In recognition of the fact that orang-utans (Pongo spp.) are severely threatened, a meeting of orangutan experts and conservationists, representatives of national and regional governmental and non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders, was converted in Jakarta, Indonesia, in January 2004. Prior to this meeting we surveyed all large areas for which orang-utan population status was unknown. Compilation of all survey data produced a comprehensive Picture of orang-utan distribution on both Borneo and Sumatra. These results indicate that in 2004 there were c. 6,500 P. abehii remaining on Sumatra and at least 54,000 P. pygniaeus on Borneo. Extrapolating to 2008 on the basis of forest loss on both islands Suggests the estimate for Borneo Could be 10% too high but that for Sumatra is probably still relatively accurate because forest loss in orang-utan habitat has been low during the conflict in Aceh, where most P. abehi Occur. When those population sizes are compared to known historical sizes it is clear that the Sumatran orang-utan is in rapid decline, and unless extraordinary efforts are made soon, it could become the first great ape species to go extinct. In contrast, Our results indicate there are more and larger populations of Bornean orang-utans than previously known. Although these revised estimates for Borneo are encouraging, forest loss and associated loss of orang-utans are occurring at an alarming rate, and Suggest that recent reductions of Bornean orang-utan populations have been far more severe than previously supposed. Nevertheless, although orang-utans on both islands are Under threat, we highlight some reasons for cautious optimism for their long-term conservation.
Biodiversity offsets are an increasingly popular yet controversial tool in conservation. Their popularity lies in their potential to meet the objectives of biodiversity conservation and of economic development in tandem; the controversy lies in the need to accept ecological losses in return for uncertain gains. The offsetting approach is being widely adopted, even though its methodologies and the overriding conceptual framework are still under development. This review of biodiversity offsetting evaluates implementation to date and synthesizes outstanding theoretical and practical problems. We begin by outlining the criteria that make biodiversity offsets unique and then explore the suite of conceptual challenges arising from these criteria and indicate potential design solutions. We find that biodiversity offset schemes have been inconsistent in meeting conservation objectives because of the challenge of ensuring full compliance and effective monitoring and because of conceptual flaws in the approach itself. Evidence to support this conclusion comes primarily from developed countries, although offsets are increasingly being implemented in the developing world. We are at a critical stage: biodiversity offsets risk becoming responses to immediate development and conservation needs without an overriding conceptual framework to provide guidance and evaluation criteria. We clarify the meaning of the term biodiversity offset and propose a framework that integrates the consideration of theoretical and practical challenges in the offset process. We also propose a research agenda for specific topics around metrics, baselines and uncertainty.
Abstract Conflict between people and felids is one of the most urgent wild cat conservation issues worldwide, yet efforts to synthesize knowledge about these conflicts have been few. For management strategies to be effective a thorough understanding of the dynamics of human-felid conflicts is necessary. Here we present the results of a cross-species, systematic review of human-felid conflicts worldwide. Using a combination of literature review and geographical information system analyses, we provide a quantitative as well as qualitative assessment of patterns and determinants that are known to influence the severity of human-felid conflicts, and a geographical overview of the occurrence of conflict worldwide. We found evidence of conflict affecting over 75% of the world's felid species. The severity of conflict increases with felid body mass and is of greatest conservation significance to nine species: caracal, cheetah, Eurasian lynx, jaguar, leopard, lion, puma, snow leopard and tiger. We also reveal specific gaps in knowledge about human-felid conflicts, and required actions within this aspect of felid conservation. With only 31% of implemented management strategies having been evaluated scientifically, there is a need for greater and more rigorous evaluation and a wider dissemination of results. Also urgently required are standardized reporting techniques to reduce the current disparity in conflict reporting methods and facilitate resolution of patterns and trends in the scale of human-felid conflict worldwide. This review provides a basis both for further synthesis and for the coordination of human-felid conflict management among researchers, practitioners and organizations. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT
Conflict between people and felids is one of the most urgent wild cat conservation issues worldwide, yet efforts to synthesize knowledge about these conflicts have been few. For management strategies to be effective a thorough understanding of the dynamics of human-fetid conflicts is necessary. Here we present the results of a cross-species, systematic review of human-fetid conflicts worldwide. Using a combination of literature review and geographical information system analyses, we provide a quantitative as well as qualitative assessment of patterns and determinants that are known to influence the severity of human-felid conflicts, and a geographical overview of the occurrence of conflict worldwide. We found evidence of conflict affecting over 75% of the world's felid species. The severity of conflict increases with felid body mass and is of greatest conservation significance to nine species: caracal, cheetah, Eurasian lynx, jaguar, leopard, lion, puma, snow leopard and tiger. We also reveal specific gaps in knowledge about human-felid conflicts, and required actions within this aspect of felid conservation. With only 31% of implemented management strategies having been evaluated scientifically, there is a need for greater and more rigorous evaluation and a wider dissemination of results. Also urgently required are standardized reporting techniques to reduce the current disparity in conflict reporting methods and facilitate resolution of patterns and trends in the scale of human-felid conflict worldwide. This review provides a basis both for further synthesis and for the coordination of human-felid conflict management among researchers, practitioners and organizations.
Conflicts between people over wildlife are widespread and damaging to both the wildlife and people involved. Such issues are often termed human-wildlife conflicts. We argue that this term is misleading and may exacerbate the problems and hinder resolution. A review of 100 recent articles on human-wildlife conflicts reveals that 97 were between conservation and other human activities, particularly those associated with livelihoods. We suggest that we should distinguish between human-wildlife impacts and human-human conflicts and be explicit about the different interests involved in conflict. Those representing conservation interests should not only seek technical solutions to deal with the impacts but also consider their role and objectives, and focus on strategies likely to deliver long-term solutions for the benefit of biodiversity and the people involved.
Current global marine protection targets aim to protect 10-30% of marine habitats within the next 3-5 years. However, these targets were adopted without prior assessment of their achievability. Moreover, ability to monitor progress towards such targets has been constrained by a lack of robust data on marine protected areas. Here We present the results of the first explicitly marine-focused global assessment of protected areas in relation to global marine protection targets. Approximately 2.35 million km(2) 0.65% of the world's oceans and 1.6% of the total marine area within Exclusive Economic Zones, are currently protected. Only 0.08% of the world's oceans, and 0.2% of the total marine area under national jurisdiction is no-take. The global distribution of protected areas is both uneven and unrepresentative at multiple scales, and only half of the world's marine protected areas are part of a coherent network. Since 1984 the spatial extent of marine area protected globally has grown at an annual rate of 4.6%, at which even the most modest target is unlikely to be met for at least several decades rather than within the coming decade. These results validate concerns over the relevance and utility of broad conservation targets, However, given the low level of protection for marine ecosystems, a more immediate global concern is the need for a rapid increase in marine protected area coverage. In this case, the process of comparing targets to their expected achievement dates may help to mobilize support for the policy shifts and increased resources needed to improve the current level of marine protection.
Livestock depredation has implications for conservation and agronomy; it can be costly for farmers and can prompt retaliatory killing of carnivores. Lethal control measures are readily available and are reportedly perceived to be cheaper, more practical and more effective than non-lethal methods. However, the costs and efficacy of lethal vs non-lethal approaches have rarely been compared formally. We conducted a 3-year study on 11 South African livestock farms, examining costs and benefits of lethal and non-lethal conflict mitigation methods. Farmers used existing lethal control in the first year and switched to guardian animals (dogs Canis familiaris and alpacas Lama pacos) or livestock protection collars for the following 2 years. During the first year the mean cost of livestock protection was USD 3.30 per head of stock and the mean cost of depredation was USD 20.11 per head of stock. In the first year of non-lethal control the combined implementation and running costs were similar to those of lethal control (USD 3.08 per head). However, the mean cost of depredation decreased by 69.3%, to USD 6.52 per head. In the second year of non-lethal control the running costs (USD 0.43 per head) were significantly lower than in previous years and depredation costs decreased further, to USD 5.49 per head. Our results suggest that non-lethal methods of human-wildlife conflict mitigation can reduce depredation and can be economically advantageous compared to lethal methods of predator control.
Non-government organizations (NGOs), agencies and research groups around the world have developed diverse approaches to conservation planning at the scale of landscapes and seascapes. This diversity partly reflects healthy differences in objectives, backgrounds of planners, and assumptions about data and conservation priorities. Diversity also has disadvantages, including confusion among donors and prospective conservation planners about what to fund and how to plan. To help reduce this confusion, we compared approaches described in separate articles by four major conservation NGOs. We structured our comparison with an 11-stage framework for conservation planning. We found considerable agreement between approaches in their recognition and ways of addressing many planning stages. The approaches diverged most obviously in ways of collecting socio-economic and biodiversity data and identifying explicit conservation objectives. Even here, however, the approaches tend to be complementary and there is potential to combine them in many landscapes and seascapes. Our review emphasizes that systematic methods are having real benefits in guiding effective conservation investments. We finish by outlining two challenges for conservation planning generally: (1) managing the transition from planning to applying conservation actions, and (2) assessing the costs and benefits of conservation planning.
We question whether the increasingly popular, radical idea of turning half the Earth into a network of protected areas is either feasible or just. We argue that this Half-Earth plan would have widespread negative consequences for human populations and would not meet its conservation objectives. It offers no agenda for managing biodiversity within a human half of Earth. We call instead for alternative radical action that is both more effective and more equitable, focused directly on the main drivers of biodiversity loss by shifting the global economy from its current foundation in growth while simultaneously redressing inequality.
Despite the considerable expansion in the number and extent of marine protected areas during the past century, coverage remains limited amid concerns that many marine protected areas are failing to meet their objectives. New estimates of global marine protected area, based on the database maintained by Sea Around Us, revealed a degree of progress towards protecting at least 10% of the global ocean by 2020. It is estimated that >6,000 marine protected areas, covering c. 3.27% (12 million km(2)) of the oceans, had been designated by the end of 2013. However, protection is generally weak, with c. one-sixth (1.9 million km(2)) of the combined area designated as no-take areas (i.e. fishing and other extractive activities are prohibited). Additional large tracts of ocean will need to be protected to reach the 10% target, and we investigate hypothetical scenarios for such expansion. Such scenarios offer a one-dimensional measure of progress as they do not address aspects of other global targets, such as Aichi Target 11, which will help to ensure that marine protected areas meet their objectives and achieve conservation outcomes.
The conservation of species listed in the Bern Convention and European Directive 1992/43/EEC (so-called policy species) is mandatory for European Union (EU) countries. We assessed the conservation status of Italian policy species, based on the IUCN categories and criteria, to evaluate the effectiveness of existing protection measures at the national level. Among the 203 vascular plants, bryophytes and lichens evaluated, 41.9% are categorized as threatened, and one is already extinct, indicating that the protection measures for policy species are inadequate. Our results for the Italian policy species are consistent with those of an assessment at the EU level. Conservation priorities should be established at both the national and regional scales. An effective conservation strategy is needed, and in situ and ex situ actions focused on threatened species should be promoted.
A growing literature argues for evidence-based conservation. This concept reflects a wider approach to policy-making and follows thinking in medicine, in which rigorous, objective analysis of evidence has contributed to widespread improvements in medical outcomes. Clearly, conservation decisions should be informed by the best information available. However, we identify issues relating to the type and sources of evidence commonly used and the way evidence-based conservation studies frame policy debate. In this paper we discuss two issues; firstly, we ask 'what counts as evidence?' (what is meant by evidence, and what kind of evidence is given credibility). We conclude that evidence-based conservation should adopt a broad definition of evidence to give meaningful space for qualitative data, and local and indigenous knowledge. Secondly, we ask 'how does evidence count?' (the relationship between evidence and the policy-making process). We conclude that there should be greater recognition that policy-making is a complex and messy process, and that the role of evidence in policy making can never be neutral. In the light of these issues we suggest some changes to build on developing practice under the title evidence-informed conservation. The change in terminology is subtle, yet it has profound implications in that it calls for a re-positioning and re-understanding of conservation science as one source of information among many for decision-makers.
Amid declining shark populations because of overfishing, a burgeoning shark watching industry, already well established in some locations, generates benefits from shark protection. We compile reported economic benefits at shark watching locations and use a meta-analytical approach to estimate benefits at sites without available data. Results suggest that, globally, c. 590,000 shark watchers expend > USD 314 million per year, directly supporting 10,000 jobs. By comparison, the landed value of global shark fisheries is currently c. USD 630 million and has been in decline for most of the past decade. Based on current observed trends, numbers of shark watchers could more than double within the next 20 years, generating > USD 780 million in tourist expenditures around the world. This supports optimistic projections at new sites, including those in an increasing number of shark sanctuaries established primarily for shark conservation and enacted in recognition of the ecological and economic importance of living sharks.
Payments for ecosystem services (PES) are emerging worldwide as important mechanisms to align investments in human and natural well-being. PES projects are often defined as voluntary transactions where well-defined environmental/ecosystem services (or land uses likely to secure those services) are bought by a minimum of one service buyer, from a minimum of one service provider, if and only if the service provider continuously secures service provision (conditionality). Further criteria of PES include limiting additional objectives and ensuring that payments reward behaviour that would otherwise not occur (additionality). Together these best practices for PES are increasingly accepted as the most efficient means to achieve desired outcomes and are guiding funding for PES projects. We used a series of water funds (watershed-oriented PES projects based on a trust fund model) to examine how theoretical best practices could inform and improve practice and also how theory could learn from practical efforts. We conclude that thoughtful consideration is required when evaluating the promise of a PES approach against a theoretical ideal. We found that requiring conditionality may limit the use of creative finance mechanisms such as trust funds that can provide long-term benefits for conservation and human well-being, and that requiring additionality can exclude benefits from social diffusion and result in the inefficient targeting of PES funds. Finally, public-private partnerships in water funds lead to multiple additional/side objectives but partnerships are likely to lower transaction costs and provide transparent, long-term landscape-scale watershed management.
The ecology and predator-prey dynamics of large felids in the tropics have largely been studied in natural systems where wild ungulates constitute the majority of the prey base. However, human-dominated landscapes can be rich in potential prey for large carnivores because of the high density of domestic animals, especially in tropical countries where pastoralism is an important livelihood activity. We report the almost complete dependence of leopards Panthera pardus on domestic animals as prey in the crop lands of Ahmednagar district, Maharashtra, India. From analysis of 85 confirmed leopard scats, 87% of the leopard's prey biomass consisted of domestic animals, with 39% consisting of domestic dogs Canis lupus familiaris alone. The only wild species that occurred in the leopard's diet were rodents, small indian civet Viverricula indica, bonnet macaque Macaca radiata and other primates Semnopithecus spp., mongoose Herpestes spp., and birds. Interviews conducted in 77 households distributed randomly in the study area documented a high density of domestic animals: adult cattle Bos taurus, calves, goats Capra aegagrus, dogs and cats Felis catus occurred at densities of 169, 54, 174, 24 and 61 per km(2), respectively. Ivlev's electivity index indicated that dogs and cats were over-represented in the leopard's diet, given the higher densities of goats and cattle. The standing biomass of dogs and cats alone was sufficient to sustain the high density of carnivores at the study site. Our results show that the abundance of potential domestic prey biomass present in human-use areas supports a relatively high density of predators, although this interaction could result in conflict with humans.
The institutional arrangements governing forests will be a critical factor in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) as part of the global effort to mitigate climate change. A growing body of empirical research demonstrates how local forest governance can be as, if not more, effective than centralized state-based regimes. Local forest governance can secure improvements in multiple forest outcomes such as biomass and carbon storage and livelihoods contributions for the poor, and it can do so at lower cost than is possible through centralized governance. Many national governments have implicitly recognized these findings in their pursuit of decentralized forest governance and in strengthening local rights and capacities to use and manage forests. However, such reforms are often politically resisted, particularly where the value of forest resources is high and central government bodies are able to capture the majority of benefits. Ongoing negotiations related to the design and delivery of REDD policy and practice must take into account both the importance of local forest governance arrangements and the political-economic barriers to devolving secure rights over forests to local communities. These political dimensions of forest tenure and policy create a paradox for REDD: increasing the value of forest resources through global carbon markets without attending to local governance and rights will create political incentives towards centralized governance, which could lead to greater forest loss and lower forest-related benefits for the poor.
Increased recognition of the business case for managing corporate impacts on the environment has helped drive increasingly detailed and quantified corporate environmental goals. Foremost among these are goals of no net loss (NNL) and net positive impact (NPI). We assess the scale and growth of such corporate goals. Since the first public, company-wide NNL/NPI goal in 2001, 32 companies have set similar goals, of which 18 specifically include biodiversity. Mining companies have set the most NNL/NPI goals, and the majority of those that include biodiversity, despite the generally lower total global impact of the mining industry on biodiversity compared to the agriculture or forestry industries. This could be linked to the mining industry's greater participation in best practice bodies, highprofile impacts, and higher profit margins per area of impact. The detail and quality of present goals vary widely. We examined specific NNL/NPI goals and assessed the extent to which their key components were likely to increase the effectiveness of these goals in benefiting biodiversity and managing business risk. Nonetheless, outcomes are more important than goals, and we urge conservationists to work with companies to both support and monitor their efforts to achieve increasingly ambitious environmental goals.
Biodiversity offsetting involves the balancing of biodiversity loss in one place (and at one time) by an equivalent biodiversity gain elsewhere (an outcome referred to as No Net Loss). The conservation science literature has chiefly addressed the extent to which biodiversity offsets can serve as a conservation tool, focusing on the technical challenges of its implementation. However, offsetting has more profound implications than this technical approach suggests. In this paper we introduce the concept of policy frames, and use it to identify four ways in which non-human nature and its conservation are reframed by offsetting. Firstly, offsetting reframes nature in terms of isolated biodiversity units that can be simply defined, measured and exchanged across time and space to achieve equivalence between ecological losses and gains. Secondly, it reframes biodiversity as lacking locational specificity, ignoring broader dimensions of place and deepening a nature-culture and nature-society divide. Thirdly, it reframes conservation as an exchange of credits implying that the value of non-human nature can be set by price. Fourthly, it ties conservation to land development and economic growth, foreshadowing and bypassing an oppositional position. We conclude that by presenting offsetting as a technical issue, the problem of biodiversity loss due to development is depoliticized. As a result the possibility of opposing and challenging environmental destruction is foreclosed, and a dystopian future of continued biodiversity loss is presented as the only alternative.
The IUCN Red List is widely used to guide conservation policy and practice. However, in most cases the evaluation of a species using IUCN Red List criteria takes into account only the global status of the species. Although subpopulations may be assessed using the IUCN categories and criteria, this rarely occurs, either because it is difficult to identify subpopulations or because of the effort involved. Using the jaguar Panthera onca as a model we illustrate that wide-ranging species that are assigned a particular category of threat based on the IUCN Red List criteria may display considerable heterogeneity within individual taxa in terms of the level of risk they face. Using the information available on the conservation status of the species, we evaluated the jaguar's current geographical range and its subpopulations. We identified the most threatened subpopulations, using the extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, population size and the level of threat to each subpopulation. The main outcome of this analysis was that although a large subpopulation persists in Amazonia, virtually all others are threatened because of their small size, isolation, deficient protection and the high human population density. Based on this approach, future conservation efforts can be prioritized for the most threatened subpopulations. Based on our findings we recommend that for future Red List assessments assessors consider the value of undertaking assessments at the subpopulation level. For the jaguar, sub-global assessments should be included on the Red List as a matter of urgency.
Diurnal raptors have declined significantly in western Africa since the 1960s. To evaluate the impact of traditional medicine and bushmeat trade on raptors, we examined carcasses offered at markets at 67 sites (1-80 stands per site) in 12 countries in western Africa during 1990-2013. Black kite Milvus migrans and hooded vulture Necrosyrtes monachus together accounted for 41% of 2,646 carcasses comprising 52 species. Twenty-seven percent of carcasses were of species categorized as Near Threatened, Vulnerable or Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Common species were traded more frequently than rarer species, as were species with frequent scavenging behaviour (vs non-scavenging), generalist or savannah habitat use (vs forest), and an Afrotropical (vs Palearctic) breeding range. Large Afrotropical vultures were recorded in the highest absolute and relative numbers in Nigeria, whereas in Central Africa, palm-nut vultures Gypohierax angolensis were the most abundant vulture species. Estimates based on data extrapolation indicated that within West Africa 73% of carcasses were traded in Nigeria, 21% in Benin and 5% elsewhere. Offtake per annum in West Africa was estimated to be 975-1,462 hooded vultures, 356-534 palm-nut vultures, 188-282 Ruppell's griffons Gyps rueppellii, 154-231 African white-backed vultures Gyps africanus, 143-214 lappet-faced vultures Torgos tracheliotos, and 40-60 crowned eagles Stephanoaetus coronatus. This represents a sizeable proportion of regional populations, suggesting that trade is likely to be contributing significantly to declines. Stronger commitment is needed, especially by governments in Nigeria and Benin, to halt the trade in threatened raptors and prevent their extirpation.