Matching Items (3)

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Quantifying the Spatial Ecology of Wide-Ranging Marine Species in the Gulf of California: Implications for Marine Conservation Planning

Description

There is growing interest in systematic establishment of marine protected area (MPA) networks and representative conservation sites. This movement toward networks of no-take zones requires that reserves are deliberately and

There is growing interest in systematic establishment of marine protected area (MPA) networks and representative conservation sites. This movement toward networks of no-take zones requires that reserves are deliberately and adequately spaced for connectivity. Here, we test the network functionality of an ecoregional assessment configuration of marine conservation areas by evaluating the habitat protection and connectivity offered to wide-ranging fauna in the Gulf of California (GOC, Mexico). We first use expert opinion to identify representative species of wide-ranging fauna of the GOC. These include leopard grouper, hammerhead sharks, California brown pelicans and green sea turtles. Analyzing habitat models with both structural and functional connectivity indexes, our results indicate that the configuration includes large proportions of biologically important habitat for the four species considered (25–40%), particularly, the best quality habitats (46–57%). Our results also show that connectivity levels offered by the conservation area design for these four species may be similar to connectivity levels offered by the entire Gulf of California, thus indicating that connectivity offered by the areas may resemble natural connectivity. The selected focal species comprise different life histories among marine or marine-related vertebrates and are associated with those habitats holding the most biodiversity values (i.e. coastal habitats); our results thus suggest that the proposed configuration may function as a network for connectivity and may adequately represent the marine megafauna in the GOC, including the potential connectivity among habitat patches. This work highlights the range of approaches that can be used to quantify habitat protection and connectivity for wide-ranging marine species in marine reserve networks.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2011-12-06

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Effect of woody-plant encroachment on livestock production in North and South America

Description

A large fraction of the world grasslands and savannas are undergoing a rapid shift from herbaceous to woody-plant dominance. This land-cover change is expected to lead to a loss in

A large fraction of the world grasslands and savannas are undergoing a rapid shift from herbaceous to woody-plant dominance. This land-cover change is expected to lead to a loss in livestock production (LP), but the impacts of woody-plant encroachment on this crucial ecosystem service have not been assessed. We evaluate how tree cover (TC) has affected LP at large spatial scales in rangelands of contrasting social–economic characteristics in the United States and Argentina. Our models indicate that in areas of high productivity, a 1% increase in TC results in a reduction in LP ranging from 0.6 to 1.6 reproductive cows (Rc) per km[superscript 2]. Mean LP in the United States is 27 Rc per km[superscript 2], so a 1% increase in TC results in a 2.5% decrease in mean LP. This effect is large considering that woody-plant cover has been described as increasing at 0.5% to 2% per y. On the contrary, in areas of low productivity, increased TC had a positive effect on LP. Our results also show that ecological factors account for a larger fraction of LP variability in Argentinean than in US rangelands. Differences in the relative importance of ecological versus nonecological drivers of LP in Argentina and the United States suggest that the valuation of ecosystem services between these two rangelands might be different. Current management strategies in Argentina are likely designed to maximize LP for various reasons we are unable to explore in this effort, whereas land managers in the United States may be optimizing multiple ecosystem services, including conservation or recreation, alongside LP.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-09-02

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Climate change will increase savannas at the expense of forests and treeless vegetation in tropical and subtropical Americas

Description

Transition areas between biomes are particularly sensitive to environmental changes. Our understanding of the impacts of ongoing climate change on terrestrial ecosystems has significantly increased during the last years. However,

Transition areas between biomes are particularly sensitive to environmental changes. Our understanding of the impacts of ongoing climate change on terrestrial ecosystems has significantly increased during the last years. However, it is largely unknown how climatic change will affect transitions among major vegetation types.
We modelled the distribution of three alternative states (forest, savanna and treeless areas) in the tropical and subtropical Americas by means of climate-niche modelling. We studied how such distribution will change by the year 2070 by using 17 downscaled and calibrated global climate models from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 and the latest scenarios provided by the 5th Assessment Report of the IPCC.
Our results support the savannization of the tropical and subtropical Americas because of climate change, with an increase in savannas mainly at the expense of forests.
Our models predict an important geographical shift in the current distribution of transition areas between forest and savannas, which is much less pronounced in the case of those between savannas and treeless areas. Largest shifts, up to 600 km northward, are predicted in the forest–savanna transitions located in the eastern Amazon.
Our findings indicate that climate change will promote a shift towards more unstable states: the extent of the transition areas will notably increase, and largely stable forest areas are predicted to shrink dramatically.
Synthesis. Our work explores dimensions of the impact of climate change on biomes that have received little attention so far. Our results indicate that climate change will not only affect the extent of savanna, forest and treeless areas in the tropical and subtropical Americas, but also will: (i) promote a significant geographical shift and an increase of the extent of transition areas between biomes and (ii) decrease the stability of the equilibrium between forest, savanna and treeless areas, yielding a more unpredictable system.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-11-01