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Conservation, Volume 4, Issue 2 (June 2024) – 9 articles

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15 pages, 844 KiB  
Review
The Recolonisation of the Piketberg Leopard Population: A Model for Human–Wildlife Coexistence in a Changing Landscape
by Jeannine McManus, Albertus J. Smit, Lauriane Faraut, Vanessa Couldridge, Jaco van Deventer, Igshaan Samuels, Carolyn Devens and Bool Smuts
Conservation 2024, 4(2), 273-287; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation4020018 - 21 May 2024
Viewed by 216
Abstract
Important metapopulation dynamics are disrupted by factors such as habitat loss, climate change, and human-induced mortality, culminating in isolated wildlife populations and threatening species survival. Source populations, where birth rates exceed mortality and connectivity facilitates dispersal, contrast with sink populations, where mortality outstrips [...] Read more.
Important metapopulation dynamics are disrupted by factors such as habitat loss, climate change, and human-induced mortality, culminating in isolated wildlife populations and threatening species survival. Source populations, where birth rates exceed mortality and connectivity facilitates dispersal, contrast with sink populations, where mortality outstrips births, risking localised extinction. Recolonisation by individuals from source populations is pivotal for species survival. The leopard is the last free-roaming apex predator in South Africa and plays an important ecological role. In the Eastern and Western Cape provinces in South Africa, leopard populations have low densities and fragmented population structures. We identified a leopard population that, after being locally extinct for a century, appeared to recolonise an ‘island’ of mountainous habitat. We aimed to understand potential factors driving this recolonisation using recent camera trapping surveys and historical statutory destruction permits. We employed spatially explicit capture–recapture (SECR) methods to estimate the leopard density and explore potential factors which best explain density. We found that the recently recolonised Piketberg population now exhibits some of the highest densities reported in the region (~1.8 leopards/100 km2; CI 1.4–2.5). Livestock, human presence, elevation, and the camera trap grid appeared to explain leopard detection rates. When considering the historic data, the re-emergence of leopards in the Piketberg coincided with the cessation of the extensive state-sponsored and state-enabled culling of the species, and the change in land use from livestock production to crop agriculture, which likely contributed to the recolonisation. Elucidating these factors deepens our understanding of leopard metapopulation dynamics in relation to land use and species management and highlights the crucial role of private land and state agencies and associated policies in species persistence. Full article
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20 pages, 1624 KiB  
Article
Affective Dimensions of Compound Crises in Tourism Economies: The Intermountain Western Gateway Community of Nederland, Colorado
by Julia R. Branstrator and Christina T. Cavaliere
Conservation 2024, 4(2), 253-272; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation4020017 - 14 May 2024
Viewed by 191
Abstract
Affective economies align people and places according to identities and emotional capital, particularly during compound crises such as COVID-19. Through an embodied research approach, affect becomes an integral part of furthering knowledge production within crisis management to understand individual and community resilience. This [...] Read more.
Affective economies align people and places according to identities and emotional capital, particularly during compound crises such as COVID-19. Through an embodied research approach, affect becomes an integral part of furthering knowledge production within crisis management to understand individual and community resilience. This research explores how affective dimensions express individual and community resilience as part of crisis and disaster management of tourism-based economies. We contribute knowledge of sustainable destination management in the context of intermountain western gateway communities (IWGCs) to center residents as primary stakeholders within conservation and resilience planning. The IWGC of Nederland, Colorado, is presented as a microcosm of change through which the lived experiences of residents during COVID-19 are analyzed. This approach embraces the potential of affective scholarship for conservation and destination planning through creative qualitative methods of inquiry. Within a crystallization methodology guided by a feminist new materialist epistemology, we incorporate residents’ creative expressions to understand how affective dynamics influenced resilience throughout compound crises. Findings are presented via three themes including affective dimensions of resilience, identity, belonging and responsibility, and affective tourism economies. Affective knowledge centering resident experiences may inform future planning for crisis and disaster management across IWGCs and other gateway communities balancing tourism, conservation, and community planning. Full article
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17 pages, 2006 KiB  
Article
Does Active or Informative Messaging Result in Greater Conservation Engagement?
by Lily T. Maynard, Jennifer R. Torchalski, Zachariah J. Gezon, Karlisa A. Callwood, M. Andrew Stamper, Mandi W. Schook and Claire Martin
Conservation 2024, 4(2), 236-252; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation4020016 - 8 May 2024
Viewed by 1102
Abstract
Strategic communication can motivate target audiences to take conservation action. Yet, whether audiences are motivated by more information or more influential visuals is unclear. Using online surveys, we compared different visual communication strategies using text, graphics, and photographs for encouraging parrotfish-friendly conservation behaviors [...] Read more.
Strategic communication can motivate target audiences to take conservation action. Yet, whether audiences are motivated by more information or more influential visuals is unclear. Using online surveys, we compared different visual communication strategies using text, graphics, and photographs for encouraging parrotfish-friendly conservation behaviors to see which one yields greater emotion, interest, and intended action. Experiment 1 explored whether a scientific-oriented poster would be more or less effective in promoting conservation behaviors than a graphical poster using social marketing techniques. Experiment 2 contrasted the two posters with a photograph and graphic icons without text against a blank control. Results revealed how engaging visuals can inspire reactions and behavioral intentions. The posters both elicited positive reactions, but with less text and content to process, the social marketing poster more efficiently inspired the desired reactions. This work highlights that conservation communications can strategically use psychology and graphics to efficiently inspire desired actions. Full article
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20 pages, 1983 KiB  
Article
A Case of the Guthi System in Nepal: The Backbone of the Conservation and Management of the Cultural Heritage
by Salik Ram Subedi and Sudha Shrestha
Conservation 2024, 4(2), 216-235; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation4020015 - 11 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1465
Abstract
Guthi, deeply rooted in the social, cultural, and economic fabric of Nepal, has traditionally managed temples, shrines, festivals, and heritage sites since the Lichchhavi era (400–750). Since 1960, however, this system has been challenged by government land reforms, which have impacted its [...] Read more.
Guthi, deeply rooted in the social, cultural, and economic fabric of Nepal, has traditionally managed temples, shrines, festivals, and heritage sites since the Lichchhavi era (400–750). Since 1960, however, this system has been challenged by government land reforms, which have impacted its influence on sustainable heritage conservation. Nevertheless, there is compelling evidence that land nationalization and the guthi’s declining authority have harmed local heritage conservation. Nevertheless, the guthi system has endured, serving as an important informal means of heritage conservation and highlighting the adaptability of traditional institutions. These community-based trusts, originally established for social and religious purposes, have played a pivotal role in preserving cultural heritage for future generations. This article aims to demonstrate the central role of the guthi as the cornerstone of Nepal’s efforts to conserve and manage both tangible and intangible cultural treasures. Using observational techniques, case studies, and a qualitative approach, it explores the historical evolution of heritage conservation through the lens of the guthi, taking into account subjective, valued, and constructed realities. This paper concludes by urging policymakers to recognize the significant contribution of indigenous systems such as the guthi system in achieving the backbone of sustainable heritage conservation and management. Full article
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15 pages, 2498 KiB  
Article
Visitors’ Willingness to Pay for Protected Areas: A New Conservation Donation in Aso Kuju National Park
by Thomas Edward Jones, Duo Xu, Takayuki Kubo and Minh-Hoang Nguyen
Conservation 2024, 4(2), 201-215; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation4020014 - 10 Apr 2024
Viewed by 675
Abstract
Protected areas (PAs) such as national parks face funding issues that undermine effective management. Therefore, many PAs are exploring new financial instruments, such as visitor donations, to supplement their conservation budgets. This paper investigates visitor perceptions of one such system, a new conservation [...] Read more.
Protected areas (PAs) such as national parks face funding issues that undermine effective management. Therefore, many PAs are exploring new financial instruments, such as visitor donations, to supplement their conservation budgets. This paper investigates visitor perceptions of one such system, a new conservation donation under consideration in Aso Kuju National Park, southwest Japan, is due to be introduced. Our on-site survey at two trailheads in autumn 2022 gauged visitors’ willingness to pay (WTP) the expected JPY 500 donation. The analysis used Bayesian linear regression to look for significant predictors of WTP. Findings show that female, older, and higher-income visitors were more likely to pay the donation collectively rather than voluntarily. Prior knowledge of the donation system was also a significant predictor of WTP, but more frequent climbers were significantly less likely to pay the donation collectively, regardless of prior Kuju climbing experience, possibly due to the perceived increase in use costs. Moreover, visitors willing to pay the cooperation donation collectively are also willing to pay higher prices than those willing to pay voluntarily. The elicited WTP values confirm that the implementation of a new conservation donation could help to improve the long-term sustainable financing of PAs such as Aso Kuju while raising issues over price fairness. Full article
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25 pages, 1935 KiB  
Perspective
Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures (OECMs) in Australia: Key Considerations for Assessment and Implementation
by James A. Fitzsimons, Thalie Partridge and Rebecca Keen
Conservation 2024, 4(2), 176-200; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation4020013 - 10 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1295
Abstract
Other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs) have been a feature of global biodiversity targets since 2010 (Aichi Targets, Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework), although the concept has only relatively recently been formally defined. Although uptake has been limited to date, there is much interest [...] Read more.
Other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs) have been a feature of global biodiversity targets since 2010 (Aichi Targets, Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework), although the concept has only relatively recently been formally defined. Although uptake has been limited to date, there is much interest in identifying OECMs to contribute to the target of protecting at least 30% of terrestrial, freshwater and ocean areas by 2030, in conjunction with protected areas. Australia has a long history of protected area development across public, private and Indigenous lands, but consideration of OECMs in policy has recently begun in that country. We review principles proposed by the Australian Government for OECMs in Australia and highlight where these deviate from global guidance or established Australian area-based policy. We examined various land use categories and conservation mechanisms to determine the likelihood of these categories/mechanisms meeting the OECM definition, with a particular focus on longevity of the mechanism to sustain biodiversity. We identified that the number of categories/mechanisms that would meet the OECM definition is relatively small. A number of potentially perverse outcomes in classifying an area as an OECM are highlighted in order to guide proactive policy and program design to prevent such outcomes occurring. Full article
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13 pages, 245 KiB  
Article
Determinants of the Management of Native Vegetation on Farms
by Geoff Kaine and Vic Wright
Conservation 2024, 4(2), 163-175; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation4020012 - 10 Apr 2024
Viewed by 439
Abstract
The clearing of native vegetation on private agricultural land has contributed greatly to the loss of ecosystems and biodiversity worldwide. Native vegetation on private land may be cleared for a variety of reasons, of which the expansion of agriculture is only one. In [...] Read more.
The clearing of native vegetation on private agricultural land has contributed greatly to the loss of ecosystems and biodiversity worldwide. Native vegetation on private land may be cleared for a variety of reasons, of which the expansion of agriculture is only one. In this study, we investigate how the clearing of native vegetation on private land is influenced by (1) the utilitarian, social and hedonic objectives of landholders and (2) the way in which the presence of native vegetation interacts with the farm system to contribute to, or detract from, achieving those objectives. Using data from a survey of agricultural landholders in New South Wales, Australia, we found that the landholders’ management of native vegetation was strongly influenced by their perceptions of the opportunities and threats the native vegetation on their properties presented to them. The implications are drawn for predicting the clearing of native vegetation and designing effective policy interventions to influence the extent of clearing. Full article
13 pages, 3118 KiB  
Article
An Announced Extinction: The Impacts of Mining on the Persistence of Arthrocereus glaziovii, a Microendemic Species of Campos Rupestres
by Patrícia de Abreu Moreira, Andrea Pires and Marina do Vale Beirão
Conservation 2024, 4(2), 150-162; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation4020011 - 3 Apr 2024
Viewed by 802
Abstract
The mountaintops of eastern Brazil harbor the highest rates of plant endemism in South America. However, local biodiversity faces constant threats due to habitat loss and mining activities. About 89 rare and endangered species are exclusive to this region, including the threatened species [...] Read more.
The mountaintops of eastern Brazil harbor the highest rates of plant endemism in South America. However, local biodiversity faces constant threats due to habitat loss and mining activities. About 89 rare and endangered species are exclusive to this region, including the threatened species Arthrocereus glaziovii. This study aims to evaluate the potential distribution of A. glaziovii based on abiotic variables and soil elements and to characterize the distribution of mineral titles that may restrict the species’ occurrence areas. We used the Bioclim, Domain, MaxEnt, GLM, and Random Forest algorithms to model this ecological niche under future climatic scenarios, in addition to modeling the layers of mineral titles corresponding to areas already mined and those slated for future mining projects. Our predictions indicate an expansion in the future distribution of A. glaziovii. Nevertheless, the future predicted occurrence areas of the species are already compromised due to mining. According to our findings, we emphasize the looming threat of the predicted extinction of this species. Therefore, implementing conservation strategies to ensure the survival of A. glaziovii is imperative. Full article
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11 pages, 1568 KiB  
Article
Influence of Climatic Variables on the Stem Growth Rate in Trees of a Tropical Wet Forest
by Juan Carlos Valverde, Dagoberto Arias-Aguilar, Marvin Castillo-Ugalde and Nelson Zamora-Villalobos
Conservation 2024, 4(2), 139-149; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation4020010 - 30 Mar 2024
Viewed by 544
Abstract
The growth of tropical wet forests has a significant relationship with the climate; aspects such as temperature and precipitation affect the species; however, few studies have characterized the stem growth rate of tropical tree species. This study’s objective was to characterize the effects [...] Read more.
The growth of tropical wet forests has a significant relationship with the climate; aspects such as temperature and precipitation affect the species; however, few studies have characterized the stem growth rate of tropical tree species. This study’s objective was to characterize the effects of climatic variation on the interannual stem growth rate of eight species in tropical wet forest. Six trees per species were selected (n = 48 trees), and a dendrometer was installed to measure diametric growth bi-monthly between 2015 and 2018 (3 years), complemented with environmental measurements, to determine their growth equations from environmental variables and, finally, to define the relationship between the wood density and the stem growth rate. The results showed an average stem growth from 0.45 to 4.35 mm year−1, and 40 to 70% growth occurred in the months with the highest rainfall. Also, species with higher wood densities were found to have lower stem growth rates. Finally, the analysis of stem growth rate showed a significant relationship in all species between the variables of temperature and precipitation (R2 adj 0.88 to 0.96). Our results suggest that species with greater stem growth rates in wet tropical forests are more susceptible to climate changes, which may affect their dynamics in the face of potential drought scenarios and heat waves associated with climate change. Full article
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