• Assessing the effectiveness of China’s panda protection system

      Wei, Wei; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Pilfold, Nicholas W.; Owen, Megan A.; Dai, Qiang; Wei, Fuwen; Han, Han; Yang, Zhisong; Yang, Xuyu; Gu, Xiaodong; et al. (2020)
      ...Together these findings indicate that China’s panda reserves have been effective and that they are functioning better over time, conserving more and better habitats and containing more pandas. While China’s protected area system still has much room for improvement [4, 5], including to support pandas [16], these findings underscore the progress made in China’s nascent environmental movement.
    • Data gaps and opportunities for comparative and conservation biology

      Conde, Dalia A.; Staerk, Johanna; Colchero, Fernando; da Silva, Rita; Schöley, Jonas; Baden, H. Maria; Jouvet, Lionel; Fa, John E.; Syed, Hassan; Jongejans, Eelke; et al. (2019)
      Biodiversity loss is a major challenge. Over the past century, the average rate of vertebrate extinction has been about 100-fold higher than the estimated background rate and population declines continue to increase globally. Birth and death rates determine the pace of population increase or decline, thus driving the expansion or extinction of a species. Design of species conservation policies hence depends on demographic data (e.g., for extinction risk assessments or estimation of harvesting quotas). However, an overview of the accessible data, even for better known taxa, is lacking. Here, we present the Demographic Species Knowledge Index, which classifies the available information for 32,144 (97%) of extant described mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. We show that only 1.3% of the tetrapod species have comprehensive information on birth and death rates. We found no demographic measures, not even crude ones such as maximum life span or typical litter/clutch size, for 65% of threatened tetrapods. More field studies are needed; however, some progress can be made by digitalizing existing knowledge, by imputing data from related species with similar life histories, and by using information from captive populations. We show that data from zoos and aquariums in the Species360 network can significantly improve knowledge for an almost eightfold gain. Assessing the landscape of limited demographic knowledge is essential to prioritize ways to fill data gaps. Such information is urgently needed to implement management strategies to conserve at-risk taxa and to discover new unifying concepts and evolutionary relationships across thousands of tetrapod species.
    • Fund plant conservation to solve biodiversity crisis

      Roberson, Emily Brin; Frances, Anne; Havens, Kayri; Maschinski, Joyce; Meyer, Abby; Ott, Lisa; Sills, Jennifer (2020)
    • Human–Wildlife Interactions: Turning Conflict into Coexistence

      Frank, Beatrice; Glikman, Jenny A.; Marchini, Silvio; Frank, Beatrice; Glikman, Jenny A.; Marchini, Silvio (Cambridge University Press, 2019)
    • Illegal wildlife trade: Scale, processes, and governance

      Sas-Rolfes, Michael T.; Hinsley, Amy; Veríssimo, Diogo; Milner-Gulland, E. J.; Challender, Daniel W. S. (2019)
      Illegal wildlife trade (IWT) has increased in profile in recent years as a global policy issue, largely because of its association with declines in prominent internationally trafficked species. In this review, we explore the scale of IWT, associated threats to biodiversity, and appropriate responses to these threats. We discuss the historical development of IWT research and highlight the uncertainties that plague the evidence base, emphasizing the need for more systematic approaches to addressing evidence gaps in a way that minimizes the risk of unethical or counterproductive outcomes for wildlife and people. We highlight the need for evaluating interventions in order to learn, and the importance of sharing datasets and lessons learned. A more collaborative approach to linking IWT research, practice, and policy would better align public policy discourse and action with research evidence. This in turn would enable more effective policy making that contributes to reducing the threat to biodiversity that IWT represents.
    • Panda downlisted but not out of the woods

      Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Wang, Dajun; Wei, Fuwen (2018)
      The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is no longer Endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) storied Red List. The decision to downlist the panda to Vulnerable has its foundation in a systematic assessment of population parameters as determined by China State Forestry Administration's circa decadal national survey and other scientific outputs, compared to standardized criteria used by IUCN to determine the status of all species. This decision has not been without controversy and disagreement, perhaps reflecting disparities between how people view the term “Endangered” and the criteria established by the IUCN. Here, we explore the architecture of recovery of this iconic “Endangered” species, make transparent the process of the IUCN downlisting decision, evaluate emerging threats to pandas on the horizon, and contemplate the meaning of this milestone for endangered species conservation. Through this revelation, we find profound reasons for hope for species conservation everywhere, and a useful example of success in the making. However, this positive message comes with measured caution. The Chinese government and conservation community must maintain its focus and investment on panda conservation, and contend with strategies to address new threats. If they do not, the panda will return to “Endangered” status once again.
    • Protected only on paper? Three case studies from protected areas in the Dominican Republic

      Pasachnik, Stesha A.; Carreras De León, R; León, YM (2016)
      ...Herein we evaluate 3 case studies from the Dominican Republic (DR), one of the most biologically diverse countries in the Caribbean. We focus on conflicts between the DR’s national protected areas system and agriculture, tourism, and the charcoal trade....
    • Research priorities from animal behaviour for maximising conservation progress

      Greggor, Alison L.; Berger-Tal, Oded; Blumstein, Daniel T.; Angeloni, Lisa; Bessa-Gomes, Carmen; Blackwell, Bradley F.; St. Clair, Colleen Cassady; Crooks, Kevin; de Silva, Shermin; Fernández-Juricic, Esteban; et al. (2016)
      Poor communication between academic researchers and wildlife managers limits conservation progress and innovation. As a result, input from overlapping fields, such as animal behaviour, is underused in conservation management despite its demonstrated utility as a conservation tool and countless papers advocating its use. Communication and collaboration across these two disciplines are unlikely to improve without clearly identified management needs and demonstrable impacts of behavioural-based conservation management. To facilitate this process, a team of wildlife managers and animal behaviour researchers conducted a research prioritisation exercise, identifying 50 key questions that have great potential to resolve critical conservation and management problems. The resulting agenda highlights the diversity and extent of advances that both fields could achieve through collaboration.
    • Systematic reviews and maps as tools for applying behavioral ecology to management and policy

      Berger-Tal, Oded; Greggor, Alison L.; Macura, Biljana; Adams, Carrie Ann; Blumenthal, Arden; Bouskila, Amos; Candolin, Ulrika; Doran, Carolina; Fernández-Juricic, Esteban; Gotanda, Kiyoko M.; et al. (2019)
      We describe the utility of conducting formal systematic reviews and maps to synthesize behavioral evidence in a way that enhances its utility to managers, polic