipara and Tabitha Finch
Conservation 2023, 3(1), 199-213; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation3010015 - 7 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2415
Abstract
Livestock depredation is a major conservation challenge globally, causing significant economic losses to pastoralists and threatening large carnivore species outside protected areas. Our study investigated the temporal and spatial distribution of livestock depredation incidences, carnivore species associated with livestock depredation, and assessed mitigation [...] Read more.
Livestock depredation is a major conservation challenge globally, causing significant economic losses to pastoralists and threatening large carnivore species outside protected areas. Our study investigated the temporal and spatial distribution of livestock depredation incidences, carnivore species associated with livestock depredation, and assessed mitigation measures in Maasai Mara Conservancies in Southern Kenya. Using daily monitoring of livestock depredation cases, we made comparisons between livestock attacks occurring in predator-proof bomas and those with traditional kraals. A total of 305 livestock depredation incidents were recorded between January and December 2021, translating to a total tally of 1411 livestock maimed or killed. Most livestock depredation incidents occurred during the day (59%) as opposed to night (41%), but this difference was not significant. Livestock depredation incidents in the nighttime occurred mostly inside traditional kraals (34%) and occurred the least in predator-proof kraals (2%). Lions were responsible for more livestock attacks in the grazing fields compared with leopards, hyenas, and wild dogs. Hyenas were more daring and attacked livestock inside traditional bomas relative to lions and leopards. Our study concludes that predator-proof bomas are more effective in minimizing livestock depredation and can be embraced as a sound intervention for human–carnivore co-existence in communities’ wildlife conservation areas. Full article
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8 pages, 580 KiB  
Article
High Sensitivity of the Tiger Beetle, Cicindela circumpicta, to Toxicity from Pyrethroids and Neonicotinoids, and Implications for Ecosystem Function and Species Extinctions
by Sheri Svehla, Tierney Brosius, Leon Higley and Tom Hunt
Conservation 2023, 3(1), 191-198; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation3010014 - 2 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1555
Abstract
Risks to non-target species from pesticides have been a concern since the 1960s, but non-target arthropods have never received the attention as have non-target vertebrate species. Pesticide exposure could be a contributing factor in the decline of the endangered Cicindela nevadica lincolniana, [...] Read more.
Risks to non-target species from pesticides have been a concern since the 1960s, but non-target arthropods have never received the attention as have non-target vertebrate species. Pesticide exposure could be a contributing factor in the decline of the endangered Cicindela nevadica lincolniana, as well as declines in predaceous and pollinating insects. Consequently, we examined susceptibility to three common pesticides (glyphosate, bifenthrin, and imidacloprid) of larvae of Cicindela circumpicta, a co-occurring species with Cicindela nevadica lincolniana and a potential model species for insect predators generally. Toxicity was tested by direct, 24-h exposure by contact to larvae. No toxicity from glyphosate was observed at any of the doses tested, nor was death in any controls observed. In contrast, C. circumpicta showed alarmingly high sensitivity to small amounts of both imidacloprid and bifenthrin, two of the most widely used insecticides worldwide. This level of toxicity shows a 3-fold higher sensitivity than reported for insect pollinators. The high sensitivity of tiger beetles to neonicotinoids, and the wide and continual use of this pesticide, strongly indicates the potential for declines in larval insect predators generally, and with the decline of C. n. lincolniana specifically. Results suggest that the focus of the concern for non-target impacts from neonicotinoids should be expanded for insect natural enemies. Full article
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16 pages, 4032 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Well-Being Status of Near-Threatened Gangetic Leaf Fish Nandus nandus (Hamilton, 1822) in the Kawadighi Haor: Implications to Haor Fishery Management in the Northeastern Bangladesh
by Md. Abu Kawsar, Mohammad Amzad Hossain, Debasish Pandit, Muhammad Anamul Kabir and Md. Tariqul Alam
Conservation 2023, 3(1), 175-190; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation3010013 - 1 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2011
Abstract
This study evaluated the status of the well-being of wild Nandus nandus in the Kawadighi Haor through morphometric and gastrointestinal indices and local people’s perceptions. Basic macroscopic morphology of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), the viscera somatic index (VSI), the hepatosomatic index (HSI), the [...] Read more.
This study evaluated the status of the well-being of wild Nandus nandus in the Kawadighi Haor through morphometric and gastrointestinal indices and local people’s perceptions. Basic macroscopic morphology of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), the viscera somatic index (VSI), the hepatosomatic index (HSI), the condition factor (K), length–weight relationships, and gut histology were analyzed from the regular commercial catch. The GIT morphology includes a tube-like esophagus, a tapering stomach, a tubular intestinal region, and a rectum, all of which have clinically normal shapes and conditions. VSI and HSI values fluctuate throughout the year, indicating the periodic variation of food content and availability in the ecosystem. The condition factor (K) was generally stable, with minor deviations in December. The mucosa, submucosa, muscularis, and serosa were identified from the stomach of N. nandus and showed normal histological characteristics. There were numerous proliferated villi in the tunica mucosa, but no histopathological abnormalities were found in the gut. These findings suggest that the current population of N. nandus in the Haor is in a favorable condition. However, local people reported some potential threats that might be a concern for the long-term survival of this species. The results of the present study will be useful for effective and sustainable stock management of the N. nandus fishery in the Kawadighi Haor and other floodplain ecosystems. Full article
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22 pages, 5504 KiB  
Article
A Review of the Trade in Toucans (Ramphastidae): Levels of Trade in Species, Source and Sink Countries, Effects from Governance Actions and Conservation Concerns
by Angus I. Carpenter and Jennifer Slade
Conservation 2023, 3(1), 153-174; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation3010012 - 21 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3666
Abstract
Utilising wildlife as natural resources has a long history and wide appeal for many nations, while seeking international wildlife that is sustainably managed is the primary responsibility of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). However, [...] Read more.
Utilising wildlife as natural resources has a long history and wide appeal for many nations, while seeking international wildlife that is sustainably managed is the primary responsibility of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). However, data-driven trade reviews are required, utilising CITES data to increase our understanding of the trade and facilitate evidence-based conservation planning. This study presents the first trade review for Toucans utilising CITES import reported data. The total number of Toucans exported was over 22,000, which subsequently generated a retail ‘real price’ value of nearly US $72 million. The countries accounting for the majority of Toucan exports were Guyana (39%), Suriname (33%) and Nicaragua (14%), while the main importing country was The Netherlands (nearly 25%). Toucan species traded were Ramphastos vitellinus (accounting for 21.5%), Ramphastos toco (19%) and Ramphastos tucanus (17%), making the top three while trade was recorded in 10 species. However, successfully identifying economic values for 15 species highlights that trade exists within non-CITES listed Toucan species too. Therefore, the levels of trade in non-CITES-listed Toucan species need urgent attention, as do the non-detrimental findings that underpin the CITES quotas set for each species, given the species’ importance ecologically. Full article
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26 pages, 5948 KiB  
Article
Regional Conservation Assessment of the Threatened Species: A Case Study of Twelve Plant Species in the Farasan Archipelago
by Rahmah N. Al-Qthanin and Samah A. Alharbi
Conservation 2023, 3(1), 127-152; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation3010011 - 15 Feb 2023
Viewed by 2837
Abstract
Assessing species at the regional level for their conservation is a vital first step in identifying and prioritizing species for both ex situ and in situ conservation actions. The complex coastal geomorphology of the Farasan Archipelago gives rise to promontories and bays that [...] Read more.
Assessing species at the regional level for their conservation is a vital first step in identifying and prioritizing species for both ex situ and in situ conservation actions. The complex coastal geomorphology of the Farasan Archipelago gives rise to promontories and bays that fragment the coastal flora. Climate change studies, combined with a case study of anthropogenic land use changes such as urbanization, tourism, and fishing, highlight the threat to the fragmented plant populations. In this study, the regional IUCN categories and criteria have been used to assess the conservation status of twelve targeted taxa of the Farasan Archipelago based on the data collected during field surveys and a literature review. According to our results, six species have been categorized as endangered (EN), four species as vulnerable (VU), and two species as near threatened (NT). Compared to an earlier assessment at the global level, Avicennia marina and Rhizophora mucronata have been re-categorized with a high degree of threat and ten species have been assessed for the first time. An effective action plan for the protection of the coastal zone and inland area biodiversity of the Archipelago is crucial to reduce threats to the islands’ plants. Full article
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18 pages, 4196 KiB  
Perspective
Using Botanical Gardens as Butterfly Gardens: Insights from a Pilot Project in the Gran Sasso and Monti Della Laga National Park (Italy)
by Simone Fattorini, Cristina Mantoni, Leonardo Dapporto, Giorgio Davini and Letizia Di Biase
Conservation 2023, 3(1), 109-126; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation3010010 - 8 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3081
Abstract
Butterfly gardens are green spaces designed as places where butterflies can feed, mate, and rest. Here, we present some perspectives on the possible use of botanical gardens in natural areas as butterfly gardens to promote insect conservation through science dissemination and citizen science [...] Read more.
Butterfly gardens are green spaces designed as places where butterflies can feed, mate, and rest. Here, we present some perspectives on the possible use of botanical gardens in natural areas as butterfly gardens to promote insect conservation through science dissemination and citizen science activities. We explored this possibility with a project developed in the Botanical Garden of the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park (Italy). We found an extremely high butterfly richness as a result of favorable conditions which can be common in botanical gardens. To promote awareness of insect conservation in the general public and citizen science activities, we have installed within the garden several posters illustrating the butterfly fauna of the park, the species that visitors can easily observe, and the importance of butterfly conservation. Using this case study, we provided reflections and guidelines for the realization and management of butterfly gardens in already existing botanical gardens, especially in natural areas. The realization of butterfly gardens in protected areas to promote awareness of insect conservation, as well as to perform scientific research (namely insect monitoring), may help to ensure that insects will exert a pivotal role in expanding the global network of protected areas under the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Full article
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13 pages, 3381 KiB  
Review
The Hell of Wildfires: The Impact on Wildlife and Its Conservation and the Role of the Veterinarian
by Andreia Garcês and Isabel Pires
Conservation 2023, 3(1), 96-108; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation3010009 - 1 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 8528
Abstract
Wildfires are common occurrences worldwide that can destroy vast forest areas and kill numerous animals in a few hours. Climate change, rising global temperatures, precipitation, the introduction of exotic species of plants (e.g., eucalyptus), intensive agriculture, and deforestation have increased the number of [...] Read more.
Wildfires are common occurrences worldwide that can destroy vast forest areas and kill numerous animals in a few hours. Climate change, rising global temperatures, precipitation, the introduction of exotic species of plants (e.g., eucalyptus), intensive agriculture, and deforestation have increased the number of fires and their intensity and destructive power. Nearly 4% of the global land surface (30–46 million/km2) is burned annually. There are many studies regarding the impact of wildfires on ecosystems, flora, domestic animals, and humans. Even though wildfires are a common and recurrent problem around the world, most of the time, they are a neglected issue, especially regarding wildlife. The information available is scarce and dispersed across several bibliographical references, and the veterinarian teams, most of the time, need to be trained to act in these situations. In this brief review, we describe different species’ behavior during a wildfire, the effects on the ecosystem, and the socioeconomic impact on the region. From a veterinarian’s perspective, we list the major injuries that are expected to be observed and how to proceed. In conclusion, we discuss better prevention and response measures in a wildfire scenario. This information can be used by veterinarians and all the entities involved in the prevention and combat of wildfires, and the general public has an important role in these situations. Full article
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9 pages, 1048 KiB  
Brief Report
Rock and Plovers—A Drama in Three Acts Involving a Big Musical Event Planned on a Coastal Beach Hosting Threatened Birds of Conservation Concern
by Corrado Battisti
Conservation 2023, 3(1), 87-95; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation3010008 - 30 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2228
Abstract
Big musical events often coincide with natural spaces, and therefore they may have an impact on sensitive ecosystems. Here, a story of events that took place following a big event on an Italian beach within a Special Protection Area (SPA; hosting embryonic shifting [...] Read more.
Big musical events often coincide with natural spaces, and therefore they may have an impact on sensitive ecosystems. Here, a story of events that took place following a big event on an Italian beach within a Special Protection Area (SPA; hosting embryonic shifting dunes and plover birds of conservation concern) is reported. Following a theatrical approach to conservation, this story unfolds in three acts (Act I: The Premises; II: On the Field; III: Long-Term Effects) that include the social targets (‘actors’) involved (i.e., the pop star’s staff, ONG, institutions, and local stakeholders) as well as the critical issues and conflicts. This experience provides some conservation lessons: (i) big musical events can have an impact on sensitive socio-ecosystems; (ii) the intrinsic value of coastal ecosystems has been underestimated since the site selection was carried out by decision makers with inaccurate/inappropriate use of digital tools; (iii) communication among the private organizers, public institutions, ONG, and people was poor; (iv) the availability of huge economic resources has made the local municipality vulnerable; (v) digital social processes increased polarization between opposing parties with an increase in local conflicts among Public Agencies; and (vi) these conflicts had long-term cascade effects on the nature reserve’s management. To communicate conservation stories, I encourage conservation practitioners to use a theatrical approach to communicate local events with socio-ecological implications—increasing awareness of human–wildlife conflicts and cognitive bias emerging after unshared decisions—using simplified conceptual frameworks. Full article
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14 pages, 641 KiB  
Article
You Reap What You Sow: A Botanical and Economic Assessment of Wildflower Seed Mixes Available in Ireland
by Claudia Barry and Simon Hodge
Conservation 2023, 3(1), 73-86; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation3010007 - 24 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2878
Abstract
Planting wildflower seed mixes has become popular with individuals and community groups aiming to promote wildlife and enhance local biodiversity. Recently, however, these seed mixes have been criticized with respect to the origin of the seeds and the species they contain. There is [...] Read more.
Planting wildflower seed mixes has become popular with individuals and community groups aiming to promote wildlife and enhance local biodiversity. Recently, however, these seed mixes have been criticized with respect to the origin of the seeds and the species they contain. There is a growing awareness that the unintended planting of exotic species may disrupt native ecological networks, introduce aggressive weeds, or facilitate the establishment of invasive species in new localities. In this study, we purchased two packets of twelve brands of wildflower seeds available in Ireland from stores or online suppliers. In total, the 24 packets contained 69,409 seeds weighing 304 g, and represented 92 plant species in 23 families. Only 25% of the seed packets purchased in Ireland originated from Ireland, and only 43% of the plant species we identified are considered native to Ireland. To reinforce this point, the most frequent species, Phacelia tanacetifolia, which occurred in nine of the twelve brands, is not a native Irish plant species. Multivariate analysis identified no obvious grouping of seed mixes based on their intended target group (e.g., bees, butterflies, wildlife), which might be expected had manufacturers followed scientific guidance describing which plants are preferred by which pollinator group. The creation of patches of diverse floral habitats in gardens and urban settings can significantly benefit wildlife and human wellbeing. Our results, however, reinforce the need for caution before using wildflower mixes in attempts to restore or recreate natural or semi-natural plant communities. Full article
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2 pages, 149 KiB  
Editorial
Acknowledgment to the Reviewers of Conservation in 2022
by Conservation Editorial Office
Conservation 2023, 3(1), 71-72; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation3010006 - 13 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1203
Abstract
High-quality academic publishing is built on rigorous peer review [...] Full article
12 pages, 2434 KiB  
Article
Living in a Thermally Diverse Environment: Field Body Temperatures and Thermoregulation in Hermann’s Tortoise, Testudo hermanni, in Montenegro
by Ana Vujović, Vladimir Pešić and Roger Meek
Conservation 2023, 3(1), 59-70; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation3010005 - 13 Jan 2023
Viewed by 2047
Abstract
Reptiles live in a range of different habitats from tropical forests to temperate zones where the climate may change on seasonal or a daily basis. The thermal environment is a major determinant of how efficiently they can achieve optimum or preferred body temperatures [...] Read more.
Reptiles live in a range of different habitats from tropical forests to temperate zones where the climate may change on seasonal or a daily basis. The thermal environment is a major determinant of how efficiently they can achieve optimum or preferred body temperatures and, in terms of physiologically optimum body temperatures, these may not be possible in a natural environment. In this paper, null models have been employed to evaluate thermoregulatory efficiency in Hermann’s tortoise, Testudo hermanni, in high summer in central Montenegro when temperatures change on a daily basis. The study area is defined as a low-cost thermal environment and thus we assumed that tortoises should be able to achieve an efficient level of thermoregulation. However, the results varied and depended on where the tortoises operated and the weather conditions. High levels of efficiency were found during sunny weather in areas with abundant patches of shade and sunlit areas. These reflected the temperatures of models placed in these areas and in females during cooler cloudy weather when thermoregulatory effort increased. Model temperatures placed in partially shaded sunlit areas were in better agreement with tortoise body temperatures than models in other areas. Tortoise body temperatures were in closer agreement with set point temperatures than any of the null models placed in either open sunny, shaded or partially shaded areas, indicating that tortoise movement was non-random and due to active thermoregulation. Full article
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6 pages, 660 KiB  
Opinion
The European Market Remains the Largest Consumer of Frogs’ Legs from Wild Species
by Mark Auliya, Sandra Altherr, Alice Hughes, Charlotte Nithart, Annemarie Ohler and David Bickford
Conservation 2023, 3(1), 53-58; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation3010004 - 11 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4526
Abstract
The loss of biodiversity due to overexploitation is well known, but a review and regulation of species used in the frogs’ legs trade has yet to be accomplished. This problem relates to supply (the capture and trade of wild populations) and demand (the [...] Read more.
The loss of biodiversity due to overexploitation is well known, but a review and regulation of species used in the frogs’ legs trade has yet to be accomplished. This problem relates to supply (the capture and trade of wild populations) and demand (the main consumer being the EU). The EU’s responsibility should not be ignored, since unsustainable imports of certain species drives population decline and increases risk of extinction. For most organisms, including frog species in the frogs’ legs trade, commercial international trade remains unregulated, includes species in extinction-threat categories on the IUCN Red List, and is not economically sustainable. With a tradition of frogs’ legs consumption anchored in western EU countries, demand for many species from the principal supplying countries (Indonesia, Vietnam, Turkey, Albania) has resulted in the overexploitation of the regional populations of many species. Unfortunately, legal trade takes place in the midst of numerous uncertainties, including unresolved taxonomic status for many frogs, no database or regulation of trade-relevant species, unknown population status, and no health standards for the animals involved in the trade. In addition, regional overharvest may increase the use of pesticides, there is uncertain but likely spread of disease along the trade chain, and certification schemes for frog farming operations are both not standardised and can lead to exotic invasive species escaping into naïve ecosystems. Mechanisms to help make the international trade in frogs’ legs sustainable are essential, and require international agreement and targeted efforts, ideally financed by the trade sector itself. Full article
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21 pages, 4867 KiB  
Article
Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) Based Soil Erosion Susceptibility Mapping in Northwestern Himalayas: A Case Study of Central Kashmir Province
by Fayma Mushtaq, Majid Farooq, Anamika Shalini Tirkey and Bashir Ahmad Sheikh
Conservation 2023, 3(1), 32-52; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation3010003 - 7 Jan 2023
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2948
Abstract
The Kashmir Valley is immensely susceptible to soil erosion due to its diverse topography and unstable geological formations in the Himalayan region. The present study helps in assessing the spatial distribution and prioritizing soil erosion zones in the Central Kashmir region covering the [...] Read more.
The Kashmir Valley is immensely susceptible to soil erosion due to its diverse topography and unstable geological formations in the Himalayan region. The present study helps in assessing the spatial distribution and prioritizing soil erosion zones in the Central Kashmir region covering the Sindh and Dachigam catchments. The study implemented the GIS-based analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and weighted sum method (WSM) using datasets of precipitation, geological map, soil map, and satellite imagery and derived eleven factors (topographical derivatives, LULC, soil, drainage, rainfall, lithology, wetness index and greenness of an area). The ratings and weightage were proven to be unbiased and reliable based on the observed value of the consistency ratio (CR) (i.e., 0.07). The study depicts 41% of the total area to be extremely vulnerable to soil erosion. The slope varies from 0–62° with mean of 22.12°, indicating 467.99 km2 (26%) and 281.12 km2 (15%) of the area under high and very high susceptible zones, respectively. The NDVI and NDWI maps indicate soil erosion severity covering an area of 40% and 38%, respectively, in highly susceptible zones. High drainage density and curvature zones were observed in 18.33% and 22.64% of the study area, respectively. The study will assist in the planning and implementation of conservation measures. Full article
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18 pages, 5942 KiB  
Article
Observing Spatiotemporal Inconsistency of Erosion and Accretion in the Barak River Using Remote Sensing and GIS Techniques
by Briti Sundar Sil, Kumar Ashwini, Wajahat Annayat, Jatan Debnath, Majid Farooq and Gowhar Meraj
Conservation 2023, 3(1), 14-31; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation3010002 - 26 Dec 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2902
Abstract
Alluvial rivers all over the world have one common problem, which is their meandering pattern. This meander formation is because of natural and anthropogenic processes. Barak River is dynamic, and due to this, it is exposed to regular shifting and creates many problems [...] Read more.
Alluvial rivers all over the world have one common problem, which is their meandering pattern. This meander formation is because of natural and anthropogenic processes. Barak River is dynamic, and due to this, it is exposed to regular shifting and creates many problems for the people who reside near the river. The livelihood of many people depends on agriculture, which they conduct on the nearby sides of the river. However, the regular shifting of riverbanks makes their life miserable and leads to severe economic losses. Further, roadways and railways run along the banks of the Barak River, and during monsoon, Assam (Silchar), along with three states, Mizoram, Manipur, and Tripura, become disconnected from the rest of India because the road and rail connections fail due to riverbank erosion. Therefore, considering the catchment area and the importance of this river, we have tried to understand the spatiotemporal changes (erosion, deposition, and unchanged area) in the Barak River. From our analysis, we found that the maximum and minimum amount of erosion occurred from 2012–2017 and 2002–2012 and were 727.56 ha and 332.69 ha, respectively. While the highest amount of deposition that occurred during 1984–2017 was 1054.21 ha, the minimum amount of deposition that occurred during 2012–2017 was 351.32. Overall, it was identified that the area under the deposition was more dynamic than the erosion from 1984–2017. Moreover, from the temporal analysis of land use/land cover from 1984–2017, it was found that the area that comes under the settlement and arable land has increased by 10.47% and 5.05%, respectively. The dynamic factors, such as the nature of channel gradient, land use/land cover, and riparian vegetative cover, could be the probable driving forces that cause changes in the erosional and depositional areas. This study will help us understand the dynamics of the Barak River and other rivers of this type worldwide. This study shall help implement strategies that will help manage bank erosion by adapting scientific bank protection measures. Full article
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13 pages, 8042 KiB  
Article
Previously Unrecorded Invasive Species and the Unsatisfying Knowledge of Turtle Communities in Northern Vietnam
by Charlotte Ducotterd, Olivier Le Duc, Thong Van Pham, Benjamin Leprince, Cédric Bordes, Thinh Ly Nghiêm, Phuong Ho Thu, An Thanh Le, Bao Quang Tran, Vinh Quang Luu and Luca Luiselli
Conservation 2023, 3(1), 1-13; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation3010001 - 26 Dec 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2491
Abstract
According to the IUCN, Southeast Asia is the area of the world with the highest number of threatened turtle species. The current status of chelonians is particularly catastrophic in Vietnam. However, there is still a lack of field data to unambiguously support this [...] Read more.
According to the IUCN, Southeast Asia is the area of the world with the highest number of threatened turtle species. The current status of chelonians is particularly catastrophic in Vietnam. However, there is still a lack of field data to unambiguously support this fact for a few species. To better understand the freshwater turtle diversity and eventually undertake efficient conservation actions, we conducted surveys with local fishers using standardized questionnaires in two independent river systems in northern Vietnam. A total of 112 questionnaires were administered to as many fishers in April and October 2022. We directly observed four sympatric freshwater species (Pelodiscus sinensis, Palea steindachneri, Mauremys sinensis and Sacalia quadriocellata) in Lao Cai and Yen Bai provinces, and two species (Pelodiscus sinensis and Palea steindachneri) in Bac Giang, Hai Duong, Thai Binh, and Hung Yen provinces. Based on the interviews, we added as possible the presence of two other species (Rafetus swinhoei and Pelochelys cantorii) in each of the two study areas. Moreover, we recorded for the first time in Vietnam, two wild individuals of an invasive alien species, the Common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina), confirming that the distribution and ecology of turtle species in Vietnam is poorly understood. Furthermore, recent photos (year 2019) of a 38 kg softshell turtle, possibly attributable to Rafetus swinhoei, were recorded from a restaurant in the area. In conclusion, interviews with local fishers have been found to be useful for exploring the likely presence and the local distribution of the various turtle species. Full article
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