On the Bridge between Conservation Ecology and Environment Management: Contributions of IDECC from Multiple Geographic Contexts

A special issue of Conservation (ISSN 2673-7159).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2022) | Viewed by 13986

Special Issue Editors

Institute for Development Ecology Conservation and Cooperation, Via G. Tomasi di Lampedusa 33 I, 00144 Rome, Italy
Interests: community ecology; reptile biology and conservation; tropical reptile ecology; chelonian conservation; reptile population biology; reptile dietary habits and foraging ecology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche—Istituto di Ricerca Sugli Ecosistemi Terrestri, Viale dell’Università 32, 00185 Rome, Italy
Interests: phylogeography; ecology; areography; systematics; taxonomy; evolution; conservation of mammals
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Institute for Development Ecology Conservation and Cooperation Via G. Tomasi di Lampedusa 33 I, 00144 Rome, Italy
Interests: economical ecology; sustainable development; wildlife conservation; wildlife management; environmental economics

Special Issue Information

The Institute for Development, Ecology, Conservation and Cooperation (IDECC) is a scientific organization devoted to international interdisciplinary research linking conservation ecology and environment management. The Institute has headquarters in Italy, Nigeria, Togo and Burkina Faso and is focused especially on tropical environments. In this Special Issue, we bring a selection of the latest scientific research papers from IDECC scientists and their collaborators, from universities and other research organizations throughout the world. The covered topics will be wide and comprehensive, including different taxonomic groups from invertebrates to vertebrates, in temperate and tropical areas. Special attention will be devoted to highlighting the conservation implications of the described patterns, with an emphasis on threatened taxa, environments and protected areas.

Prof. Dr. Luca Luiselli
Dr. Giovanni Amori
Dr. Daniele Dendi
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • IDECC
  • conservation
  • ecology
  • environment
  • tropical areas
  • international research

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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12 pages, 2434 KiB  
Article
Living in a Thermally Diverse Environment: Field Body Temperatures and Thermoregulation in Hermann’s Tortoise, Testudo hermanni, in Montenegro
Conservation 2023, 3(1), 59-70; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation3010005 - 13 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1632
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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20 pages, 2732 KiB  
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
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3313
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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14 pages, 1068 KiB  
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
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1466
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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14 pages, 2348 KiB  
Article
Long-Term Changes in Four Populations of the Spiny Toad, Bufo spinosus, in Western France; Data from Road Mortalities
Conservation 2022, 2(2), 248-261; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation2020017 - 12 Apr 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1859
Abstract
Habitat fragmentation is widely recognized as a contributor to the decline of biodiversity, with amphibians one of the key groups impacted. To understand the effects of habitat fragmentation on amphibian populations requires long-term data sets showing population trends. In this paper, road mortalities [...] Read more.
Habitat fragmentation is widely recognized as a contributor to the decline of biodiversity, with amphibians one of the key groups impacted. To understand the effects of habitat fragmentation on amphibian populations requires long-term data sets showing population trends. In this paper, road mortalities were employed as proxies to describe long-term numbers of four populations of the spiny toad Bufo spinosus in western France during a 17-year period. Road mortalities were found during all months in all populations but were most frequent during October, November and December, the main migratory period. Large females were found significantly more frequently during these migration months, forming 45% of the total sample, compared with their presence from January to September (34.4%). The long-term trends were evaluated using regression analysis of the logarithmic (loge) transforms of annual counts as dependent variables against year as the independent variables. All coefficients showed no significant departure from the 0 hypothetical coefficients, indicative of population stability. This was supported by jackknife analysis, which showed good agreement of the pseudo-regression coefficients with the true equations. Stepwise regression of potential climate impacts on toad numbers suggested rainfall levels in October adjusted to 2- and 3-year lags were involved in driving population change. Road mortality counts were also made during 2020 and 2021 when human movement restrictions were in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To estimate the potential impact on this disturbance in the methodology, the Poisson distribution was used to estimate potential differences between what would have been expected counts and the observed counts. The results indicate that the observed mortalities were significantly lower than expected in all four populations. Full article
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6 pages, 1291 KiB  
Communication
Natural History Observations on a Population of Vesperus luridus (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) in Central Italy
Conservation 2022, 2(1), 1-6; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation2010001 - 21 Dec 2021
Viewed by 2335
Abstract
Natural history observations were made, during August–September 2021, on a population of the ecologically poorly known Vesperus luridus (Cerambycidae) at a hilly locality of Latium, Central Italy. These beetles were searched for by night along a 170 m long transect, with the help [...] Read more.
Natural history observations were made, during August–September 2021, on a population of the ecologically poorly known Vesperus luridus (Cerambycidae) at a hilly locality of Latium, Central Italy. These beetles were searched for by night along a 170 m long transect, with the help of hand torches. During the field surveys, we recorded a total of 130 individuals, of which 128 were males and 2 females. All individuals were observed between 21 h 45 and 01 h 15, with above-ground activity peaking from 22 h 45 to 23 h 45. The minimum observed density per day showed a rapid increase to a peak at the end of August, followed by a slower decrease in the following two weeks. Mean male density was 0.32 individuals per transect m2, whereas only two females were observed (mean density = 0.006 individuals per transect m2). Most individuals were found on trees, and they appeared to be highly attracted to artificial lights. One female, situated on a tree at a height of 170 cm, was surrounded by five courting males. Full article
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7 pages, 1285 KiB  
Brief Report
Cages Mitigate Predation on Eggs of Threatened Shorebirds: A Manipulative-Control Study
Conservation 2022, 2(3), 450-456; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation2030030 - 16 Jul 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2027
Abstract
Beach-nesting birds (plovers; Aves; Charadridae) are impacted by many natural and human-induced threats (e.g., people trampling, dogs, and natural predators). In this regard, the use of anti-predator cages on their nests is effective in order to mitigate some of these pressures (i.e., predation). [...] Read more.
Beach-nesting birds (plovers; Aves; Charadridae) are impacted by many natural and human-induced threats (e.g., people trampling, dogs, and natural predators). In this regard, the use of anti-predator cages on their nests is effective in order to mitigate some of these pressures (i.e., predation). To evaluate the efficacy of anti-predator cages and the causes of nest failure in a breeding site of two species (Charadrius alexandrinus and C. dubius), we carried out a control-experimental design, comparing false nests (n = 69) in cages (experiment; n = 30) with false nests without cages (control; n = 39). We carried out the study in three seasonal periods (May, June, and July), controlling predations after three periods (three, six, and nine days) since positioning, recording the frequency of eggs still present and evidencing any predation event. The percentage of residual eggs was significantly higher in experimental nests when compared to control nests in all recording periods. Considering 59 predation events on false nests, the most important predators were: in experimental nests (n = 21) the fox, Vulpes vulpes (47.6%), and in control nests (n = 38), the hooded crow, Corvus cornix (50%). Our data suggest that the use of anti-predator cages significantly limits predation on eggs and therefore is likely to increase the hatching success in these ground-nesting birds independently in the seasonal period. However, also in the presence of a cage, the fox is a relevant egg predator. Full article
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