The Extinction Crisis: How Bad, What Can Be Done?

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Biodiversity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 December 2022) | Viewed by 6235

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Wild Heritage, PO Box 945, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA
Interests: conservation biology; climate change; forest carbon; biodiversity; wildfire ecology; forest policy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
NatureServe, Science Division, Boulder, CO 80303, USA
Interests: biodiversity conservation; terrestrial ecosystem mapping; status and trend assessment of ecosystem condition; climate change vulnerability and adaptation; systematic conservation planning
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Nicholas School of The Environment, Duke University, Box 90328, Durham, NC 27708, USA
Interests: climate change; ecology and conservation; tropical biodiversity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services estimates that 1 million species face imminent extinction. For example, over 40% of amphibians are now considered to be under the threat of extinction. This is largely due to human activities, such as habitat destruction, climate change, over harvesting, and the spread of invasives. These factors may act singularly or in concert, and are accelerating globally, prompting scientists to issue warnings to humanity regarding pending ecosystem collapse and unprecedented overheating of the planet. In this issue, we will explore the prominent triggers of forest ecosystem and species collapse, including how risk is measured. We will also focus on how these assessments can inform strategies to avoid extinction through improving conservation, policies, and awareness. The topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Red-listed ecosystems and species;
  • Drivers of population loss—climate, habitat loss, competition, and resource scarcity;
  • Extinction hot spots—tropics, islands, and old forests;
  • Measuring extinction—latest methods for estimating loss;
  • Conservation planning to avoid extinction—broad scale and local exemplary approaches;
  • Last of the wild—what it means to be gone;
  • Specific species—spotted owls, apex predators, and old growth associates.

Dr. Dominick A. DellaSala
Patrick J. Comer
Dr. Stuart L. Pimm
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • extinction
  • red-listed ecosystems and species
  • biodiversity conservation
  • wildlife habitats

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

14 pages, 5098 KiB  
Article
Climate Change Adaptation Zones for Terrestrial Ecosystems—A Demonstration with Pinyon-Juniper Woodlands in the USA
by Patrick J. Comer and Emily Seddon
Forests 2023, 14(8), 1533; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14081533 - 27 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1415
Abstract
Decision support tools are needed to ensure that appropriately timed and place-based adaptation is deployed in natural resource policy, planning, and management. Driven by accelerating climate change, analytical frameworks for adaptation are emerging to assist with these decisions. There is a natural relationship [...] Read more.
Decision support tools are needed to ensure that appropriately timed and place-based adaptation is deployed in natural resource policy, planning, and management. Driven by accelerating climate change, analytical frameworks for adaptation are emerging to assist with these decisions. There is a natural relationship between climate change vulnerability assessments and adaptation responses, where low to high relative climate change vulnerability suggests “resistance” to “transformation” strategies for adaptation. The NatureServe Habitat Climate Change Vulnerability Index (HCCVI) embodies a process for ecosystem assessment that integrates both climate and non-climate data and knowledge to document the relative vulnerability of a given habitat or ecosystem type. The framework addresses climate exposure and ecosystem resilience. Since most measures of exposure and resilience are mapped, they can be utilized to create map zones that suggest climate-smart adaptation. We applied the HCCVI to a cross-section of 10 pinyon pine and juniper woodland ecosystem types in western North America. We then demonstrate the application of these outputs to adaptation zonation. Climate exposure defines relative adaptation strategies, while measures of resilience suggest specific priorities for habitat restoration and maintenance. By the mid-21st century, 3% and 23% of the combined area of these types in the United States was categorized as Directed Transformation or Autonomous Transformation, respectively. In just 10% of the combined areas for these types, Passive Resistance strategies are suggested. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Extinction Crisis: How Bad, What Can Be Done?)
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20 pages, 63065 KiB  
Article
Is the Current Forest Management to the Northernmost Population of Cordulegaster heros (Anisoptera: Cordulegastridae) in Central Europe (Czech Republic) Threatening?
by Otakar Holuša, Kateřina Holušová and Attila Balázs
Forests 2023, 14(2), 228; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14020228 - 26 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1287
Abstract
Cordulegaster heros is included in the EN category on the IUCN Red List for the territory of the Czech Republic, where it inhabits an area of approximately 100 km2. All of the localities are located in the forest complex in Chřiby [...] Read more.
Cordulegaster heros is included in the EN category on the IUCN Red List for the territory of the Czech Republic, where it inhabits an area of approximately 100 km2. All of the localities are located in the forest complex in Chřiby hills, and all of the forests fall into the category of management forests. Most of the forest stands have a high and very high degree of naturalness; they are natural forest stands. The predominant management units are Nutrient sites in middle elevations (78.2% of the area) and Oligotrophic sites in middle elevations (2.1% of the area), with stand types of Fagus sylvatica representing 92.5% of the area, and forest stand types of Quercus sp. representing 5.7% of the area. The wider alluvia in forest streams are classified as being in management unit alder and ash sites on waterlogged and floodplain soils (1.1%), with the forest stand type of Alnus glutinosa. The forest stands are restored by regeneration under shelterwood (97.8% of the area). The waterlogged alluvia, if a separate management unit is established for them, are restored by a regeneration by strip method. Realistically, seven factors were recorded in C. heros habitats, but they mostly have only point effects. Within forestry management, the factors of logging directly in the habitats and the subsequent transport of harvested timber in the habitat were recorded. The most intrusive effects were found on tractor logging roads, where fine soil washes into the stream and causes prolonged turbidity. Of the water management structures in the study area, logging roads with bridges and culverts are constructed, stream banks are reinforced with longitudinal walls at points, and stone steps in the channels are constructed only sporadically. The current forest management system can be described as a nature-friendly system, and therefore, it fully ensures the conditions for the survival of the C. heros population in the Czech Republic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Extinction Crisis: How Bad, What Can Be Done?)
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11 pages, 4930 KiB  
Article
Forest Management, Barred Owls, and Wildfire in Northern Spotted Owl Territories
by Monica L. Bond, Tonja Y. Chi, Curtis M. Bradley and Dominick A. DellaSala
Forests 2022, 13(10), 1730; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13101730 - 20 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2909
Abstract
The Northern Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) (NSO) was listed as federally threatened in 1992 due to widespread logging of its old-growth forest habitat. The NSO recovery plan in 2011 elevated competition with Barred Owls (Strix varia) (BO) and [...] Read more.
The Northern Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) (NSO) was listed as federally threatened in 1992 due to widespread logging of its old-growth forest habitat. The NSO recovery plan in 2011 elevated competition with Barred Owls (Strix varia) (BO) and wildfires as primary NSO threats based partly on the assumption that severely burned forests were no longer NSO nesting and roosting habitat. We quantified amount of logging before and/or after wildfire and opportunistic detections of BOs within two home range scales (0.8 and 2.09 km) at 105 NSO sites that experienced severe wildfire from 2000–2017. Logging affected 87% of severely burned NSO sites, with BO recorded at 22% of burned-and-logged sites. Most (60%) severely burned NSO sites had evidence of logging both before and after fires while only 12% of severely burned sites had no logging or BO detections, indicating rarity of NSO territories subjected to severe fire without the compounding stressors of logging and invasive BOs. We recommend changes to NSO habitat modeling that assume nesting and roosting habitat is no longer viable if severely burned, and to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s practice of granting incidental take permits for NSOs in logging operations within severely burned owl sites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Extinction Crisis: How Bad, What Can Be Done?)
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