Topical Collection "Disturbance Ecology: A New Emerging Field in Basic/Applied Ecology and Conservation"

A topical collection in Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This collection belongs to the section "Biodiversity Conservation".

Editors

Dr. Corrado Battisti
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Torre Flavia LTER (Long Term Ecological Research) Station, Protected Areas—Regional Park Service, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, viale G. Ribotta, 41, 00144 Rome, Italy
Interests: quantitative ecology; biogeography; problem solving in wildlife management; wetland ecology and management; habitat fragmentation and ecological network planning
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Luca Luiselli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
President of IDECC – 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 and Collections in MDPI journals

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

The effects of human activities are evident everywhere around our planet. Together with the modifying agents of natural origin (‘disturbances’), our species has heavily shaped the natural ecosystems and landscapes through historical and recent processes (‘threats’) characterized by different spatial and time regimes. Therefore, both academic basic/applied ecologists and conservation practitioners managing species and habitats must necessarily obtain critical information on extent, duration, frequency, intensity, predictability of a large set of natural disturbances and, overall, of human-induced threats pressing on conservation targets (populations, communities, ecosystems, and processes). All these data will be useful to develop strategies following logical problem-solving procedures and decision making approaches.

Nonetheless, although disturbance ecology (as a basic discipline) and threat analysis (as an applied conservation science discipline) are proving to be very ‘hot’ emerging arenas rich in new conceptual tools and operational approaches, they are still relatively little used in conservation project management.

Moreover, due to the transversal aspect of these disciplines (disturbances and threats are chemical, physical, and biological events and could be classified following many criteria), many papers are dispersed in journals belonging to different (and often ‘distant’) disciplinary fields (basic ecology, vegetation science, risk analysis, environmental sciences, pollution, chemistry, conservation, environmental impact assessment, etc.), making it difficult to define a disciplinary arrangement and evaluation of its progress.

Hereby, we want to propose a collection of original peer-reviewed papers written by experts with a specific background on a wide range of topics related to disturbance ecology and threat analysis, in both temperate and tropical regions.

Dr. Corrado Battisti
Prof. Dr. Luca Luiselli
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Anthropogenic threats
  • Disturbance
  • Magnitude
  • Impact
  • Ecological targets

Published Papers (6 papers)

2021

Jump to: 2020

Article
Responses and Indicators of Composition, Diversity, and Productivity of Plant Communities at Different Levels of Disturbance in a Wetland Ecosystem
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 252; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060252 - 08 Jun 2021
Viewed by 457
Abstract
Grassland tourism is a very popular leisure activity in many parts of the world. However, the presence of people in these areas causes disturbance to the local environment and grassland resources. This study analyzes the composition, diversity, and productivity under different levels of [...] Read more.
Grassland tourism is a very popular leisure activity in many parts of the world. However, the presence of people in these areas causes disturbance to the local environment and grassland resources. This study analyzes the composition, diversity, and productivity under different levels of disturbance of the plant communities in the Kangxi Grassland Tourist Area and the Yeyahu Wetland Nature Reserve of Beijing, China. It aims to identify indicators of plant communities and their responses to different levels of disturbance. Our analysis shows that the plant community density and coverage have a certain compensatory increase under disturbed conditions. With the increase in disturbances, more drought-tolerant species have appeared (increased by 5.7%), some of which have become the grazing-tolerance indicator species in the trampled grazed area (TGA). For plant community productivity, biomass and height are good indicators for distinguishing different disturbances (p < 0.05). In addition, several diversity indices reveal the change of plant communities from different perspectives (three of the four indices were significant at the p < 0.05 level). For soil parameters, soil water content and organic matter concentration help to indicate different disturbance levels (the former has a 64% change). Moreover, the standard deviation of the plant community and soil parameters is also a good indicator of their spatial variability and disturbance levels, especially for the TGA. Our analysis confirms that the indicators of productivity, diversity, and soil parameters can indicate the disturbance level in each subarea from different perspectives. However, under disturbed conditions, a comprehensive analysis of these indicators is needed before we can accurately understand the state of health of the plant community. Full article
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Article
Insects in the City: Does Remnant Native Habitat Influence Insect Order Distributions?
Diversity 2021, 13(4), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13040148 - 30 Mar 2021
Viewed by 770
Abstract
There is increasing interest in developing urban design principles that incorporate good ecological management. Research on understanding the distribution and role of beneficial pollinating insects, in particular, is changing our view of the ecological value of cities. With the rapid expansion of the [...] Read more.
There is increasing interest in developing urban design principles that incorporate good ecological management. Research on understanding the distribution and role of beneficial pollinating insects, in particular, is changing our view of the ecological value of cities. With the rapid expansion of the built environment comes a need to understand how insects may be affected in extensive urban areas. We therefore investigated insect pollinator capture rates in a rapidly growing and densely urbanized city (Melbourne, Australia). We identified a remnant native habitat contained within the expansive urban boundary, and established study sites at two nearby populated urban areas. We employed standard pan trap sampling techniques to passively sample insect orders in the different environments. Our results show that, even though the types of taxonomic groups of insects captured are comparable between locations, important pollinators like bees and hoverflies were more frequently captured in the remnant native habitat. By contrast, beetles (Coleoptera) and butterflies/moths (Lepidoptera) were more frequently observed in the urban residential regions. Our results suggest that the maintenance of native habitat zones within cities is likely to be valuable for the conservation of bees and the ecosystem services they provide. Full article
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Article
Landscape Damage Effect Impacts on Natural Environment and Recreational Benefits in Bikeway
Diversity 2021, 13(2), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13020052 - 29 Jan 2021
Viewed by 419
Abstract
Landscape is an important element in outdoor sports recreation. Cyclists’ perception of an environment reflects their interaction with the actual environment; they become aware of the recreation site through their primary receptive senses. As one popular bikeway in Taiwan, the landscape along Dong-Feng [...] Read more.
Landscape is an important element in outdoor sports recreation. Cyclists’ perception of an environment reflects their interaction with the actual environment; they become aware of the recreation site through their primary receptive senses. As one popular bikeway in Taiwan, the landscape along Dong-Feng bikeway appeals to many cyclists. Nevertheless, the landscape was spoiled due to a soil conservation project. This study follows the theorem of planned behavior (TPB) and applies contingent behavior scenario to evaluate the recreational benefits and the damage effect of landscape. The empirical model uses travel cost method (TCM) to estimate the consumer surplus of cyclists. Under the scenario of damaged landscape, the number of trips went down 1.01 times and the recreational benefit dropped to NT$750, making the cost of damaging the landscape to NT$132 per person. The result indicates that the landscape of environment quality is crucial to cyclists, and it is important to preserve the natural environment of bike paths for developing the sport tourism sustainability. Full article
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2020

Jump to: 2021

Review
Microplastics in Freshwater: What Is the News from the World?
Diversity 2020, 12(7), 276; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12070276 - 09 Jul 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2106
Abstract
Plastic has become a “hot topic” for aquatic ecosystems’ conservation together with other issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss. Indeed, plastics may detrimentally affect habitats and biota. Small plastics, called microplastics, are more easily taken up by freshwater organisms, causing negative [...] Read more.
Plastic has become a “hot topic” for aquatic ecosystems’ conservation together with other issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss. Indeed, plastics may detrimentally affect habitats and biota. Small plastics, called microplastics, are more easily taken up by freshwater organisms, causing negative effects on growth, reproduction, predatory performance, etc. Since available information on microplastics in freshwater are fragmentary, the aim of this review is twofold: (i) to show, analyse, and discuss data on the microplastics concentration in freshwater and (ii) to provide the main polymers contaminating freshwater for management planning. A bibliographic search collected 158 studies since 2012, providing the scientific community with one of the largest data sets on microplastics in freshwater. Contamination is reported in all continents except Antarctica, but a lack of information is still present. Lentic waters are generally more contaminated than lotic waters, and waters are less contaminated than sediments, suggested to be sinks. The main contaminating polymers are polypropylene and polyethylene for sediment and water, while polyethylene and polyethylene terephthalate are mainly found in biota. Future research is encouraged (1) to achieve a standardised protocol for monitoring, (2) to identify sources and transport routes (including primary or secondary origin), and (3) to investigate trophic transfer, especially from benthic invertebrates. Full article
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Communication
Assessing the Nature Reserve Management Effort Using an Expert-Based Threat Analysis Approach
Diversity 2020, 12(4), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12040145 - 06 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 855
Abstract
In this note, we suggest the adoption of expert-based approaches for threat analysis to allow an assessment of the magnitude of efforts of wildlife management actions. Similar to what is proposed for expert-based quantification of threat events, in wildlife management this approach can [...] Read more.
In this note, we suggest the adoption of expert-based approaches for threat analysis to allow an assessment of the magnitude of efforts of wildlife management actions. Similar to what is proposed for expert-based quantification of threat events, in wildlife management this approach can be applied by assigning a score to the extent of the areas affected by management, their frequency and intensity of action, supporting the decision-making process and optimizing the management strategies, both ordinary (for example, in the operational management of nature reserves) and extraordinary (for example, within specific target-oriented conservation projects). Quantifying and defining priority ranks among management events can be useful: (i) to compare managed areas with each other or the same areas in different times; (ii) to adjust the allocation of resources among alternative management actions (assigning more or less resources in terms of time, budget, operators, and technology). Finally, similar to what is done in the threat analysis approach, managers could compare the effort (magnitude) of management at different times. We report, as an example, a first quantification for a case study carried out in a coastal nature reserve. Full article
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Article
Effects of Forest Composition and Disturbance on Arbuscular Mycorrhizae Spore Density, Arbuscular Mycorrhizae Root Colonization and Soil Carbon Stocks in a Dry Afromontane Forest in Northern Ethiopia
Diversity 2020, 12(4), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12040133 - 31 Mar 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1147
Abstract
We investigated arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) spore density and root colonization in three distinct dry Afromontane forest plant communities, representing differing levels of disturbance and soil properties. Soil and root samples were collected from sixty-five 50 × 50-m plots from four plant communities. [...] Read more.
We investigated arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) spore density and root colonization in three distinct dry Afromontane forest plant communities, representing differing levels of disturbance and soil properties. Soil and root samples were collected from sixty-five 50 × 50-m plots from four plant communities. We collected data for AMF spore density, AMF root colonization and soil organic carbon stocks in 0–25 and 25–50 cm soil depth ranges. AMF spore density, and root colonization differed significantly among plant communities. The least disturbed Juniperus procera–Maytenus senegalensis (Jupr-Mase) plant community, which contained high tree and shrub density, had the highest AMF spore density, root colonization and soil carbon stocks. The most disturbed Cadia purpurea–Opuntia ficus-indica (Capu-Opfi) community which contained the lowest tree and shrub density supported the lowest AMF spore density, root colonization and soil carbon stocks. There was no significant difference in spore density between the two soil depths, but AMF root colonization was significantly higher in the upper soil than in the subsoil (p < 0.001). The difference in soil properties was not uniform between plant communities. Conserving remnant dry Afromontane forests and restoring the degraded forests are critical to improve and maintain forest ecosystem functioning and sustain ecosystem services. Full article
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