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Monarch Butterfly Conservation Through the Social Lens: Eliciting Public Preferences for Management Strategies Across Transboundary Nations

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-08-22
Abstract: 

The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), an iconic species that migrates annually across North America, has steeply declined in numbers over the past decade. Across the species' range, public, private, and non-profit organizations aim to reverse the monarch decline by engaging in conservation activities such as habitat restoration, larvae monitoring, and butterfly tagging. Urban residents can actively participate in these activities, yet their contribution can also be realized as an electorate body able to influence the design of conservation programs according to their interests. Little is known, however about their preferences toward the objectives and design of international monarch conservation policies. In this paper, we investigate these preferences via a survey design using Discrete Choice Experiments (DCEs) and Latent Class Analysis (LC) of urban residents across the main eastern migratory flyway in Ontario, Canada, and the eastern United States. Attributes in the DCE included the size and trend of overwintering butterfly colonies, the type of institution leading the conservation program, international allocation of funds, and the percentage of funds dedicated to research. From the general populace, we isolated respondents already engaged in monarch conservation activities to explore how they compare. We sent a smaller set of surveys deliberately withholding the expected-success forecast of the monarch recovery program to assess the value of information for urban residents within a conservation context. The LC distinguished three groups of respondents among urban residents: (1) the main group, labeled “Eager,” accounting for 72.4% of the sample, that showed a high potential for supporting conservation policies and had remarkable similarities with the monarch enthusiasts' sample; (2) a “Pro Nation” group (18.4%) marked by their increased willingness to support conservation initiatives solely focused within their country of residence; and (3) an “Opinionated” segment (9.23%), that was highly reactive to changes of the leading institution, resources allocation, and economic contribution proposed. Key findings from this research reveal that to maximize potential support amongst urban residents in the monarch's breeding range, a conservation strategy for the monarch butterfly should be led by not-for-profit organizations, should strive for transboundary cooperation, and should include the communication of anticipated ecological outcomes.

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Article
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Combining Data from Field Surveys and Archaeological Records to Predict the Distribution of Culturally Important Trees

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-06-06
Abstract: 

Aim:  Indigenous communities involved in conservation planning require spatial datasets depicting the distribution of culturally important species. However, accessing datasets on the location of these species can be challenging, particularly when the current distribution no longer reflects areas with the full range of suitable growing conditions because of past logging. We test whether using occurrence data from community‐based field surveys and archaeological records in species distribution models can help predict the distribution of monumental western redcedar trees (Thuja plicata)—large, high‐quality trees suitable for cultural purposes such as carving dug‐out canoes, totem poles and traditional houses. This species is critically important to indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest of North America, but trees suitable for traditional carving and building are diminishing in abundance due to logging.

Location:  Our analysis covers the spatial extent of the traditional territory of the Heiltsuk First Nation, which encompasses a portion of the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, Canada.

Methods:  We built and compared species distribution models using the machine learning program, Maxent, based on occurrence data from field surveys and archaeological records of culturally modified trees.

Results:  Our findings highlight similarities and differences between the predictions from these species distribution models. When validating these models against occurrences from an independent dataset, the archaeological record model performs better than the field survey model. These findings may arise because the independent dataset was collected on an unlogged island—an environment that aligns more closely with the historic forest conditions revealed by the archaeological records than the current distribution revealed by the field surveys.

Main conclusions: We demonstrate and discuss the utility of using archaeological data in species distribution modelling and conservation planning when the target species is associated with shifting environmental baselines, data limitations and an important cultural resource.

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Article
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A Method of Deriving Operation-Specific Ski Run Classes for Avalanche Risk Management Decisions in Mechanized Skiing

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-01-28
Abstract: 

An in-depth understanding of the nature of the available terrain and its exposure to avalanche hazard is crucial for making informed risk management decisions when travelling in the backcountry. While the Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES) is broadly used for providing recreationists with terrain information, this type of terrain classification has so far only seen limited adoption within the professional ski guiding community. We hypothesize that it is the generic nature and small number of terrain classes of ATES and its precursor systems that prevent them from offering meaningful assistance to professional decision makers. Working with two mechanized skiing operations in British Columbia, Canada, we present a new approach for deriving terrain classifications from daily terrain assessment records. We used a combination of self-organizing maps and hierarchical clustering to identify groups of ski runs that have been assessed similarly in the past and organized them into operation-specific ski run hierarchies. We then examined the nature of the emerging ski run hierarchies using comprehensive run characterizations from experienced guides. Our approach produces high-resolution ski run hierarchies that offer a more nuanced and meaningful perspective on the available skiing terrain and provide new opportunities for examining professional avalanche risk management practices and developing meaningful decision aids.

Document type: 
Article

Plant Selection for Ethnobotanical Uses on the Amalfi Coast (Southern Italy)

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015
Abstract: 

Background

Many ethnobotanical studies have investigated selection criteria for medicinal and non-medicinal plants. In this paper we test several statistical methods using different ethnobotanical datasets in order to 1) define to which extent the nature of the datasets can affect the interpretation of results; 2) determine if the selection for different plant uses is based on phylogeny, or other selection criteria.

Methods

We considered three different ethnobotanical datasets: two datasets of medicinal plants and a dataset of non-medicinal plants (handicraft production, domestic and agro-pastoral practices) and two floras of the Amalfi Coast. We performed residual analysis from linear regression, the binomial test and the Bayesian approach for calculating under-used and over-used plant families within ethnobotanical datasets. Percentages of agreement were calculated to compare the results of the analyses. We also analyzed the relationship between plant selection and phylogeny, chorology, life form and habitat using the chi-square test. Pearson’s residuals for each of the significant chi-square analyses were examined for investigating alternative hypotheses of plant selection criteria.

Results

The three statistical analysis methods differed within the same dataset, and between different datasets and floras, but with some similarities. In the two medicinal datasets, only Lamiaceae was identified in both floras as an over-used family by all three statistical methods. All statistical methods in one flora agreed that Malvaceae was over-used and Poaceae under-used, but this was not found to be consistent with results of the second flora in which one statistical result was non-significant. All other families had some discrepancy in significance across methods, or floras. Significant over- or under-use was observed in only a minority of cases. The chi-square analyses were significant for phylogeny, life form and habitat. Pearson’s residuals indicated a non-random selection of woody species for non-medicinal uses and an under-use of plants of temperate forests for medicinal uses.

Conclusions

Our study showed that selection criteria for plant uses (including medicinal) are not always based on phylogeny. The comparison of different statistical methods (regression, binomial and Bayesian) under different conditions led to the conclusion that the most conservative results are obtained using regression analysis.

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Article
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Facing the River Gauntlet: Understanding the Effects of Fisheries Capture and Water Temperature on the Physiology of Coho Salmon

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015
Abstract: 

An improved understanding of bycatch mortality can be achieved by complementing field studies with laboratory experiments that use physiological assessments. This study examined the effects of water temperature and the duration of net entanglement on physiological disturbance and recovery in coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) after release from a simulated beach seine capture. Heart rate was monitored using implanted electrocardiogram biologgers that allowed fish to swim freely before and after release. A subset of fish was recovered in respirometers to monitor metabolic recovery, and separate groups of fish were sacrificed at different times to assess blood and white muscle biochemistry. One hour after release, fish had elevated lactate in muscle and blood plasma, depleted tissue energy stores, and altered osmoregulatory status, particularly in warmer (15 vs. 10°C) and longer (15 vs. 2 min) capture treatments. A significant effect of entanglement duration on blood and muscle metabolites remained after 4 h. Oxygen consumption rate recovered to baseline within 7–10 h. However, recovery of heart rate to routine levels was longer and more variable, with most fish taking over 10 h, and 33% of fish failing to recover within 24 h. There were no significant treatment effects on either oxygen consumption or heart rate recovery. Our results indicate that fishers should minimize handling time for bycatch and maximize oxygen supply during crowding, especially when temperatures are elevated. Physiological data, such as those presented here, can be used to understand mechanisms that underlie bycatch impairment and mortality, and thus inform best practices that ensure the welfare and conservation of affected species.

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Article
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The Impacts of Wind Speed Trends and 30-Year Variability in Relation to Hydroelectric Reservoir Inflows on Wind Power in the Pacific Northwest

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015
Abstract: 

In hydroelectric dominated systems, the value and benefits of energy are higher during extended dry periods and lower during extended or extreme wet periods. By accounting for regional and temporal differences in the relationship between wind speed and reservoir inflow behavior during wind farm site selection, the benefits of energy diversification can be maximized. The goal of this work was to help maximize the value of wind power by quantifying the long-term (30-year) relationships between wind speed and streamflow behavior, using British Columbia (BC) and the Pacific Northwest (PNW) as a case study. Clean energy and self-sufficiency policies in British BC make the benefits of increased generation during low streamflow periods particularly large. Wind density (WD) estimates from a height of 10m (North American Regional Reanalysis, NARR) were correlated with cumulative usable inflows (CUI) for BC (collected from BC Hydro) for 1979–2010. The strongest WD-CUI correlations were found along the US coast (r ~0.55), whereas generally weaker correlations were found in northern regions, with negative correlations (r ~ -0.25) along BC’s North Coast. Furthermore, during the lowest inflow years, WD anomalies increased by up to 40% above average values for the North Coast. Seasonally, high flows during the spring freshet were coincident with widespread negative WD anomalies, with a similar but opposite pattern for low inflow winter months. These poorly or negatively correlated sites could have a moderating influence on climate related variability in provincial electricity supply, by producing greater than average generation in low inflow years and reduced generation in wet years. Wind speed and WD trends were also analyzed for all NARR grid locations, which showed statistically significant positive trends for most of the PNW and the largest increases along the Pacific Coast.

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Article
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Evaluating Relationships between Wild Skeena River Sockeye Salmon Productivity and the Abundance of Spawning Channel Enhanced Sockeye Smolts

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-04-23
Abstract: 

The enhancement of salmon populations has long been used to increase the abundance of salmon returning to spawn and/or to be captured in fisheries. However, in some instances enhancement can have adverse impacts on adjacent non-enhanced populations. In Canada's Skeena watershed, smolt-to-adult survival of Babine Lake sockeye from 1962–2002 was inversely related to the abundance of sockeye smolts leaving Babine Lake. This relationship has led to the concern that Babine Lake smolt production, which is primarily enhanced by spawning channels, may depress wild Skeena (Babine and non-Babine) sockeye populations as a result of increased competition between wild and enhanced sockeye smolts as they leave their natal lakes and co-migrate to sea. To test this hypothesis we used data on Skeena sockeye populations and oceanographic conditions to statistically examine the relationship between Skeena sockeye productivity (adult salmon produced per spawner) and an index of Babine Lake enhanced smolt abundance while accounting for the potential influence of early marine conditions. While we had relatively high power to detect large effects, we did not find support for the hypothesis that the productivity of wild Skeena sockeye is inversely related to the abundance of enhanced sockeye smolts leaving Babine Lake in a given year. Importantly, life-time productivity of Skeena sockeye is only partially explained by marine survival, and likely is an unreliable measure of the influence of smolt abundance. Limitations to our analyses, which include: (1) the reliance upon adult salmon produced per spawner (rather than per smolt) as an index of marine survival, and (2) incomplete age structure for most of the populations considered, highlight uncertainties that should be addressed if understanding relationships between wild and enhanced sockeye is a priority in the Skeena.

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Article
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Ancient Clam Gardens Increased Shellfish Production: Adaptive Strategies from the Past Can Inform Food Security Today

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-03-11
Abstract: 

Maintaining food production while sustaining productive ecosystems is among the central challenges of our time, yet, it has been for millennia. Ancient clam gardens, intertidal rock-walled terraces constructed by humans during the late Holocene, are thought to have improved the growing conditions for clams. We tested this hypothesis by comparing the beach slope, intertidal height, and biomass and density of bivalves at replicate clam garden and non-walled clam beaches in British Columbia, Canada. We also quantified the variation in growth and survival rates of littleneck clams (Leukoma staminea) we experimentally transplanted across these two beach types. We found that clam gardens had significantly shallower slopes than non-walled beaches and greater densities of L. staminea and Saxidomus giganteus, particularly at smaller size classes. Overall, clam gardens contained 4 times as many butter clams and over twice as many littleneck clams relative to non-walled beaches. As predicted, this relationship varied as a function of intertidal height, whereby clam density and biomass tended to be greater in clam gardens compared to non-walled beaches at relatively higher intertidal heights. Transplanted juvenile L. staminea grew 1.7 times faster and smaller size classes were more likely to survive in clam gardens than non-walled beaches, specifically at the top and bottom of beaches. Consequently, we provide strong evidence that ancient clam gardens likely increased clam productivity by altering the slope of soft-sediment beaches, expanding optimal intertidal clam habitat, thereby enhancing growing conditions for clams. These results reveal how ancient shellfish aquaculture practices may have supported food security strategies in the past and provide insight into tools for the conservation, management, and governance of intertidal seascapes today.

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Article
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Behavioral Attributes Of Turbine Entrainment Risk for Adult Resident Fish Revealed By Acoustic Telemetry and State-Space Modeling

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014
Abstract: 

Background

Fish entrainment through turbine intakes is one of the major issues for operators of hydropower facilities because it causes injury and/or mortality and adversely affects population abundance. Entrainment reduction strategies have been developed based on the behavior of downstream migrating fishes, particularly diadromous species. However, knowledge of the behavior of migratory fishes has very limited application for reducing the entrainment of resident fishes, including several species that represent important recreational and aboriginal fishery resources in reservoirs. In this study, we used fine-scale acoustic telemetry and state-space modeling to investigate behavioral attributes associated with entrainment risk of resident adult bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) in a large hydropower reservoir in British Columbia, Canada.

Results

We found that adult bull trout resided longer in the vicinity of the powerhouse and moved closer to the turbine intakes in the fall and particularly in the winter. Bull trout were more likely to engage in exploratory behavior (characteristic of foraging or reduced activity) during periods when their body temperature was lower or higher than 6°C. We also detected diel changes in behavioral attributes, with bull trout distance to intakes and probability of exploratory behavior slightly increasing at night.

Conclusions

We hypothesize that the exploratory behavior in the forebay is associated with foraging for kokanee (nonanadromous form of Oncorhynchus nerka), which have been shown to congregate near the dams of hydropower reservoirs in the winter. Our study findings should be applicable to bull trout populations residing in other reservoirs and indicate that entrainment mitigation (for example, use of deterrent devices) should be focused on the fall and winter. This work also provides a framework for combining acoustic telemetry and state-space models to understand and categorize movement behavior of fish in reservoirs and, more generally, in any environment with fluctuating water levels.

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Article
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How Fire History, Fire Suppression Practices and Climate Change Affect Wildfire Regimes in Mediterranean Landscapes

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013
Abstract: 

Available data show that future changes in global change drivers may lead to an increasing impact of fires on terrestrial ecosystems worldwide. Yet, fire regime changes in highly humanised fire-prone regions are difficult to predict because fire effects may be heavily mediated by human activities We investigated the role of fire suppression strategies in synergy with climate change on the resulting fire regimes in Catalonia (north-eastern Spain). We used a spatially-explicit fire-succession model at the landscape level to test whether the use of different firefighting opportunities related to observed reductions in fire spread rates and effective fire sizes, and hence changes in the fire regime. We calibrated this model with data from a period with weak firefighting and later assess the potential for suppression strategies to modify fire regimes expected under different levels of climate change. When comparing simulations with observed fire statistics from an eleven-year period with firefighting strategies in place, our results showed that, at least in two of the three sub-regions analysed, the observed fire regime could not be reproduced unless taking into account the effects of fire suppression. Fire regime descriptors were highly dependent on climate change scenarios, with a general trend, under baseline scenarios without fire suppression, to large-scale increases in area burnt. Fire suppression strategies had a strong capacity to compensate for climate change effects. However, strong active fire suppression was necessary to accomplish such compensation, while more opportunistic fire suppression strategies derived from recent fire history only had a variable, but generally weak, potential for compensation of enhanced fire impacts under climate change. The concept of fire regime in the Mediterranean is probably better interpreted as a highly dynamic process in which the main determinants of fire are rapidly modified by changes in landscape, climate and socioeconomic factors such as fire suppression strategies.

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Article
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