Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    Seagrass coastal protection services reduced by invasive species expansion and megaherbivore grazing
    James, Rebecca K. ; Christianen, Marjolijn J.A. ; Katwijk, Marieke M. van; Smit, Jaco C. de; Bakker, Elisabeth S. ; Herman, Peter M.J. ; Bouma, Tjeerd J. - \ 2020
    Journal of Ecology (2020). - ISSN 0022-0477
    coastal protection - conservation - ecosystem services - exotic species - marine ecology - marine vegetation - storm resilience - tropical ecology

    Seagrasses provide an important ecosystem service by creating a stable erosion-resistant seabed that contributes to effective coastal protection. Variable morphologies and life-history strategies, however, are likely to impact the sediment stabilization capacity of different seagrass species. We question how opportunistic invasive species and increasing grazing by megaherbivores may alter sediment stabilization services provided by established seagrass meadows, using the Caribbean as a case study. Utilizing two portable field-flumes that simulate unidirectional and oscillatory flow regimes, we compared the sediment stabilization capacity of natural seagrass meadows in situ under current- and wave-dominated regimes. Monospecific patches of a native (Thalassia testudinum) and an invasive (Halophila stipulacea) seagrass species were compared, along with the effect of three levels of megaherbivore grazing on T. testudinum: ungrazed, lightly grazed and intensively grazed. For both hydrodynamic regimes, the long-leaved, dense meadows of the climax species, T. testudinum provided the highest stabilization. However, the loss of above-ground biomass by intensive grazing reduced the capacity of the native seagrass to stabilize the surface sediment. Caribbean seagrass meadows are presently threatened by the rapid spread of the invasive opportunistic seagrass, H. stipulacea. The dense meadows of H. stipulacea were found to accumulate fine sediment, and thereby, appear to be effective in reducing bottom shear stress during calm periods. This fine sediment within the invasive meadows, however, is easily resuspended by hydrodynamic forces, and the low below-ground biomass of H. stipulacea make it susceptible to uprooting during storm events, potentially leaving large regions vulnerable to erosion. Overall, this present study highlights that intensive megaherbivore grazing and opportunistic invasive species threaten the coastal protection services provided by mildly grazed native species. Synthesis. Seagrass meadows of dense, long-leaved species stabilize the sediment surface and maintain the seabed integrity, thereby contributing to coastal protection. These services are threatened by intensive megaherbivore grazing, which reduces the stability of the surface sediment, and opportunistic invasive species, which are susceptible to uprooting in storms and thereby can leave the seabed vulnerable to erosion.

    Behavioural responses of eel (Anguilla anguilla) approaching a large pumping station with trash rack using an acoustic camera (DIDSON)
    Keeken, Olvin Alior ; Hal, Ralf ; Volken Winter, Hendrik ; Tulp, Ingrid ; Griffioen, Arie Benjamin - \ 2020
    Fisheries Management and Ecology (2020). - ISSN 0969-997X - 8 p.
    conservation - Fish behaviour - fish migration - imaging sonar - migration barriers
    European eel, Anguilla anguilla L., migrating to the sea encounter many man-made structures that can hamper and delay migration or induce mortality. Studying smallscale behavioural movements in front of these man-made structures could provide insight in further mitigating adverse effects. The behaviour of eel approaching a trash rack in front of a large pumping station was investigated using a dual-frequency identification sonar (DIDSON). Eels approaching the trash rack swam through the rack (40.5%) but also showed turning behaviour at (44.7%) or in front of the rack (14.7%). Eels approaching the rack had varying body positions, predominantly head or tail first, but also curled up into a ball or drifted sideways. After turning in front or at the trash rack, eels showed upstream and downwards swimming towards the canal bottom. The results suggest a stepwise response to potential cues, when firstly the body position is changed in such a way that secondly, later on, enhances eventual fast
    upstream escapement when perceived necessary. Implications for management of these behavioural observations are discussed.
    Genebank Operation in the Arena of Access and Benefit-Sharing Policies
    Brink, Martin ; Hintum, Theo van - \ 2020
    Frontiers in Plant Science 10 (2020). - ISSN 1664-462X
    Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) - conservation - Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) - genebanks - genetic diversity - International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) - Nagoya Protocol

    Since the 1990s, the exchange of genetic resources has been increasingly regulated. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) and the Nagoya Protocol recognize that countries have sovereign rights over their genetic resources and provide a framework for domestic legislations on Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS). However, within the rules of these international agreements, countries can follow their own interpretations and establish their own rules and regulations, resulting in restricted access to genetic resources and limited benefit-sharing, effects that are contrary to the objectives of these agreements. Although the ITPGRFA’s Multilateral System of Access and Benefit-Sharing provides opportunities for easier access to plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA), plant genebanks face increasing complexity in their operation. Adding material to genebank collections has become more difficult, not only because collecting missions need to be negotiated with national and local authorities, but also because acquiring material from other collections is only possible if the origin of the material is properly documented and is done in compliance with regulations. Genebanks may only provide access to their own collections if the material that is to be released is distributed in compliance with a) the conditions under which the material was received and b) the national laws of the country where the genebank is located. The only way genebanks can deal with this new complexity, apart from ceasing to add or distribute material, is by setting up proper procedures to document the origin of every accession and the conditions for their use and further distribution. To prevent a further decrease in access to PGRFA, complexity must be fought. Applying the ITPGRFA’s Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA) only, even for material that does not fall under the ITPGRFA, would simplify matters. The scope of the ITPGRFA could be expanded to include all crops. Furthermore, certain ambiguities (e.g. regarding in situ material and wild species) could be resolved. Finally, compliance with the ITPGRFA should be improved and better monitored.

    Fusarium spp. in Loggerhead Sea Turtles (Caretta caretta): From Colonization to Infection
    Cafarchia, Claudia ; Paradies, Romina ; Figueredo, Luciana A. ; Iatta, Roberta ; Desantis, Salvatore ; Bello, Antonio Vito Francesco Di; Zizzo, Nicola ; Diepeningen, Anne D. van - \ 2020
    Veterinary Pathology 57 (2020)1. - ISSN 0300-9858 - p. 139 - 146.
    bycatch - Caretta caretta - conservation - Fusarium - infection - loggerhead sea turtles - rehabilitation - skin

    With the aim of evaluating the presence of Fusarium spp. in sea turtles with and without lesions and assessing the risk factors favoring colonization and/or infection, 74 loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) admitted to rescue and rehabilitation clinics in Italy were analyzed. The study compared 31 individuals with no apparent macroscopic lesions and 43 individuals with macroscopic lesions. Shell and skin samples were analyzed using Calcofluor white with 10% potassium hydroxide, standard histopathological examination, and fungal cultures. Fusarium spp. were isolated more frequently from animals with superficial lesions (39%) than from those with no macroscopic lesions (16%). Isolates from animals with superficial lesions were Fusarium solani species complex (FSSC) lineages haplotypes 9, 12, and 27 (unnamed lineages), FSSC-2 (Fusarium keratoplasticum), Fusarium oxysporum (27%), and Fusarium brachygibbosum (3%). In contrast, only F. solani haplotypes 9 and 12 were isolated from animals with no macroscopic lesions. The presence of lesions was identified as a risk factor for the occurrence of Fusarium spp. Of the 74 animals, only 7 (9.5%) scored positive on microscopic examination with Calcofluor, and histological examination of those 7 animals revealed necrosis, inflammatory cells, and fungal hyphae in the carapace and skin. The results of this study suggest that fusariosis should be included in the differential diagnosis of shell and skin lesions in sea turtles. Direct examination using Calcofluor and potassium hydroxide was not useful to diagnose the infection. Histopathological examination and fungal culture should be performed to ensure correct treatment and infection control.

    The ecology of infrastructure decommissioning in the North Sea: what we need to know and how to achieve it
    Fowler, A.M. ; Jørgensen, A.M. ; Coolen, J.W.P. ; Jones, D.O.B. ; Svendsen, J.C. ; Brabant, R. ; Rumes, B. ; Degraer, S. - \ 2020
    ICES Journal of Marine Science 77 (2020)3. - ISSN 1054-3139 - p. 1109 - 1126.
    artificial reefs - biodiversity - conservation - decommissioning - ecosystem - marine policy - North Sea - offshore infrastructure - platform - sustainability - wind farm
    As decommissioning of oil and gas (O&G) installations intensifies in the North Sea, and worldwide, debate rages regarding the fate of these novel habitats and their associated biota—a debate that has important implications for future decommissioning of offshore wind farms (OWFs). Calls to relax complete removal requirements in some circumstances and allow part of an O&G installation to be left in the marine environment are increasing. Yet knowledge regarding the biological communities that develop on these structures and their ecological role in the North Sea is currently insufficient to inform such decommissioning decisions. To focus debate regarding decommissioning policy and guide ecological research, we review environmental policy objectives in the region, summarize existing knowledge regarding ecological aspects of decommissioning for both O&G and OWF installations, and identify approaches to address knowledge gaps through science–industry collaboration. We find that in some cases complete removal will conflict with other policies regarding protection and restoration of reefs, as well as the conservation of species within the region. Key ecological considerations that are rarely considered during decommissioning decisions are: (i) provision of reef habitat, (ii) productivity of offshore ecosystems, (iii) enhancement of biodiversity, (iv) protection of the seabed from trawling, and (v) enhancement of connectivity. Knowledge gaps within these areas will best be addressed using industry infrastructure and vessels for scientific investigations, re-analysis of historical data held by industry, scientific training of industry personnel, joint research funding opportunities, and trial decommissioning projects.
    Spatial distribution, relative abundance and size composition of reef-associated sharks on St Eustatius, Saba and the Saba Bank (Caribbean Netherlands)
    Stoffers, Twan ; Graaf, Martin de; Machiels, Marcel ; Nagelkerke, Leo - \ 2019
    elasmobranchs - conservation - habitat preference
    The aim of this study was to undertake a baseline-survey on the spatial distribution, relative abundance and size composition of reef-associated sharks in St Eustatius, Saba and the Saba Bank, windward islands of the Caribbean Netherlands. From 2012 to 2014 376 sites were surveyed with stereo Baited Remote Underwater Video (sBRUV) deployments. Videos were analysed for shark presence and individual sharks were measured using stereo-video, enabling accurate length measurements. A total of 153 sharks belonging to six species were recorded. Mean probability of observing at least one shark per recording is 0.29. In 4.3% of the video deployments two or more sharks were observed. Nurse shark was the most frequently observed species (n = 78) followed by Caribbean reef shark (n = 62), blacktip reef shark (n = 6), tiger shark (n = 5), great hammerhead shark (n = 1) and silky shark (n = 1). Significant spatial differences in geographic location were found for abundances of G. cirratum and C. perezi. Mean probability of observing these shark species on St Eustatius and the Saba Bank was found to be twice as high as compared to Saba. Habitat complexity and depth also had significant effects on total shark abundances. Mean probability of observing a reef-associated shark increased with habitat complexity and decreased with depth. The effect of management zone was not significant. Individuals of G. cirratum were significantly larger on the Saba Bank and in sites with low habitat complexity. Judging by total shark abundances, the shark populations of the Saba Bank, Saba and St Eustatius appear to be in reasonably healthy state compared to other areas in the Caribbean. The vast majority of observed sharks were juveniles, indicating that these shallow waters may be used as nursery areas.
    Data from: A standardized assessment of forest mammal communities reveals consistent functional composition and vulnerability across the tropics
    Rovero, Francesco ; Ahumada, Jorge ; Jansen, Patrick ; Sheil, Douglas ; Alvarez, Patricia ; Boekee, Kelly ; Espinosa, Santiago ; Lima, Marcela Guimarães Moreira ; Martin, Emanuel H. ; O'Brien, Timothy G. ; Salvador, Julia ; Santos, Fernanda ; Rosa, Melissa ; Sutherland, Chris ; Tenan, Simone - \ 2019
    University of Florence
    community structure - conservation - functional traits - mammals - trophic guild - tropical forest - camera traps
    Understanding global diversity patterns has benefitted from a focus on functional traits and how they relate to variation in environmental conditions among assemblages. Distant communities in similar environments often share characteristics, and for tropical forest mammals, this functional trait convergence has been demonstrated at coarse scales (110-200 km resolution), but less is known about how these patterns manifest at fine scales, where local processes (e.g., habitat features and anthropogenic activities) and biotic interactions occur. Here, we used standardized camera trapping data and a novel analytical method that accounts for imperfect detection to assess how the functional composition of terrestrial mammal communities for two traits – trophic guild and body mass – varies across 16 protected areas in tropical forests and three continents, in relation to the extent of protected habitat and anthropogenic pressures. We found that despite their taxonomic differences, communities generally have a consistent trophic guild composition, and respond similarly to these factors. Insectivores were found to be sensitive to the size of protected habitat and surrounding human population density. Body mass distribution varied little among communities both in terms of central tendency and spread, and interestingly, community average body mass declined with proximity to human settlements. Results indicate predicted trait convergence among assemblages at the coarse scale reflects consistent functional composition among communities at the local scale, suggesting that broadly similar habitats and selective pressures shaped communities with similar trophic strategies and responses to drivers of change. These similarities provide a foundation for assessing assemblages under anthropogenic threats and sharing conservation measures.Understanding global diversity patterns has benefitted from a focus on functional traits and how they relate to variation in environmental conditions among assemblages. Distant communities in similar environments often share characteristics, and for tropical forest mammals, this functional trait convergence has been demonstrated at coarse scales (110-200 km resolution), but less is known about how these patterns manifest at fine scales, where local processes (e.g., habitat features and anthropogenic activities) and biotic interactions occur. Here, we used standardized camera trapping data and a novel analytical method that accounts for imperfect detection to assess how the functional composition of terrestrial mammal communities for two traits – trophic guild and body mass – varies across 16 protected areas in tropical forests and three continents, in relation to the extent of protected habitat and anthropogenic pressures. We found that despite their taxonomic differences, communities generally have a consistent trophic guild composition, and respond similarly to these factors. Insectivores were found to be sensitive to the size of protected habitat and surrounding human population density. Body mass distribution varied little among communities both in terms of central tendency and spread, and interestingly, community average body mass declined with proximity to human settlements. Results indicate predicted trait convergence among assemblages at the coarse scale reflects consistent functional composition among communities at the local scale, suggesting that broadly similar habitats and selective pressures shaped communities with similar trophic strategies and responses to drivers of change. These similarities provide a foundation for assessing assemblages under anthropogenic threats and sharing conservation measures.
    Unconditional Transfers and Tropical Forest Conservation: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial in Sierra Leone
    Wilebore, Beccy ; Voors, Maarten ; Bulte, Erwin H. ; Coomes, David ; Kontoleon, Andreas - \ 2019
    American Journal of Agricultural Economics 101 (2019)3. - ISSN 0002-9092 - p. 894 - 918.
    Africa - conservation - field experiments - land cover classification - randomized control trials - Sierra Leone - tropical deforestation - unconditional payments

    Unconditional conservation payments are increasingly used by non-governmental conservation organizations to further their environmental objectives. One key objective in many conservation projects that use such unconditional payments schemes is the protection of tropical forest ecosystems in buffer zone areas around protected parks where the scope of instating mandatory restrictions is more limited. We use a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the impact of unconditional livelihood payments to local communities on land use outside a protected area-the Gola Rainforest National Park-which is a biodiversity hotspot on the border of Sierra Leone and Liberia. High resolution RapidEye satellite imagery from before and after the intervention was used to determine land use changes in treated and control villages. We find support for the hypothesis that unconditional payments, in this setting, increase land clearance in the short run. The study constitutes one of the first attempts to use evidence from a randomized control trial to evaluate the efficacy of conservation payments and provides insights for further research.

    Towards Convivial Conservation
    Büscher, Bram ; Fletcher, Robert - \ 2019
    Conservation and Society 17 (2019)3. - ISSN 0972-4923 - p. 283 - 296.
    Anthropocene - capitalism - conservation - conviviality - nature - political ecology

    Environmental conservation finds itself in desperate times. Saving nature, to be sure, has never been an easy proposition. But the arrival of the Anthropocene-the alleged new phase of world history in which humans dominate the earth-system seems to have upped the ante dramatically; the choices facing the conservation community have now become particularly stark. Several proposals for revolutionising conservation have been proposed, including 'new' conservation, 'half Earth' and more. These have triggered heated debates and potential for (contemplating) radical change. Here, we argue that these do not take political economic realities seriously enough and hence cannot lead us forward. Another approach to conservation is needed, one that takes seriously our economic system's structural pressures, violent socio-ecological realities, cascading extinctions and increasingly authoritarian politics. We propose an alternative termed 'convivial conservation'. Convivial conservation is a vision, a politics and a set of governance principles that realistically respond to the core pressures of our time. Drawing on a variety of perspectives in social theory and movements from around the globe, it proposes a post-capitalist approach to conservation that promotes radical equity, structural transformation and environmental justice and so contributes to an overarching movement to create a more equal and sustainable world.

    Data from: Establishment of wildflower fields in poor quality landscapes enhances micro-parasite prevalence in wild bumble bees
    Piot, Niels ; Meeus, Ivan ; Kleijn, D. ; Scheper, J.A. ; Linders, Theo E.W. ; Smagghe, Guy - \ 2019
    Ghent University
    parasite - flower mix - conservation
    The current worldwide pollinator decline is caused by the interplay of different drivers. Several strategies have been undertaken to counteract or halt this decline, one of which is the implementation of wildflower fields. These supplementary flowers provide extra food resources and have proven their success in increasing pollinator biodiversity and abundance. Yet such landscape alterations could also alter the host–pathogen dynamics of pollinators, which could affect the populations. In this study, we investigated the influence of sown wildflower fields on the prevalence of micro-parasites and viruses in the wild bumble bee Bombus pascuorum, one of the most abundant bumble bee species in Europe and the Netherlands. We found that the effect of sown wildflower fields on micro-parasite prevalence is affected by the composition of the surrounding landscape and the size of the flower field. The prevalence of micro-parasites increases with increasing size of sown wildflower fields in landscapes with few semi-natural landscape elements. This effect was not observed in landscapes with a high amount of semi-natural landscape elements. We elaborate on two mechanisms which can support these findings: (1) “transmission hot spots” within the altered flower-networks, which could negatively impact hosts experiencing an increased exposure; (2) improved tolerance of the hosts, withstanding higher parasite populations.
    Impact of human activities on the reproduction of Hooded Vultures Necrosyrtes monachus in Burkina Faso
    Daboné, Clément ; Buij, Ralph ; Oueda, Adama ; Adjakpa, Jacques Boko ; Guenda, Wendengoudi ; Weesie, Peter D.M. - \ 2019
    Ostrich 90 (2019)1. - ISSN 0030-6525 - p. 53 - 61.
    Burkina Faso - conservation - Hooded Vulture - human impact - reproduction

    During the last decades, the critically endangered Hooded Vulture Necrosyrtes monachus has strongly declined across its African range. Although direct persecution has been suggested as a major cause of this decline, little is known about the impact of humans on reproductive output in West Africa. We studied the impact of human activities on the reproductive output of Hooded Vultures in the Garango area of Burkina Faso. Twenty and 56 nesting attempts were monitored, respectively, during the breeding season in 2013/14 and 2014/15, to determine reproductive success and identify causes of nest failure. Annual breeding success varied between 0.68 and 0.71 chicks fledged per breeding pair per year and productivity was assessed at 0.57 chicks fledged per territorial pair in 2014/15. The main threats imposed by humans were poaching of eggs, chicks and collection of nest materials, leading to 20% (13 out of 64 breeding attempts) of nest failures over the two years. An additional important reason for nest failure was the pruning and (partial) cutting of nest trees. Despite this high level of human interference, we found that Hooded Vulture nest success increased with proximity to human settlements, probably because breeding vultures benefit from protection by people against persecution and disturbance.

    Detecting tropical wildlife declines through camera-trap monitoring : An evaluation of the Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring protocol
    Beaudrot, Lydia ; Ahumada, Jorge ; O'Brien, Timothy G. ; Jansen, Patrick A. - \ 2019
    Oryx 53 (2019)1. - ISSN 0030-6053 - p. 126 - 129.
    Camera trap - conservation - monitoring - power analysis - sampling design - Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring - wildlife management

    Identifying optimal sampling designs for detecting population-level declines is critical for optimizing expenditures by research and monitoring programmes. The Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) network is the most extensive tropical camera-trap monitoring programme, but the effectiveness of its sampling protocol has not been rigorously assessed. Here, we assess the power and sensitivity of the programme's camera-trap monitoring protocol for detecting occupancy changes in unmarked populations using the freely available application PowerSensor!. We found that the protocol is well suited to detect moderate (≥ 5%) population changes within 3-4 years for relatively common species that have medium to high detection probabilities (i.e. p > 0.2). The TEAM protocol cannot, however, detect typical changes in rare and evasive species, a category into which many tropical species and many species of conservation concern fall. Additional research is needed to build occupancy models for detecting change in rare and elusive species when individuals are unmarked.

    Reintroduction of freshwater macroinvertebrates : challenges and opportunities
    Jourdan, Jonas ; Plath, Martin ; Tonkin, Jonathan D. ; Ceylan, Maria ; Dumeier, Arlena C. ; Gellert, Georg ; Graf, Wolfram ; Hawkins, Charles P. ; Kiel, Ellen ; Lorenz, Armin W. ; Matthaei, Christoph D. ; Verdonschot, Piet F.M. ; Verdonschot, Ralf C.M. ; Haase, Peter - \ 2019
    Biological Reviews 94 (2019)2. - ISSN 1464-7931 - p. 368 - 387.
    conservation - invertebrate reintroduction - population restoration - restoring diversity - species management - translocation

    Species reintroductions – the translocation of individuals to areas in which a species has been extirpated with the aim of re-establishing a self-sustaining population – have become a widespread practice in conservation biology. Reintroduction projects have tended to focus on terrestrial vertebrates and, to a lesser extent, fishes. Much less effort has been devoted to the reintroduction of invertebrates into restored freshwater habitats. Yet, reintroductions may improve restoration outcomes in regions where impoverished regional species pools limit the self-recolonisation of restored freshwaters. We review the available literature on macroinvertebrate reintroductions, focusing on identifying the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that determine their success or failure. Our study reveals that freshwater macroinvertebrate reintroductions remain rare, are often published in the grey literature and, of the attempts made, approximately one-third fail. We identify life-cycle complexity and remaining stressors as the two factors most likely to affect reintroduction success, illustrating the unique challenges of freshwater macroinvertebrate reintroductions. Consideration of these factors by managers during the planning process and proper documentation – even if a project fails – may increase the likelihood of successful outcomes in future reintroduction attempts of freshwater macroinvertebrates.

    Natural capital must be defended: green growth as neoliberal biopolitics
    Fletcher, Robert ; Dressler, Wolfram H. ; Anderson, Zachary R. ; Büscher, Bram - \ 2019
    The Journal of Peasant Studies 46 (2019)5. - ISSN 0306-6150 - p. 1 - 28.
    biopower - conservation - environmental markets - Natural capital - neoliberalism
    This contribution addresses the growing global trend to promote ‘natural capital accounting’ (NCA) in support of environmental conservation. NCA seeks to harness the economic value of conserved nature to incentivize local resource users to forgo the opportunity costs of extractive activities. We suggest that this represents a form of neoliberal biopower/biopolitics seeking to defend life by demonstrating its ‘profitability’ and hence right to exist. While little finance actually reaches communities through this strategy, substantial funding still flows into the idea of ‘natural capital’ as the basis of improving rural livelihoods. Drawing on two cases in Southeast Asia, we show that NCA initiatives may compel some local people to value ecosystem services in financial terms, yet in most cases this perspective remains partial and fragmented in communities where such initiatives produce a range of unintended outcomes. When the envisioned environmental markets fail to develop and benefits remain largely intangible, NCA fails to meet the growing material aspirations of farmers while also offering little if any bulwark against their using forests more intensively and/or enrolling in lucrative extractive enterprise. We thus conclude that NCA in practice may become the antithesis of conservation by actually encouraging the resource extraction it intends to combat.
    Ethnobotany of the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy-Güicán: climate change and conservation strategies in the Colombian Andes
    Rodríguez, Mireia Alcántara ; Angueyra, Andrea ; Cleef, A.M. ; Andel, Tinde van - \ 2018
    Leiden University
    alpine ecosystems - campesinos - climate change - conservation - local perceptions - Páramos - usefull plants
    Background The Sierra Nevada del Cocuy-Güicán in the Colombian Andes is protected as a National Natural Park since 1977 because of its fragile páramo ecosystems, extraordinary biodiversity, high plant endemism, and function as water reservoir. The vegetation on this mountain is threatened by expanding agriculture, deforestation, tourism, and climate change. We present an ethnobotanical inventory among local farmer communities and discuss the effects of vegetation change on the availability of useful plants. Methods We used 76 semi-structured, 4 in-depth interviews, and 247 botanical collections to record the ethnoflora of the farmers and surveyed from the high Andean forest to the super-páramo, including native and introduced species. We organized 3 participative workshops with local children, high school students, and campesinos’ women to share the data we acquired in the field and empower local plant conservation awareness. Results We encountered 174 useful plants, most of them native to the area (68%) and almost one third introduced (32%). The Compositae was the most species-rich family, followed by Lamiaceae, Poaceae, and Rosaceae. The majority of plant species were used as medicine, followed by food, firewood, and domestic tools. Local farmers reported declining numbers of páramo species, which were now only found at higher altitudes than before. Although our informants were worried about the preservation of their natural resources and noticed the effects of climate change, for several commercial species, unsustainable land use and overharvesting seemed to be the direct cause of declining medicinal plant resources rather than climate change. Conclusions We recommend conservation plans that include vegetation monitoring, people’s perceptions on climate change, and participative actions with the communities of the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy-Güicán.
    Value of the Dutch Holstein Friesian germplasm collection to increase genetic variability and improve genetic merit
    Doekes, H.P. ; Veerkamp, R.F. ; Bijma, P. ; Hiemstra, S.J. ; Windig, J. - \ 2018
    Journal of Dairy Science 101 (2018)11. - ISSN 0022-0302 - p. 10022 - 10033.
    conservation - dairy cow - gene bank collection - genetic diversity - genetic improvement

    National gene bank collections for Holstein Friesian (HF) dairy cattle were set up in the 1990s. In this study, we assessed the value of bulls from the Dutch HF germplasm collection, also known as cryobank bulls, to increase genetic variability and improve genetic merit in the current bull population (bulls born in 2010–2015). Genetic variability was defined as 1 minus the mean genomic similarity (SIMSNP) or as 1 minus the mean pedigree-based kinship (fPED). Genetic merit was defined as the mean estimated breeding value for the total merit index or for 1 of 3 subindices (yield, fertility, and udder health). Using optimal contribution selection, we minimized relatedness (maximized variability) or maximized genetic merit at restricted levels of relatedness. We compared breeding schemes with only bulls from 2010 to 2015 with schemes in which cryobank bulls were also included. When we minimized relatedness, inclusion of genotyped cryobank bulls decreased mean SIMSNP by 0.7% and inclusion of both genotyped and nongenotyped cryobank bulls decreased mean fPED by 2.6% (in absolute terms). When we maximized merit at restricted levels of relatedness, inclusion of cryobank bulls provided additional merit at any level of mean SIMSNP or mean fPED except for the total merit index at high levels of mean SIMSNP. Additional merit from cryobank bulls depended on (1) the relative emphasis on genetic variability and (2) the selection criterion. Additional merit was higher when more emphasis was put on genetic variability. For fertility, for example, it was 1.74 SD at a mean SIMSNP restriction of 64.5% and 0.37 SD at a mean SIMSNP restriction of 67.5%. Additional merit was low to nonexistent for the total merit index and higher for the subindices, especially for fertility. At a mean SIMSNP of 64.5%, for example, it was 0.60 SD for the total merit index and 1.74 SD for fertility. In conclusion, Dutch HF cryobank bulls can be used to increase genetic variability and improve genetic merit in the current population, although their value is very limited when selecting for the current total merit index. Anticipating changes in the breeding goal in the future, the germplasm collection is a valuable resource for commercial breeding populations.

    From Biopower to Ontopower? Violent Responses to Wildlife Crime and the New Geographies of Conservation
    Büscher, Bram - \ 2018
    Conservation and Society 16 (2018)2. - ISSN 0972-4923 - p. 157 - 169.
    Biopower - Brian Massumi - conservation - ontopower - violence - wildlife crime

    Intensifying global dynamics of wildlife crime are rapidly reshaping conservation politics, practices and geographies. Most pronounced are the manifold violent responses to wildlife crime, including direct lethal action and increasing anticipatory action to prevent these crimes from happening in the first place. This paper reflects on these dynamics in relation to recent literature that employs Foucault's concept of biopower to understand the governance of increasingly precarious human and non-human life. Building on Brian Massumi's exposition of ontopower - an 'environmental power' that 'alters the life environment's conditions of emergence' - I explore whether we are seeing a move from bio- to ontopower where the imperative is less the construction of systemic forms of governmentality to ensure life's 'optimisation' than on processually pre-empting incipient tendencies towards unknown but certain future threats to life. Phrased differently, ontopower focuses on how to prevent nature's destruction in the future through pre-emptive measures in the present. Drawing on empirical research on violent responses to rhino poaching in South Africa, the paper argues that we are seeing the uneven emergence of new geographies of conservation based on ontopower. It concludes by speculating whether conservation's insecurity is turning into its pre-emptive other by making (green) war necessary for non-human life's survival.

    Under Pressure : Conceptualising Political Ecologies of Green Wars
    Büscher, Bram ; Fletcher, Robert - \ 2018
    Conservation and Society 16 (2018)2. - ISSN 0972-4923 - p. 105 - 113.
    conservation - green violence - intensification - political ecology - political economy
    This article introduces the special issue on 'Political Ecologies of Green Wars' and the research papers comprising it. While state-authorised and state-directed forms of violence in support of conservation have been evident in many places for quite some time, the current scope, scale and rhetorical justification of the violent defence of biodiversity seem quite unprecedented in the history of global conservation. We, therefore, ask whether and how the term green wars may be appropriate to describe this new intensity of violence and the changes in environmental governance it signifies. In bringing together a number of important recent discussions around green grabbing, green militarisation/violence, green economy, neoliberal conservation and biopower, amongst others, the special issue emphasises the increasingly central role of environmental and conservation concerns within the global political economy as a whole. In the process, it also points towards an overarching conceptual framing for understanding these conjoined dynamics in terms of an 'intensification of pressure' precipitated by the combined yet uneven magnification and integration of power and capital within the world today. Consequently, we argue that the concept of green wars potentially heralds the new twenty-first century 'real-politik' of the centrality of violence and conflict both to the neoliberal political economy and to environmental conservation, and their integrated socio-ecological manifestations and effects.
    From urban gardening to planetary stewardship : human–nature relationships and their implications for environmental management1
    Buijs, Arjen ; Fischer, Anke ; Muhar, Andreas - \ 2018
    Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 61 (2018)5-6. - ISSN 0964-0568 - p. 747 - 755.
    citizens - conservation - governance - human–nature relationship - nature experience
    Interspecies Respect and Potato Conservation in the Peruvian Cradle of Domestication
    Angé, Olivia ; Chipa, Adrian ; Condori, Pedro ; Ccoyo, Aniceto Ccoyo ; Mamani, Lino ; Pacco, Ricardo ; Quispe, Nazario ; Quispe, Walter ; Sutta, Mariano - \ 2018
    Conservation and Society 16 (2018)1. - ISSN 0972-4923 - p. 30 - 40.
    affect - agrobiodiversity - Andes - conservation - Cuzco Highlands - ethics - interspecies sociality - non-human charisma - Peru - potato - respect
    This paper explores people and tuber affective encounters, as they unfold in a biodiversity conservation programme in the Peruvian Andes. It draws on ethnographic data from the Potato Park, renowned worldwide as one of the most successful in-situ initiatives for the conservation of biocultural diversity. Concerned with interspecies relations, the paper focusses on the circulation of respeto that is both an affect and a normative stance posited locally as necessary for the conservation of the potato. Addressing first expressions of respeto in daily potato practices by highland peasants, the paper then explores its importance within the context of the Park's conservation policy. Agricultural investigations and seed-banking are indeed enmeshed in activities intended to intensify potato-people regard. Throughout the paper, the concept of non-human charisma is used to point out the different kinds of potato appraisals experienced in the Park; as well as how the Park concretely works toward human beings' learning 'how to be affected' by tuber agrobiodiversity. The article finally explains how potato affective agency is extended beyond the Park, to reach the international scene. Exploring the Potato Park from the perspective of respeto, and using charisma as a heuristic tool, it enlightens a mode of conservation initiative; creating flourishing ecologies through affective encounters, that cannot be accounted for with an instrumental approach.
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