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Wildlife Conservation: Managing Resources for a Sustainable World

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainability, Biodiversity and Conservation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2023) | Viewed by 20377

Special Issue Editor

Department of Forest and Natural Environment Sciences, International Hellenic University, P.O. Box 172, 66100 Drama, Greece
Interests: wildlife ecology; biology and management; human–wildlife coexistence; natural and modified habitats; ornithology; conservation conflicts; biological invasions; population dynamics; spatial ecology; environmental monitoring

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The unprecedented rate of vertebrate species loss over the last century, up to 100 times higher than the pre-human background rate, indicates that a sixth mass extinction is already underway. Human activities, particularly habitat loss, overexploitation for economic gain, and climate change, are considered responsible for the exceptionally rapid loss of animal species.

Sustainability is achieved when the goals of its three basic components, society, environment, and economy, are satisfied. The loss and decline of wildlife species and populations destabilizes trophic webs, thus compromising ecosystem function and health. Such consequences also negatively affect society and the economy. There is, therefore, an urgent need for research on wildlife conservation and management in order to avert a true sixth mass extinction, maintain healthy wildlife populations, and thus contribute towards a sustainable world for future generations.

The scientific community has recognized this need and current research has been increasingly involved in multidisciplinary studies including disciplines related to all sustainability components, such as ecology, wildlife biology and management, conservation biology, social sciences, environmental psychology, humanities, and environmental economics.

In this Special Issue, we aim to present a collection of state-of-the-art research on the conservation and management of wildlife species under the framework of sustainability. In doing so, wildlife conservationists and managers will be presented with a holistic view of the current problems and proposed solutions that could be useful as a guide for successfully designing and implementing conservation and management plans. Research might involve the study of:

  • species, their habitats, and factors that might influence their temporal dynamics and spatial distribution from the local to the global scale (e.g., climate change, poaching, biological invasions, logging, forest fires, wetland loss, urbanization);
  • human–wildlife relationships: attitudes and behaviors towards species and conservation and management practices, hunting, and conservation conflicts; or
  • wildlife economics: the willingness to pay for species conservation and management, wildlife recreation and tourism, game and hunting, and wildlife farming.

We eagerly welcome your contributions related to wildlife conservation for sustainability, including quantitative and qualitative research, methodological advances, and reviews.

Prof. Dr. Vasilios Liordos
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • biodiversity
  • global change
  • anthropogenic pressures
  • resource management
  • ecosystem health
  • human well-being
  • sustainable development
  • wildlife resources
  • conservation conflicts
  • conservation biology

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

23 pages, 7705 KiB  
Article
Climate Change and Anthropogenic Factors Are Influencing the Loss of Habitats and Emerging Human–Elephant Conflict in the Namib Desert
Sustainability 2023, 15(16), 12400; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151612400 - 15 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1576
Abstract
Climate change and anthropogenic factors’ impact on habitat loss is a growing problem that is influencing unsustainable wildlife local-population home range shifts and triggering an increase in human–wildlife conflict (HWC). Yet, keystone species involved in HWC such as elephants play a vital role [...] Read more.
Climate change and anthropogenic factors’ impact on habitat loss is a growing problem that is influencing unsustainable wildlife local-population home range shifts and triggering an increase in human–wildlife conflict (HWC). Yet, keystone species involved in HWC such as elephants play a vital role in nature-based ecosystem services and have important economic and cultural value to the people that are living with them. To understand how climate change and anthropogenic factors affect habitat loss and elephants’ home range shift, the movement of Namib desert-dwelling elephants was monitored and observed in the Ugab River basin between February 2018 and November 2020 at fortnight intervals. There are 87 elephants in the Ugab River basin that are distributed into two subpopulations: desert-dwelling elephants (N = 28) and semi-desert-dwelling elephants (N = 59). To achieve the objective of the study, land cover change, elephant movement, rainfall, and temperature data were analysed using ArcGIS spatial and statistical tools, such as image analysis, optimised hot spot analysis (OHSA), and cost distance analysis, to distinguish habitat vegetation changes and home range shifts and how these link to emerging human–elephant conflict (HEC) hot spots. Human farming activities, poor rainfall, and frequent droughts are responsible for the loss of habitat of around 73.0% in the lower catchment of the ephemeral river streams; therefore, the urgency of conserving and sustaining these habitats and desert-dwelling elephants is discussed here. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Conservation: Managing Resources for a Sustainable World)
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13 pages, 4225 KiB  
Article
Habitat Selection: Autumn and Winter Behavioral Preferences of Water Deer (Hydropotes inermis) in Northeast China
Sustainability 2023, 15(16), 12181; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151612181 - 09 Aug 2023
Viewed by 630
Abstract
The wild water deer (Hydropotes inermis) population has declined rapidly over recent decades and has reached an endangered status in China. Therefore, it is important to understand their habitat selection to effectively protect both existing and emerging populations. This paper used [...] Read more.
The wild water deer (Hydropotes inermis) population has declined rapidly over recent decades and has reached an endangered status in China. Therefore, it is important to understand their habitat selection to effectively protect both existing and emerging populations. This paper used the data of 11 habitat factors in Baishan Musk Deer National Nature Reserve in the autumn and winter from 2018 to 2019 to conduct a habitat selection study of water deer by resource selection function analysis. The results indicated that in both the autumn and winter, water deer preferred grasslands at sunny and middle slopes, dominated by Artemisia carvifolia and A. argyi, respectively. In addition, the resource selection function showed that the height of dominant herbage, hiding cover, distance from water, and distance to human settlements greatly contribute to the habitat selection of water deer in the cold season. The correct prediction rate of the resource selection function model exceeded 80%, highlighting its suitability for predicting the habitat selection of water deer. The outcomes of this study provide an effective scientific basis for the conservation and restoration of water deer, and valuable enlightenment for implementing a sustainable development strategy in northeast China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Conservation: Managing Resources for a Sustainable World)
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15 pages, 1633 KiB  
Article
Estimation of Fishery Losses from Great Cormorants during the Wintering Period in Greek Lagoons (Ionian Sea, W. Greece)
Sustainability 2023, 15(15), 12007; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151512007 - 04 Aug 2023
Viewed by 926
Abstract
The present study aims through a modeling approach to quantify fishing losses from the impact of great cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis) during their wintering period in Greek lagoons. A number of assumptions were incorporated into the model regarding fish population growth, [...] Read more.
The present study aims through a modeling approach to quantify fishing losses from the impact of great cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis) during their wintering period in Greek lagoons. A number of assumptions were incorporated into the model regarding fish population growth, species distribution, age (or size) of fish caught, and the different fishing strategies that could be applied in the studied lagoons. The results indicated that the mean value of daily economic losses ranged from 0.614 to 1.075 €·bird−1·day−1, whereas the ratios of biomass losses to landings biomass and of economic losses to economic profit ranged from 0.18:1 to 3.80:1 and from 0.14:1 to 4.18:1, respectively, depending on the lagoon. The results supported a strong competitive relationship between great cormorants and fisheries in lagoons of the Amvrakikos Gulf. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Conservation: Managing Resources for a Sustainable World)
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15 pages, 2733 KiB  
Article
Birds’ Flight Initiation Distance in Residential Areas of Beijing Are Lower than in Pristine Environments: Implications for the Conservation of Urban Bird Diversity
Sustainability 2023, 15(6), 4994; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15064994 - 10 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1293
Abstract
(1) Background: With rapid urbanization, birds are facing a variety of challenges. Evaluating bird behaviour changes in response to urbanization can help us understand how to make them coexist sustainably with humans. We aimed to investigate whether birds inhabiting residential areas differed in [...] Read more.
(1) Background: With rapid urbanization, birds are facing a variety of challenges. Evaluating bird behaviour changes in response to urbanization can help us understand how to make them coexist sustainably with humans. We aimed to investigate whether birds inhabiting residential areas differed in their escape behaviour and their influencing factors. (2) Methods: We used the flight initiation distance (FID), the horizontal distance between the observer and the target bird when it escapes, to measure the escape behaviour of birds. We chose 40 urban residential areas within the 5th ring road in Beijing and conducted surveys each month for one year. We applied Generalized Linear Mixed Models (GLMMs) separately to evaluate the response variable of FID for the total species, the most common species, and the other species. (3) Results: Birds that appear more frequently in residential areas or as ground foragers, insectivores, and omnivores are better adapted to human interference and have shorter FIDs. Individual initial conditions affect bird FID, and environmental characteristics can be used as predictors for the most common birds. Tree canopy coverage was found to positively affect FID, while floor area ratio (FAR) is negatively correlated with FID. (4) Conclusions: Our results demonstrated that birds in residential areas have been adapting to the human environment, and urban tree canopies can provide refuge for birds to avoid human interference. Our study focused on the response of bird FIDs to human interference and urban trees under high urbanization, which has substantial practical implications for urban managers to improve habitat quality to ensure that birds coexist with human beings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Conservation: Managing Resources for a Sustainable World)
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10 pages, 1167 KiB  
Article
Prioritisation of Charismatic Animals in Major Conservation Journals Measured by the Altmetric Attention Score
Sustainability 2022, 14(24), 17029; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142417029 - 19 Dec 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1567
Abstract
Large, charismatic animals trigger human emotional responses, which consequently result in taxonomic biases that have been proven in various fields. In our research, we analysed the representation of animals and plants in scientific papers published in three major conservation journals (Conservation Biology [...] Read more.
Large, charismatic animals trigger human emotional responses, which consequently result in taxonomic biases that have been proven in various fields. In our research, we analysed the representation of animals and plants in scientific papers published in three major conservation journals (Conservation Biology, Journal of Applied Ecology and Conservation Letters) between 2011 and 2020. Furthermore, we examined the Altmetric Attention Score (AAS) and each paper’s total number of citations focused exclusively on a single taxon (59% of all papers). Mammals were represented on journal cover pages significantly more frequently than other taxa, while reptiles, amphibians and fish were underrepresented. The total number of published papers and the AAS favoured mammals significantly, while reptiles, plants and amphibians received the lowest AAS. The AAS of mammals was positively influenced by the body mass and appeal score. Scientific citations showed a slight correlation with the AAS. Papers about mammals, invertebrates and amphibians received the most citations, followed by plants, fish, birds and reptiles. These results showed that there are taxonomic biases that favour large mammals over other taxa, both among scientists as well as the public. Therefore, publication policy should be changed in order to support the shift of scientists and, subsequently, public interest itself toward neglected taxa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Conservation: Managing Resources for a Sustainable World)
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14 pages, 845 KiB  
Article
Wildlife Knowledge and Attitudes toward Hunting: A Comparative Hunter–Non-Hunter Analysis
Sustainability 2022, 14(21), 14541; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142114541 - 05 Nov 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1671
Abstract
Assessing the public’s attitudes toward hunting and knowledge about wildlife is critical for successfully managing and conserving resources. This need is further emphasized by the increase in urbanization, resulting in decreasing participation in outdoor activities, such as hunting. This study aimed at investigating [...] Read more.
Assessing the public’s attitudes toward hunting and knowledge about wildlife is critical for successfully managing and conserving resources. This need is further emphasized by the increase in urbanization, resulting in decreasing participation in outdoor activities, such as hunting. This study aimed at investigating the attitudes toward hunting and the wildlife knowledge of Greek residents and at understanding the variation among hunters and non-hunters. Respondents to on-site, face-to-face surveys (n = 461; hunters, 146; non-hunters, 315) were asked to rate their acceptance of the motives for hunting and of hunting as a management tool and their knowledge about the ecology, biology, and behavior of wildlife. The hunters were highly motivated for hunting and supported it as a management tool. The non-hunters’ attitudes were, however, neutral to negative. The hunters had greater knowledge about wildlife species, both game and non-game, than the non-hunters. The more experienced hunters with greater knowledge about wildlife were generally more positive toward hunting. Older, male, non-hunters who have a greater knowledge about wildlife and who consume game meat and have hunters in the family or among their friends were generally more positive toward hunting. The findings suggested that hunting is a controversial social issue. Policies aimed at informing public groups about good hunting practices and at increasing the public’s engagement in outdoor activities would reduce such controversies, improve human health and well-being, and reinforce nature and wildlife stewardship and support for biodiversity conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Conservation: Managing Resources for a Sustainable World)
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11 pages, 1146 KiB  
Communication
Neighboring Green Network and Landscape Metrics Explain Biodiversity within Small Urban Green Areas—A Case Study on Birds
Sustainability 2022, 14(11), 6394; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14116394 - 24 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1994
Abstract
Cities’ green areas are fragmented patches and are often confined to smaller sizes than the higher built-up proportions. Such small-sized green areas can be essential components of green infrastructure to compensate for biodiversity loss. As a proxy to biodiversity, we studied birds in [...] Read more.
Cities’ green areas are fragmented patches and are often confined to smaller sizes than the higher built-up proportions. Such small-sized green areas can be essential components of green infrastructure to compensate for biodiversity loss. As a proxy to biodiversity, we studied birds in nine small green area locations of Freiburg and eight area locations in Regensburg in Germany. We investigated the neighboring green networks (distance to the nearest water body and another green area) and landscape metrics (patch abundance and habitat heterogeneity at a 1 km radius) that might benefit and explain bird richness and composition in small green areas. We found that the variations in the observed species richness and composition at the surveyed locations were better explained solely by green networks in Freiburg and by green networks and landscape metrics in Regensburg. In general, it indicates that a small green area could be biodiverse if its spatial distribution considers a nearby water body and other green areas, allowing a higher abundance of similar patches and habitat heterogeneity in the neighborhood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Conservation: Managing Resources for a Sustainable World)
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13 pages, 1534 KiB  
Article
Utility of Human Footprint Pressure Mapping for Large Carnivore Conservation: The Kafue-Zambezi Interface
Sustainability 2022, 14(1), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14010116 - 23 Dec 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1696
Abstract
Proxies and indicators to monitor cumulative human pressures provide useful tools to model change and understanding threshold pressures at which species can persist, are extirpated, or might recolonize human-impacted landscapes. We integrated modelling and field observations of human pressure variables to generate a [...] Read more.
Proxies and indicators to monitor cumulative human pressures provide useful tools to model change and understanding threshold pressures at which species can persist, are extirpated, or might recolonize human-impacted landscapes. We integrated modelling and field observations of human pressure variables to generate a site-specific, fine scale Human Footprint Pressure map for 39,000 km2 of rangelands at the Kafue–Zambezi interface—a key linkage in the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area. We then modelled Human Footprint Pressure against empirically derived occurrence data for lion (Panthera leo), leopard (Panthera pardus), and spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) to generate Human Footprint Pressure threshold ranges at which each species were persisting or extirpated within ten wildlife managed areas linking Kafue National Park to the Zambezi River. Results overcame many limitations inherent in existing large-scale Human Footprint Pressure models, providing encouraging direction for this approach. Human Footprint Pressure thresholds were broadly similar to existing studies, indicating this approach is valid for site- and species-specific modelling. Model performance would improve as additional datasets become available and with improved understanding of how asymmetrical and nonlinear threshold responses to footprint pressure change across spatial-temporal scales. However, our approach has broader utility for local and region-wide conservation planning where mapping and managing human disturbance will help in managing carnivore species within and without protected area networks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Conservation: Managing Resources for a Sustainable World)
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17 pages, 813 KiB  
Article
Fish Hobbyists’ Willingness to Donate for Wild Fighting Fish (Betta livida) Conservation in Klang Valley
Sustainability 2021, 13(19), 10754; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131910754 - 28 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2050
Abstract
Betta livida is an endangered endemic species of wild fighting fish affected by habitat degradation and exploitation. Despite this concern, the literature on the conservation of wild betta is negligible. Conservation is a non-use value, whereas the species itself is a use-value because [...] Read more.
Betta livida is an endangered endemic species of wild fighting fish affected by habitat degradation and exploitation. Despite this concern, the literature on the conservation of wild betta is negligible. Conservation is a non-use value, whereas the species itself is a use-value because they are sought after in the ornamental fish trade business. Therefore, the contingent valuation method (CVM) was applied in this study to establish the monetary value for species conservation by determining hobbyists’ willingness to donate (WTD) for conservation. Fish hobbyists are the most prominent backbone of the industry and are the most acquainted with the targeted species. Hence, hobbyists’ knowledge, perceptions and attitude towards species conservation have also been explored and weighed against the WTD. Purposive sampling was employed with a total of 150 respondents in Klang Valley. The findings show that the WTD was influenced by double-bound CVM, age (AGE) and hobbyists who owned the species (OWNB). In contrast, knowledge, perceptions and attitudes were not significant. Using probit regression analysis, hobbyists’ WTD for species conservation was MYR 9.04 annually. The survey also revealed concern for species that are wild-caught by hobbyists. Hence, the results of this study offer preliminary insights into the WTD for wild betta and local freshwater fish conservation in Malaysia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Conservation: Managing Resources for a Sustainable World)
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15 pages, 1686 KiB  
Article
Niche Analysis and Conservation of Bird Species Using Urban Core Areas
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 6327; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13116327 - 02 Jun 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3386
Abstract
Knowing the ecological requirements of bird species is essential for their successful conservation. We studied the niche characteristics of birds in managed small-sized green spaces in the urban core areas of southern (Kavala, Greece) and northern Europe (Rovaniemi, Finland), during the breeding season, [...] Read more.
Knowing the ecological requirements of bird species is essential for their successful conservation. We studied the niche characteristics of birds in managed small-sized green spaces in the urban core areas of southern (Kavala, Greece) and northern Europe (Rovaniemi, Finland), during the breeding season, based on a set of 16 environmental variables and using Outlying Mean Index, a multivariate ordination technique. Overall, 26 bird species in Kavala and 15 in Rovaniemi were recorded in more than 5% of the green spaces and were used in detailed analyses. In both areas, bird species occupied different niches of varying marginality and breadth, indicating varying responses to urban environmental conditions. Birds showed high specialization in niche position, with 12 species in Kavala (46.2%) and six species in Rovaniemi (40.0%) having marginal niches. Niche breadth was narrower in Rovaniemi than in Kavala. Species in both communities were more strongly associated either with large green spaces located further away from the city center and having a high vegetation cover (urban adapters; e.g., Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), European Greenfinch (Chloris chloris), Eurasian Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)) or with green spaces located closer to the city center and having high gray area cover and anthropogenic disturbance level (urban exploiters; e.g., Western Jackdaw (Corvus monedula), House Sparrow (Passer domesticus), Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica)). The eleven species that were common to both study areas similarly used the environmental variables and had similar niches, indicating that birds respond similarly to urbanization irrespective of latitude. Sixteen species in Kavala and eleven species in Rovaniemi were identified as conservation priority species, based on their niche specialization level and conservation status. The management actions proposed for the conservation of priority species will also benefit other species with similar ecological requirements and ultimately help maintain diverse bird communities in small-sized green spaces in urban core areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Conservation: Managing Resources for a Sustainable World)
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Review

Jump to: Research

16 pages, 713 KiB  
Review
Conceptualising Drivers of Illegal Hunting by Local Hunters Living in or Adjacent to African Protected Areas: A Scoping Review
Sustainability 2022, 14(18), 11204; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141811204 - 07 Sep 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2165
Abstract
Illegal hunting of wildlife by community members abutting African protected areas contributes to unsustainable use of wildlife, resulting in significant declines in wildlife populations. Contemporary intervention measures have largely been ineffective, leading to pervasive and persistent illegal hunting. Such illegal hunting of wildlife [...] Read more.
Illegal hunting of wildlife by community members abutting African protected areas contributes to unsustainable use of wildlife, resulting in significant declines in wildlife populations. Contemporary intervention measures have largely been ineffective, leading to pervasive and persistent illegal hunting. Such illegal hunting of wildlife is partly exacerbated by poor understanding of what motivates people to hunt illegally. Applying a scoping review approach, this study aims at developing concepts for drivers of illegal hunting and how they influence illegal hunting behaviour by local hunters living in or adjacent to African protected areas. A total of 30 publications were included for review analysis from 1014 publications retrieved using data base searches on Google Scholar and ScienceDirect. The study identified 12 proximate and five underlying drivers, which were categorised into 10 thematic drivers of illegal hunting by local hunters. The need for survival and sustaining livelihoods was conceptualised as the key thematic driver of illegal hunting by local hunters. The study represents a novel work of conceptualising drivers of illegal hunting by local hunters with implications on the persistence of illegal hunting in Africa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Conservation: Managing Resources for a Sustainable World)
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