Research Articles (Conservation Ecology and Entomology)

Permanent URI for this collection


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 201
  • Item
    Understanding drivers of human tolerance to gray wolves and brown bears as a strategy to improve landholder– carnivore coexistence
    (Wiley Periodicals LLC., 2020) Marino, Filippo; Kansky, Ruth; Shivji, Irene; Di Croce, Antonio; Ciucci, Paolo; Knight, Andrew T.
    Despite recent recovery of large carnivores throughout Europe such as the brown bear (Ursus arctos) and the graywolf (Canis lupus), some of their populations are still threatened and their viability depends on human tolerance to share mixed landscapes. We investigated the drivers of landholders' tolerance in Abruzzo (Italy), a region with a long history of cohabitation, by applying theWildlife Tolerance Model (WTM) (Kansky et al., 2016, Biological Conservation, 201, 137–145). Using structural equation modeling we assessed relationships between WTM variables. This framework hypothesizes that exposure to a species and experiences with a species drive perceptions of benefits and costs, and ultimately tolerance.We then sought to understand similarities and differences in tolerance drivers between the two species and across two areas that differed in the duration of human–carnivore cohabitation. Results showed both similarities and differences in drivers between species and areas, resulting in seven management proposals to foster tolerance. Increasing intangible benefits and positive experiences were two strategies that were similar for both species and areas,while five strategies differed across species and areas.Our methodological approach can be applied in other landscapes with other species to determine the extent to whichmultispeciesmanagement across landscapes is possible.
  • Item
    The influence of biophysical and socio-economic factors on the effectiveness of private land conservation areas in preventing natural land cover loss across South Africa
    (Elsevier B.V., 2021-06-09) Shumba, Tafadzwa; De Vos, Alta; Biggs, Reinette, 1979-; Esler, Karen J.; Clements, Hayley S.
    There is increasing interest in the potential of private land conservation areas (PLCAs) as a complementary biodiversity conservation strategy to state-owned protected areas. However, there is limited understanding of how the diverse social-ecological contexts of PLCAs influence their effectiveness in conserving biodiversity. Here, we investigated how the effectiveness of South African PLCAs in conserving biodiversity varied across social-ecological contexts, using natural land cover as a proxy. Social-ecological contexts were represented by biophysical and legal factors (distance to towns and roads, elevation, slope, terrain ruggedness, rainfall, PLCA size, distance to state-owned national parks, and presence of legal protection) and, for a subset of commercially-operated PLCAs, management factors (adopted business model, and profitability). Biophysical and legal contextual factors had low explanatory power in the best model for the nationwide analysis (n = 5121 PLCAs). For a subset of PLCAs (n = 72) we found that effectiveness depended on the strategy they adopted to generate an income, as opposed to the amount of income itself. PLCAs that attracted high volumes of visitors to small properties to view charismatic “Big 5” wildlife were less effective in conserving natural land cover than larger, more exclusive “Big 5” PLCAs and those focused on hunting. Overall, site-specific management factors were better at explaining the effectiveness of PLCAs than biophysical factors. Our findings indicate that conservation practitioners and policy makers need to recognise the diverse goals, motivations and management models of PLCAs when considering how to support them in conserving biodiversity. Future studies could explore whether these trends hold for other proxies of biodiversity conservation, beyond land cover change.
  • Item
    Effects of both climate change and human water demand on a highly threatened damselfly
    (Nature, 2021-04-08) Khelifa, Rassim; Mahdjoub, Hayat; Baaloudj, Affef; Cannings, Robert A.; Samways, Michael J.
    While climate change severely affects some aquatic ecosystems, it may also interact with anthropogenic factors and exacerbate their impact. In dry climates, dams can cause hydrological drought during dry periods following a great reduction in dam water discharge. However, impact of these severe hydrological droughts on lotic fauna is poorly documented, despite climate change expected to increase drought duration and intensity. We document here how dam water discharge was affected by climate variability during 2011–2018 in a highly modified watershed in northeastern Algeria, and how an endemic endangered lotic damselfly, Calopteryx exul Selys, 1853 (Odonata: Calopterygidae), responded to hydrological drought episodes. Analysis was based on a compilation of data on climate (temperature, precipitation, and drought index), water dam management (water depth and discharge volume and frequency), survey data on C. exul occurrence, and capture–mark–recapture (CMR) of adults. The study period was characterized by a severe drought between 2014 and 2017, which led to a lowering of dam water depth and reduction of discharge into the river, with associated changes in water chemistry, particularly during 2017 and 2018. These events could have led to the extirpation of several populations of C. exul in the Seybouse River (Algeria). CMR surveys showed that the species was sensitive to water depth fluctuations, avoiding low and high water levels (drought and flooding). The study shows that climate change interacts with human water requirements and affects river flow regimes, water chemistry and aquatic fauna. As drought events are likely to increase in the future, the current study highlights the need for urgent new management plans for lotic habitats to maintain this species and possible others.
  • Item
    Black rhinoceros avoidance of tourist infrastructure and activity: planning and managing for coexistence
    (Cambridge University Press, 2019-09-26) Muntifering, Jeff R.; Linklater, Wayne L.; Naidoo, Robin; Uri-Khob, Simson; Du Preez, Pierre; Beytell, Petrus; Jacobs, Shayne; Knight, Andrew T.
    Wildlife-based tourism has been described as a key conservation mechanism (Buckley & Castley, Reference Buckley and Castley2012; Coghlan et al., Reference Coghlan, Buckley and Weaver2012; Buckley et al., Reference Buckley, Morrison and Castley2016) and has increased globally (Tapper, Reference Tapper2006), particularly in developing countries (Balmford et al., Reference Balmford, Beresford, Green, Naidoo, Walpole and Manica2009). However, such tourism can have negative consequences for the wildlife intended to benefit from it. For example, previous studies found the mountain caribou Rangifer tarandus is displaced from preferred habitat by snowmobiles (Seip et al., Reference Seip, Johnson and Watts2007) and the Asian rhinoceros Rhinoceros unicornis by elephant-borne tourists (Lott & Mccoy, Reference Lott and Mccoy1995). Declines in bottlenose dolphin Tursiops sp. abundance linked to tourism (Bejder et al., Reference Bejder, Samuels, Whitehead, Gales, Mann and Connor2006) and increased risks to human safety through habituation of brown bears Ursus arctos (Penteriani et al., Reference Penteriani, López-bao, Bettega, Dalerum, Delgado and Jerina2017) have also been reported. A growing demand for experiences that provide opportunities to interact directly and in close proximity with wildlife (Higham et al., Reference Higham, Bejder and Lusseau2009) has inspired research aiming to quantify the direct impacts of human–wildlife encounters (Buckley, Reference Buckley2011). However, human activity (including conservation-oriented tourism) occurring within wildlife habitat often creates so-called zones of influence in which certain wildlife species may be displaced from otherwise suitable habitat (Noss & Cue, Reference Noss and Cue2001; Taylor & Knight, Reference Taylor and Knight2003; Frair et al., Reference Frair, Merrill, Beyer and Morales2008; Polfus et al., Reference Polfus, Hebblewhite and Heinemeyer2011; Boulanger et al., Reference Boulanger, Poole, Gunn and Wierzchowski2012). Few studies have examined the indirect effects of tourism infrastructure and operational development on free-ranging wildlife. An incomplete understanding of the effects tourism has on wildlife can result in poor management planning (Buckley & Pabla, Reference Buckley and Pabla2012) and reduce the net positive outcomes for conservation (Buckley, Reference Buckley2010). Even when scientific data are available, evidence-based management approaches are not necessarily implemented because research is often not management-oriented (Linklater, Reference Linklater2003) or researchers do not plan for implementation of their findings (Knight et al., Reference Knight, Cowling, Rouget, Balmford, Lombard and Campbell2008). To ensure conservation benefits exceed the costs associated with increased tourism involving rare and threatened wildlife (Karanth & DeFries, Reference Karanth and DeFries2011), it is vital that research is translated into management approaches that are both useful and user-friendly (Pierce et al., Reference Pierce, Cowling, Knight, Lombard, Rouget and Wolf2005; Thirgood et al., Reference Thirgood, Mduma, Keyyu and Laurenson2007). The policy sciences provide both a theory and a practical framework for integrating evidence in an effective decision-making process (Clark, Reference Clark2002). This approach has been used to improve conservation for many threatened species including koalas (Clark et al., Reference Clark, Mazur, Begg and Cork2000), great apes (Eves et al., Reference Eves, Gordon, Stein and Clark2002) and brown bears (Rutherford et al., Reference Rutherford, Gibeau, Clark and Chamberlain2009). The Critically Endangered black rhinoceros Diceros bicornis, an iconic large African mammal that has experienced a 97% population decline since 1970 (Emslie & Brooks, Reference Emslie and Brooks1999) could also benefit from a management-oriented approach.
  • Item
    Acridid ecology in the sugarcane agro-ecosystem in the Zululand region of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
    (Pensoft, 2020-01-10) Bam, Adrian; Addison, Pia; Conlong, Desmond
    Grasshoppers and locusts are well known crop and pasture pests throughout the world. Periodically they cause extensive damage to large areas of crops and grazing lands, which often exacerbate food shortage issues in many countries. In South Africa, acridid outbreaks rarely reach economic proportions, but in sugarcane plantations, localized outbreaks of native acridid species have been reported for the last eight years with increasing frequency and intensity in certain areas. This study was undertaken from May 2012 to May 2013 to identify the economically important acridid species in the sugarcane agroecosystem in these outbreak areas, to monitor seasonal activity patterns, to assess sampling methods, and to determine the pest status of the major species through damage ratings. Five acridid species of particular importance were identified: Nomadacris septemfasciata (Serville), Petamella prosternalis (Karny), Ornithacris cyanea (Stoll), Cataloipus zuluensis Sjötedt, and Cyrtacanthacris aeruginosa (Stoll). All species are univoltine. Petamella prosternalis was the most abundant species and exhibited a winter egg diapause, while N. septemfasciata, the second most abundant species, exhibited a winter reproductive diapause. Petamella prosternalis and N. septemfasciata were significantly correlated with the damage-rating index, suggesting that these two species were responsible for most of the feeding damage found on sugarcane. This study, for the first time, identified the acridid species complex causing damage to sugarcane in the Zululand area of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and documented their population characteristics and related damage. These data are important information on which to base sound integrated pest management strategies.