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Conservation, Volume 1, Issue 2 (June 2021) – 6 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): We surveyed the policymakers and scientific advisors that represented their respective countries in negotiations of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Intergovernmental Science–Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) about their perceptions of the biodiversity science–policy interface (SPI). We found that a wide variety of SPI mechanisms were being used. Overall, they were considered to be sufficiently effective, improving over time, and supplied with information of adequate quality. Most respondents, however, agreed that key actors were still missing from the biodiversity SPI. View this paper
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Review
Taxonomy and Translocations of African Mammals: A Plea for a Cautionary Approach
Conservation 2021, 1(2), 121-136; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/conservation1020011 - 14 Jun 2021
Viewed by 895
Abstract
Ecotourism can fuel an important source of financial income for African countries and can therefore help biodiversity policies in the continent. Translocations can be a powerful tool to spread economic benefits among countries and communities; yet, to be positive for biodiversity conservation, they [...] Read more.
Ecotourism can fuel an important source of financial income for African countries and can therefore help biodiversity policies in the continent. Translocations can be a powerful tool to spread economic benefits among countries and communities; yet, to be positive for biodiversity conservation, they require a basic knowledge of conservation units through appropriate taxonomic research. This is not always the case, as taxonomy was considered an outdated discipline for almost a century, and some plurality in taxonomic approaches is incorrectly considered as a disadvantage for conservation work. As an example, diversity of the genus Giraffa and its recent taxonomic history illustrate the importance of such knowledge for a sound conservation policy that includes translocations. We argue that a fine-grained conservation perspective that prioritizes all remaining populations along the Nile Basin is needed. Translocations are important tools for giraffe diversity conservation, but more discussion is needed, especially for moving new giraffes to regions where the autochthonous taxa/populations are no longer existent. As the current discussion about the giraffe taxonomy is too focused on the number of giraffe species, we argue that the plurality of taxonomic and conservation approaches might be beneficial, i.e., for defining the number of units requiring separate management using a (majority) consensus across different concepts (e.g., MU—management unit, ESU—evolutionary significant unit, and ECU—elemental conservation unit). The taxonomically sensitive translocation policy/strategy would be important for the preservation of current diversity, while also supporting the ecological restoration of some regions within rewilding. A summary table of the main translocation operations of African mammals that have underlying problems is included. Therefore, we call for increased attention toward the taxonomy of African mammals not only as the basis for sound conservation but also as a further opportunity to enlarge the geographic scope of ecotourism in Africa. Full article
Article
Animals Traded for Traditional Medicine Purposes in the Kumasi Central Market, Ghana: Conservation Implications
Conservation 2021, 1(2), 113-120; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/conservation1020010 - 13 Jun 2021
Viewed by 595
Abstract
The Kumasi Central Market is the largest urban open market in Ghana and animals used for medicinal purposes are among the items that are typically displayed for sale. However, no study has been undertaken on the animal species sold for traditional medicine purposes. [...] Read more.
The Kumasi Central Market is the largest urban open market in Ghana and animals used for medicinal purposes are among the items that are typically displayed for sale. However, no study has been undertaken on the animal species sold for traditional medicine purposes. This study took inventory of animal species traded for medicinal purposes in the Kumasi Central Market and examined their conservation implications. The species recorded to be traded comprised 5 taxonomic classes, belonging to 20 families. Chameleons were found to be the most traded animal species. Seven (23%) of the species traded were found to be threatened under IUCN Red List, with four (13%) species listed on Appendix I of CITES, and eight (26%) species on Schedule I of Wildlife Conservation Regulations of Ghana. Wildlife regulations are not serving as a deterrent to the trade in threatened animal species. There is a need to sensitize traders about the threats faced by these animal species and provide explanations as to why these species should be protected. Full article
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Communication
New Online Resource on the 3Rs Principles of Animal Research for Wildlife Biologists, Ecologists, and Conservation Managers
Conservation 2021, 1(2), 106-112; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/conservation1020009 - 09 Jun 2021
Viewed by 663
Abstract
The Earth’s biodiversity is in crisis. Without radical action to conserve habitats, the current rate of species extinction is predicted to accelerate even further. Efficient species conservation requires planning, management, and continuous biodiversity monitoring through wildlife research. Conservation biology was built on the [...] Read more.
The Earth’s biodiversity is in crisis. Without radical action to conserve habitats, the current rate of species extinction is predicted to accelerate even further. Efficient species conservation requires planning, management, and continuous biodiversity monitoring through wildlife research. Conservation biology was built on the utilitarian principle, where the well-being of species, populations, and ecosystems is given priority over the well-being of individual animals. However, this tenet has been increasingly under discussion and it has been argued that wildlife researchers need to safeguard the welfare of the individual animals traditionally subjected to invasive or lethal research procedures. The 3Rs principles of animal use (Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement) have become the cornerstone of ethical scientific conduct that could minimize the potential negative impact of research practices. One of the obvious strategies to implement the 3Rs in wildlife studies is to use non-invasive or non-lethal research methods. However, in contrast to toxicological or pharmacological research on laboratory animal models, up to now no 3Rs databases or online resources designed specifically for wildlife biologists, ecologists, and conservation managers have been available. To aid the implementation of the 3Rs principles into research on wildlife, I developed an online resource whose structure is outlined in this paper. The website contains a curated database of peer-reviewed articles that have implemented non-invasive or non-lethal research methods that could be used as a guideline for future studies. Full article
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Article
Assessments of Bacterial Community Shifts in Sediments along the Headwaters of São Francisco River, Brazil
Conservation 2021, 1(2), 91-105; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/conservation1020008 - 31 May 2021
Viewed by 664
Abstract
Sustainable use of freshwater resources for human civilization needs requires the assessment and monitoring of freshwater health, and bacterial communities from riverbed sediments have been shown to be susceptible to chronic anthropogenic disturbances in freshwater ecosystems. Here, we took advantage of the occurrence [...] Read more.
Sustainable use of freshwater resources for human civilization needs requires the assessment and monitoring of freshwater health, and bacterial communities from riverbed sediments have been shown to be susceptible to chronic anthropogenic disturbances in freshwater ecosystems. Here, we took advantage of the occurrence of well-recognized adjacent sections from the Upper São Francisco River basin with well-recognized levels of anthropogenic activity intensity to test the applicability of sediment bacterial communities as bioindicators of impacts on freshwater ecosystems. We applied 16S amplicon sequencing to estimate the diversity and composition of bacterial communities from 12 sampling sites across the Upper São Francisco River basin, classified as being of no, low, or high intensity of anthropogenic activities, and used diversity metrics and LEfSe to compare the patterns of community structure. Our results revealed that accessed sediment environments associated with land areas with a high intensity of anthropogenic activities presented the lowest levels of community diversity, and the bacterial community compositions of these environments were significantly different from the other sampled areas. Our findings can be considered a source of evidence for the usefulness of bacterial community-based approaches as a tool for diagnosis and monitoring of ecosystem health in areas of vulnerable freshwater environments, and can even be incorporated into regular water quality programs. Full article
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Communication
Small Scale Fisheries, Dolphins and Societal Challenges: A Case Study in the City of Volos, Greece
Conservation 2021, 1(2), 81-90; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/conservation1020007 - 11 May 2021
Viewed by 531
Abstract
Existing literature on dolphin-fisheries interaction focused on Greece reveals both an undeveloped area for research, but also a lack of relevant data in this field. Although imperative, relevant research has been slow on innovation and cooperation among universities, official bureaus, and NGOs that [...] Read more.
Existing literature on dolphin-fisheries interaction focused on Greece reveals both an undeveloped area for research, but also a lack of relevant data in this field. Although imperative, relevant research has been slow on innovation and cooperation among universities, official bureaus, and NGOs that are obliged to work together as European and national laws dictate. Most of the research in this new field focuses on the interaction between marine mammals and local fisheries, suggesting that this relationship may be problematic for both parties since the former are being treated (at least occasionally) with brutality, while the latter try to deal with economic loss. Dolphins and fishermen operate within the same ecological niches for their survival, the main area of conflict being nutritious fish. Anthropological research on ethnic identity has long dealt with antagonistic relationships over resources between adjacent groups of people. Marine biologists’ research in Greece focuses on the human factor, and some of its shortcomings may well be seen as the result of limited, or an absence of, training in social sciences. This article attempts to draw from anthropological theory to shed light on a particular symbiosis between humans and dolphins. Multidisciplinary approaches gain ground in a wide range of research interests and seem to be fruitful in terms of theoretical and practical results. Full article
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Article
Country Representatives’ Perceptions of the Biodiversity Science-Policy Interface
Conservation 2021, 1(2), 73-80; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/conservation1020006 - 30 Apr 2021
Viewed by 708
Abstract
Biodiversity knowledge is communicated by scientists to policymakers at the biodiversity “science-policy interface” (SPI). Although the biodiversity SPI is the subject of a growing body of literature, gaps in our understanding include the efficacy of mechanisms to bridge the interface, the quality of [...] Read more.
Biodiversity knowledge is communicated by scientists to policymakers at the biodiversity “science-policy interface” (SPI). Although the biodiversity SPI is the subject of a growing body of literature, gaps in our understanding include the efficacy of mechanisms to bridge the interface, the quality of information exchanged between science and policy, and the inclusivity of stakeholders involved. To improve this understanding, we surveyed an important but under-studied group—biodiversity policymakers and scientific advisors representing their respective countries in negotiations of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). We found that a wide variety of SPI mechanisms were being used. Overall, they were considered to be sufficiently effective, improving over time, and supplied with information of adequate quality. Most respondents, however, agreed that key actors were still missing from the biodiversity SPI. Full article
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