Article Archive

Assessing the impacts of recreation on habitat use by mammals in an isolated alpine protected area

“The management objectives of many protected areas must meet the dual mandates of protecting biodiversity while providing recreational opportunities. Balancing these mandates is made difficult by constraints on monitoring trends in the status of biodiversity and impacts of recreation. Using detections from 45 camera traps deployed between July 2019 and September 2021, we assessed the potential impacts of recreation on spatial and temporal habitat use for 8 medium- and large-bodied terrestrial mammals in an isolated alpine protected area: Cathedral Provincial Park, Canada. We hypothesized that some wildlife perceive a level of threat from people, such that they avoid ‘risky times’ or ‘risky places’ associated with human activity. Other species may benefit from associating with people, be it through access to anthropogenic resource subsidies or filtering of competitors/predators that are more human-averse (i.e., human shield hypothesis). “

Read more in the article by IBioS faculty member Dr. Cole Burton, Dr. Tara Martin and colleagues.

Comparing wildlife habitat suitability models based on expert opinion with camera trap detections

“Expert knowledge is widely applied in ecological and conservation contexts. One application is the development of wildlife habitat suitability models (HSM) for management and conservation decisions; however, the consistency of such models has been questioned. Focusing on one method for elicitation, the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), we generated expert-based HSM for four felid species: two forest specialists [ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) and margay (Leopardus wiedii)], and two habitat generalist species [pampas cat (Leopardus colocola) and puma (Puma concolor)]. Using these HSM, species detections from camera-trap surveys, and generalized linear models, we assessed the effect of study species and participant’s attributes on the correspondence between expert models and camera-trap detections.”

Read more in the article by IBioS faculty member Dr. Cole Burton and colleagues.

Food sovereignty: An inclusive model for feeding the world and cooling the planet

“The framework of food sovereignty emerged on the global stage in the mid-1990s as diverse social movements representing peasant, Indigenous, fisher, and small-scale farming communities were experiencing a confluence of crises—structural adjustment, rising threats to biodiversity, climate change, rural poverty, and growing levels of world hunger— that continue to accelerate into the present day. In response to these challenges, food sovereignty movements promote policies to ensure rights to healthy and culturally appropriate food, produced through ecologically sustainable methods. The food sovereignty framework emerges from participatory governance structures at intersecting scales—from the local to the global—to support people’s rights to define their own food and agricultural systems. This primer examines the arguments for a rights-based food sovereignty framework to support diets for planetary health and identifies cross-sectoral roles, responsibilities, and challenges in promoting diversified agroecosystems that can feed the world and cool the planet.”

Read more in the article by IBioS faculty member Dr. Hannah Wittman.

Biodiversity-production feedback effects lead to intensification traps in agricultural landscapes

“Intensive agriculture with high reliance on pesticides and fertilizers constitutes a major strategy for ‘feeding the world’. However, such conventional intensification is linked to diminishing returns and can result in ‘intensification traps’ – production declines triggered by the negative feedback of biodiversity loss at high input levels. We developed a novel framework that integrates biodiversity in crop-yield assessments to evaluate risk and magnitude of intensification traps. Simulations grounded in literature reviews demonstrated that intensification traps emerge in most agricultural landscapes (73%), but rarely in major calorie production systems. Small reductions in maximal production by just 5–10% could be frequently transmitted into substantial biodiversity gains, resulting in small-loss large-gain trade-offs prevailing in landscapes with and without intensification traps.”

Read more in the article by IBioS faculty members Dr. Claire Kremen, Dr. Navin Ramankutty and colleagues.

The living infinite: Envisioning futures for transformed human-nature relationships on the high seas

“We find ourselves at a critical crossroads for the future governance of the high seas, but the perceived remoteness of the global ocean creates a psychological barrier for people to engage with it. Given challenges of overexploitation, inequitable access and other sustainability and equity concerns, current ocean governance mechanisms are not fit-for-purpose. This decade offers opportunities for direct impact on ocean governance, however, triggering a global transformation on how we use and protect the half of our planet requires a concerted effort that is guided by shared values and principles across regions and sectors. The aim of the series of workshops outlined in this paper, was to undertake a futures thinking process that could use the Nature Futures Framework as a mechanism to bring more transformative energy into how humans conceptualise the high seas and therefore how we aim to govern the ocean”

Read more in the article by IBioS faculty member Dr. Rashid Sumaila and colleagues.

A novel framework to evaluate the financial sustainability of marine protected areas

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are globally underfunded. We present a five-step framework that can help practitioners prioritize actions that may improve financial sustainability, which was applied to six MPAs in Colombia, Bonaire, and Belize. Limited funds were found to directly undermine effectiveness towards conservation goals for five sites, with these impacts particularly significant for four. Annual budgets required increases from 6 % to 141 % to meet financial needs. Two sites had significant underlying weaknesses in their financial strategies that could lead to direct impacts if not addressed, with an additional three sites having more minor, but still observable, weaknesses in this manner. Staff salaries were the largest expense for all MPAs examined and also most frequently in need of additional funds. “

Read more in the article by IBioS faculty member Dr. Rashid Sumaila and colleagues.

Agroecology as a Philosophy of Life

“Use of the term “agroecology” has greatly increased over the past few decades, with scholars, civil society actors, and intergovernmental organizations identifying agroecology as a promising pathway for realizing more just and sustainable food systems. Using a community-engaged approach, we explore how diverse agroecological actors in southern Brazil describe and define agroecology. We find that across a range of social differences, agroecological actors come together in describing agroecology as a philosophy of life that promotes well-being, positioning agroecology as a counter-narrative to global discourses on “development” that promote economic growth and productivism as the path to a good life. Our findings suggest that the practice of agroecology can enhance diverse rural peoples’ well-being by providing a pathway to overcoming alienation, commodification, and exploitation, although broader political-economic conditions constrain this potential.”

Read more in the article by IBioS faculty member Dr. Hannah Wittman and colleagues.

 Risk of extinction, variability in fish species composition, and factors influencing fish biodiversity in the Malacca Strait

“Fish biodiversity in Malaysia is under pressure due to overexploitation, pollution, and climatic stressors. Nevertheless, the information on fish biodiversity and species vulnerability status is not well documented in the region. Therefore, a study on fish species composition and abundance in the Malacca Strait of Malaysia has been conducted for the purpose of monitoring biodiversity, determining the risk of species extinction, and identifying factors influencing biodiversity distribution. The sampling was conducted based on a random stratified sampling method from the three zones of sampling locations, i.e., estuary, mangrove, and open sea area of Tanjung Karang and Port Klang of Malacca Strait. “

Read more in the article by IBioS faculty member Dr. Rashid Sumaila and colleagues.

 Experiences and insights on Bridging Knowledge Systems between Indigenous and non-Indigenous partners: Learnings from the Laurentian Great Lakes

“Willingness to engage in equitable and ethical relationships with Indigenous partners is becoming more commonplace within public and academic spheres around the globe. However, insufficient training and attention is being given to produce better outcomes for Indigenous partners. This article is a curation of insights and experiences shared during the virtual talking circle held during the “Bridging Knowledge Systems between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities” session at the 2021 Annual Conference of the International Association for Great Lakes Research. Through dialogues and exchanges within this circle, we identified core themes, actionable recommendations, and questions worth considering for those wishing to bridge knowledge systems and engage in co-learning processes involving Indigenous and non-Indigenous partners.”

Read more in the article by IBioS faculty member Dr. Andrea Reid and colleagues.

 A call for a wider perspective on sustainable forestry: Introduction to the Special Issue on The Social Impacts of Logging

“Global demand for timber is projected to grow and much of this timber will continue to be sourced from natural forests. As these forests, particularly in the tropics, tend to be inhabited by the world’s most marginalized communities, the social impacts of logging require more attention within policy, practice and research. This Introduction to the Special Issue of International Forestry Review on The Social Impacts of Logging compiles evidence that the overwhelmingly negative social impacts of logging are systemic. As logging companies fail to fulfill their social obligations, and elite capture is common, the extent to which local communities benefit from logging operations is minimal, while long-term, harmful effects on livelihoods, social fabric and safety are severe. Logging operations reinforce and often exacerbate pre-existing inequities, particularly for women and Indigenous people. Weak governance, a lack of transparency and poor participation procedures partially explain this
unfavourable situation. However, logging will only achieve better social outcomes if underlying power-imbalances are tackled.”

Read more in the article by IBioS faculty member Dr. Terry Sunderland and colleagues.

Connected Conservation: Rethinking conservation for a telecoupled world

“The convergence of the biodiversity and climate crises, widening of wealth inequality, and most recently the COVID-19 pandemic underscore the urgent need to mobilize change to secure sustainable futures. Centres of tropical biodiversity are a major focus of conservation efforts, delivered in predominantly site-level interventions often incorporating alternative-livelihood provision or poverty-alleviation components. Yet, a focus on site-level intervention is ill-equipped to address the disproportionate role of (often distant) wealth in biodiversity collapse. Further these approaches often attempt to ‘resolve’ local economic poverty in order to safeguard biodiversity in a seemingly virtuous act, potentially overlooking local communities as the living locus of solutions to the biodiversity crisis. We offer Connected Conservation: a dual-branched conservation model that commands novel actions to tackle distant wealth-related drivers of biodiversity decline, while enhancing site-level conservation to empower biodiversity stewards. We synthesize diverse literatures to outline the need for this shift in conservation practice. We identify three dominant negative flows arising in centres of wealth that disproportionately undermine biodiversity, and highlight the three key positive, though marginalized, flows that enhance biodiversity and exist within biocultural centres.”

Read more in the article by IBioS faculty member Dr. Terry Sunderland and colleagues.

Effectiveness of Heilongjiang Nanwenghe Nature Reserve in Improving Habitat Quality in and around the Reserve

“Biodiversity loss is a critical challenge globally, and protected areas (PAs) has been established as an important policy tool for conservation. However, doubts exist regarding their effectiveness, and their policy effects and spatial spillover effects on surrounding areas are poorly understood. To address this, this study evaluated the effectiveness of Heilongjiang Nanwenghe National Nature Reserve (HNNNR) in China by using a combination of the InVEST model and the improved SDID model. The study covers a time span of approximately 31 years (1990–2020) and is divided into two periods (1990–1999 and 1999–2020),
which allows for the assessment of the effects of nature reserves in the region. Our results showed that: (1) The establishment of HNNNR has improved the habitat quality in the reserve and Non-reserve area, with a greater impact on habitat quality in nonreserve areas than in the reserve; (2) The core zone within HNNNR showed the most significant improvement in habitat quality, while the buffer zone showed the least improvement; (3) The improvement of habitat quality in non-reserve area was mainly contributed by the policy spatial spillover effects, where the buffer zone has the strongest spillover benefits to the non-reserve, but the core zone has the weakest spillover effects to the non-reserve. Our results show the beneficial impact of a nature reserve for improving habitat quality in and around the reserve.”

Read more in the article by IBioS faculty member Dr. Terry Sunderland and colleagues.

Exploring scenarios for the food system–zoonotic risk interface

“The unprecedented economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have shown the global necessity of mitigating the underlying drivers of zoonotic spillover events, which occur at the human–wildlife and domesticated animal interface. Spillover events are associated to varying degrees with high habitat fragmentation, biodiversity loss through land use change, high livestock densities, agricultural inputs, and wildlife hunting—all facets of food systems. As such, the structure and characteristics of food systems can be considered key determinants of modern pandemic risks. This means that emerging infectious diseases should be more explicitly addressed in the discourse of food systems to mitigate the likelihood and impacts of spillover events. Here, we adopt a scenario framework to highlight the many connections among food systems, zoonotic diseases, and sustainability.”

Read more in the article by IBioS faculty member Dr. Claire Kremen and colleagues.

Against the odds: Network and institutional pathways enabling agricultural diversification

“Farming systems that support locally diverse agricultural production and high levels of biodiversity are in rapid decline, despite evidence of their benefits for climate, environmental health, and food security. Yet, agricultural policies, financial incentives, and market concentration increasingly constrain the viability of diversified farming systems. Here, we present a conceptual framework to identify novel processes that promote the emergence and sustainability of diversified farming systems, using three real-world examples where farming communities have found pathways to diversification despite major structural constraints. By applying our framework to analyze these bright spots in the United States, Brazil, and Malawi, we identify two distinct pathways—network and institutional—to diversification. “

Read more in the article by IBioS faculty members Dr. Claire Kremen and Dr. Hannah Wittman.