Nature Conservation

Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 1314-6947 / 1314-3301
Published by: Pensoft Publishers (10.3897)
Total articles ≅ 264
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Zhaoyang Cao, Liang Dou, Nan Yang, Kai Zhang, Bin Wang, Yu Xu, Jianghong Ran
Published: 26 November 2021
Nature Conservation, Volume 45, pp 1-9;

Sacred natural sites, as probably the oldest form of habitat reserve for religious or cultural causes worldwide, are suggested to have an important role in conserving vegetation; however, there are insufficient data supporting the detailed implications of such sites for vegetation conservation. Thus, we evaluated the effectiveness of vegetation conservation on a Tibetan sacred mountain in Yajiang County, Sichuan, China, by investigating species richness and the structural attributes of higher vascular plant communities on and around the sacred mountain from April to June 2009. The results showed that the number of tree species on the sacred mountain was significantly higher than that in the surrounding area, but there were no notable differences in the numbers of shrub and grass species between the two sites. The sacred mountain harbored a greater number of small, short trees compared with the surrounding area, wherein the low-shrub and grass understory was relatively dense. We conclude that the sacred mountain has a positive impact on indigenous vegetation protection, but disparities in the management of the allowed uses of such sites could reduce their conservation effectiveness.
Andrea Ednie,
Published: 23 November 2021
Nature Conservation, Volume 44, pp 177-195;

This study explores how existing connections to natural places may affect PA visitors’ experiences and perceptions within the PA. Specifically, outside-the-PA soundscape perceptions are examined to better understand how their experiences outside the PA may affect perceptions of PA soundscapes and visitors’ ability to effectively contribute to conservation monitoring. Survey research (n=389) of recent urban visitors to the Chilean Coyhaique National Reserve (CNR) in Patagonia unpacked perceptions of the acoustic environments within the places where participants felt most connected to nature, including landscape features, favorite and prevalent sounds, and acceptability of particular anthrophonic sounds. Favorite and prevalent sounds were open-coded, and anthrophonic sounds were rated for prevalence and acceptability. The mountain landscape features and sounds (‘wind’, ‘running water’,‘ birds’) participants described as prominent within the places where they felt most connected to nature aligned well with CNR characteristics. Participants who ‘sometimes’‘/often’ heard certain anthropogenic sounds (vehicles, aircraft, machines, city sounds), within the places where they felt most connected to nature, rated those sounds as more acceptable than participants who reported ‘never’ hearing them, raising concerns about complacency toward anthrophony in natural settings. Continued research efforts are warranted to better understand visitors’ frames of reference, their influence on the reliability of social norm data for PA soundscape monitoring, and their influence on PA managers’ ability to protect conservation values.
Published: 25 October 2021
Nature Conservation, Volume 44, pp 163-176;

India is one of the few countries to have made extensive use of Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), compared to other Parties to the Convention. Here we examine India’s use of Appendix III and illustrate its benefits and limitations, using examples of species listed by India in Appendix III. Since its ratification of CITES in 1976, India has listed 39 taxa in Appendix III, 27 species and six subspecies listings of which are still current. Through the listings, important international trade data was gathered, some of which have supported the decision for application to a different CITES Appendix with stricter trade controls. However, the majority of the species have been listed for more than 30 years and a re-evaluation of their listing status and suitability for Appendix III may be warranted. The same applies to the reservations entered by several Parties. We provide recommendations on how to make some of the current listings more effective and encourage other Parties to evaluate their native, non-CITES listed species and, if warranted, to make use of Appendix III to contribute to the conservation of their native wildlife.
Enikő Horváth, Martina Martvoňová, Stanislav Danko, Peter Havaš, ,
Published: 30 September 2021
Nature Conservation, Volume 44, pp 141-161;

The European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis) is the only native freshwater turtle species in Slovakia. Due to watercourse regulations in the middle of the 20th century, its range became fragmented and, currently, there are only two isolated populations. From a total of 1,236 historical records in Slovakia, most observations (782 records) came from the area of the Tajba National Nature Reserve (NNR). Three of the population viability analysis models (‘baseline’, ‘catastrophe’, ‘nest protection during a catastrophe’) indicated the extinction of the population in Tajba, with the highest probability of extinction occurring during a catastrophic event (probability of extinction 1.00). We also evaluated information about the activity patterns of seven radio-tracked individuals and about the number of destroyed nests from the area. During the period 2017–2021, we recorded only two turtles leaving the aquatic habitat of Tajba. An alarming fact is the massive number of destroyed nests found in the area during the study period (Tajba 524; Poľany 56). Our results indicate that the population in the Tajba NNR require immediate application of management steps to ensure its long-term survival.
Dániel Fróna, János Szenderák,
Published: 2 September 2021
Nature Conservation, Volume 44, pp 117-139;

Climate change seems to be larger, more complex and more unpredictable than any other environmental problem. This review deals with the economic effects of climate change on global agricultural production. The causes and consequences of climate change are very diverse, while populations in low-income countries are increasingly exposed to its negative effects. Supplying the population with food is possible with increased agricultural production, but this often occurs under unsustainable circumstances. Increased agricultural production is also one of the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions. In this research we highlight some of the important connections between climate change, population growth and agricultural production.
Jie Liu, , Xue Li
Published: 26 August 2021
Nature Conservation, Volume 44, pp 99-115;

Parrotia subaequalis (H. T. Chang) R.M. Hao & H.T. Wei is a rare and endangered Tertiary relict tree that is endemic to subtropical China. However, little is known about its growth condition and relationship with associated tree species. Here, for the first time we measured the structural diversity of P. subaequalis communities at three representative sites in eastern China using four structural indices, including mingling, tree-tree distance, and diameter and tree height differences. The results showed that: 1) Collectively, most P. subaequalis and associated tree species were small and mid-sized classes in tree height, and small-sized class in diameter; 2) There were two or more other tree species around most of P. subaequalis individuals across the three sites; 3) Overall, the mean distance between reference trees and their neighbors was mainly 1–2 m. Our results indicated that a strong interspecific competition existed between P. subaequalis and its associated tree species. Meanwhile, although the reference tree P. subaequalis had slight advantages in both horizontal and vertical planes, we think that it is necessary to take some effective measures to reduce the interspecific competition and thereby keep it at a proper successive stage. In addition, we also discuss the protection level of P. subaequalis in China, and propose to keep this species at the First-Grade State Protection.
Published: 14 June 2021
Nature Conservation, Volume 44, pp 69-79;

The illegal wildlife trade has direct relevance for zoo management, animal acquisition and disposition and it has no place in modern zoo management. Zoos must not only act within the law of the country in which it is based, but they should also follow the rules and intentions of international trade regulations and, where relevant, domestic laws of the animal’s country of origin. After its rediscovery in 2012, zoos in Asia and Europe started displaying Bornean earless monitor lizards (Lanthanotus borneensis), the ‘Holy Grail of Herpetology’. Earless monitor lizards have been legally protected in each of its three range countries for over four decades and, over this period, no specimen has ever been legally exported. However, the illicit trade in the species is thriving and individuals become more affordable. Using publicly available data, I present a timeline of how and from where a total of 16 zoos acquired their earless monitor lizards, including from private individuals and non-accredited zoos. Apart from one zoo in Japan (since 2012) and one zoo in the USA (since 2021), all non-range country zoos that currently display the species are based in Europe. Their absence prior to 2021 in US zoos (despite an increasing illegal trade) could be explained as the acquisition of earless monitor lizards would have been in violation of the Lacey Act (1900) that requires buyers to ensure that imported or purchased wildlife has not been taken in violation of any foreign law. While there is no evidence that any of the zoos, their directors or their staff have broken any laws – no-one in the zoo community has been convicted for illegally trading earless monitor lizards – with more zoos speaking out against the illegal wildlife trade, it is imperative that zoos behave in an exemplary manner and set high standards. At present, some zoos do not meet this standard.
Published: 28 May 2021
Nature Conservation, Volume 44, pp 51-68;

Outdoor recreation is increasingly recognised for its deleterious effects on wildlife individuals and populations. However, planners and natural resource managers lack robust scientific recommendations for the design of recreation infrastructure and management of recreation activities. We reviewed 38 years of research on the effect of non-consumptive recreation on wildlife to attempt to identify effect thresholds or the point at which recreation begins to exhibit behavioural or physiological change to wildlife. We found that 53 of 330 articles identified a quantitative threshold. The majority of threshold articles focused on bird or mammal species and measured the distance to people or to a trail. Threshold distances varied substantially within and amongst taxonomic groups. Threshold distances for wading and passerine birds were generally less than 100 m, whereas they were greater than 400 m for hawks and eagles. Mammal threshold distances varied widely from 50 m for small rodents to 1,000 m for large ungulates. We did not find a significant difference between threshold distances of different recreation activity groups, likely based in part on low sample size. There were large gaps in scientific literature regarding several recreation variables and taxonomic groups including amphibians, invertebrates and reptiles. Our findings exhibit the need for studies to measure continuous variables of recreation extent and magnitude, not only to detect effects of recreation on wildlife, but also to identify effect thresholds when and where recreation begins or ceases to affect wildlife. Such considerations in studies of recreation ecology could provide robust scientific recommendations for planners and natural resource managers for the design of recreation infrastructure and management of recreation activities.
Ruth Kiew, Rafidah Abdul Rahman
Published: 11 May 2021
Nature Conservation, Volume 44, pp 21-49;

Batu Caves hill is typical of karst hills in Peninsular Malaysia due to its small size and high biodiversity. It harbours 366 vascular plant species that represent about 25% of the Peninsula’s limestone flora. Five species are endemic to Batu Caves and 23 are threatened species. This high biodiversity is the result of many microhabitats, each with their own assemblages of species. Threats are especially severe as the area of Batu Caves is surrounded by urbanisation that encroaches to the foot of cliffs, is vulnerable to fire, habitat disturbance and, formerly, by quarrying. Assigning a Conservation Importance Score (CIS) to all species is quantitative and accurate, can be implemented rapidly and produces reproducible results. Species with highest CIS are native species of primary vegetation, restricted to limestone substrates, endangered conservation status and, in this case, endemic to Batu Caves. It allows not only species, but microhabitats, sites within a hill and different hills to be compared. By identifying and surveying all microhabitats and focusing on locating endemic and threatened species, maximum biodiversity can be captured. Of the 16 microhabitats identified, the most threatened were the buffer zone, lower levels of steep earth-covered slopes and cave entrances. Application of this method provides a scientific basis for balancing the need to protect microhabitats and sites with the highest CIS, with their multiple uses by various stakeholders, which, at Batu Caves, include the activities of cave temples and eco-recreation. It also provides a scientific quantitative method to compare hills to ensure that those hills with highest CIS are not released for mining.
Gabriele Dessalvi, Enrico Borgo,
Published: 10 May 2021
Nature Conservation, Volume 44, pp 1-20;

Wildlife recovery centres are widespread worldwide and their goal is the rehabilitation of wildlife and the subsequent release of healthy animals to appropriate habitats in the wild. The activity of the Genoese Wildlife Recovery Centre (CRAS) from 2015 to 2020 was analysed to assess its contribution to the conservation of biodiversity and to determine the main factors affecting the survival rate of the most abundant species. In particular, the analyses focused upon the cause, provenance and species of hospitalised animals, the seasonal distribution of recoveries and the outcomes of hospitalisation in the different species. In addition, an in-depth analysis of the anthropogenic causes was conducted, with a particular focus on attempts of predation by domestic animals, especially cats. Significantly, 96.8% of animals hospitalised came from Liguria, the region in north-western Italy where CRAS is located, with 44.8% coming from the most populated and urbanised areas of Genoa, indicating a positive correlation between population density and the number of recoveries. A total of 5881 wild animals belonging to 162 species were transferred to CRAS during the six years study period. The presence of summer migratory bird species and the high reproductive rates of most animals in summer resulted in a corresponding seasonal peak of treated animals. Birds represented 80.9% of entries; mammals accounted for 18.6% of hospitalisations; and about 0.5% of the entries were represented by reptiles and amphibians. Species protected by CITES and/or in IUCN Red List amounted to 8% of the total number of individuals. Consistent with results recorded elsewhere from Italy and other European countries, 53.9% of the specimens treated were released in nature; 4.7% were euthanised and 41.4% died. There was a significant difference between taxa in the frequency of individuals that were released, died or euthanised due to the intrinsic characteristics of species (more resistant or more adaptable to captivity than others) and/or to the types of debilitative occurrences common to each species (e.g. infections, wounds, traumas, fractures). A total of 14.2% of wildlife recovery was from injuries caused with certainty by people or domestic animals (human impact), with 54.3% of these hospitalised animals having been victims of predation attempts by domestic animals, mainly cats. The percentage of release in nature of animals hospitalised following human impact was significantly lower than overall cases (31.2% vs. 53.9%) due to the greater severity of the injuries. The percentage of animals released showed a further reduction to 27.1% amongst victims of predation attempts by pets. The work of Rehabilitation/Recovery Centres contributes to wildlife conservation. In particular, the CRAS in Genoa is a Centre with an increasing level of activity concerning the rehabilitation of species under CITES protection and/or included on the IUCN Red List. The contribution and experience of CRAS operators is critical for the success of ‘information campaigns’ aimed at limiting the number of stray dogs and cats because of their impact on wildlife. Therefore, the activity of a properly-managed CRAS can significantly contribute both directly and indirectly to wildlife conservation, resulting in important territorial safeguards for the protection of biodiversity.
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