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Is green infrastructure an effective climate adaption strategy for conserving biodiversity? A case study with the great crested newt
Teeffelen, A.J.A. van; Vos, C.C. ; Jochem, R. ; Baveco, J.M. ; Meeuwsen, H. ; Hilbers, J.P. - \ 2015
Landscape Ecology 30 (2015)5. - ISSN 0921-2973 - p. 937 - 954.
population viability analysis - triturus-cristatus - amphibian populations - extinction risk - habitat - conservation - landscapes - management - dynamics - patterns
Context Increasing the amount of green infrastructure, defined as small-scale natural landscape elements, has been named as a climate adaptation measure for biodiversity. While green infrastructure strengthened ecological networks in some studies, it is not known whether this effect also holds under climate change, and how it compares to other landscape adaptation options. Objectives We assessed landscape adaptation options under scenarios of climate change for a dispersal-limited and climate-sensitive species: great crested newt, Triturus cristatus. Methods A spatially-explicit modelling framework was used to simulate newt metapopulation dynamics in a case study area in the Netherlands, under alternative spatial configurations of 500 ha to-be-restored habitat. The framework incorporated weather-related effects on newt recruitment, following current and changing climate conditions. Results Mild climate change resulted in slightly higher metapopulation viability, while more severe climate change (i.e. more frequent mild winters and summer droughts) had detrimental effects on metapopulation viability. The modelling framework revealed interactions between climate and landscape configuration on newt viability. Restoration of ponds and terrestrial habitat may reduce the negative effects of climate change, but only when certain spatial requirements (habitat density, connectivity) as well as abiotic requirements (high ground water level) are met. Conclusions Landscape scenarios where habitat was added in the form of green infrastructure were not able to meet these multiple conditions, as was the case for a scenario that enlarged core areas. The approach allowed a deduction of landscape design rules that incorporated both spatial and abiotic requirements resulting in more effective climate adaptation options.
Toward better application of minimum area requirements in conservation planning
Pe’er, G. ; Tsianou, M.A. ; Franz, K.W. ; Matsinos, Y.G. ; Mazaris, A.D. ; Storch, D. ; Kopsova, L. ; Verboom, J. ; Baguette, M. ; Stevens, V.M. ; Henle, K. - \ 2014
Biological Conservation 170 (2014). - ISSN 0006-3207 - p. 92 - 102.
population viability analysis - home-range size - land-use change - body-size - extinction - mammals - birds - fragmentation - biodiversity - management
The Minimum Area Requirements (MAR) of species is a concept that explicitly addresses area and therefore can be highly relevant for conservation planning and policy. This study compiled a comprehensive database of MAR estimates from the literature, covering 216 terrestrial animal species from 80 studies. We obtained estimates from (a) Population Viability Analyses (PVAs) which explored a range of area-related scenarios, (b) PVAs that provided a fixed value – either MAR or the minimum viable population size (MVP) alongside other area-relevant information, and (c) empirical studies of occupancy patterns in islands or isolated habitat patches across area. We assessed the explanatory power of life-history traits (body mass, feeding guild, generation length and offspring size), environmental variables (average precipitation and temperature), research approach and phylogenetic group on MAR estimates. PVAs exploring area showed strong correlation between MAR and body mass. One to two additional variables further improved the predictive power. PVA reporting fixed MAR, and occupancy-based studies, were better explained by the combination of feeding guild, climatic variables and additional life history traits. Phylogeny had a consistent but usually small contribution to the predictive power of models. Our work demonstrates that estimating the MAR across species and taxa is achievable but requires cautious interpretation. We further suggest that occupancy patterns are likely sensitive to transient dynamics and are therefore risky to use for estimating MAR. PVA-based evaluations enable considering time horizon and extinction probability, two aspects that are critical for future implementation of the MAR concept into policy and management.
Simulating direct and indirect effects of climatic changes on rare perennial plant species in fragmented landscapes
Korner, K. ; Treydte, A.C. ; Burkart, M. ; Jeltsch, F. - \ 2010
Journal of Vegetation Science 21 (2010)5. - ISSN 1100-9233 - p. 843 - 856.
population viability analysis - primula-veris - extinction debt - habitat fragmentation - gentiana-pneumonanthe - european climate - coupled model - land-use - management - demography
Question: How does climate change influence plant species population dynamics, their time to extinction, and proportion of occupied habitats in a fragmented landscape? Location: Germany and Central European lowland. Methods: We apply a mechanistic general simulation model to test the response of plant functional types to direct and indirect effects of climate change. Three functional types were chosen to represent a set of well-studied perennial plant species: Juncus atratus, Gentiana pneumonanthe and Primula veris. We link local population dynamics within a heterogeneous, fragmented landscape context. "Species spheres", i.e. multi-dimensional parameter ranges rather than single parameter realizations, based on field and literature data served as proxy for life stage transition parameters. Four climatic scenarios summarizing different cumulative weather effects on demographic rates and different local disturbance frequencies were run. The model predicts "time to extinction" (TE) and "proportion of occupied habitat" (POH) as regional indicators for species extinction risk. Results: TE decreased for all species when weather conditions worsened, and even more so when the frequency of local destructive events additionally increased. However, management towards fewer disturbance events could buffer the negative effect of climate to some extent. The magnitude of these responses varied with species type. POH declined with an increase in bad weather as well as with increasing disturbance frequency. The better the climatic conditions, the less severe were disturbances on population performance. Conclusions: The "species spheres" proved to be a valuable approach for predictive trends. As climate change usually also implies destructive events such as land-use change, flooding or fire, our model on local and regional extinction risks can support conservation issues and management actions. © 2010 International Association for Vegetation Science.
Demographic vulnerability of the clonal and endangered meadow thistle
Jongejans, E. ; Vere, N. de; Kroon, H. de - \ 2008
Plant Ecology 198 (2008)2. - ISSN 1385-0237 - p. 225 - 240.
population viability analysis - extinction risk - sexual reproduction - biological flora - perennial herb - british-isles - plants - dynamics - grassland - fragmentation
For effective management of endangered species it is pivotal to understand why a species is endangered and which key life cycle components are involved in its response to environmental changes. Our objective was to investigate the response of rosettes of the redlisted clonal herb Cirsium dissectum to anthropogenic nutrient enrichment, which threatens its populations, and the consequences of these responses for its population dynamics. We constructed matrix population models with demographic data from three populations and four annual transitions and we decomposed the spatiotemporal variation in projected population growth rates into contributions from life cycle components. These patterns were compared with below-ground rosette dynamics in different fields, and with the below- and above-ground rosette dynamics in a garden experiment with nutrient enrichment and competing grasses. The decomposition analysis revealed that increased clonal rosette formation and decreased rosette survival were driving the spatial variation in the population growth rate. Excavating the below-ground rhizome network revealed a higher rosette turn-over in experimentally fertilized garden plots, which not only resulted in increased plot-level extinction, but also in increased spread of the clonal offspring. This supported the observed trend among field populations: rosette formation trades off with rosette survival. Surviving seedlings were only found in areas where the topsoil had been removed. The endangered C. dissectum is vulnerable when its habitat becomes more productive, because this species does not have the necessary capability to build up biomass. Small-scale disturbances such as created by sod-cutting or trampling cattle are essential for seedling establishment and necessary to render the explorative strategy of rhizomatous clonal spread successful.
Ecological impact assessment in data-poor systems: a case study on metapopulation persistence
Etienne, R.S. ; Vos, C.C. ; Jansen, M.J.W. - \ 2003
Environmental Management 32 (2003)6. - ISSN 0364-152X - p. 760 - 777.
population viability analysis - newts triturus-cristatus - amphibian populations - management options - bayesian-analysis - model - dynamics - conservation - extinction - landscape
Legislation on the protection of biodiversity (e.g., European Union Habitat and Bird Directives) increasingly requires ecological impact assessment of human activities. However, knowledge and understanding of relevant ecological processes and species responses to different types of impact are often incomplete. In this paper we demonstrate with a case study how impact assessment can be carried out for situations where data are scarce but some expert knowledge is available. The case study involves two amphibian species, the great crested newt (Triturus cristatus) and the natterjack toad (Bufo calamita) in the nature reserve the Meinweg in the Netherlands, for which plans are being developed to reopen an old railway track called the Iron Rhine. We assess the effects of this railway track and its proposed alternatives (scenarios) on the metapopulation extinction time and the occupancy times of the patches for both species using a discrete-time stochastic metapopulation model. We quantify the model parameters using expert knowledge and extrapolated data. Because of our uncertainty about these parameter values, we perform a Monte Carlo uncertainty analysis. This yields an estimate of the probability distribution of the model predictions and insight into the contribution of each distinguished source of uncertainty to this probability distribution. We show that with a simple metapopulation model and an extensive uncertainty analysis it is possible to detect the least harmful scenario. The ranking of the different scenarios is consistent. Thus, uncertainty analysis can enhance the role of ecological impact assessment in decision making by making explicit to what extent incomplete knowledge affects predictions.