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Conservation, Volume 1, Issue 4 (December 2021) – 6 articles

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Perspective
A Singular Concept of Biodiversity Remains the Best Way to Address the Plural Values of Nature in Conservation Planning
Conservation 2021, 1(4), 342-349; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/conservation1040026 - 01 Dec 2021
Viewed by 258
Abstract
The term “biodiversity” generally refers to living variation. Biodiversity has recognized anthropocentric values of insurance and investment. Values of “nature” include those of biodiversity and also many other aspects reflecting the scope of human-nature relationships. Systematic conservation planning methods can integrate this range [...] Read more.
The term “biodiversity” generally refers to living variation. Biodiversity has recognized anthropocentric values of insurance and investment. Values of “nature” include those of biodiversity and also many other aspects reflecting the scope of human-nature relationships. Systematic conservation planning methods can integrate this range of local to global values. Early case studies in Australia and Papua New Guinea show the potential for such approaches. Recently, there have been calls for a recasting of the concept of biodiversity to capture plurality of values. However, balance among sometimes conflicting values of nature is best-served by a singular biodiversity concept and definition focused on variety, because this enables effective integration with other values of nature. Attempts at pluralistic recastings of biodiversity in fact may promote neglect of global biodiversity values. Further, an extended analysis of the Papua New Guinea case study shows that it cannot be argued that focusing on localized values of nature for conservation will effectively address regional/global scale conservation needs. Full article
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Article
Earthquake Impacts on the Livelihoods of Community Forest Users in Sindhupalchok District, Nepal, and Their Perceptions towards Forest Conservation
Conservation 2021, 1(4), 327-341; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/conservation1040025 - 23 Nov 2021
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Abstract
Community forests are a crucial component of farming systems and people’s livelihoods in the rural middle hills of Nepal, where the population depends upon the forest for fuelwood, fodder, and leaf litter for their daily needs. This study aims to assess the perception [...] Read more.
Community forests are a crucial component of farming systems and people’s livelihoods in the rural middle hills of Nepal, where the population depends upon the forest for fuelwood, fodder, and leaf litter for their daily needs. This study aims to assess the perception of community forest user groups towards their postearthquake situations by using the five forms of capital from the sustainable livelihood framework. It further analyzes whether forest user’s attitudes towards forest conservation have changed or not. In addition to household interviews with 68 earthquake-affected households and extensive visits to the study area, key informant interviews and focus group discussions were conducted. This study confirms that the community forest user groups perceived negative effects on the natural, physical, human, and financial capitals, whereas they perceived a positive effect on social capital after the earthquake. Controlled access to forest products, such as timber collection during the recovery phase, restricted their resilience, although nontimber forest products supported it. Low agricultural production because of the scarcity of water for irrigation, as well as the soil infertility because of the landslides, caused local people to shift towards nonagricultural activities for income generation. Further, out-migration for job opportunities resulted in an inflow of remittances and, thus, manpower shortages were observed. Our results show that, despite facing the postdisaster impact on their livelihoods, 92% of the respondents were found to be positive towards forest conservation. This was because of their emotional attachment to the forest and the benefits received from the forest in the past. Local institutional policies and mechanisms must be strengthened to provide communities with the knowledge, skills, and practices for effective postdisaster recovery or for upcoming disasters, as well as the benefits of promoting sustainable forest conservation. Full article
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Review
Functional Diversity within Gut Microbiomes: Implications for Conserving Biodiversity
Conservation 2021, 1(4), 311-326; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/conservation1040024 - 25 Oct 2021
Viewed by 471
Abstract
Conservation research has historically been conducted at the macro level, focusing on animals and plants and their role in the wider ecosystem. However, there is a growing appreciation of the importance of microbial communities in conservation. Most microbiome research in conservation thus far [...] Read more.
Conservation research has historically been conducted at the macro level, focusing on animals and plants and their role in the wider ecosystem. However, there is a growing appreciation of the importance of microbial communities in conservation. Most microbiome research in conservation thus far has used amplicon sequencing methods to assess the taxonomic composition of microbial communities and inferred functional capabilities from these data. However, as manipulation of the microbiome as a conservation tool becomes more and more feasible, there is a growing need to understand the direct functional consequences of shifts in microbiome composition. This review outlines the latest advances in microbiome research from a functional perspective and how these data can be used to inform conservation strategies. This review will also consider some of the challenges faced when studying the microbiomes of wild animals and how they can be overcome by careful study design and sampling methods. Environmental changes brought about by climate change or direct human actions have the potential to alter the taxonomic composition of microbiomes in wild populations. Understanding how taxonomic shifts affect the function of microbial communities is important for identifying species most threatened by potential disruption to their microbiome. Preservation or even restoration of these functions has the potential to be a powerful tool in conservation biology and a shift towards functional characterisation of gut microbiome diversity will be an important first step. Full article
Article
Avocado Cover Expansion in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, Central Mexico
Conservation 2021, 1(4), 299-310; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/conservation1040023 - 25 Oct 2021
Viewed by 585
Abstract
Avocado cultivation has reduced the extent of forest ecosystems in central Mexico, even in natural protected areas such as the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (MBBR) where information on the extent and expansion dynamics of avocado cover is scant. This study aimed to identify [...] Read more.
Avocado cultivation has reduced the extent of forest ecosystems in central Mexico, even in natural protected areas such as the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (MBBR) where information on the extent and expansion dynamics of avocado cover is scant. This study aimed to identify avocado plantations within the MBBR through photo interpretation for the 2006–2018 period. Change rates of the avocado cover extent were calculated for the northern, central, and southern zones of the MBBR, and topographic attributes such as elevation, soil type, slope, and slope aspect were identified. A total extent of 958 ha is covered by avocado plantations within the MBBR. The southern zone hosted the largest area under avocado cultivation (570 ha), but the northern zone had the highest change rate between 2006 and 2018 (422%). Most avocado orchards have been established mainly in Acrisol soils, south-facing slopes, on steep hillsides, and in elevations between 2050 and 2800 m. The conversion from traditional agricultural lands has been the main mechanism for the establishment of avocado orchards. However, 40 ha under avocado cultivation derived from deforestation, mainly in the central zone. The expansion of avocado plantations could trigger environmental impacts, even threatening the overwintering habitat and the migratory phenomenon of the monarch butterflies. Full article
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Review
The Trouble with Anthropocentric Hubris, with Examples from Conservation
Conservation 2021, 1(4), 285-298; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/conservation1040022 - 01 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1542
Abstract
Anthropocentrism in Western (modern industrial) society is dominant, goes back hundreds of years, and can rightly be called ‘hubris’. It removes almost all moral standing from the nonhuman world, seeing it purely as a resource. Here, we discuss the troubling components of anthropocentrism: [...] Read more.
Anthropocentrism in Western (modern industrial) society is dominant, goes back hundreds of years, and can rightly be called ‘hubris’. It removes almost all moral standing from the nonhuman world, seeing it purely as a resource. Here, we discuss the troubling components of anthropocentrism: worldview and ethics; dualisms, valuation and values; a psychology of fear and denial; and the idea of philosophical ‘ownership’. We also question whether it is a truly practical (or ethical) approach. We then discuss three troubling examples of anthropocentrism in conservation: ‘new’ conservation; ecosystem services; and the IPBES values assessment. We conclude that anthropocentrism is fuelling the environmental crisis and accelerating extinction, and urge academia to speak out instead for ecocentrism. Full article
Article
Systematic Literature Review of the Natural Environment of the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand, from a Conservation Perspective
Conservation 2021, 1(4), 270-284; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/conservation1040021 - 30 Sep 2021
Viewed by 484
Abstract
This research presents a literature review of published scientific literature on the Coromandel Peninsula, a well-known region of the northern part of the North Island of New Zealand. It contains many biological, geological, and historical features and is well known for beautiful scenery, [...] Read more.
This research presents a literature review of published scientific literature on the Coromandel Peninsula, a well-known region of the northern part of the North Island of New Zealand. It contains many biological, geological, and historical features and is well known for beautiful scenery, resulting from a volcanic rock-dominated terrestrial environment influenced by oceanic factors at the coast. All these factors have combined to make the Coromandel a popular tourism destination for New Zealanders and offshore visitors. In researching the current state of knowledge of the region, we searched three scientific databases to define the main ways of studying the region. The results demonstrated a high interest in biological and environmental factors, reflected in the type and scale of conservation measures applied to flora and fauna of the region. Additionally, specificity of geological evolution was a highly examined subject, in the context of hydrothermal alteration as related to gold and silver mineralization resulting in extensive exploration and mining. Meanwhile, indigenous cultural aspects of the land were not recognizable as expected within Western scientific literature, even though the region contains sites recognized as some of the earliest Māori habitations. Therefore, we suggest future studies to expand our understanding of scientific, cultural, and social aspects of the region as applied to the field of conservation in the region. Full article
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