Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Following the trail of conservation successes

Date:
August 29, 2011
Source:
National University of Singapore
Summary:
Pessimism prevails in the conservation community because of ongoing habitat destruction and associated threats to a wide variety of species. With the global population expected to surge past 10 billion people by the end of this century, conservationists will face increasing challenges in their efforts to protect imperiled species and habitats. A new study shows that although large-scale biodiversity declines are ongoing, certain conservation actions have made a positive difference.

Pessimism prevails in the conservation community because of ongoing habitat destruction and associated threats to a wide variety of species. With the global population expected to surge past 10 billion people by the end of this century, conservationists will face increasing challenges in their efforts to protect imperiled species and habitats.

A new paper by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS), James Cook University and Mongabay.com, published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution, shows that although large-scale biodiversity declines are ongoing, certain conservation actions have made a positive difference.

The paper was led by the late Professor Navjot Sodhi of NUS, a renowned conservation ecologist who, more than anyone, understood the dismal outlook of conservation, having focused much of his career highlighting the biodiversity crisis.

According to one of the authors, Luke Gibson, a PhD student from the Department of Biological Sciences at NUS who was mentored by Prof Sodhi, "Identifying the scope of different conservation achievements can help to guide further conservation successes."

To assess the conservation achievements, the researchers classified them into three different scales: micro-, meso- and macroscales.

Microscale conservation encompasses direct efforts to protect species or habitats, including the creation of protected areas and the control of illegal hunting. For instance, in Brazilian Amazonia, the largest remaining tract of tropical rainforest in the world, protected areas have helped to reduce deforestation rates. An estimated 37% of the decline in annual deforestation rates in Brazil between 2002 and 2009 can be attributed to the preservation of 709 000 sq km of forest in newly established protected areas.

Mesoscale conservation covers regional efforts including transboundary agreements and the regulation of international wildlife trade. A successful example of this scale comes from the Virunga landscape of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Rwanda, where adjoining national parks have led to population increases of elephants and gorillas. The population of mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) has increased from 250 to 480 over the past 30 years.

Macroscale conservation targets the ultimate global drivers of habitat loss and species endangerment by changing consumer demands and passing laws to regulate unsustainable business practices. For example, following the revelation from Greenpeace that prominent Western brands were promoting deforestation by purchasing beef and leather from ranchers in the Amazon, major companies including Nike and Walmart, pressured slaughterhouses to implement sourcing safeguards to ensure that cattle products would no longer be produced at the expense of rainforests. As a result, ear tags and genetic testing are now used in Brazil to track cattle from ranches to slaughter-houses.

There is a clear need to synthesise information about conservation projects so as to guide future projects and provide much needed hope for the conservation community.

The authors elaborated, "Conservation successes can span differing scales and they have sometimes reversed endangered species declines in even the most desperate situations. However, better connections among different scales of conservation are needed."

To achieve this, conservation goals in projects should be clearly stated from the onset, and provisions should be made to evaluate their progress. Because the effects of conservation interventions on target populations and species can manifest over a protracted period, long-term commitments by funders are needed to document such positive outcomes. Results from both successful and unsuccessful conservation projects should be widely disseminated so that future successes can be repeated while past failures can be avoided.

"More conservation projects fail than succeed, and our highlighting of successes here should not be taken as a call to rest on our laurels. Instead, our aim is to engender hope and inspire others to continue their dedicated efforts," the authors wrote.

"Having achieved some notable successes, conservationists should pat themselves on the back and then redouble their efforts at all conservation scales," they added.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National University of Singapore. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Navjot S. Sodhi, Rhett Butler, William F. Laurance, Luke Gibson. Conservation successes at micro-, meso- and macroscales. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 2011; DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2011.07.002

Cite This Page:

National University of Singapore. "Following the trail of conservation successes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110829070440.htm>.
National University of Singapore. (2011, August 29). Following the trail of conservation successes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110829070440.htm
National University of Singapore. "Following the trail of conservation successes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110829070440.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins