Abstract Listing by Session

Adaptive management and monitoring

Parnell      Tuesday, December 6th 2011

Presentation #1   14:00  Coffee habitat complexity influences black-throated blue warbler use of Jamaican coffee farms: implications for an ecosystem service Campos, BR*, Humboldt State University ; Johnson, MD, Humboldt State University
Ecosystem services provisioned by mobile organisms are delivered as a function of the movements of those organisms – movements that are influenced by the availability of the habitats selected by those organisms. On Jamaica’s coffee farms, birds serve as agents of biological control of the coffee berry borer (Hypothenemus hampei), coffee’s most devastating pest worldwide. Using radio-telemetry we investigated the habitat selection, home ranges, and coffee habitat use of black-throated blue warblers (Dendroica caerulescens), likely the foremost predator of coffee berry borer, on two coffee farms of differing vegetative complexity in western Jamaica. We developed population-based models of habitat selection of four coffee habitat variables. Birds demonstrated strong and consistent selection of home range placement in areas of increasing canopy cover and coffee crop cover, and at intermediate distances from uncultivated habitat on both farms. Home range size decreased with increasing use of coffee habitat at the farm with high vegetation complexity, whereas this trend reversed on the other farm. Home range size also decreased with increasing canopy cover within the home range on both farms. As expected, birds at the farm with higher vegetation complexity spent significantly more time in coffee habitat. We conclude that knowledge of birds’ selection for vegetation complexity can enable farm managers to promote bird-provisioned ecosystem services in Jamaica’s coffee landscapes.
Presentation #2   14:15  Exploring benefits of interactions between vultures and famers through multi-agent modelling Dupont, H*, CNRS ; Bobbe, S, Centre Edgar Morin; Sarrazin, F, CNRS
The vulture’s conservation relies in part on the management of their trophic resources, which is, in Europe, largely linked to farming activities and constrained by sanitary regulations. Feeding vultures can be seen as a beneficial activity both preserving these flagship species and maintaining ecological carcass elimination. We conducted an interdisciplinary framework on carcass removal by vultures in an agro pastoral context, coupling social investigations and ecological data. We developed a multi-agent model in order to investigate the consequences of various local managements of carcass elimination on a population of vultures and on the benefits of such natural carcass removal. Our results underline the advantages of a carcass disposal system directly managed by farmers, called light feeding station. However, the persistence of the vulture population and the associated benefits depend on the utilization of the light feeding stations, relying on the farmers’ perceptions of vultures. We will report on the relevance of interdisciplinary approaches and multi-agent modelling for applied research and management.
Presentation #3   14:30  A framework for assessing the vulnerability of Australia’s elapid snakes to climate change Cabrelli, AL*, Macquarie University ; Hughes, L, Macquarie University
In view of the accelerating rate of climate change, there is an imperative to assess which species are likely to be most vulnerable to its impacts so that conservation priorities can be set. To date, vulnerability assessments have largely been based on projected changes in range size derived from the output of Environmental Niche Models (ENMs). However, the major limitation of these models as risk assessment tools is that many traits that are important contributors to the vulnerability of species are not explicitly incorporated into the modelling process. We developed a novel, point-scoring framework for ranking species according to their climate change vulnerability that combines the output of ENMs with information on species’ traits. We applied this system to Australia’s elapid snakes, a taxonomic group that has been little studied in relation to future vulnerability. We found that species’ scores varied widely, ranging from 5.3 (least vulnerable) to 45.0 (most vulnerable) out of a possible 56. Using the list of ranked species we identified two ecoregions within Australia, the Brigalow tropical savannah and the Mitchell grass downs, which are particularly rich in vulnerable species. By providing a more comprehensive and rigorous method for assessing vulnerability than those based solely on ENMs, this framework provides more objective justification for resource allocation, and can help guide decisions regarding the most appropriate adaptation strategies.
Presentation #4   14:45  Optimal survey effort for threatened species during environmental impact assessments Garrard, GE*, University of Melbourne ; McCarthy, MA, University of Melbourne; Bekessy, SA, University of Melbourne; Wintle, BA, University of Melbourne
Imperfect detectability of plants and animals is a significant source of variation in biological surveys for environmental impact assessment. Failure to account for imperfect detection during an impact assessment survey may lead to poor management, inadequate conservation measures and an increased risk of local extinction of rare or threatened species. Estimates of detection probability can inform the specification of the minimum survey effort required to ensure a high probability of detection if the species is present. However, they do not take into account the prior probability of the species’ presence, or the costs of survey, both of which are likely to influence minimum survey effort specifications for threatened species legislation and policy. We estimate the detectability of Pimelea spinescens subsp. spinescens, a critically endangered plant species of Victoria’s native temperate grasslands, using a time-to-detection model. Using decision-theoretic methods, we then demonstrate how estimates of detectability can be used to determine the optimal survey effort for the species, taking into account the relative costs of survey and loss of the species. These estimates will be useful for setting survey effort requirements for environmental impact assessments under threatened species legislation and conservation policy.
Presentation #5   15:00  The Wildlife Picture Index: Monitoring Biodiversity in Mongolia Townsend, SE*, ZSL/Wildlife Ecology & Consulting ; Galtbalt, B, Steppe Forward Program/ZSL; Myagmar, M, Steppe Forward Program/ZSL; Baillie, JEM, Zoological Society of London
The Wildlife Picture Index is a composite biodiversity indicator based on the geometric mean of relative occupancy estimates derived from camera trap sampling at the landscape level, which targets medium to large sized terrestrial vertebrates in forested and grassland ecosystems. Using the WPI at an unprecedented level of effort, we are assessing how well Protected Areas are functioning to conserve wildlife (biodiversity) in Mongolia. Mongolia supports a rich ungulate and carnivore fauna, has low human population density, and has established protected areas, presenting ideal conditions to test this new conservation tool for assessing trends in biodiversity. Our three year project resulted in over 3,000 trap nights in one ecoregion in 2009, over 16,000 in three ecoregions in 2010, and an equal level of effort planned for the 2011 summer season. Thus far, we have documented occupancy for heretofore undetected species and increased levels of human disturbance in the most protected areas that correlated with decreased occupancy for certain rare species. We will present the WPI for each study site comparing between management areas and over time. We will show how this approach has proven to be cost effective and easily implemented in assessing biodiversity and the status of individual species.
Presentation #6   15:15  Gaps on pronghorn conservation in Mexico List, R*, Instituto de Ecologia Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México ; Valdés, M, Instituto de Ecologia Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; Zarza, H, Instituto de Ecologia Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
The pronghorn is the only extant member of the Antilocapridae family, but with an estimated population of 1500 individuals is one of the most threatened mammals in Mexico. In order to determine conservation actions at the landscape level, we assessed the contribution of the current Natural Protected Areas (NPA) and Wildilfe Management Units (WMU -which are complementary to the NPA-) to pronghorn populations in Mexico. Apart form the Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve in the Baja California Peninsula, where its population is contained within the Reserve, in the states of Sonora, Chihuahua and Coahuila only 13 out of 104 pronghorn records obtained from aerial surveys conducted between 1997 – 2006 were included in a NPA, and only 2 were within UMA. The persistence of pronghorn populations is further threatened in the border region where the United States – Mexico border fence and associated surveillance road, may be limiting the movements of 1) the Sonoran pronghorn from Mexico to the United States -where this population is considered endangered-, and 2) from the United States to northeastern Sonora and northwestern Chihuahua, reducing the viability of these populations, respectively in the United States and Mexico. New WMUs need to be established to enhance the protection for the pronghorn, and connectivity needs to be maintained or recovered in critical areas along the border to allow pronghorn movement.
Presentation #7   15:30  Advances in Species Recognition and Small Animal Monitoring Blackie, H.M.*, Centre of Wildlife Management and Conservation, Lincoln University ; Woodhead, I. , Lincoln Ventures Limited; Diegel, O. , Creative Industries Research Institute, Auckland University of Technology; MacMorran, D., Connovation Ltd; Eason, C. , Centre of Wildlife Management and Conservation and Connovation Ltd
Monitoring animal populations is an important aspect of wildlife management and conservation. Species monitoring provides a vital source of information on the population status of species of conservation concern, and plays a significant role in determining conservation action priorities. Furthermore, when attempting eradication of pest species determining whether any targeted individuals remain is a critical factor, as terminating control programmes too early means failure to eradicate, whilst continuing for too long adds considerable expense. In situations such as these, a reliable and efficient monitoring technique which can distinguish between different species is invaluable. However, conventional methods of monitoring small animal populations are labour intensive, costly, have limited operational timeframes, require a high level of user expertise and are restricted in terms of their scientific robustness. This presentation describes a newly developed device which uses a specially designed electronic surface to examine animal footprint analysis, shape and weight characteristics to distinguish between species and monitor animal abundance over long timeframes. This device provides a new, improved monitoring technique which is not only more efficient but also significantly more cost-effective. The type of information which these devices can provide will be outlined, as well as their suitability for different species types and their application (with examples) for wildlife management or control purposes.
Presentation #8   15:45  Initial steps toward a U.S. Biodiversity Observation Network Leidner, AK*, AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow, Earth Science Division, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC, USA ; Howie, SL, NatureServe, 4001 Discovery Drive, Suite 2110, Boulder, CO, USA; Geller, GN, NASA Ecological Forecasting Program and Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
Biodiversity Observation Networks (BONs) hold data from many sources, including in situ and remotely sensed observations, and cover many levels of diversity, including genes, populations, species, communities, and ecosystems. Initiating and sustaining such networks, and enhancing their interoperability, can support more efficient use of current data and is important for understanding the status and trends of biodiversity. Many people agree on the value of such efforts for making policy decisions and recognize the role that such networks could play for informing national and international assessments of biodiversity (e.g., the newly created Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services). However, the resources required to create a network, and the amount of community support required, are major challenges. In the United States, several efforts have been put forth for creating networks of interoperable environmental observation systems, and here we describe some of these and discuss common themes and the many challenges that have emerged. We then present an initial vision and possible next steps toward developing a national biodiversity network for the U.S. (US BON); these ideas emerged from a workshop comprised of interested parties from government agencies and non-governmental organizations, convened in August 2011. A US BON could eventually become a regional component of the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON).