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Special Issue "Sustainable Wildlife Ecology and Conservation"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 December 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Jo Anne Smith-Flueck

Laboratorio de Teriogenología, “Dr. Héctor H. Morello”, Facultad Ciencias Agrarias, Universidad Nacional de Comahue, Cinco Saltos, Río Negro, Argentina
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Phone: +54-294-4467345

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue will comprise selected papers on “Sustainable Wildlife Ecology and Conservation”, including original research and reviews. At one time, the term sustainable, in the field of wildlife management, pertained simply to optimal “sustainable” harvest, based on population recruitment of a game animal, and taking into account biological and ecological factors. Today, out of necessity to protect the environment, its meaning has broadened to encompass a wider range of constituents managed through environmental, economic and social policy objectives. Given the significance of conservation biology in today’s environment as indicated by the growing number of threatened wildlife species, sustainability for wildlife biologists, scientists, and managers in current times involves comprehension of an array of integral ecological components and the mechanisms by which they function cohesively and hierarchically to maintain an ecosystem intact, while keeping manipulation of natural resources to a minimum. Topics to cover in this Special Issue might include: Case examples of practices that maintain or improve environmental quality in order to satisfy habitat and nutritional requirements of wildlife species; investigative studies evaluating the impact of human activities on macro- and micro-mineral cycles and on ecosystem biodiversity; case studies of impacts from invasive fauna and flora or wildlife poaching on native wildlife species and results obtained after control of these negative factors; evaluating the influence of climate change on wildlife species and the means by which to reduce any negative outcomes; and studies involving local community involvement to improve wildlife population numbers and biodiversity, to name a few. The role of adaptive management as a means to achieve a sustainable wildlife population makes this a challenging field of science that will continue to grow, not to mention the challenges introduced by political, cultural and biophysical barriers, including the impending shortages of cheap energy, key natural elements, and funding sources, and the ever-shrinking prime habitat leading to more fragmented wildlife populations. Contributing papers are encouraged to address their findings within the context of the projected nine billion people or more by 2050, and the continued failure to reach a steady-state human population. The objective of this Special Issue is to collectively bring under one umbrella the myriad components that interact in this diverse field of sustainable wildlife management and conservation as a means to help wildlife professionals decipher the factors that play an important role in the particular environment that they are managing.

Prof. Dr. Jo Anne Smith-Flueck
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 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

  • wildlife management
  • conservation
  • sustainable management
  • biodiversity
  • population dynamics
  • nutrition
  • natural resource management
  • resource utilization
  • disturbance
  • human pressure
  • mineral cycles
  • adaptive management
  • habitat requirements
  • fragmentation
  • population size
  • climate change
  • community

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Fragmented Riverine Habitats in Taiwan Have Spatio-Temporal Consequences, Re-Distributing Caprimulgus affinis into Urban Areas Leading to a Human–Wildlife Conflict
Sustainability 2019, 11(6), 1778; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11061778
Received: 11 November 2018 / Revised: 25 January 2019 / Accepted: 20 March 2019 / Published: 25 March 2019
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Abstract
Caprimulgus affinis is an endemic species commonly known as the Taiwan nighthawk, forest nighthawk, or South Asian nighthawk. In recent years, the C. affinis population has gradually moved outward from river habitats into the metropolitan areas of Taiwan. Because male birds’ booming sounds [...] Read more.
Caprimulgus affinis is an endemic species commonly known as the Taiwan nighthawk, forest nighthawk, or South Asian nighthawk. In recent years, the C. affinis population has gradually moved outward from river habitats into the metropolitan areas of Taiwan. Because male birds’ booming sounds at night can reach up to 90 dB or higher and they can be intermittently tweeting for more than 10 hours, they often disturb the sleep of urban residents and can even cause nightmares. In this study, we analyzed long-term survey data to assess the distribution history of C. affinis in Taiwan. By using 1738 entries of observation data collected from 1999 to 2014, a model of C. affinis distribution was constructed, and a geostatistical method was used to improve the accuracy of the model estimate. In addition, the Mann–Kendall trend test was applied to predict future C. affinis distribution. Based on the results, four variables were selected to construct the C. affinis distribution matrix. Urban population, coastal proximity, and distance to upstream river location represented positive driving forces, whereas city elevation was a negative driving force. C. affinis is currently distributed on the plains of central and southern Taiwan and in eastern Taiwan. The C. affinis emergence trend diagram was plotted using the time–space trend diagram, which showed yearly increases in the C. affinis populations in urban and settled areas including central, western, northeastern, and southeastern Taiwan and yearly decreases in the populations in rural areas including northern and southern Taiwan, especially in fragmented riverine habitats. Regression kriging can correctly describe the distribution of the entire C. affinis population, which leads to the correct understanding of the biological corridor of C. affinis in their migration through the graphical contours in GIS. The analytic model in this study contributes to the establishment of the time–space trend diagram. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Wildlife Ecology and Conservation)
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Open AccessArticle Changing Abundance and Distribution of the Wintering Swan Goose Anser cygnoides in the Middle and Lower Yangtze River Floodplain: An Investigation Combining a Field Survey with Satellite Telemetry
Sustainability 2019, 11(5), 1398; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11051398
Received: 23 November 2018 / Revised: 25 February 2019 / Accepted: 1 March 2019 / Published: 6 March 2019
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Abstract
Migratory waterbird communities are quick to respond to ecosystem degradation, and they are widely considered to be important bioindicators of complex environmental changes. The swan goose (Anser cygnoides) has been listed as a globally vulnerable species in the International Union for [...] Read more.
Migratory waterbird communities are quick to respond to ecosystem degradation, and they are widely considered to be important bioindicators of complex environmental changes. The swan goose (Anser cygnoides) has been listed as a globally vulnerable species in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. This species currently winters almost exclusively in China and is mostly concentrated on lakes in the middle and lower catchment of the Yangtze River floodplain, especially in Poyang Lake, Jiangxi province and some sites in Anhui province. In the past few years, the population of A. cygnoides has fluctuated. To protect this fragile Anatidae species, long-term and accurate population estimation is both necessary and urgent. In this study, we evaluated the change in numbers and distribution of A. cygnoides by comparing surveys conducted in 2004 and 2005 with more recent ones conducted in 2015 and 2016. A reduction in the count number of this species occurred in the survey sites. After a statistical Mann-Whitney U test, the count numbers of A. cygnoides decreased significantly at the survey sites in Anhui province and the abundance decrease at the survey sites in Poyang Lake was only marginally significant. The inaccessibility of the new sites revealed by satellite tracking impeded a more prudent and comprehensive estimate of the population change. Satellite tracking technology may be a tool to consider for increasing the efficiency of data acquisition. Information transmitted from satellite tracking devices can help us to better understand the species’ behavior and wintering habitat. This technology has the potential to substitute costly and time-consuming field surveys. Conservation designs and management plans must be created for specific national nature reserves and key wintering sites. A more efficient long-term species monitoring system with improved spatial coverage should be conducted to safeguard wintering A. cygnoides. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Wildlife Ecology and Conservation)
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Open AccessArticle Impact of Climate on Food Security in Mainland China: A New Perspective Based on Characteristics of Major Agricultural Natural Disasters and Grain Loss
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 869; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030869
Received: 29 November 2018 / Revised: 26 January 2019 / Accepted: 30 January 2019 / Published: 7 February 2019
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Abstract
Under the background of global warming, China has experienced frequent natural disasters that have seriously affected grain production in recent decades. Based on historical documents from 1978–2014, we explored the spatio-temporal variation of five major kinds of natural disasters and grain losses in [...] Read more.
Under the background of global warming, China has experienced frequent natural disasters that have seriously affected grain production in recent decades. Based on historical documents from 1978–2014, we explored the spatio-temporal variation of five major kinds of natural disasters and grain losses in China using statistical techniques: the Mann-Kendall (MK) test, social network analysis (SNA), and geographic information system (GIS) tools. The disaster intensity index (Q) clearly showed the variation of natural disasters; all of China experienced a significant increasing trend at an annual scale, reaching its peak (27.77%) in 2000. The step change points in floods, droughts, hail, and low-temperature events began to occur in 1983, 1988, 1988, 1992, respectively, while no obvious trend was detected for typhoon activity from 2001 to 2014. Drought and flood were the most serious types of disaster over the last four decades, accounting for more than 50% of total grain losses. Eight major provinces were identified with severe grain losses: Heilongjiang, Shandong, Henan, Hebei, Anhui, Sichuan, Jiangsu, Hunan, and Hubei. Five studied natural disaster types were identified throughout the seven physical geographical regions. Spatial distribution for the different disaster types showed significant geographical distribution characteristics. Natural disasters gradually became more diverse from north to south. Droughts, hail, and low-temperature disasters were randomly distributed throughout China; flood and typhoon disasters exhibited significant spatial auto-correlation and clustering patterns. Finally, in accordance with the intensity of natural disaster, the annual grain losses at the provincial scale initially increased (ranging from 0.14 million to 3.26 million tonnes in 1978–2000), and then decreased after 2000 (ranging from 3.26 million to 1.58 million tonnes in 2000–2014). The center of gravity of grain losses gradually moved northward. These results emphasize that developing different strategies for disaster prevention and mitigation programs in the major grain producing areas (e.g., Heilongjiang, Shandong, and Henan) are critical and important to China’s food security. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Wildlife Ecology and Conservation)
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Open AccessArticle What Is Left for Our Next Generation? Integrating Ecosystem Services into Regional Policy Planning in the Three Gorges Reservoir Area of China
Sustainability 2019, 11(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010003
Received: 14 November 2018 / Revised: 10 December 2018 / Accepted: 14 December 2018 / Published: 20 December 2018
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Abstract
Land use/Land cover (LULC) changes as a result of policy planning influence ecosystem structures, processes, and functions, which are the basis for providing a wide range of ecosystem services (ES). There is an increasing consensus about the importance of integrating ES into ecological [...] Read more.
Land use/Land cover (LULC) changes as a result of policy planning influence ecosystem structures, processes, and functions, which are the basis for providing a wide range of ecosystem services (ES). There is an increasing consensus about the importance of integrating ES into ecological policy but quantifying the potential impacts of different policy on ES has proven difficult. We designed a remote sensing, geographic information system and scenario analysis-based approach to estimate and analyze the relationship between ES (soil conservation and carbon sequestration) and ecological policy designed to improve human welfare in the Chongqing municipality in the upper reaches of the Three Gorges Reservoir Area, China; a densely populated, highly modified watershed with serious soil erosion and flood hazard. Three alternative scenarios in 2050 were modeled for the Three Gorges Reservoir Area watershed. The model GEOMOD was used to predict future LULC changes due to policy planning. The ES models (Universal Soil Loss Equation model and Carnegie-Ames-Stanford Approach model) were designed to inform decisions, with an aim to align economic forces with conservation. We examine policy effectiveness by comparing scenarios for 2050 (Scenario1: Maintain current policy with no considerations of ES; Scenario2: Integrate ES into policy planning; Scenario3: Integrate ES into policy planning in view of the need of local people). Scenario-based LULC change analysis revealed that if the current afforestation policy continues (scenario 1), total ES would be further increased in 2050 due to expansion of forest cover. However, by targeting policy to improve ES provision (scenarios 2 and 3), ecological risks of soil loss can be significantly reduced and carbon sequestration enhanced. Scenario 3, thus, provided the best future environmental development scenario considering the need of local people in each region for ES. This scenario will theoretically help the Three Gorges Dam to harvest more ecological benefits through improvements in soil conservation and carbon sequestration. This study highlights the observation that including ES in policy planning and has a great potential to generate opportunities to maximize ES. This study highlights that including ES in policy planning has a great potential to generate opportunities to maximize ES. Hence, there is a need to encourage proper implementation of ecological policy to maintain and improve ES. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Wildlife Ecology and Conservation)
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Open AccessCommunication Impact of the Wildlife Management Units Policy on the Conservation of Species and Ecosystems of Southeastern Mexico
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4415; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124415
Received: 14 September 2018 / Revised: 17 November 2018 / Accepted: 22 November 2018 / Published: 26 November 2018
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Abstract
Wildlife in Latin America is subject to enormous pressures and, as in most countries, has been negatively impacted in Mexico. In 1997, the Mexican government implemented a policy of conservation and sustainable use of wildlife units (called UMAs, by their Spanish acronym) that [...] Read more.
Wildlife in Latin America is subject to enormous pressures and, as in most countries, has been negatively impacted in Mexico. In 1997, the Mexican government implemented a policy of conservation and sustainable use of wildlife units (called UMAs, by their Spanish acronym) that comprises intensive and free-living management. Since then, no national or regional assessments have been conducted to estimate impacts and benefits even with 5529 registered UMAs now covering almost 20% of the national territory. The objective of this study was to characterize the SUMA (UMAs System) in a regional context in three states of southeastern Mexico. The impact of UMAs was studied in depth through a selection of representative case studies: three species of mangrove (Avicennia germinans, Laguncularia racemosa and Rhizophora mangle), ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata), red cedar (Cedrela odorata) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), and a connectivity analysis, in order to evaluate the contribution of the UMAs to the conservation of species and ecosystems. The number of active UMAs at regional scale was 834, managing 273 species; 7.1% of the UMAs manage nationally-prioritized species, while 8.3% and 94.3% manage endemic and native species, respectively. Conservation of ecosystems has been successfully achieved through the UMAs that manage mangrove and white-tailed deer. We propose to promote the establishment of free-living UMAs that would contribute to increase the conservation areas. Finally, we highlight the relevance of regional-scale spatial analysis as an important tool for improving environmental policy and conservation strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Wildlife Ecology and Conservation)
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Open AccessArticle Public Assessment of Releasing a Captive Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin into the Wild in South Korea
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3199; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093199
Received: 18 May 2018 / Revised: 30 July 2018 / Accepted: 28 August 2018 / Published: 7 September 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (228 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A captive Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin named “Jedol” was released from a zoo into the wild, in Jeju Island Sea off South Korea, in July 2013 to improve his welfare. Since he was illegally captured off the coast of Juju Island in May 2009, [...] Read more.
A captive Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin named “Jedol” was released from a zoo into the wild, in Jeju Island Sea off South Korea, in July 2013 to improve his welfare. Since he was illegally captured off the coast of Juju Island in May 2009, he had been performing in dolphin shows at Seoul Zoo, which is owned and operated by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. The release demanded considerable public expenditure, of which the source was local taxes gathered from the residents of Seoul. This paper seeks to conduct an ex-post evaluation of the release, employing the contingent valuation (CV) technique. A total of 500 households living in Seoul in 2013 participated in the CV survey to report their willingness to pay (WTP) for the release. Fifty-two percent were willing to accept an increase in local taxes over the next five years to carry out the release. The mean household WTP estimate was obtained as KRW 4880 (USD 4.56) per annum. The present values of the total WTP and the cost of the release are KRW 79.82 billion (USD 74.53 million) and KRW 751 million (USD 701,000), respectively, in 2013. Interestingly, the former is much more than the latter. We can conclude that the release was desirable from the point of view of Seoul residents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Wildlife Ecology and Conservation)
Open AccessArticle Mapping Spring Ephemeral Plants in Northern Xinjiang, China
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 804; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030804
Received: 18 October 2017 / Revised: 8 March 2018 / Accepted: 10 March 2018 / Published: 14 March 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2798 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Spring ephemeral plants (SEP) are a particular component of flora that take full advantage of water resources and temperature conditions to rapidly complete their life cycle in about two months. In China, they are mainly distributed in northern Xinjiang. They play important roles [...] Read more.
Spring ephemeral plants (SEP) are a particular component of flora that take full advantage of water resources and temperature conditions to rapidly complete their life cycle in about two months. In China, they are mainly distributed in northern Xinjiang. They play important roles in dune stability and are precious food for the livestock and wild animals in the early spring. Northern Xinjiang is under dramatic climate changes and land-use/land-cover changes, which can affect the growth of SEP in this region. To explore how the distribution of SEP have varied under these changes, Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectrodiometer (MODIS) Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) time series of two years (2000 and 2014) were applied to detect SEP in each period. The TIMESAT software was used to extract the seasonality information from the EVI data. The results show that SEP in northern Xinjiang are mainly located in the south of the Gurbantunggut desert and along the Ili Valley and piedmont hills of the mountains. In 2000, its total area was 3.83 × 104 km2, accounting for 10% of the entire region. By 2014, the total area was about 2.74 × 104 km2, with a decrease of 28.5% relative to 2000. Land-use/land-cover datasets can be used to determine whether changes in SEP over time are caused by human activities or natural factors. Combing the SEP maps with the synchronous land-use/land-cover datasets indicates that the decrease is mainly caused by natural factors, which are possibly related with the temperature and precipitation changes in this region. Human activities only contributed 4% to the decrease, with most SEP areas being replaced by croplands. The observed SEP dynamics and changes pertain only to the years with below-average precipitation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Wildlife Ecology and Conservation)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Large Wild Herbivore Populations on the Forage-Livestock Balance in the Source Region of the Yellow River
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 340; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020340
Received: 4 December 2017 / Revised: 11 January 2018 / Accepted: 19 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
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Abstract
Unmanned aerial vehicle surveys were conducted in the summer season of 2016 and the winter season of 2017 to investigate the large wild herbivore population, including kiangs, Tibetan gazelles and bharals, in Madoi County; the source region of the Yellow River. The study [...] Read more.
Unmanned aerial vehicle surveys were conducted in the summer season of 2016 and the winter season of 2017 to investigate the large wild herbivore population, including kiangs, Tibetan gazelles and bharals, in Madoi County; the source region of the Yellow River. The study generated forage grass production data in 30 m spatial resolution in Madoi County in 2016 using a downscaling algorithm; estimated a forage-livestock balance including wild animals and domestic animals; and analyzed the effect of the large wild herbivore population on the balance between forage grass and herbivory in Madoi County. The large wild herbivore population was estimated based on the density of the animals in the survey sample strip and compared and verified with available statistical data and the two survey results from the summer season of 2016 and winter season of 2017. The results showed that: (1) in the winter season of 2017, the populations of kiang, Tibetan gazelle and bharal were 17,100, 16,000 and 9300, respectively, while the populations of domestic yak, Tibetan sheep and horse were 70,800, 102,200 and 1200, respectively. The total population of large wild herbivores and domestic animals was 475,000 (sheep units). The ratio (in sheep units) between large wild herbivores and domestic animals was 1:4.5; (2) When only considering domestic animals, the grazing pressure index was 1.13, indicating slight overloading of the grassland. When considering domestic animals and large wild herbivores (kiang, Tibetan gazelle and bharal), the grazing pressure index was 1.38, suggesting moderate overloading of the grassland; (3) If large wild herbivores are not taken into consideration when the forage-livestock balance is calculated, the grazing pressure will be under-estimated by 22%. Overgrazing is the major cause of grassland degradation in Madoi County. An additional 79,000 tons of hay or a 30% reduction in domestic animals is required to maintain a forage-livestock balance in Madoi County. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Wildlife Ecology and Conservation)
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