• Identifying priority conservation landscapes and actions for the Critically Endangered Javan leopard in Indonesia: Conserving the last large carnivore in Java Island

      Wibisono, Hariyo Tabah; Wahyudi, Hariyawan Agung; Wilianto, Erwin; Pinondang, Irene Margareth Romaria; Primajati, Mahendra; Liswanto, Darmawan; Linkie, Matthew (2018)
      With the extirpation of tigers from the Indonesian island of Java in the 1980s, the endemic and Critically Endangered Javan leopard is the island’s last remaining large carnivore. Yet despite this, it has received little conservation attention and its population status and distribution remains poorly known. Using Maxent modeling, we predicted the locations of suitable leopard landscapes throughout the island of Java based on 228 verified Javan leopard samples and as a function of seven environmental variables. The identified landscapes covered over 1 million hectares, representing less than 9% of the island. Direct evidence of Javan leopard was confirmed from 22 of the 29 identified landscapes and included all national parks, which our analysis revealed as the single most important land type. Our study also emphasized the importance of maintaining connectivity between protected areas and human-modified landscapes because adjacent production forests and secondary forests were found to provide vital extensions for several Javan leopard subpopulations. Our predictive map greatly improves those previously produced by the Government of Indonesia’s Javan Leopard Action Plan and the IUCN global leopard distribution assessment. It shares only a 32% overlap with the IUCN range predictions, adds six new priority landscapes, all with confirmed presence of Javan leopard, and reveals an island-wide leopard population that occurs in several highly fragmented landscapes, which are far more isolated than previously thought. Our study provides reliable information on where conservation efforts must be prioritized both inside and outside of the protected area network to safeguard Java’s last remaining large carnivore.
    • Mapping open space in an old-growth, secondary-growth, and selectively-logged tropical rainforest using discrete return LIDAR

      Jung, Jinha; Pekin, Burak K.; Pijanowski, Bryan C. (2013)
      Light detection and ranging (LIDAR) is a valuable tool for mapping vegetation structure in dense forests. Although several LIDAR-derived metrics have been proposed for characterizing vertical forest structure in previous studies, none of these metrics explicitly measure open space, or vertical gaps, under a forest canopy. We develop new LIDAR metrics that characterize vertical gaps within a forest for use in forestry and forest management applications....
    • Updated geographic range maps for giraffe, Giraffa spp., throughout sub-Saharan Africa, and implications of changing distributions for conservation

      O'Connor, David; Stacy-Dawes, Jenna; Muneza, Arthur; Fennessy, Julian; Gobush, Kathleen; Chase, Michael J.; Brown, Michael B.; Bracis, Chloe; Elkan, Paul; Zaberirou, Abdoul Razazk Moussa; et al. (2019)
      Giraffe populations have declined in abundance by almost 40% over the last three decades, and the geographic ranges of the species (previously believed to be one, now defined as four species) have been significantly reduced or altered. With substantial changes in land uses, loss of habitat, declining abundance, translocations, and data gaps, the existing geographic range maps for giraffe need to be updated. We performed a review of existing giraffe range data, including aerial and ground observations of giraffe, existing geographic range maps, and available literature. The information we collected was discussed with and validated by subject?matter experts. Our updates may serve to correct inaccuracies or omissions in the baseline map, or may reflect actual changes in the distribution of giraffe. Relative to the 2016 International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List Assessment range map, the updated geographic range maps show a 5.6% decline in the range area of all giraffe taxa combined. The ranges of Giraffa camelopardalis (northern giraffe) and Giraffa tippelskirchi (Masai giraffe) decreased in area by 37% (122432 km2) and 4.7% (20816 km2) respectively, whereas 14% (41696 km2) of the range of Giraffa reticulata (reticulated giraffe) had not been included in the original geographic range map and has now been added. The range of Giraffa giraffa (southern giraffe) showed little overall change; it increased by 0.1% (419 km2). Ranges were larger than previously reported in six of the 21 range countries (Botswana, Ethiopia, Mozambique, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe), had declined in seven (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Malawi, Niger, Uganda, and Zambia) and remained unchanged in seven (Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, eSwatini, Namibia, Rwanda, Somalia, and South Africa). In Kenya, the ranges of both Giraffa tippelskirchi and Giraffa camelopardalis decreased, but the range of Giraffa reticulata was larger than previously believed. Our updated range maps increase existing knowledge, and are important for conservation planning for giraffe. However, since rapid infrastructure development throughout much of Africa is a driver of giraffe population declines, there is an urgent need for a continent?wide, consistent and systematic giraffe survey to produce more accurate range maps, in order to inform conservation and policy planning.