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El CSIC advierte de que la biodiversidad de los ecosistemas alpinos africanos está en extinción por la presión humana

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The conservation of tropical montane biodiversity requires a holistic approach, using genetic, ecological and geographic information to understand the effects of environmental changes across temporal scales and simultaneously addressing the impacts of multiple threats. This problem is especially acute in understudied and highly threatened areas like the Ethiopian Highlands, where accelerated land conversion and degradation is placing further pressures on biodiversity.

While climate change is recognized as a major future threat to biodiversity, most species are currently threatened by extensive human?induced habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation. Tropical high?altitude alpine and montane forest ecosystems and their biodiversity are particularly sensitive to temperature increases under climate change, but they are also subject to accelerated pressures from land conversion and degradation due to a growing human population.

A research team have studied the combined effects of anthropogenic land?use change, past and future climate changes and mountain range isolation on the endemic Ethiopian Highlands long?eared bat, Plecotus balensis, an understudied bat that is restricted to the remnant natural high?altitude Afroalpine and Afromontane habitats.

The EBD researcher Javier Juste participated in this study, together with the University of Exeter and the University of Stirling, in the United Kingdom; Dire Dawa University in Ethiopia; the Center for Research in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources (CIBIO), Veirão, and the University of Porto, in Portugal; and the CIBER of Epidemiology and Public Health, of Madrid.

The research team integrated ecological niche modelling, landscape genetics and model?based inference to assess the genetic, geographic and demographic impacts of past and recent environmental changes. They show that mountain range isolation and historic climates shaped population structure and patterns of genetic variation, but recent anthropogenic land?use change and habitat degradation are associated with a severe population decline and loss of genetic diversity.

Models predict that the suitable niche of this bat has been progressively shrinking since the last glaciation period. This study highlights threats to Afroalpine and Afromontane biodiversity, squeezed to higher altitudes under climate change while losing genetic diversity and suffering population declines due to anthropogenic land?use change.

The study concludes that the conservation of tropical montane biodiversity requires a holistic approach, using genetic, ecological and geographic information to understand the effects of environmental changes across temporal scales and simultaneously addressing the impacts of multiple threats.

 

informacion[at]ebd.csic.es

REFERENCIA:

Orly Razgour, Mohammed Kasso, Helena Santos, Javier Juste (2020) Threats to Afromontane biodiversity from climate change and habitat loss revealed by genetic monitoring of the Ethiopian Hi ghlands bat. Evolutionary applications. DOI: 10.1111/eva.13161

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General versus specific surveys: estimating the suitability of different road-crossing structures for small mammals

General versus specific surveys: estimating the suitability of different road-crossing structures for small mammals

The use of wildlife road-crossing structures (WCS hereafter) is less monitored for small mammals than for more emblematic species. Furthermore, because of the undeniable difficulty of small mammal track identification, most biologists usually carry out general surveys without species recognition. Here it is hypothesized that general surveys traditionally used for monitoring WCS by small mammals may be biased because the degraded habitats along roads are mainly used by generalist and not specialist species. For this reason, authors compared the results of a general small-mammal survey with those from a species-specific one, focusing on 3 study species: 1 habitat generalist (North American deer mouse), 1 forest specialist (southern red-backed vole), and 1 prairie specialist (meadow vole). We sampled along 4 types of WCS (overpasses, open-span underpasses, and both elliptical and box culverts) in Banff National Park (Canada), by placing footprint track tubes along the WCS, and as a reference in front of their entrances (mainly located in roadside grasslands) and in the surrounding woodlands. Using the traditional general survey, significant differences in small-mammal presence among WCS and reference sites were not detected. In contrast, species-specific surveys showed that only the deer mouse (a generalist species) consistently used the WCS. The deer mice did not show preferences for any WCS type, whereas the specialist species (voles) used only overpasses. Therefore, general surveys used without species identification can overestimate the value of WCS for specialist small mammals, with relevant conservation implications. As a consequence, species-specific surveys of WCS suitability for small mammals is recommended. Authors also suggest improving the habitat (or at least the cover availability) in the WCS and along the space between them and the surrounding environments to increase WCS suitability for specialist species. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: D'Amico et al (2015) General versus specific surveys: estimating the suitability of different road-crossing structures for small mammals. J Wildl Manage 79(5) 854–860 DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.900

 


http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jwmg.900/abstract